New Forest East



[The Secretary of State for Education (Justine Greening): ... Improving attainment and having more good school places for more children – building the capacity we need in our system so that we can have great schools on the doorstep for every child in our country – is too important simply to be put in the “too hard” bucket and for us to say that we might have a bit of a debate about it. I think we should have this debate and that we should work out what we must do to do a better job of raising the attainment of the children who currently do not go far enough.

Several hon. Members rose –

Mr Speaker: I call Dr Julian Lewis.

Sir Desmond Swayne: Oh, not him!]

Dr Julian Lewis: I am not an expert on the theory of secondary education, but having attended a grammar school with a largely working-class contingent in the 1960s, I know something about the practice, from which we all benefited. Will the Secretary of State explain why it is acceptable to nurture and promote sporting excellence but not academic excellence?

[Justine Greening: My right hon. Friend raises a good point about the broader issue of selection. All children are different, so playing to their talents and natural interests is important. Parents should have more choice and diversity in the school system so that they are able to find not just a good school, but a good school that will be particularly good for their child.]