From The Guardian:
Theresa May’s plans to open new grammar schools could put at risk years of progress towards a rigorous education for all children, the Conservative former education secretary Nicky Morgan has said.
The MP, who performed the role under David Cameron until July, said plans to increase academic selection were at best a distraction and at worst “risk actively undermining six years of progressive education reform”.
Morgan is the most senior Tory to speak out against May’s plans, although Neil Carmichael, the Conservative chair of the education select committee, has also expressed reservations.
In a Facebook post, Morgan said she welcomed the aims of creating a more meritocratic society and encouraging greater collaboration between universities, state schools and the private sector.
But, she added: “I believe that an increase in pupil segregation on the basis of academic selection would be at best a distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards and narrow the attainment gap, and at worse risks actively undermining six years of progressive education reform.
“The evidence is now incontrovertibly clear that a rigorous academic education does not need to be the preserve of the few. Instead, schools serving some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country – from Harris academy in Peckham to ARK Charter academy in Portsmouth to Dixon’s in Bradford – have shown that, with high expectations, good teaching and strong leadership, it is possible to build a truly comprehensive school system in which every child is able to achieve excellence.
“Instead of pursuing greater selection, I would urge the government to build on the reforms of the last government and to reaffirm the focus outlined in the Educational Excellence Everywhere white paper on tackling areas of entrenched academic underperformance.”
The Department for Education’s white paper was published under Morgan’s leadership earlier this year. The plans had no provisions for the return of grammar schools, and May has been criticised for appearing to introduce a policy not present in the Tory’s 2015 election manifesto.
George Galloway interviews Chris McGovern, head of right-wing pressure group the Campaign for Real Education.
Originally broadcasted on talkRADIO 9th September 2016.