A divisive discussion won't fix schools that haven't been good enough. warns Justine Greening

22 June 2021, 15:38

By Sam Sholli

Schools haven't been good enough but a divisive discussion won't fix the problem, former Education Secretary Justine Greening has told LBC.

Mrs Greening, who served as Education Secretary between 2016 and 2018, made the comment to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty in response to MPs claiming phrases like "white privilege" may have contributed towards a "systemic neglect" of white working-class pupils.

The Commons Education Select Committee has said schools should consider whether promoting "politically controversial" terminology is consistent with their duties under the Equality Act 2010.

Speaking to Mrs Greening, Shelagh said: "The statistics do point to white poorer boys I think in particular achieving less well in education.

"What do you say the reason for that is beyond the whiteness?"

Mrs Greening responded: "Schools haven't been good enough.

"And there have been challenges in a wider community that have meant that often the support that more privileged young people get from their families [or] from a wider network just isn't there for some of these young people.

READ MORE: James O'Brien dissects claim 'white privilege' phrase leads to neglect of working-class pupils

"And so I think you're right that we should avoid getting into a really divisive discussion about labels and language, because that isn't actually going to really fix the problem. And what people actually want are some solutions."

She went on to tells LBC what she learned during her time as Education Secretary about how to improve results in schools.

The former Tory Education Secretary added: "I just feel like those labels in a sense, things like 'white privilege', just end up in a big debate that actually puts in the divisions and doesn't actually get you onto a measured thoughtful discussion about what we know the solutions are."

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READ MORE: MP condemns term 'white privilege' as "divisive and wrong"