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Nicky Morgan: 'All good schools should be able to expand'

The Education Secretary has defended her decision to give the green light for the first new grammar school in 50 years.

Nicky Morgan said in a written statement that the move was not a change in the government's position on selective schools and that it "reaffirms our view that all good schools should be able to expand".

I am satisfied that this proposal represents a genuine expansion of the existing school and that there will be integration between the two sites in terms of leadership, management, governance, admissions and curriculum.

I am also satisfied that the excellent quality of learning currently delivered will be replicated across the newly-expanded school.

My decision in this case has been taken on the basis of the proposal from the Weald of Kent, in line with legislation and criteria determining what constitutes an expansion.

It does not reflect a change in this Government's position on selective schools.

Rather it reaffirms our view that all good schools should be able to expand, a policy which is vital to meet the significant increase in demand for pupil places in coming years.

– Statement from Education Secretary Nicky Morgan

Labour: Grammar schools will not benefit poorer pupils

Labour have condemned the opening of a new grammar school in Kent, saying it will not benefit poorer pupils.

Lucy Powell said grammar schools only benefited the middle classes Credit: PA Wire

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell dismissed the idea that the new 450-pupil school in Sevenoaks was an annexe to an existing school and said it would pave the way for many other remaining grammars to follow suit.

She also rejected the idea the grammar schools opened up opportunities for pupils from poorer backgrounds, saying they were dominated by the children of middle class families who could afford to pay to tutor them through the 11 plus.

"Long gone are the days of the 50s and 60s when a few bright children from working class backgrounds were given an opportunity," she said.

"The grammar school selection process today is much more reflective of the means and the social capital to pass the 11 plus."

First grammar school in 50 years set to be approved

The proposed new 450-pupil school in Sevenoaks, Kent Credit: PA Wire

The first grammar school in 50 years is set to be approved by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

She will give the green light to plans for a 450-pupil school in Sevenoaks, Kent, after months of legal wrangling, according to The Times.

Labour passed laws in 1998 banning the creation of new grammars, which are selective state schools.

But existing schools are allowed to expand if there is sufficient demand.

The Sevenoaks school is not covered by the ban because it is officially an annexe of Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge.


Free school meals for infants will not be axed

Children aged four to seven qualify for free school meals. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Free school meals for infants in England will not be scrapped, Downing Street has confirmed.

It is thought that David Cameron personally intervened to make sure that free school meals were on offer to pupils aged four to seven.

The free school meals scheme in England marked its first anniversary in September, with every child in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 qualifying for a cooked school lunch.

There have been recent concerns however, that the scheme may be axed.

The £600 million cost is paid by the government.

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