We must let children reach their potential

Stewart Jackson MP's Westminster Life column in the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Stewart Jackson MP's Westminster Life column in the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

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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