Education secretary Justine Greening makes a statement to the House of Commons on government plans for grammar schools in England, from 12 September.
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based on evidence.
Can the Secretary of State tell us what evidence she does have
that the reintroduction of selection would work?
All the evidence I can find shows that it does not.
Areas that have selection have a wider attainment gap
than those that do not.
Disadvantaged children do not get into grammar schools and poorer
kids do worse in those areas with selection.
The highest performing with the gap has been closing dramatically,
particularly under the weather Government or comprehensibility.
Perhaps the Secretary of State would be better focusing on how
we can spread the good practice of somewhere like London compared
to importing the poorer practice of somewhere like Kent?
It is not clear to me, and I think it would be helpful
for the Labour front bench to set out exactly where they stand
on the issue of removing any existing grammars,
which as I understand it, is the Liberal Party proposal,
and perhaps from our comments, we can assume she wasn't
all existing selection as well.
-- Labour Party.
If she is not prepared to make the argument, I think it is hard
to argue against the status quo, whilst then also arguing
that we are wrong to look at reforming it.
Which I think is the position that she is taking.
The reality is that there are many grammar schools that are doing
important work, for example Bournemouth Grammar prioritising
children on pupil premium getting into grammar schools.
We know that when children on free school meals get into grammar is,
they disproportionately do well.
There is evidence from the Sutton trust that shows that children
outside of the grammar system, there was no discernible lessening
of their attainment more easily.
And we're not in a binary system now, we are in a system
were overwhelmingly our schools have improved over the last six years.
There are no many more all kinds that are good or outstanding.
So this sense that somehow if children are not in a grammar
that they are consigned to an education system
that is failing them is simply wrong.
But we do have to accept that there are still some schools
where children do not have access to a good school place.
The proposals and the debate we are starting today is one aimed
at looking how we can tackle it.
It sits alongside a much broader series of policy reforms,
but we are going to make sure that we push on and change
in circumstance, unlike the party opposite, which seems to not even
want to have a debate on the first place.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Can I welcome what my right honourable friend has said today
about greater collaboration between universities
and independent schools and those in the state system.
I also agree with what she said about faith schools,
this does need to be looked at.
Over the past six years on the side, we have consistently
challenged the soft bigotry of low expectations.
It says that academic education is not available to all.
She is right to save that we have great schools and great teachers,
but we do not have them everywhere.
Could she explain how the Green paper proposals on selective
education will benefit those pupils in areas where expectations
are still too low, where results are too poor, can't you tell us
when she is going to announce the first of the achieving
excellence in areas?
She is right to point out that too often, the past,
I don't think governments have had high enough expectations
were children growing up in my disadvantaged parts
of our country.
I think that is totally unacceptable.
There are talented children growing up all over our country and we must
make sure we have an education system that can enable them to make
the most of their talents.
Also right to point out that if we want to see new grammars open,
we have to walk to work with local communities but I would like to see
more of those disadvantaged communities get the chance
to have a grammar.
At the moment that is not an opportunity for them,
even if local parents want it.
We know that 20% of children who are at grammar schools come
from outside the immediate catchment area.
That clearly suggests that parents in those broader areas also want
the choice of a grammar for their children.
Finally, on the points she stepped out in the White Paper,
which I thought was quite right, the achieving excellence areas
were about saying, actually, we need to look systematically
at places where there is systematic letting down of children,
where they do not have access to good school places,
and look at what it will take inside and outside schools to make
sure we change that over time.
So I can assure her that all that work will continue
and I would like to pay tribute to her for the White Paper
that she set out that put in place the building bricks of what I hope
will be a successful approach.
It is simply not true to save that on the side
of the House we are in favour of levelling down.
Schools that work for everyone and all families is exactly
what members on this side are in favour of.
I want to press the Secretary of State on this question of evidence.
Where is the evidence that any of the improvement we have seen
in the last 15 to 20 years has come as a result of selection?
In particular, can she name he schools as elsewhere in the world
that succeeds on the basis of selection at 11?
Our proposals are clear, we do not want to see a test did --
tested 11 be the main way that children get into grammar schools,
we want more flexibility in the system.
This is about having a 21st-century education system but also a 21st
century approach to grammars.
I think it is wrong to say we should freeze grammars in time and never
come back and look at how they could work more effectively.
The test is surely the fact that 99% of grammar schools are judged to be
good or outstanding by Ofsted.
These are schools that have outstanding leadership,
outstanding teachers, a strong and rigorous curriculum,
they deliver the children who are of lower attainment
and disadvantage but also stretched those who are better attainment
and that is why they are rated as good or outstanding.
It would be wrong not to look at how we can all those features
into the broader school system.
But we should be enabling where there is choice and wear
there is demand for more grammar schools to open up.
Back in 1944, of course, there were three types
of school proposed, grammar, secondary modern and technical.
By 1959, only 2% of any Eurogroup could expect to get
a technical school.
The problem is sometimes in delivery and the mechanism
for the fermentation.
My question is, what plans has she got to make sure
that the changes she's talking about in the green paper
will actually be implemented in such a way that we do reach every
community, that we do reach every and that we can be sure
that we are giving every child the best possible opportunity
in a grammar school, or another school of some different type?
Because it is the mechanism and it is the brokering of that
mechanism and the checking that the mechanism is working that
will actually count for a lot in this whole policy.
I pay tribute to all of his work as chair of the education
Select Committee, this is about loading capacity
fundamentally about having more good school places the children around
Britain, and I think what you will see is a test
of its success is the continued improvement in attainment,
very much following on from what my right honourable friend the member
for Surrey Heath has said, but particularly focusing on those
children who do not get as far as they should and have not been
able to enjoy and benefit from the broader reforms that
so many more children now are.
Can I tell the Secretary of State that this country has made steady
progress in education over the years, under all parties.
There has been real improvement in our education system.
Is she aware that sending a message that it has been a history
of failure is not very encouraging, that teachers and people
who deliver education?
But can I please beg her not to start what we have seen
in the chamber already, a bitter war about comp
offensive against grammar?
Grammar schools, if you like them, provide the evidence,
provide what is best for our students and kids in this
country, do not start this ideological turf war
that is going to be very damaging to our country.
Well, I agree with him.
I think we need to open up a measured debate that is based
on evidence about what it is going to take it to improve our school
system and particular for those children don't have access to a good
school place, what it will take to enable them to have one.
We believe selection can play a role in that and we should look at how
that should be done more effectively, and he was at
the urgent question we had on Thursday.
I recognise how emotive this issue is across the House.
That is because it matters.
It matters for all of our children.
But I think the wrong thing to do would be to simply to see the kind
of concerns that the members opposite express, and simply put
them in a box over here and not be prepared to look at how we can make
grammars work more effectively for disadvantaged children.
In doing so, we should also recognise that every
child is different.
For those who academic, they need schools which can help
them stretch themselves.
My anxiety with some of these pose oils is the Secretary of State
rightly focuses on areas of economic disadvantage but without any kind
of local catchment area, how can we guarantee that
new selections schools will benefit the communities in
which they are situated?
Well, we are setting out a number of conditions that new grammars
would have to meet, frankly, for them to be able to open
in the first place.
Part of that would be working with local communities
and demonstrating local demand.
It could also involve setting up a nonselective school or sponsoring
one that is there.
It could also involve sponsoring a primary school that feeds
the grammar school that is in a more low income area, so that it
absolutely reaches into some of those communities
that we want to see benefit most from good or outstanding grammars
that are being established.
I would encourage her to look at the consultation document.
It opens a lot of questions about how we can do this effectively
and then I have no doubt I would be interested in her response.
I listened to the Secretary of State carefully.
I'm quite sorry for her in a way because I am sure this is not
directly her policy.
Could she tell us confidentially whether she was as surprised
as we were when informed of this policy and to do with government
spats in Downing Street?
I think on behalf of the children of Britain I think that was a totally
pointless question and I will not bother answering it.
Look, I don't want any child to go to the sort of school I went
to in the last five years of my secondary education.
The Hartland comprehensive was more like a Borstal than a school,
and unfortunately, there are still too many comprehensives
like that in our country.
But, and it is a big but, the schools in my constituency have
done so well, notably George Spencer becoming an outstanding academy,
because of the Academy programme.
I think in my constituency, there is no desire for us
to have selection.
So can the Secretary of State assure me and my constituents,
that the Academy programme which is delivering,
will still be supported by this government?
Yes, of course, and indeed this is about providing...
In many parts of the country we have seen academies
transform prospects already.
It may be that local communities are happy with the existing schools
and they want to see them get better.
Discussing education with parents and teachers,
issues which come up time and time again is the need for more primary
places, teacher recruitment and the North-South funding gap.
Not one person has ever raised new grammars with me.
Where is the evidence that this continuing obsession with structures
will resolve the real issues facing education?
She is right to highlight the need for more primary places and indeed,
we have put billions into ensuring those places other.
Part of the challenge is insuring that democratic board is passing
into secondary schools.
We have to ensure the secondary system has a number
of places our children need, but we have to ensure
they are good places which is why we want to open up this
debate on selection, open up the debate on ending
the ban on grammars.
This is not to say there is not the rest of the agenda in education
that we need to carefully push on with.
She talks about teacher recruitment, she talks about making sure
education funding is fair around the country and absolutely,
all of those things will be once I continue to focus on.
May I welcome my right honourable friend's commitment to greater
freedom for faith schools.
In my constituency we have the best performing competences in the entire
country and it forms part of a diverse mix which includes
part selective schools.
Does she agree with me that it is that diversity
which is driving up standards and issue committed
to maintaining that diversity?
He sets out the case very well in terms of how parents have got
more and better choice in his own local community.
It is important and it is how we seek standards rising
and we are committed to that continuing.
I also listened very carefully to the words of the Secretary
of State and she did say we don't want to see a test at 11
for access to grammars.
So is it her intention to abolish the 11 plus for existing grammar
schools, and if not, why not?
The point I was making to him was that many people feel
there is a cliff edge in terms of the entry into grammar schools
as it stands in terms of age 11.
We are consulting on having the chance for children to go
into a local grammar, perhaps at an older age,
or indeed if they are particularly capable at one or two subjects
that they could perhaps go to a grammar to study those.
I'm sure he will read the consultation
document with interest.
Does the Secretary of State agree with me that when lifting
the statutory bar, we are not returning to a two tier system
of the 1950s, in circumstances where our education system has moved
on, where we have choice of UTC, free schools, academies
as well as apprenticeships, and when striving for educational
excellence, we should continue to look at all forms of education
for our children?
She is quite right.
We have moved from a system where there was a one size fits
all approach on schools for children and we now have a system
where there is so much diversity and choice,
but we do think it is wrong to have one kind of school in that system,
unable to respond to parent demand, and that is the need
for more grammars.
We need to open up that debate and look at what we can do to enable
parents to have more of a choice around the country.
The minister says she wants to get views from everywhere.
The Education Minister will be aware that exam results schools
in Northern Ireland were some of the best in Britain and Northern
Has the Education Minister had the opportunity to strategise these
results for the benefit of the UK mainland?
I know the system of grammars in Northern Ireland is one that
people would point to to say an average attainment has increased.
I was invited to Northern Ireland in the urgent question last week
to look for myself and I am sure that I will be able to visit
Northern Ireland shortly.
I welcome the Secretary of State's Green paper on the wider
aspects of education, I have to say that I have severe
reservations about introducing more grammar schools.
I was at a grammar school 50 years ago, and I have often wondered,
if I had failed the 11 plus, where I would be.
I wouldn't be here today.
I know the educational system has moved on,
but I have to say I think it is not a question of introducing more
grammar schools, if people want grammar schools,
that is fine.
It is what is happening in the main part of the system.
The main question we have to deal with this not just about access
to schools, it is about the poverty of many of the parents,
the dysfunctional families, and I'm sure that my right
honourable friend will be looking at this and if she could perhaps
give me some reassurance that this is going to be done.
Very much so.
As I just replied to my right honourable friend for Loughborough,
this issue of looking at specific areas where there is a persistent
and long-term lack of educational attainment and a gap
in good school places, absolutely has to sit alongside this
consultation document, and the rest of the Government
reforms that we now have under way, that have delivered so much
for the children of Britain have to continue.
The Secretary of State's statement is deeply divisive.
Will she say to the House what the differences
between the selection criteria for a grammar school
and the selection criteria for a free school, and will she say
to the House what the evidence base is available to her for not
prioritising the needs of the young people who are not
going to be selected?
I would encourage him to look at the Green paper consultation
document that we have published today.
It very much not only talks about how we think grammars can play
role and selection play a strong role particularly improving
the specs for disadvantaged children who are academically able,
but it also sets out our expectation that grammars can do a lot more
in their local communities to raise attainment more broadly,
and as I said to the honourable lady opposite, the challenge is that this
is not a reform that has been engaged with grammars before,
and it is time that we asked them to do more, but in return we should
also be prepared to enable them to open up in other parts
of the country.
Mr Speaker, I have no ideological hang-ups in letting the brightest
children do well, I think it is crucial that we allow
the poorest to come through to do so.
I welcome this as the beginning of a debate and as one method
whereby we can increase the diversity of the school system.
Can I discuss the role that universities play.
We see the results that Norwich players and teachers
are dressing issues hard.
Norwich is an area where we can see attainment is raised particularly
with the work of the University of East Anglia is doing
in the local community.
I think we are at the beginning of the understanding of how
universities can work effectively further back
in the education system.
We see it can dramatically improve the prospects for children
so that they get the levels of education and attainment say that
going to university becomes an option.
The Government was serious about social mobility,
it would be focusing on the early years and technical
and vocational provision.
One thing I do welcome as the Secretary of State's
acceptance of the Labour Party's 2015 manifesto commitment
to independent schools and they should be doing more
to earn a charitable status.
But rather than going down the blind alley of the charitable commission,
can I urge the Secretary of State to amend the 1988 local government
act so that private schools business rate relief is dependent on a hard
partnership as determined by the independent
It remains a scandal that our sixth form colleges are paying VAT
and private schools have business rate relief.
This has two end.
As I understood his policy was to simply scrap
What we have to do is make sure our independent schools earn
that charitable status and truly deliver more public benefit perhaps
than some are doing at the moment.
Although it is fair to say that overwhelmingly many independent
schools already do much in their local community.
As the competence of schoolboy, can I commend my right honourable
friend for this bold new departure.
Will she, however, at all times are sure that the language used
by the Government focuses on pupils' aptitudes rather than solely
on their academic ability.
I believe that way there are no losers instead all talents are
champions and all roles fulfilled.
The attainment gap between poor and rich children is unacceptable.
It holds them and our country back.
But the Secretary of State is simply wrong to say expanding grammar
schools will help the most disadvantaged children,
who are less likely to get into grammar schools and fall
further behind better off children than those in areas
without selective schools.
Can I ask the Minister to instead focus on what we know
from the evidence makes the biggest difference to disadvantaged
children, high-quality early years services, getting the best heads
and teachers in the school 's and relentlessly driving up
standards in academic and vocational qualifications.
We are doing all of those things and the reality
is that our proposals are aimed at ensuring the grammar schools do
take more disadvantaged children, and all I would say is Labour had 13
years to look at this and failed to do so.
The Secretary of State will be aware that the community I represent
in Bournemouth and Poole already has access to high-quality
local grammar schools.
But can I make her aware of the change in the admission
policy from 2018 for a Bournemouth School headed
by Doctor Dorian Lewis that we are going to put
a geographical limit prioritising Bournemouth pupils, we're
going to prioritise looked after and formerly looked
after children, prioritise those on free school meals and combine
this, and this is critical, with an ambitious programme
of outreach to the primary schools to raise the aspiration of both
primary school pupils and their parents about sending
their children to these schools.
Would she agree with me that this is an ambitious thing
that is totally in line with the prime minister's excellent
new policy, and would she agree to either come to Bournemouth School
to see at first hand what they are doing,
or to meet Doctor Dorian Lewis the headteacher, we bring him
here to London?
I'm very happy to meet his local head teacher.
What he sets out in terms of what that head teacher is doing,
is exactly what we want to see replicated across schools
in the country, and also in terms of conditions we'll set for existing
grammars to extend and to open up new grammars.
We want them to be engines for social mobility.
I hope we do have a debate because it's important because none
of us should be satisfied that our children aren't getting
the best out of, what is it these days, 18 years before too long
of compulsory education.
When I spoke in a debate led by my former colleague Joe Cox,
we spoke about the lack of educational attainment
in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Three things came out of that.
So many are behind their peers by the age of three,
Doncaster and other places, we can't attract the best
teachers for love nor money.
And, the choice at 14 isn't good enough for those who want to follow
a vocational route.
Can I ask the Secretary of State please do not abandon those areas
that I feel are the greater importance to achieving the outcome
she wants than the debate that could be divisive
on grammar schools?
I can absolutely assure her that I won't ever abandon that agenda
of looking at some of our more struggling areas in terms
of educational attainment and seeing what we can do to lift them.
I grew up in Rotherham, went through the state
school system there.
I'm personally committed to making sure that that area does better
in the future than it's done in the past and for me,
to be able to have a role now where I can actually help build
the education system that enabled me to be successful,
I think that's a chance and opportunity that I'll make
the most of.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
If the minister is indeed going to search for evidence.
Will she try and find out why the OECD have said educational
outcomes in England are far higher than in Wales where we had 17 years
of Labour Government?
I think it's almost certainly because the Labour Government
in Wales has failed to learn from the reforms that we've made
here in the United Kingdom and it's interesting,
we are having a debate about grammar schools.
The reality is that many parents want the features of grammar schools
that often make them successful, which is excellent teachers
and outstanding leadership, a stretching, rigorous academic
curriculum and excellent extracurricular activities as well.
Those are the things that parents want across the school system.
Our reforms have largely embedded them across the school system.
That's why we are seeing standards going up.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
I am proud to represent a town which is ram packed
with what she calls ordinary working class people.
We are also a town - I'm using the Secretary of State's
words - it's also a town which has grammar schools.
I just called them people.
Those people are very frustrated that their kids can't get into local
grammar schools because people with much more resources are able
to drive miles from West London and get into grammar schools
on the basis of the 11-plus.
Now, I'm beginning to not be sure what she means by a grammar school
because when I talk to the heads in the grammar schools,
they say they cannot make a test for admission
which is a tutor proof.
The point is, my constituents, those who can't afford tutors,
are not getting places in the grammar schools.
Therefore, grammar schools do not serve, as her statement implies,
those ordinary, in her words "ordinary" working class people.
Unfortunately it serves those people who can afford to tutor their kids.
I think in that case it's all the more reason for us to be
bringing forward the reforms that we are doing today.
I find it nonsensical to make an argument in the way she's just
done then say we should do nothing about it.
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Education secretary Justine Greening makes a statement to the House of Commons on government plans for grammar schools in England, from 12 September.