Justine Greening’s first education select committee: 4 things we learned

Justine Greening, the new education secretary, has faced her first grilling from MPs on the education select committee this morning. Here are the highlights…

The government will not scrap the need for parent governors on academy boards

One of the most controversial plans in the previous government’s white paper, released earlier this year, was the proposal to scrap the requirement for academies to have at least two parent governors.

But Greening seems to have other ideas, and told MPs she did not want to proceed with the plan.

Here’s her full quote…

“I don’t think we should be saying that MATs don’t need to have parent governors. I think parent governors play a vital role.

“I was a governor, I’m not anymore, but I was a governor for 15 years, maybe more, and parents played a vital role on the governing body I was a part of. One way we can ensure that schools who are doing a less good job improve is getting parents more involved.

“Often, and I’ve seen this as a constituency MP, when schools turn around it’s when parents become more engaged and more invested in the school’s success and that helps build the school from the outside as well as the hard work teachers are doing on the inside.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years to do but parents are part of how success gets delivered so I do not think we should proceed with that.”

MATs could be directly inspected, but not necessarily by Ofsted

Multi-academy trusts are currently subject to “focused inspections”, which involve visits by inspectors to several of their schools over a fixed period of time and the issuing of a letter about their overall performance based on their visits.

But that could all change, as Greening has confirmed she wants to look at direct inspections of MATs.

But it might not be Ofsted in the driving seat…

The government’s plan for grammar schools isn’t based on “ideology or dogma”

A lot of noise has been made about a lack of evidence in favour of selection, but Greening is adamant that the government’s plans aren’t just ideological.

She also indicated that grammar schools would not be forced on communities that do not want them.

Greening is “looking at” the statutory status of PSHE

The committee has been a keen advocate of compulsory PSHE and sex and relationships education, and was equally keen to get Greening’s view on its future in schools.

William Wragg, a Conservative MP and former teacher, wanted to know if the new education secretary would be willing to go further than her predecessor.


Your thoughts

Leave a Reply to Janet Downs Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. ‘Greening says it’s time to say they can play a role in driving social mobility’. The role of education in driving social mobility is actually limited but politicians want to shove all responsibility for it onto schools. Now we have a madcap scheme to reintroduce a policy which is aimed at helping a tiny number of disadvantaged pupils (ie those who pass the 11+) but will have negative effect on the rest.

  2. She says it’s not based on ideology or dogma. In that case she should be very happy to produce the evidence that demonstrates how it will be beneficial to all children, system-wide rather than relying on anecdotal or selective use of data. And whether the outcomes for the brighest are just as well met through the use of streaming within schools rather than creating yet more social segregation – so a proper comparison of other methods of allowing bright pupils to flourish whilst meeting the needs of the majority of students who do not fall into that category (however defined)