Comprehensive Future is delighted to announce that Danny Dorling and John Bercow are to become patrons. Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Human Geography at Oxford University and a leading academic on issues of social justice and inequality. John Bercow is the former Speaker of the House of Commons, and previously a Conservative MP in selective Buckinghamshire.

John Bercow said, “I am delighted to be a patron of Comprehensive Future. Through a combination of research and advocacy, CF strives to expose the damage caused by a divisive education system and to make the case for fair admissions and inclusive schools so that all students can fulfil their potential.

“The eleven plus is plain wrong. Judging children’s intelligence at such a young age and forcing them to be educated separately for the remainder of their school careers is unsound, damaging and indefensible. There is now a wealth of evidence that strong comprehensive schools combine educational quality and social justice. Surely our objective should be to achieve the best outcomes for children of all abilities and to encourage young people, regardless of gender, faith, ethnicity, disability or orientation to live and work together as they will need to do as adults.”

Speaking about the problems with academic selection in a recent Comprehensive Future webinar, Professor Dorling said, “It creates a dislocated society, and if you’re dislocated from your peer group in childhood it’s very hard for that not to re-emerge again and again in the rest of your life. A brilliant education is not harmed by who you sit next to in the classroom, and who you sit next to cannot dull your ability to achieve later in life. We’ve got to get people away from the fear that their children’s future will be damaged if they go to school with children who happen live on the same street as them.

“Children are better educated when educated together. They grow up with fewer misconceptions and less ignorance of others.”

Comprehensive Future’s Chair, Dr Nuala Burgess, said, “We feel extremely honoured that Danny and John have agreed to be patrons. Both bring a wealth of experience and share our commitment to an inclusive and non-selective education system. It is a privilege to have someone with Danny’s knowledge and expertise, and particularly his deep understanding of the relationship between successful and happy societies and socially just education systems. In John, we gain a patron with huge political experience and someone who has seen first-hand the adverse effects of academic selection in his Bucks constituency. Both men are passionate advocates of comprehensive education and we are greatly looking forward to working with them.”


John Bercow’s Guardian opinion piece, ‘I’ve changed my mind: grammar schools are unhealthy and must go’ was published on November 28th.

Danny Dorling’s latest book is ‘Finntopia – what can we learn form the world’s happiest country?’

Comprehensive Future’s webinar, ‘Is there a comprehensive future?’ took place on December 10th with panellists John Bercow, Dr Mary Bousted, Danny Dorling and Thelma Walker, highlights are online here.