News that Boris Johnson is to be the new Conservative leader brings a glimmer of hope for Comprehensive Future.

Kent Online reports that when questioned about selection in Sevenoaks, Boris Johnson did not take the opportunity to support grammar school policy. Boris Johnson has spoken positively about selection in the past, so is it possible that he’s changed his mind? Responding to a Kent grammar school supporter about expanding selection he said, “I am in favour of having the best possible education for every child in this country. I do happen to think that having academic competition is a fantastic thing and a great utensil of progress but I prefer to focus on what I want to do, which is spending more per pupil in all of our schools around the country.

“Because what I believe has happened since 2015 is that too many schools have fallen behind – and that is what I will be focusing on.”

Dr Nuala Burgess, Chair of Comprehensive Future said, “I sincerely hope Boris Johnson will deliver on his promise to focus on spending more per pupil in every school.

“Conservative ministers regularly quote figures for the ever-increasing number of ‘good schools’. It’s worth pointing out that the vast majority of these good schools are comprehensive schools. No less than 2,850 comprehensives have been awarded Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, compared to just 159 grammar schools. It’s clear that a great education can be offered by schools that accept all local pupils. The message is that you can have great schools without the 11-plus.”

“Boris Johnson says he welcomes academic competition to support children’s progress. However, the problem is that the progress of the vast majority of children suffers wherever the 11-plus is still being used. Ten years of age is absurdly young to test a child. We all know children develop at different rates and continue to learn throughout their childhood. If Boris Johnson is serious about wanting to ensure the best chance of progress for every child, he needs to ensure our comprehensive schools are properly funded.

“We look forward to hearing news that our new Prime Minister will abandon the £200 million Selective School Expansion Fund. It is a patently unfair source of funding from which only a tiny minority of pupils benefit. We hope that Boris John will be true to his word and work to provide the best possible education for every child in this country – and that means investing in a comprehensive education system.”