Parents are making more than 22 per cent more applications to grammar schools than they were five years ago, The Times newspaper reports.

And families are unafraid of travelling long distances, with a survey by the paper finding some apply from more than 100 miles away. At Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, an application was received from a family living 281 miles away in Bradford.

The Times’ research, based on sending Freedom of Information requests to 50 schools, found that among the 21 schools that provided data for both years, applications went up from 19,655 to 24,006 between 2014 and 2019.

The Judd School in Tonbridge, Kent, had a 50 per cent increase in applications between 2014 and 2019.

The Skinners’ School in Tunbridge Wells and Watford Grammar School for Girls, in Hertfordshire, which is partially selective, saw their applications rise by more than 40 per cent.

The investigation also revealed that prep schools accounted for high numbers starting at some grammars. At The Judd School, 51 pupils out of a cohort of 200 came from primary schools in the private sector.