A SELECTIVE school is set to expand to accommodate an extra class of students.

Colchester County High School for Girls is one of 16 grammar schools across the country to have been given a share of the Department for Education’s £50 million selective school expansion fund.

The fund supports the expansion of selective schools which have plans to improve access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The school in Norman Way is consulting on an expansion of student numbers for September 2020, potentially increasing admissions from 160 to 190 a year.

This will mean an extra 30 students each year, which amounts to an extra 150 over five years.

The current capacity is 982 students.

To allow for expansion, permission has also be granted for the school to begin planning applications to create more new buildings on the school site.

There are hopes for a new teaching block with enhanced facilities focussing on art, a school library and additional teaching space.

Executive principal at Colchester County High School Gillian Marshall said: “We are delighted by this decision, which potentially means more students will benefit from the high quality educational opportunities we can offer.

“We have always been keen to ensure we prioritise access for disadvantaged students, and we have significant involvement with outreach and partnership work with schools.

“The additional funding will enable us to give this important aspect of the school’s work even greater focus.”

The schools were selected from 39 applications and make up ten per cent of England’s 163 grammar schools.

BBC analysis of official data shows there are 11,000 more grammar school pupils in England now than in 2010.

Critics of grammar schools say wealthier children are more likely to receive a place because their parents can pay for tutoring for the selective exam.

It is also argued neighbouring schools lose the top academic students.

Colchester is already set to get a new secondary school.

The Trinity College, in the northern growth area of Colchester, is to be jointly led by Colchester County High School for Girls and The Gilberd School.