New Grammar Schools

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:43 am on 8th September 2016.

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Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education 10:43 am, 8th September 2016

Dare I say it, that was yet another Labour MP telling us what is wrong with the current system, in his view, while also arguing that we should not look at that. The legacy that we are interested in challenging is the one left by the previous Labour Government: grade inflation; declining standards; and children leaving our education system without even the basics in maths and literacy. While I was sat on a train last weekend, I listened to a young man talking about how the fact that he did not know how to spell was holding him back at work. We managed to take power from the Labour party, but that man has to live with the consequences of an education system that fundamentally failed him every single day of his life.

We inherited a university system that had a cap on the number of children who could enter it. Record numbers of young people were not in employment, education or training. Youth employment had gone up by 50% by the time Labour left office. We are interested in not only catching up that lost ground for our young people, but making sure beyond that that we leave no stone unturned. We want to look across our entire education system to turbocharge the prospects and opportunities for all children in our country, but especially the most disadvantaged and especially those who do not currently have the opportunities that they need, deserve and should have.