A new grammar school is due to be given the go ahead for the first time in 50 years. The education secretary Nicky Morgan is set to approve plans for a 450-pupil school in Sevenoaks, Kent, after months of legal wrangling according to reports.
The setting up of the selective state schools were banned in 1998 by the Labour government however existing sites are allowed to expand if there is sufficient demand.
The new Kent school is not covered by the ban because it is officially an annexe of Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge.
The Department for Education said the report in the Times was “speculation” but it is understood that a written ministerial statement on school expansion will be made in the Commons.
It was reported that Morgan will insist the decision does not mean the government will scrap the Labour law, and the newspaper said the application would only be approved because governors met conditions set by Department for Education lawyers, including the requirement that pupils at the Sevenoaks site spend some time at Tonbridge once a week.
Campaigners in favour of more grammar schools have argued that scrapping the 11-plus test in most areas of the country has hampered social mobility for bright pupils from poor backgrounds.
David Cameron previously said that “all good schools” should have the right to expand, including grammars, an assertion echoed by the education secretary.