A BBC presenter has been praised for giving Justine Greening a grilling over the government’s grammar school plans.
BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt told the education secretary she was “stuck in a dogma” about grammars.
Speaking on Thursday morning, he said: “The fact is, most people watching this programme who are from ordinary working families... we can assume that’s pretty much everyone who works and they’ve got kids.
“Most of their kids don’t go to grammar schools and won’t go to grammar schools. The vast majority do not.
“You seem to be spending an awful lot of time on this grammar schools thing. Are you really convinced in it?
“And while you’re talking about grammar schools, most teachers say they’re struggling to make ends meet. Parents have got letters from the school saying ‘can we have a fiver, can we have 20 quid to help us get by?’
“You seem to be stuck in a dogma about grammar schools when the rest of the education system is flailing around trying to make ends meet.”
Greening insisted that “we already have grammars in our education system”.
She added: “What we’re saying is we want to see how they can play a stronger role in a modern 21st century education system and we also need to respond to the fact that they’re very popular with parents.”
But Stayt refused to let the issue go, insisting: “But you’re still talking about grammars.
“I want you to talk about most people’s children.
“Why are we putting more money into a system that’s failing?”
Stayt was praised by many for “calling out” Greening.
In a speech on Thursday, Greening was expected to say that Theresa May’s controversial new schools will be “truly open to all”.
The Tory MP’s comments come after government analysis showed struggling, working class families, who are missed by other deprivation measures, find it difficult to access outstanding schools.
The consultation found there is “very limited understanding” of children from these “modest income” families compared to those from the wealthiest 10%, the Press Association reported.
In her speech at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Greening was expected to tell the audience that the government believes ordinary working families “shouldn’t have to make do”.
“We believe they deserve better than that,” she will say. “Because ordinary working families are the backbone of our economy, of our country.
“There’s an old adage – what gets measured gets done. And this Government is focussed on getting things done.
“So yesterday, my department launched a technical consultation to help us understand how the children of ordinary working people are faring in our education system.”
Greening was due to say she wants to “knit together” the different parts of the education system in a bid to raise attainment.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, was highly critical of the plans.
In a statement on Thursday she said: “The facts are clear, grammar schools will do nothing to help the overwhelming majority of working families across the country.
“The Government’s attempt to fiddle the figures to support their discredited and divisive policy does not change the basic reality that for the overwhelming majority, academic selection is a barrier to social mobility, and the Government’s plans to return to the days of secondary moderns will only make this worse.
“While the Government only look to improve the educations of a privileged few, Labour will improve outcomes for all by delivering free school meals to every primary school pupil in England.”