Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I do not want any child to have to go to the sort of school I went to in the last five years of my secondary education. Hartland comprehensive was many times more like a borstal than a school. Unfortunately, there are still too many comprehensives like that in our country but—it is a big “but”—schools in my constituency have done so well, notably George Spencer, which has become an outstanding academy because of the academy programme. There is no desire in my constituency for us to have selection. Will the Secretary of State therefore assure me and my constituents that the academy programme, which is delivering, will still be supported by the Government?
Yes, of course I will. The proposal is about providing more choice but, as my right hon. Friend sets out, in many parts of the country we have seen academies transform prospects. Her local community might be happy with those existing schools and want to continue to see them get better.