Justine Greening said today that the government’s plans to dramatically expand the number of academy selective schools in England would create a “true meritocracy”.
The education secretary unveiled proposals to allow the creation of brand new grammar schools for the first time in around 50 years.
Announcing the plans in the House of Commons this afternoon Ms Greening said that “every child deserves a place in a great school”.
“We believe in building a true meritocracy,” she said. We believe every child deserves a school place that serves their true potential.”
Expanding selection wasn’t just about what children deserve but “what this country deserves.” “And we believe that selection should be part of the debate,” she said.
The government, she added, wants to build on the progress made in the last six years.
But shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said that while Labour had promised "education, education, education" the Conservative government's policy amounts to "segregation, segregation, segregation".
She said: "If I may I would like to start by offering some advice to the Government - stop your silly class war."
Her words were met with loud jeers from Conservative MPs, but Ms Rayner revealed she was quoting David Cameron who had used the phrase while speaking out against expanding grammars.
Ms Rayner added: "He was the future once, but this Prime Minister wants to hark back to the past.
"Where once under Labour we had 'education, education, education' this Government's mantra is segregation, segregation, segregation."