UPPER schools have seen an increase in poor children – while few still get into grammars, research suggests.

Analysis of children entitled to free schools meals – the Government’s measure of low income – highlights the stark differences between grammars and uppers.

A critic of the selective system said the figures show grammars favour the better off – but an Education boss said standards could be raised across the board.

At High Wycombe’s Cressex Community School the number of FSM children went from 42 to 52 per cent over a five years period.

This went from 24 to 27 per cent at the town’s Highcrest Community School and 11 to 17 per cent at Sir William Ramsay School.

Upper pupils in south Bucks claiming free schools meals rose from 10 to 12 per cent between 2004/05 and 2008/09, figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show.

Pick up your copy of today’s Bucks Free Press to see how many children at each of the county’s 132 state primary schools passed the 11+ and how many won appeals.

Education bosses refused to release exact numbers of pupils where five or less per year group get free school meals. This means exact grammar figures are not available.

Yet they make clear that few FSM pupils got into grammars.

A maximum of 20 went to Royal Grammar School last year, out of 979 boys.

At Wycombe High a maximum 28 studied out of 935 with a maximum 15 at the two Challoner’s schools in Amersham. This was out of a combined roll of 1,667 pupils.

No FSM pupils got into Beaconsfield High School compared to 60 at upper The Beaconsfield School. This was about ten per cent of pupils.

There were also wide variations between upper schools.

Less than five per cent were on FSM meals at St Bernard’s Catholic School while Princes Risborough and The Misbourne were five and three per cent.

A statement from Buckinghamshire County Council said: “Socially disadvantaged children are at risk of underachievement at school.”

It said: “We recognise this, we want to support children, and our priority is to address inequality and reduce the achievement gap.”

It said mentoring, coaching and schemes aimed at ethnic minorities and travellers should improve results.

But Highcrest head Sheena Moynihan, whose school saw a three per cent rise in FSM pupils, said “there is probably greater disparity now in High Wycombe between rich and poor”

While her school was improving results, she said: “It is a completely iniquitous system.

“This authority spends a huge proportion of its budget busing pupils around, the vast majority of which are grammar schools pupils. That money would be better spent in schools.”

The council said FSM pupils in all of Bucks fell in uppers and grammars from 2004 to 2009.

This was from 9.8 to 9.6 per cent in uppers and 1.2 and 1.1 per cent in grammars.

Children can claim free school lunches if their parents or guardians receive certain income-related benefits.