A HEADTEACHER has criticised Government plans to hand £50m to existing grammar schools.

Under controversial new plans, tens of millions of pounds is to be pumped into creating more places at selective state schools – a move that ministers said will give parents more choice.

But school leaders criticised the decision, saying they were "disappointed" that the Government was spending funding on expanding grammars.

Headteacher Lindsey Cooke, of Hanley Castle High School in Church End, Hanley Castle, said: "Our main emotion was disappointment, disappointment- that large sums of money were to be given to a small number of schools at a time when every school in Worcestershire and England is in need of additional funding.

"I think school funding should be for the many not the few - it should be available to all not just the most able.

"We welcome additional funding - there are more children in secondary school than ever before but why provide additional funding to a relatively small number of schools when every school needs more money?"

There are 163 grammar schools in England and, if all were given an equal share of the £50 million pot (which will be available in the 2018/19 academic year), they would receive just over £300,000 each.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said hundreds of thousands of new places have been created since 2010, but the Government wants to “make sure every family can access a good school”.

“By creating new schools where they are needed most and helping all great schools to grow, we can give parents greater choice in looking at schools that are right for their family – and give children of all backgrounds access to a world-class education,” he said.

But critics of selective education argue that these schools do not help improve social mobility.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "We are disappointed that the government has decided to spend scarce funding on expanding grammar schools.

"While there are many good selective schools, just as there are many good non-selective schools, the evidence is clear that expanding the number of selective places is likely to be damaging to social mobility."

Figures show that as of March 2017, around 2.6 per cent of grammar school pupils are on free school meals, compared to 14.1 per cent across all school types.

Under the latest proposals, the 50 per cent cap on the proportion of pupils that faith schools can admit based on religion will remain, but funding will be given to create new voluntary aided schools – which are run with local council involvement – if there is local demand.

Royal Grammar School Worcester, located in Upper Tything, declined to comment.

Grammars that want to take on more pupils will have to submit plans setting out what action they will take to boost the numbers of disadvantaged pupils they admit – similar to the access agreements signed by universities that want to charge £9,250 tuition fees.

Schools – which select pupils based on academic ability – will also have to show proof of a need for extra places in their area.