Both of Stroud's grammar schools have missed out on extra cash for expansion.

Marling School and Stroud High School had put in bids for a slice of £50m made available by the Government earlier in the year to help create new places at grammars for disadvantaged pupils.

But neither school was among the sixteen successful applicants announced by the Department for Education yesterday.

Grammars getting the money from the Selective School Expansion Fund - Sir Thomas Rich's in Gloucester is the only school in the county - must now tweak their admission arrangements for poorer pupils.

This means, for instance, lowering the mark required to pass the entrance test for those on the pupil premium.

However, the Stroud grammars may prove successful next year - the Government has made £200m available over four years.

The bid announcement comes as secondary schools in Gloucestershire await to see whether the county council will press ahead with plans to shore up a £3m hole in its special needs budget.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds is being asked by the council to approve plugging this hole with a transfer from schools' core funding - a proposal rejected by Gloucestershire's headteachers last month.

Against this funding backdrop, Stroud MP David Drew fears the county's secondary schools are being "pitted against" each other.

“While the county is scrabbling around to fill the £3m hole in ‘high needs’ funding by reducing funds allocated for all children, the government is pushing ahead with plans to dish out millions to the grammars," he said.

"This will only put more pressure on our local schools and reduce the opportunities available for all Gloucestershire children.

“We are seeing school pitted against school in the increasingly harsh reality of education provision here in Gloucestershire.”