Grammar schools are defined under section 104 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 as maintained (community, foundation, voluntary aided and voluntary controlled) schools which select all, or substantially all, of their pupils by reference to high academic ability.
Grammar schools can also operate selection by aptitude, but must apply this after the selection by ability.
Between 1973 and 1998, the number of grammar schools fell from 809 to 164. The only legally recognised grammar schools are those designated as such by the Secretary of State and named on a designation order. The term 'grammar' is not protected – hence many schools call themselves grammars even when they are not.
Because the definition only includes maintained schools, grammar schools which convert to academy status are no longer classed as grammar schools, although they convert ‘as is’ and therefore, subject to their funding agreement, may retain their selective admission arrangements. By 1 July 2011, 75 grammar schools had converted. Their entry on the designation order should be disregarded as they will no longer be included in the count of grammar schools.
Similarly, grammar school ballot procedures do not apply to selective academies. These have their own ballot arrangements through Annex A of their funding agreements.
Current legislation does not allow for a new grammar school to be established but the Secretary of State is allowed to designate a new grammar school where it is established to replace existing grammar school provision.
Access to the login page of the Edubase system, which contains details of all educational establishments in England and Wales.