Theresa May's government will face its first fight over plans to lift the ban on new grammar schools as Justine Greening tables a consultation paper in the House of Commons today (12 September).

The move will allow MPs to grill the education secretary over the controversial proposals, which would allow all English state schools to select pupils on academic ability.

Labour has claimed the policy is "regressive" and high-profile Tory backbenchers, such as former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, have voiced concerns about the plans.

But May argued it was part of her goal to turn the UK into a "great meritocracy" and claimed some schools were selecting pupils on wealth because of the cost of houses in their catchment areas.

Another criticism of grammar schools, which typically select pupils after they sit an entrance exam at 11 years old, is that the schools are dominated by the children of middle-class parents.

But the government has argued that quotas will ensure pupils from less well-off backgrounds will be able to get places. May's plans also include "tougher" rules for private schools to defend their charitable status.

"I want to consult on how we can amend Charity Commission guidance for public schools to enact a tougher test on the amount of public benefit required to maintain charitable status," the prime minister said last week.

Nicky Morgan on grammar school plans

The prime minister is absolutely right to place creating a more meritocratic society at the heart of her agenda for government.

In particular, I welcome moves to encourage greater collaboration across the education sector to ensure that universities, state schools and the private sector are working together to improve young people's life chances.

However, I believe that an increase in pupil segregation on the basis of academic selection would be at best a distraction from crucial reforms to raise standards and narrow the attainment gap and at worse risk actively undermining six years of progressive education reform.

The evidence is now incontrovertibly clear that a rigorous academic education does not need to be the preserve of the few. Instead schools serving some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country - from Harris Academy in Peckham to ARK Charter Academy in Portsmouth to Dixon's in Bradford have shown that with high expectations, good teaching and strong leadership, it is possible to build a truly comprehensive school system in which every child is able to achieve excellence.

Instead of pursuing greater selection, I would urge the government to build on the reforms of the last government and to reaffirm the focus outlined in the Educational Excellence Everywhere White Paper on tackling areas of entrenched academic underperformance. In doing so we can ensure that every single child can benefit from the type of education pupils already receive in the best academies and free schools.