Prime Minister Theresa May is relaxing the ban on selective schools, in controversial plans opposed by Labour and the outgoing Ofsted chief inspector, which will also see grammar schools given government funding for expansion.
May said in a major speech today that it is "completely illogical to make it illegal to open good new schools".
"So I want to relax the restrictions that stop selective schools from expanding, that deny parents the right to have a new selective school opened where they want one, and that stop existing non-selective schools to become selective in the right circumstances and where there is demand," she said.
Schools that wish to become selective will need to meet certain conditions, the PM said, which could include taking a proportion of pupils from lower income households, "so that selective education is not reserved for those with the means to move into a catchment area or pay for tuition to pass the test".
Meanwhile, the government will make up to £50m per year available to support the expansion of good or outstanding grammar schools, May said, in order to ensure that selective schools play a part in "helping to expand the capacity of our school system and they have the ability to cater to the individual needs of every child".
As part of the new reforms, a restriction on admissions to faith schools will also be lifted, in order to allow for the expansion of Catholic schools in particular.
"I want to see children from ordinary, working class families given the chances their richer contemporaries take for granted," May concluded.
"That means we need more great schools. This is the plan to deliver them and to set Britain on the path to being the great meritocracy of the world."