Greening to unveil grammar schools green paper this afternoon

The government’s green paper on plans for new grammar schools and other school reforms will be laid before Parliament this afternoon.

The Department for Education has confirmed that Justine Greening, the education secretary, will address MPs in the House of Commons at 3.30pm to kick off a consultation on the proposals, which were set out by the Theresa May on Friday.

The government plans to spend £50 million a year expanding existing grammar schools and also hopes to allow other schools to select based on ability, while also introducing a raft of measures to make it easier for new faith schools to open, and force universities and private schools to play a bigger role in the running of local schools.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the “ambitious package of education reforms” will help make the country “a true meritocracy”, but the plans have been heavily criticised in the education community.

Justine Greening
Justine Greening

Speculation was already rife following reports in early August that May planned to lift the ban on new grammars, and further questions arose after a memo from a top civil servant discussing the plan was photographed outside Downing Street.

Greening has already had to defend the prime minister’s plan in parliament following criticism from across the schools sector and beyond, and schools minister Nick Gibb has spoken of the need to “persuade” his own colleagues on the Conservative back-benches, including his old boss Nicky Morgan.

Gibb told the ResearchED conference on Saturday that he believed MPs would fall into line once they saw the detailed proposals, especially the conditions that will be applied to grammar schools wanting to expand or schools wanting to adopt selection.

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  1. John Connor

    Has Theresa May become the de facto Education Secretary? Justine Greening is struggling to defend this insane policy, and it’s just a massive distraction from what she should be focusing on – recruitment, retention, pay, assessment, SEND and CPD to name but a few. The system is already fragmented beyond repair, and this bonkers idea flies in the face of all evidence. It’s well known that disadvantaged pupils fare less well in areas that have retained selection, such as Kent. The polling of public opinion is ambiguous – in the same poll people said they wanted grammar schools but they didn’t want selection. Obviously, because selection and rejection are two sides of the same coin. There has been as yet no statement about what happens to those pupils who aren’t selected. What will happen to a grammar school that fails? Will it be forced to become and academy? Will there be the same lax governance from the DfE which has led to a plethora of financial scandals, nepotism and cronyism in academies and free schools? How will grammar schools fit with MATs? Theresa May should remember that Cameron threw the right wing a bone with the Brexit referendum. That went well, didn’t it?

    • Karyn Bailey

      Yet more complete insanity. Using children as guinea pigs, totally unplanned chaotic and whimsical. Surely a desperate spanner in the works to distract from the current chaos of Brexit.