COLCHESTER Royal Grammar School has announced plans to expand.

The school – ranked the best in the country – will admit an extra 30 pupils into Year 7, from September 2015, taking the total up to 120.

It comes six months after Colchester County High School for Girls revealed plans to expand by 28 places.

Headteacher Ken Jenkinson said: “There is a clear demand for more places at the school and a real need to create the opportunity for more pupils to gain a place.

“We are rather top heavy as a school with a large sixth form and only three forms of entry at Year 7.

“The creation of four forms of entry at 11-plus would give us a stronger base and bring the school more in line with the size of the other selective schools in the area.

“We would still be a relatively small school and it would not change our ethos in any way, but it would strengthen the school’s position and is an option we are keen to pursue.”

The school has applied to the Department for Education for new science labs, classrooms and an extension to the gym.

Mr Jenkinson said: “We will learn in late April whether the bid has been successful.

“If approved, the new science and classroom block would stand on the footprint of the old science labs in the centre of the main site and constitute a significant enhancement of the school premises.”

It is understood it is the first time Colchester Royal Grammar School, in Lexden Road, has expanded for at least 20 years.

Colchester High School for Girls wants to increase its annual intake by 20 to 140 from September 2015. The sixth form would move to a new block, leaving room for an increase in Year 7 pupils.

A planning application is pending.

Mr Jenkinson said King Edward VI Grammar School, in Chelmsford, admits 120 pupils at Year 7.

Jerry Glazier, the National Union of Teachers’ national executive and Essex representative, said selective schools undermine the ability of state schools. He said: “We should be striving for good schools in every community and discouraging parents from sending pupils long distances.

“The more selective places there are, the more potential impact it has on reducing the full ability range in state secondary schools.”