This constituency is home to some brilliant schools, but, like the rest of the country, there remain great disparities in the quality of our state schools, making it a postcode lottery as to whether or not a child gets the education they deserve. Some parents are able, and want, to pay for their children’s education and I see no problem with this as parents are entitled to make their own decisions in this regard. However, we need more funding for our state schools and a fairer distribution to ensure that each child gets the same fair start – any disadvantage at an early age can dog you for life.
PRIMARY & SECONDARY
Our higher education sector is not serving us well. There are too many universities and too many students who take out huge loans to fund their fees and then find themselves in low-paying jobs in which having a degree doesn’t give them the advantages they have been led to expect. Degrees do not have the same value they once had and the grade inflation that is rife throughout the sector is only making matters worse.
I believe in the value of a higher education, but a higher education does not just have to mean getting a degree. We need to encourage more people to take up apprenticeships, whether with degrees attached or otherwise, as this will give them a more rounded education and equip them far better for the world of work, therefore giving this country a better skills-base, particularly when it comes to manufacturing, from which to grow the economy.
With all that said, we must remember that some universities do contribute enormously to the economy - at a local, national and global level – employing thousands of people and pioneering life-saving and world-changing inventions. We must enable them to continue to do this important work and support their activity through additional government funding and the imposition of student fees where appropriate.