Ministers should invest in existing grammar schools rather than create new ones, head teachers have said.
Grammar school leaders have hit out at the Prime Minister for setting aside millions in the Budget to build a new generation of selective schools, as they warn that existing institutions are on the “cusp of viability”.
Head teachers said they are already having axe subjects such as Latin and Music, and double their class sizes in order to cope under budget constraints.
Dr Robin Bevan, headmaster of Southend High School For Boys, said: “The problem for me is that there are just over 150 grammars and nearly all of them are in the lowest funded in the country. We are set to lose even more under the new funding formula.
“We have a peculiar situation where the Prime Minister is championing grammars while the Department for Education is taking away money from existing grammars to the extent that some of us are going to be on the cusp of viability.”
Dr Bevan said that in the past three years, some of his class sizes have doubled, as the students have increased by 30 per cent with no additional teachers.
The Government's proposed national funding formula, a flagship policy of Education Secretary Justine Greening, determines how spending is divided up for schools.
A string of influential Conservative MPs have told this newspaper that they are not prepared to vote for the formula in its current form, which would see thousands of schools across the country have their budgets slashed.
Graham Brady, chair of the powerful 1922 committee, said the current forumla is "deeply flawed", adding that he is "confident" that it will be changed.
"It is welcome that the government has published a draft for consultation but it is also obvious that the first draft put forward is deeply flawed," he said.
Wendy Moffatt, headmistress at Crossley Heath School in Halifax, West Yorks, said she was dismayed to learn that new funds are available for new schools while the financial situation of existing grammars is “dire”.
She said cannot afford to employ a librarian, and has had to axe subjects such as Latin, Mandarin and Philosophy.
“It is interesting that Theresa May has had the guts to raise the grammar agenda but I wish she would come and talk to us about the reality,” Ms Moffatt said.
“If you believe in grammars and a grammar education and if you are aware of what schools like mine are doing you would make sure they are viable, I wish they would wake up and see that.”
We have a peculiar situation where the Prime Minister is championing grammars while the Department for Education is taking away money from existing grammars to the extent that some of us are going to be on the cusp of viability
Dr Robin Bevan, headmaster of Southend High School For Boys
Tim Gartside, headmaster at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, said that while he welcomes the extra funding for setting up new schools, he is “disappointed that we haven’t heard anything in the budget about more money going in directly to schools”.
He said that his school is under so much financial strain that it has already scrapped German, Latin and Music as A-level subjects and is considering asking for parents for payments of £30 to £40 per month.
Earlier this week, Mrs May unveiled plans for a new generation of grammar schools as she announced that £320 million has been set aside in the Budget to help end the “brutal and unacceptable” truth of selection by income.
The Prime Minister said she has made it her “personal mission” to build “a school system that works for everyone” and will within weeks begin the process of reversing the current ban on new grammars.
Mrs May, who has made grammars a key part of her education policy, will fund up to 140 new free schools, many of which are expected to become grammars.