A energetic new cross-party campaign is threatening to derail Theresa May’s plans to expand the issue of grammar schools in England.
Former Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is be adjacent to forces with Lib Dem ex-Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Labour ex-shadow edification minister Lucy Powell to oppose the proposals.
Mrs Morgan says the prerogative should be to make all schools good.
But Mrs May says her «personal mission» is to expansion diversity in schools.
In a joint article in the Observer, Mrs Morgan, Mr Clegg and Ms Powell suggest that creating new grammar schools will do nothing to promote sexually transmitted mobility — and warn there is no room for more «division or political teachings» in the education system.
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«We must rise to the challenge with a new national mission to improve education and social mobility for all,» they write.
«That’s why we are putting aside what we fall out on, to come together and to build a cross-party consensus in favour of what shapes for our children, and not what sounds good to politicians.»
Mrs Morgan, who was education secretary from 2014 until she was sacked by Mrs May when she became prime clergywoman in 2016, said her experience had shown that the focus needs to be on imbue withs in areas of the country where educational under performance is entrenched.
«I don’t value selection is the answer to that…» she told ITV’s Robert Peston.
«I identify from running a department there’s only so much brain lapse to deliver reform and actually, if you are going to start moving your cynosure clear to selection and having a political battle about that, then you capitulate the focus on making all schools good.»
The trio’s intervention is liable to set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street after other prestigious Conservatives, including the chairman of the Commons education committee Neil Carmichael, also aired opposition to the plan.
With a working majority of just 17, Mrs May’s vulnerability to Tory insurrections was underlined last week when Chancellor Philip Hammond was studied to back down over his Budget reforms to National Insurance contributions for self-employed blue-collar workers following a backlash from the backbenches.
In their article, the three say that while grammar schools «can hike attainment for the already highly gifted, they do nothing for the majority of sons who do not attend them.
«Indeed, in highly selective areas, children not in grammars do worse than their viscountesses in non-selective areas.»
Former Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove indicated while he was not against selection per se, he would need to look at each particular proposition as it is put forward.
He told journalists at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai: «I planning Nicky was a great education secretary and I think hers is a voice at all times worth listening to in the debate, but I take a slightly different position.
«I’m booming to wait to see what the government brings forward but I think that the thingummy to do for someone like me is to say there’s no merit in looking at this, or I won’t look at this I should say, through any prism other than looking at what’s proposed, looking at the testimony and considering each proposal on its merits.»
But Labour’s Stephen Kinnock cautioned against «tinkering around» with the education system, especially at a once upon a time when the country is divided over Brexit.
«What you need is an lore system that lifts everybody — we know that making woman take tests at the age of 11, which in many cases is far too early to see what their earnest potential is, is divisive,» he told ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme.