Nicky Morgan: Government faces a 'real challenge' over grammar schools plan

Posted On: 
13th September 2016

Former education secretary Nicky Morgan has warned the Government they face a battle to get their plan to allow new grammar schools through the House of Commons.

Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan
PA Images

Her successor Justine Greening presented a Green Paper yesterday proposing lifting the ban on new grammars brought in by Tony Blair in 1998.

She is also proposing to change the admissions criteria for state-funded faith schools and to force private schools to help the state sector. 

But it is the measure on grammar schools which has sparked the greatest controversy, with the Government's own Social Mobility tsar saying it will herald a "social mobility disaster".

The Tory chairman of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael, is another critic of the plans, which he has said will not help children from deprived backgrounds. 

Today Ms Morgan, who lost her Cabinet role when Theresa May became Prime Minister, indicated that she and some other Conservative MPs would vote against the proposals in their current form.

"I think I would want to get a lot more understanding of how the government thinks that areas where education standards are too low are going to opt for selective schools and why they think those selective schools would make a difference to all children in that area," she told ITV News.

"Until those reassurances are given I need to study the green paper in detail, I think it will be difficult to support the proposals as it stands.”

She warned that Ms Greening would struggle to get her plans through the House of Commons without changes.

“I think the government has a real challenge on getting this through. I think you can see just from the questions on the government benches today that colleagues were looking for a lot of reassurances and I've a lot of emails from the public at the weekend so clearly there's a lot of people out there who question how these proposals are going to continue to build the strong education system we all want.”