Justine Greening was heckled by headteachers today over the government’s policy to expand grammar schools.
Speaking at the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference this morning, the education secretary was posed a question on selection by Paul Cornish, principal of Newton Abbot College in Devon.
“You speak very passionately about social mobility and you speak very passionately about a greater use of evidence. How does this sit with creating more selective schools, when this flies in the face of evidence in terms of social mobility?”
The question was greeted by a long round of applause from the conference.
Ms Greening answered: “We have to recognise that for grammars that in terms of the disadvantaged children that they have, they really do help them close the attainment gap."
This was met by loud murmurs and shouts of “No!”.
She returned to this point later: “We know that when those children do get into those schools , that they are seeing the attainment gap closed.”
This provoked more calls of “No!” and “Nonsense!”.