Nicky Morgan
Education secretary Nicky Morgan has approved the expansion of Weald of Kent Grammar School with the building of a new facility for 450 extra pupils Getty

A never-ending row over grammar schools has flared up again after the government approved the building of what critics say is a new one, despite a law against the creation of any more.

Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, approved an application by Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge to build what it calls an "annexe" in Sevenoaks – seven miles away – which will cater for 450 extra pupils.

Critics say this is the first new grammar school to be built in 50 years and is bending the rules against building more, which was set into law by Tony Blair's Labour government in 1998. Morgan said this is not change in government policy, but that good schools should be allowed to expand – including grammars. And the school says this is not a new institution, but an addition to the existing one.

Supporters of grammar schools argue that they are excellent for the social mobility of gifted children from poorer backgrounds, giving them access to a level of education that their academic talents deserve.

But those who are against grammars say they are a preserve of the middle classes, who can pay for private primary schooling or extra tuition which gives them a significant advantage in the 11-plus selection exam – meaning poorer gifted children are crowded out. Rather than aid social mobility for poor children, grammars actually make it worse.

What do you think – should we build more grammar schools?