We must let chil­dren reach their po­ten­tial

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Westminster Life - Ste­wart Jack­son

This week Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Jus­tine Green­ing launched a green pa­per in the Com­mons on ed­u­ca­tion - mak­ing the case for so­cial re­form to build a true mer­i­toc­racy in Bri­tain and ed­u­ca­tion lies at the heart of that am­bi­tion.

As the Prime Min­is­ter set out last week, the re­forms made over the last 6 years have had a trans­for­ma­tional ef­fect on ed­u­ca­tion in this coun­try. We in­her­ited a sys­tem from Labour where far too many chil­dren left school with­out the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and skills they needed: there are now more than 1.4 mil­lion more pupils in schools rated as good or out­stand­ing than in 2010.

As I made clear in my col­umn last week, we’ve so much more to do in Peter­bor­ough and many chil­dren are still not get­ting the ed­u­ca­tion they need. How­ever, im­prov­ing at­tain­ment isn’t just about new struc­tures or even a new gram­mar school for our area – it’s more fun­da­men­tal than that.

The Govern­ment are con­tin­u­ing key re­forms so that every child has the best pos­si­ble start to life. That is why we are dou­bling free child­care to 30 hours for work­ing par­ents of 3 and 4 year olds. It is why we have al­ready dou­bled what Labour spent on school places, and it is also why we are mak­ing our univer­si­ties even stronger. But the stark re­al­ity is that de­mand for school places only con­tin­ues to grow, and too many chil­dren in this coun­try still do not have ac­cess to a good or out­stand­ing school – block­ing their ac­cess to the op­por­tu­ni­ties that could give them a bright fu­ture.

The pack­age of pro­pos­als on which Min­is­ters are con­sult­ing aims to ad­dress this by: rad­i­cally ex­pand­ing the num­ber of good school places avail­able to all fam­i­lies, not just those who can af­ford to move into the catch­ment area of the best state schools; giv­ing all schools with a strong track record, ex­pe­ri­ence and valu­able ex­per­tise the right in­cen­tives to ex­pand their of­fer to even more pupils, driv­ing up stan­dards and giv­ing par­ents greater choice and con­trol; and de­liv­er­ing an even more di­verse school sys­tem – as the Govern­ment has sought to do al­ready with univer­sity tech­ni­cal col­leges like our new UTC in Park Cres­cent and spe­cial­ist sub­ject schools – that gives all chil­dren, what­ever their back­ground, the op­por­tu­nity to achieve their po­ten­tial.

Theresa May has com­mit­ted the Govern­ment to build­ing “a coun­try that works for ev­ery­one” and I sup­port that em­phat­i­cally.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the green pa­per or ed­u­ca­tion gen­er­ally via ste­wart.jack­son.mp@par­lia­ment.uk

The stark re­al­ity is that de­mand for school places only con­tin­ues to grow, and too many chil­dren ... still do not have ac­cess to a good or out­stand­ing school

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