I'm open to bringing back grammar schools, says Education Secretary Justine Greening

Ms Greening has said there could be room for selection within the new 'landscape' of education

Tom Peck
Sunday 17 July 2016 11:31
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Justine Greening leaves Downing street as the new Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities
Justine Greening leaves Downing street as the new Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities

Education Secretary Justine Greening said she was “open-minded” about the possibility of allowing new grammar schools, in her first interview since joining Theresa May’s new government on Thursday.

But Ms Greening, the first comprehensive school-educated Education Secretary in the country’s history, also suggested that if selective state education were to be expanded, it it might not be through “old-fashioned” grammar schools.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, she said there could be room for selection within the new “landscape” of education, which has been significantly transformed by the Conservatives’ expansion of free schools, in which schools can be set up independent of local authority control.

“The setting in which schools find themselves has actually changed quite dramatically,” she said. “It's gone from really being a binary world in many respects, to being an education world where there are many different schools now that have many different offers.”

Who is Justine Greening

“I think we need to be prepared to be open-minded,” she said. “I've been in this job two or three days, I'm not going to make some big sweeping policy pronouncement, I'm going to take a very measured, sensible approach in this role. And I recognise that this is an important debate so of course I've got lots of things in my in-tray, I will work my way through them very, very carefully over the coming weeks.

“The education debate on grammar schools has been going for a very long time but I also recognise that the landscape in which it takes place has changed fundamentally and I think we need to be able to move this debate on and look at things as they are today and maybe step away from a more old-fashioned debate around grammar schools and work out where they fit in today's landscape.“

Prime Minister Theresa May is thought to be a supportive of new selective schools within the state system, and her new chief of staff Nick Timothy has also backed new selective schools in the past.

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