Grammar Schools Statement BBC Parliament on BBC Two


Grammar Schools Statement

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.

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Can the Secretary of State tell us what evidence she does have

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that the reintroduction of selection would work?

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All the evidence I can find shows that it does not.

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Areas that have selection have a wider attainment gap

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than those that do not.

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Disadvantaged children do not get into grammar schools and poorer

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kids do worse in those areas with selection.

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The highest performing with the gap has been closing dramatically,

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particularly under the weather Government or comprehensibility.

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Perhaps the Secretary of State would be better focusing on how

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we can spread the good practice of somewhere like London compared

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to importing the poorer practice of somewhere like Kent?

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It is not clear to me, and I think it would be helpful

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for the Labour front bench to set out exactly where they stand

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on the issue of removing any existing grammars,

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which as I understand it, is the Liberal Party proposal,

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and perhaps from our comments, we can assume she wasn't

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all existing selection as well.

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-- Labour Party.

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If she is not prepared to make the argument, I think it is hard

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to argue against the status quo, whilst then also arguing

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that we are wrong to look at reforming it.

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Which I think is the position that she is taking.

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The reality is that there are many grammar schools that are doing

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important work, for example Bournemouth Grammar prioritising

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children on pupil premium getting into grammar schools.

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We know that when children on free school meals get into grammar is,

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they disproportionately do well.

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There is evidence from the Sutton trust that shows that children

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outside of the grammar system, there was no discernible lessening

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of their attainment more easily.

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And we're not in a binary system now, we are in a system

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were overwhelmingly our schools have improved over the last six years.

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There are no many more all kinds that are good or outstanding.

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So this sense that somehow if children are not in a grammar

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that they are consigned to an education system

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that is failing them is simply wrong.

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But we do have to accept that there are still some schools

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where children do not have access to a good school place.

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The proposals and the debate we are starting today is one aimed

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at looking how we can tackle it.

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It sits alongside a much broader series of policy reforms,

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but we are going to make sure that we push on and change

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in circumstance, unlike the party opposite, which seems to not even

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want to have a debate on the first place.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

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Can I welcome what my right honourable friend has said today

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about greater collaboration between universities

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and independent schools and those in the state system.

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I also agree with what she said about faith schools,

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this does need to be looked at.

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Over the past six years on the side, we have consistently

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challenged the soft bigotry of low expectations.

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It says that academic education is not available to all.

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She is right to save that we have great schools and great teachers,

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but we do not have them everywhere.

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Could she explain how the Green paper proposals on selective

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education will benefit those pupils in areas where expectations

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are still too low, where results are too poor, can't you tell us

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when she is going to announce the first of the achieving

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excellence in areas?

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She is right to point out that too often, the past,

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I don't think governments have had high enough expectations

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were children growing up in my disadvantaged parts

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of our country.

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I think that is totally unacceptable.

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There are talented children growing up all over our country and we must

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make sure we have an education system that can enable them to make

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the most of their talents.

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Also right to point out that if we want to see new grammars open,

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we have to walk to work with local communities but I would like to see

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more of those disadvantaged communities get the chance

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to have a grammar.

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At the moment that is not an opportunity for them,

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even if local parents want it.

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We know that 20% of children who are at grammar schools come

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from outside the immediate catchment area.

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That clearly suggests that parents in those broader areas also want

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the choice of a grammar for their children.

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Finally, on the points she stepped out in the White Paper,

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which I thought was quite right, the achieving excellence areas

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were about saying, actually, we need to look systematically

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at places where there is systematic letting down of children,

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where they do not have access to good school places,

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and look at what it will take inside and outside schools to make

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sure we change that over time.

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So I can assure her that all that work will continue

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and I would like to pay tribute to her for the White Paper

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that she set out that put in place the building bricks of what I hope

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will be a successful approach.

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It is simply not true to save that on the side

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of the House we are in favour of levelling down.

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Schools that work for everyone and all families is exactly

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what members on this side are in favour of.

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I want to press the Secretary of State on this question of evidence.

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Where is the evidence that any of the improvement we have seen

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in the last 15 to 20 years has come as a result of selection?

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In particular, can she name he schools as elsewhere in the world

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that succeeds on the basis of selection at 11?

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Our proposals are clear, we do not want to see a test did --

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tested 11 be the main way that children get into grammar schools,

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we want more flexibility in the system.

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This is about having a 21st-century education system but also a 21st

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century approach to grammars.

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I think it is wrong to say we should freeze grammars in time and never

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come back and look at how they could work more effectively.

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The test is surely the fact that 99% of grammar schools are judged to be

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good or outstanding by Ofsted.

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These are schools that have outstanding leadership,

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outstanding teachers, a strong and rigorous curriculum,

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they deliver the children who are of lower attainment

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and disadvantage but also stretched those who are better attainment

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and that is why they are rated as good or outstanding.

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It would be wrong not to look at how we can all those features

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into the broader school system.

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But we should be enabling where there is choice and wear

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there is demand for more grammar schools to open up.

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Back in 1944, of course, there were three types

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of school proposed, grammar, secondary modern and technical.

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By 1959, only 2% of any Eurogroup could expect to get

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a technical school.

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The problem is sometimes in delivery and the mechanism

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for the fermentation.

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My question is, what plans has she got to make sure

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that the changes she's talking about in the green paper

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will actually be implemented in such a way that we do reach every

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community, that we do reach every and that we can be sure

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that we are giving every child the best possible opportunity

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in a grammar school, or another school of some different type?

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Because it is the mechanism and it is the brokering of that

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mechanism and the checking that the mechanism is working that

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will actually count for a lot in this whole policy.

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I pay tribute to all of his work as chair of the education

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Select Committee, this is about loading capacity

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fundamentally about having more good school places the children around

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Britain, and I think what you will see is a test

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of its success is the continued improvement in attainment,

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very much following on from what my right honourable friend the member

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for Surrey Heath has said, but particularly focusing on those

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children who do not get as far as they should and have not been

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able to enjoy and benefit from the broader reforms that

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so many more children now are.

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Can I tell the Secretary of State that this country has made steady

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progress in education over the years, under all parties.

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There has been real improvement in our education system.

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Is she aware that sending a message that it has been a history

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of failure is not very encouraging, that teachers and people

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who deliver education?

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But can I please beg her not to start what we have seen

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in the chamber already, a bitter war about comp

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offensive against grammar?

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Grammar schools, if you like them, provide the evidence,

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provide what is best for our students and kids in this

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country, do not start this ideological turf war

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that is going to be very damaging to our country.

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Well, I agree with him.

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I think we need to open up a measured debate that is based

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on evidence about what it is going to take it to improve our school

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system and particular for those children don't have access to a good

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school place, what it will take to enable them to have one.

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We believe selection can play a role in that and we should look at how

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that should be done more effectively, and he was at

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the urgent question we had on Thursday.

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I recognise how emotive this issue is across the House.

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That is because it matters.

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It matters for all of our children.

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But I think the wrong thing to do would be to simply to see the kind

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of concerns that the members opposite express, and simply put

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them in a box over here and not be prepared to look at how we can make

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grammars work more effectively for disadvantaged children.

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In doing so, we should also recognise that every

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child is different.

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For those who academic, they need schools which can help

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them stretch themselves.

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Theresa Villiers.

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My anxiety with some of these pose oils is the Secretary of State

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rightly focuses on areas of economic disadvantage but without any kind

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of local catchment area, how can we guarantee that

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new selections schools will benefit the communities in

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which they are situated?

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Well, we are setting out a number of conditions that new grammars

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would have to meet, frankly, for them to be able to open

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in the first place.

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Part of that would be working with local communities

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and demonstrating local demand.

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It could also involve setting up a nonselective school or sponsoring

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one that is there.

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It could also involve sponsoring a primary school that feeds

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the grammar school that is in a more low income area, so that it

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absolutely reaches into some of those communities

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that we want to see benefit most from good or outstanding grammars

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that are being established.

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I would encourage her to look at the consultation document.

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It opens a lot of questions about how we can do this effectively

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and then I have no doubt I would be interested in her response.

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I listened to the Secretary of State carefully.

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I'm quite sorry for her in a way because I am sure this is not

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directly her policy.

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Could she tell us confidentially whether she was as surprised

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as we were when informed of this policy and to do with government

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spats in Downing Street?

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I think on behalf of the children of Britain I think that was a totally

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pointless question and I will not bother answering it.

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Look, I don't want any child to go to the sort of school I went

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to in the last five years of my secondary education.

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The Hartland comprehensive was more like a Borstal than a school,

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and unfortunately, there are still too many comprehensives

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like that in our country.

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But, and it is a big but, the schools in my constituency have

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done so well, notably George Spencer becoming an outstanding academy,

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because of the Academy programme.

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I think in my constituency, there is no desire for us

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to have selection.

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So can the Secretary of State assure me and my constituents,

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that the Academy programme which is delivering,

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will still be supported by this government?

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Yes, of course, and indeed this is about providing...

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In many parts of the country we have seen academies

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transform prospects already.

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It may be that local communities are happy with the existing schools

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and they want to see them get better.

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Discussing education with parents and teachers,

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issues which come up time and time again is the need for more primary

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places, teacher recruitment and the North-South funding gap.

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Not one person has ever raised new grammars with me.

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Where is the evidence that this continuing obsession with structures

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will resolve the real issues facing education?

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She is right to highlight the need for more primary places and indeed,

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we have put billions into ensuring those places other.

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Part of the challenge is insuring that democratic board is passing

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into secondary schools.

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We have to ensure the secondary system has a number

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of places our children need, but we have to ensure

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they are good places which is why we want to open up this

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debate on selection, open up the debate on ending

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the ban on grammars.

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This is not to say there is not the rest of the agenda in education

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that we need to carefully push on with.

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She talks about teacher recruitment, she talks about making sure

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education funding is fair around the country and absolutely,

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all of those things will be once I continue to focus on.

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May I welcome my right honourable friend's commitment to greater

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freedom for faith schools.

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In my constituency we have the best performing competences in the entire

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country and it forms part of a diverse mix which includes

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part selective schools.

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Does she agree with me that it is that diversity

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which is driving up standards and issue committed

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to maintaining that diversity?

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He sets out the case very well in terms of how parents have got

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more and better choice in his own local community.

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It is important and it is how we seek standards rising

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and we are committed to that continuing.

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I also listened very carefully to the words of the Secretary

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of State and she did say we don't want to see a test at 11

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for access to grammars.

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So is it her intention to abolish the 11 plus for existing grammar

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schools, and if not, why not?

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The point I was making to him was that many people feel

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there is a cliff edge in terms of the entry into grammar schools

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as it stands in terms of age 11.

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We are consulting on having the chance for children to go

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into a local grammar, perhaps at an older age,

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or indeed if they are particularly capable at one or two subjects

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that they could perhaps go to a grammar to study those.

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I'm sure he will read the consultation

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document with interest.

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Does the Secretary of State agree with me that when lifting

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the statutory bar, we are not returning to a two tier system

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of the 1950s, in circumstances where our education system has moved

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on, where we have choice of UTC, free schools, academies

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as well as apprenticeships, and when striving for educational

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excellence, we should continue to look at all forms of education

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for our children?

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She is quite right.

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We have moved from a system where there was a one size fits

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all approach on schools for children and we now have a system

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where there is so much diversity and choice,

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but we do think it is wrong to have one kind of school in that system,

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unable to respond to parent demand, and that is the need

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for more grammars.

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We need to open up that debate and look at what we can do to enable

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parents to have more of a choice around the country.

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The minister says she wants to get views from everywhere.

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The Education Minister will be aware that exam results schools

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in Northern Ireland were some of the best in Britain and Northern

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Ireland.

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Has the Education Minister had the opportunity to strategise these

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results for the benefit of the UK mainland?

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I know the system of grammars in Northern Ireland is one that

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people would point to to say an average attainment has increased.

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I was invited to Northern Ireland in the urgent question last week

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to look for myself and I am sure that I will be able to visit

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Northern Ireland shortly.

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I welcome the Secretary of State's Green paper on the wider

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aspects of education, I have to say that I have severe

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reservations about introducing more grammar schools.

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I was at a grammar school 50 years ago, and I have often wondered,

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if I had failed the 11 plus, where I would be.

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I wouldn't be here today.

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I know the educational system has moved on,

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but I have to say I think it is not a question of introducing more

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grammar schools, if people want grammar schools,

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that is fine.

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It is what is happening in the main part of the system.

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The main question we have to deal with this not just about access

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to schools, it is about the poverty of many of the parents,

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the dysfunctional families, and I'm sure that my right

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honourable friend will be looking at this and if she could perhaps

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give me some reassurance that this is going to be done.

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Very much so.

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As I just replied to my right honourable friend for Loughborough,

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this issue of looking at specific areas where there is a persistent

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and long-term lack of educational attainment and a gap

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in good school places, absolutely has to sit alongside this

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consultation document, and the rest of the Government

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reforms that we now have under way, that have delivered so much

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for the children of Britain have to continue.

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The Secretary of State's statement is deeply divisive.

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Will she say to the House what the differences

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between the selection criteria for a grammar school

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and the selection criteria for a free school, and will she say

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to the House what the evidence base is available to her for not

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prioritising the needs of the young people who are not

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going to be selected?

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I would encourage him to look at the Green paper consultation

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document that we have published today.

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It very much not only talks about how we think grammars can play

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a strong

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role and selection play a strong role particularly improving

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the specs for disadvantaged children who are academically able,

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but it also sets out our expectation that grammars can do a lot more

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in their local communities to raise attainment more broadly,

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and as I said to the honourable lady opposite, the challenge is that this

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is not a reform that has been engaged with grammars before,

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and it is time that we asked them to do more, but in return we should

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also be prepared to enable them to open up in other parts

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of the country.

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Mr Speaker, I have no ideological hang-ups in letting the brightest

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children do well, I think it is crucial that we allow

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the poorest to come through to do so.

0:20:220:20:26

I welcome this as the beginning of a debate and as one method

0:20:260:20:29

whereby we can increase the diversity of the school system.

0:20:290:20:34

Can I discuss the role that universities play.

0:20:340:20:37

We see the results that Norwich players and teachers

0:20:370:20:41

are dressing issues hard.

0:20:410:20:48

Norwich is an area where we can see attainment is raised particularly

0:20:480:20:54

with the work of the University of East Anglia is doing

0:20:540:20:57

in the local community.

0:20:570:21:00

I think we are at the beginning of the understanding of how

0:21:000:21:03

universities can work effectively further back

0:21:030:21:05

in the education system.

0:21:050:21:12

We see it can dramatically improve the prospects for children

0:21:120:21:14

so that they get the levels of education and attainment say that

0:21:140:21:18

going to university becomes an option.

0:21:180:21:26

The Government was serious about social mobility,

0:21:260:21:28

it would be focusing on the early years and technical

0:21:280:21:31

and vocational provision.

0:21:310:21:32

One thing I do welcome as the Secretary of State's

0:21:320:21:35

acceptance of the Labour Party's 2015 manifesto commitment

0:21:350:21:37

to independent schools and they should be doing more

0:21:370:21:40

to earn a charitable status.

0:21:400:21:46

But rather than going down the blind alley of the charitable commission,

0:21:460:21:49

can I urge the Secretary of State to amend the 1988 local government

0:21:490:21:53

act so that private schools business rate relief is dependent on a hard

0:21:530:21:56

partnership as determined by the independent

0:21:560:21:58

schools Inspectorate.

0:21:580:22:04

It remains a scandal that our sixth form colleges are paying VAT

0:22:040:22:07

and private schools have business rate relief.

0:22:070:22:09

This has two end.

0:22:090:22:15

As I understood his policy was to simply scrap

0:22:150:22:17

charitable status.

0:22:170:22:21

What we have to do is make sure our independent schools earn

0:22:210:22:24

that charitable status and truly deliver more public benefit perhaps

0:22:240:22:27

than some are doing at the moment.

0:22:270:22:30

Although it is fair to say that overwhelmingly many independent

0:22:300:22:37

schools already do much in their local community.

0:22:370:22:40

As the competence of schoolboy, can I commend my right honourable

0:22:400:22:43

friend for this bold new departure.

0:22:430:22:49

Will she, however, at all times are sure that the language used

0:22:490:23:00

by the Government focuses on pupils' aptitudes rather than solely

0:23:000:23:08

on their academic ability.

0:23:080:23:15

I believe that way there are no losers instead all talents are

0:23:150:23:21

champions and all roles fulfilled.

0:23:210:23:33

The attainment gap between poor and rich children is unacceptable.

0:23:330:23:36

It holds them and our country back.

0:23:360:23:37

But the Secretary of State is simply wrong to say expanding grammar

0:23:370:23:41

schools will help the most disadvantaged children,

0:23:410:23:43

who are less likely to get into grammar schools and fall

0:23:430:23:46

further behind better off children than those in areas

0:23:460:23:48

without selective schools.

0:23:480:23:49

Can I ask the Minister to instead focus on what we know

0:23:490:23:52

from the evidence makes the biggest difference to disadvantaged

0:23:520:23:55

children, high-quality early years services, getting the best heads

0:23:550:23:57

and teachers in the school 's and relentlessly driving up

0:23:570:24:00

standards in academic and vocational qualifications.

0:24:000:24:05

Two points.

0:24:080:24:09

We are doing all of those things and the reality

0:24:090:24:12

is that our proposals are aimed at ensuring the grammar schools do

0:24:120:24:15

take more disadvantaged children, and all I would say is Labour had 13

0:24:150:24:19

years to look at this and failed to do so.

0:24:190:24:27

The Secretary of State will be aware that the community I represent

0:24:270:24:30

in Bournemouth and Poole already has access to high-quality

0:24:300:24:33

local grammar schools.

0:24:330:24:37

But can I make her aware of the change in the admission

0:24:370:24:40

policy from 2018 for a Bournemouth School headed

0:24:400:24:43

by Doctor Dorian Lewis that we are going to put

0:24:430:24:48

a geographical limit prioritising Bournemouth pupils, we're

0:24:480:24:53

going to prioritise looked after and formerly looked

0:24:530:24:55

after children, prioritise those on free school meals and combine

0:24:550:24:59

this, and this is critical, with an ambitious programme

0:24:590:25:04

of outreach to the primary schools to raise the aspiration of both

0:25:040:25:08

primary school pupils and their parents about sending

0:25:080:25:10

their children to these schools.

0:25:100:25:13

Would she agree with me that this is an ambitious thing

0:25:130:25:16

that is totally in line with the prime minister's excellent

0:25:160:25:19

new policy, and would she agree to either come to Bournemouth School

0:25:190:25:22

to see at first hand what they are doing,

0:25:220:25:25

or to meet Doctor Dorian Lewis the headteacher, we bring him

0:25:250:25:28

here to London?

0:25:280:25:31

I'm very happy to meet his local head teacher.

0:25:310:25:34

What he sets out in terms of what that head teacher is doing,

0:25:340:25:37

is exactly what we want to see replicated across schools

0:25:370:25:40

in the country, and also in terms of conditions we'll set for existing

0:25:400:25:44

grammars to extend and to open up new grammars.

0:25:440:25:46

We want them to be engines for social mobility.

0:25:460:25:54

I hope we do have a debate because it's important because none

0:25:570:26:00

of us should be satisfied that our children aren't getting

0:26:000:26:03

the best out of, what is it these days, 18 years before too long

0:26:030:26:06

of compulsory education.

0:26:060:26:09

When I spoke in a debate led by my former colleague Joe Cox,

0:26:090:26:14

we spoke about the lack of educational attainment

0:26:140:26:16

in Yorkshire and Humberside.

0:26:160:26:23

Three things came out of that.

0:26:230:26:25

So many are behind their peers by the age of three,

0:26:250:26:28

Doncaster and other places, we can't attract the best

0:26:280:26:30

teachers for love nor money.

0:26:300:26:32

And, the choice at 14 isn't good enough for those who want to follow

0:26:320:26:36

a vocational route.

0:26:360:26:37

Can I ask the Secretary of State please do not abandon those areas

0:26:370:26:40

that I feel are the greater importance to achieving the outcome

0:26:400:26:43

she wants than the debate that could be divisive

0:26:430:26:45

on grammar schools?

0:26:450:26:48

I can absolutely assure her that I won't ever abandon that agenda

0:26:490:26:53

of looking at some of our more struggling areas in terms

0:26:530:26:56

of educational attainment and seeing what we can do to lift them.

0:26:560:26:59

I grew up in Rotherham, went through the state

0:26:590:27:01

school system there.

0:27:010:27:04

I'm personally committed to making sure that that area does better

0:27:040:27:07

in the future than it's done in the past and for me,

0:27:070:27:14

to be able to have a role now where I can actually help build

0:27:140:27:18

the education system that enabled me to be successful,

0:27:180:27:21

I think that's a chance and opportunity that I'll make

0:27:210:27:23

the most of.

0:27:230:27:26

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

0:27:260:27:27

If the minister is indeed going to search for evidence.

0:27:270:27:30

Will she try and find out why the OECD have said educational

0:27:300:27:33

outcomes in England are far higher than in Wales where we had 17 years

0:27:330:27:37

of Labour Government?

0:27:370:27:43

I think it's almost certainly because the Labour Government

0:27:430:27:45

in Wales has failed to learn from the reforms that we've made

0:27:450:27:49

here in the United Kingdom and it's interesting,

0:27:490:27:51

we are having a debate about grammar schools.

0:27:510:27:55

The reality is that many parents want the features of grammar schools

0:27:550:27:58

that often make them successful, which is excellent teachers

0:27:580:28:01

and outstanding leadership, a stretching, rigorous academic

0:28:010:28:03

curriculum and excellent extracurricular activities as well.

0:28:030:28:04

Those are the things that parents want across the school system.

0:28:040:28:07

Discipline too.

0:28:070:28:15

Our reforms have largely embedded them across the school system.

0:28:150:28:18

That's why we are seeing standards going up.

0:28:180:28:25

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

0:28:250:28:27

I am proud to represent a town which is ram packed

0:28:270:28:30

with what she calls ordinary working class people.

0:28:300:28:33

We are also a town - I'm using the Secretary of State's

0:28:330:28:36

words - it's also a town which has grammar schools.

0:28:360:28:42

I just called them people.

0:28:420:28:43

Those people are very frustrated that their kids can't get into local

0:28:430:28:47

grammar schools because people with much more resources are able

0:28:470:28:49

to drive miles from West London and get into grammar schools

0:28:490:28:52

on the basis of the 11-plus.

0:28:520:28:59

Now, I'm beginning to not be sure what she means by a grammar school

0:28:590:29:03

because when I talk to the heads in the grammar schools,

0:29:030:29:06

they say they cannot make a test for admission

0:29:060:29:08

which is a tutor proof.

0:29:080:29:11

The point is, my constituents, those who can't afford tutors,

0:29:110:29:13

are not getting places in the grammar schools.

0:29:130:29:22

Therefore, grammar schools do not serve, as her statement implies,

0:29:220:29:25

those ordinary, in her words "ordinary" working class people.

0:29:250:29:28

Unfortunately it serves those people who can afford to tutor their kids.

0:29:280:29:34

I think in that case it's all the more reason for us to be

0:29:340:29:37

bringing forward the reforms that we are doing today.

0:29:370:29:40

I find it nonsensical to make an argument in the way she's just

0:29:400:29:44

done then say we should do nothing about it.

0:29:440:29:50

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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.


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