Three top performing secondary schools have been referred to the selections watchdog amid claims they are breaking admissions rules.

The county council has "reluctantly" referred Watford Grammar School for Boys, Parmiter's and Rickmansworth School to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA).

The OSA is empowered by central government legislation to intervene if it considers that admission rules for new pupils break the School Admissions Code.

Parmiter's, Rickmansworth and Watford Grammar School for Boys have all selected 35 per cent of their pupils by ability or aptitude for admission in September this year.

According to the county council's legal advice, their intention to continue to select 35 per cent of pupils next year exceeds the 25 per cent they are allowed to select under the Code of Admissions.

Leader of the Council David Beatty said: "The Cabinet is referring these schools to the adjudicator with great reluctance - but it is our statutory duty to follow this course of action. We will strive to maintain the good relationships we have with these schools despite today's decision."

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