An investigation by The Times has found applications to grammar schools have risen by a quarter in five years.
The newspaper sent freedom of information requests to 50 schools asking questions about the admission figures for 2014 and 2019. Applications increased from 19,655 to 24,006 between 2014 and 2019, at the 21 schools that provided data for both years.
Schools said families applied from hundreds of miles away, some for practice sitting the entrance test but others with the intention of relocating if their child got in, The Times reported.
White British children are in a minority at some leading grammars and their numbers have decreased in the past five years, as schools become more ethnically diverse, the study showed.
One school took just four white British pupils from an intake of 104 last year, down from 13 five years earlier, while its Indian heritage intake rose from 37 to 55.
Heads said that immigrant families, who had already moved to Britain, were happier to relocate if their children passed the 11 plus at a school hundreds of miles away, The Times said.
Desmond Deehan, chief executive of the trust that runs Townley Grammar School in Bexley, southeast London, where a third of pupils are from black African families was asked by the newspaper what drove the ethnic make-up of the school.
“The simple answer based on our experience is the cultural value of education seen in those ethnic minority families. We draw from our local population which is increasingly ethnically diverse.”
The full article can be read here (subscription required): Applications to grammar schools up by a quarter in five years