, the former Tory home office minister, claims that there is an urgent need in lifting a ban on new grammar schools. To her opinion, the brightest children from poor background should get a more rigorous education than some comprehensives provide. In her essay
for the North of England Education Conference she claimed that some schools were "pure gold", and others were "very large, incompetent and seriously disruptive".
Widdecombe considers that smart pupils should have no obstacles in entering the best universities as well as grammar schools. The latter will let poor students come out of the poverty, she said: "There was a time when a poor child who was academically able could go to a grammar school, and there was no issue of sending them on to Oxbridge afterwards. I have always thought we were totally wrong to abolish grammar schools.
Opposing the abolition of grammar schools, Ann Widdecombe supports reinstating of selective state schools and establishment of new grammars although she does not want to put the education system through a "massive upheaval". She views Michael Gove's free schools policy as the one that "might very well encourage selection".
The issue of establishment grammar schools and academically selective schools has become controversial for the coalition. While David Cameron ruled out for creation of new grammar schools, the Liberal Democrats oppose to this decision. Widdecombe believes that the increase of tuition fees would definitely influence the take-up of places at universities.