Bridget Phillipson Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South
On Monday 14th May, I pressed the government on its misguided decision to spend millions on grammar schools, rather than tackling the root causes of educational inequality in the north east.
It is completely unacceptable that almost one in three children at secondary school in our region attend a school rated “inadequate” or in need of improvement.
Yet rather than helping cash-strapped local schools drive up standards, the government is set to expand selective education – despite the lack of evidence to suggest this will reduce the gap in educational attainment between north and south.
Later that week, I also helped to lead an inquiry into the process of turning schools into academies as part of my work on the Public Accounts Committee, the cross-party group of MPs that scrutinises government spending.
I raised concerns that the government’s academisation policy and the absence of a clear vision for schools is creating a more fragmented education system – leading to questions about whether this is always the most effective way of driving up standards and outcomes for children.
At a time of educational inequality and swingeing Tory cuts to school budgets, the government should be focusing less on structures and resurrecting grammar schools – and more on ensuring that all children get the best possible start in life.
Watch Bridget’s question to the Education Secretary here