Millions of pounds are set to be handed to two grammar schools in south Bucks to give disadvantaged children a better chance – but the move has been slammed by campaigners who say it is “totally unfair” with state schools being “forced to make cuts”.

John Hampden Grammar School (JHGS), in High Wycombe, and Sir William Borlase’s, in Marlow, will receive a chunk of the government’s £50 million Selective Schools Expansion Fund (SSEF) so they can expand their facilities to include more underprivileged pupils.

The Department for Education says all 16 selective schools receiving the funding will make changes to their admission criteria to increase access for disadvantaged children, with more than half of the schools committing to lowering the mark required to pass the entrance test for children receiving the pupil premium funding.

But campaign group Local Equal Excellent has criticised the move, saying the extra school places would not benefit local children.

Katy Simmons, chair of governors at Cressex Community School, said: “It is totally unfair that two of our most privileged local schools will receive a handout while other schools are being forced to make cuts.

“While the majority of state schools are in a desperate financial state, sacking teachers and cutting back on what they can teach, Santa has come early to a privileged few. Most children will not benefit at all from this money.

“In the government’s Christmas bran tub, most children will draw an empty package.

“The extra school places won’t benefit local children. Last year, neither of these schools filled its Year 7 places with local children.

“Both schools admit high numbers of children from out of the county so most of the new places will go to non-Bucks children.

“This money would be better spent on helping all our local schools, not just a privileged few.”

John Hampden is expected to invest the money it received – around £3 million – in a new building to provide “modern learning facilities” to “equip students with the skills and knowledge to make a positive contribution to both the local and global economy”.

Money will also be used to start partnerships with local primary schools to “raise attainment and achievement”.

Head teacher Tracey Hartley said: “I had to read and re-read the email before the news sunk in. I want to thank the staff and governors who worked on the bid, and parents and members of the local community who wrote so many letters of support for the bid.

“The money we will receive is more than an investment in JHGS; it is an investment in Wycombe.

“The JHGS catchment area encompasses some of the most deprived parts of South Bucks and we want to use the resources we have to improve opportunities for the young people living in this area.”

And Sir William Borlase’s share – which is not yet known – will be used to create 30 more places in year 7 starting in September 2020 for more Marlow children “regardless of socio-economic background”.

Head teacher Kay Mountfield said: "We would build on the excellent work of the primary schools in supporting young people to reach their full potential.

"Our policy will go out to consultation this week. Our governors and the school are excited about and committed to the new opportunity to create more places for children at Borlase."