THREE out of four pupils accepted at two Southend grammar schools are not from the town, statistics have revealed.

Pupil admission figures show 75 per cent of the intake at Westcliff High School for Boys and Westcliff High School for Girls in September 2011 - the latest statistics available - were children from primary schools outside the borough.

Overall, more than half of the pupils at Southend’s six main selective schools came from outside the town.
Julian Ware-Lane, a Labour councillor who uncovered the figures, said they demonstrated a “lamentable” situation for youngsters.
He added: “The good schools seem to exist for the benefit of children from outside of the borough."

There are four grammar schools in Southend: the Westcliff schools, plus Southend High School for Girls and Southend High School for Boys.
In addition, St Bernard’s High School and St Thomas More High School also use specific criteria when admitting pupils.

However, James Courtenay, the Tory councillor responsible for education, said: “The incoming children from Essex to our grammar schools do not take places from our children – all Southend children who achieve the basic pass mark in the 11-plus get a place.

“Southend does not have enough children, at this time, passing the 11-plus to take all of the places.