Angela Rayner: I want to ‘change’ grammar schools

Angela Rayner has said she wants to change the way grammar schools work, and indicated that proposals to “change” the system in selective areas will feature in her Labour Party conference speech.

The shadow education secretary told a fringe event in Brighton this evening that she wanted to make changes that would help parents currently forced to put their children through a selective system.

The comments were made as Rayner spoke about Labour’s plans for a National Education Service.

She said she had spoken to parents who didn’t want their children to go into a selective school system but had “no choice in the matter” because of “how the system works”.

“We want to change that,” she told the event, organised by the National Education Union.

“We want to make a system that works for everybody, and hopefully my speech on Tuesday, we will set out much more of that.”

Rayner did not say more, claiming she would get into “loads of trouble” if she gave away other elements of her speech. Her address will form part of the “skills and the economy” section of the conference on Tuesday.

The shadow education secretary has previously talked down speculation that the party could move to get rid of grammar schools entirely, claiming that such a move would involve closing “good” schools.

This is despite her strident opposition to the last government’s plans to lift the ban on new grammar schools, which was abandoned following the June 8 election.

Fully-selective systems currently exist in 15 local authorities in England.

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