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EDUCATION AND SKILLS

 

If elected, I would support:

  • Parity between academic and technical education
  • Urgently addressing skills shortage via university and further education
  • Equality of opportunity for all children including thoe with special education needs.
  • Everyone whatever your background, wherever you come from you should get the very highest standard of education. Standards in schools have risen significantly and more children are reading well and more children are numerate. However this is still patchy across the country and efforts must continue to get inspirational head teachers into failing schools to drive up standards. Guildford schools perform well but we need to make sure that adequate funding is available for mainstream schooling and for those with special educational needs.
  • For too long we have sent children needing specialist support outside Surrey for their education. I am pleased to see this now being reversed and urge this to continue at speed.
  • Figures suggest that in 10 years time 35% of the jobs currently undertaken will have disappeared. We already have a skills crisis and that will grow unless we rapidly increase the skills of young people leaving education, and also give adults opportunities to return to education and retrain. Technological change means everyone will need retraining opportunities.
  • There should an equal opportunity for everyone whether they attend university, go through and apprenticeship or attend a further education college. And for those who have not achieved well at school there must be an opportunity for them to pick up on the education they missed. We need to continue the expansion of apprenticeships for people of all ages and in all sectors, to allow people for whom school has not worked well, to go on and get a rewarding job, high quality training and a career.
  • The Augar report of Post 18 Funding and Education published this year made 53 recommendations which urgently need to be urgently considered by the new government. Key recommendations were: to reduce tuition fees to £7500; reducing interest payments whist students are studying; the reintroduction of maintenance grants for those from lower income backgrounds; increasing the capital budget for further education colleges; increasing the funding for high value courses in further education; and a much clearer path for those following technical subjects either through further education or higher education.
  • A quarter of the working population do not have sufficient numeracy skills, about a fifth of adults do not have sufficient literacy skills. Estimates  suggest that 1 in 5 people are not able to turn on a smart phone. We need to fully fund study up to A level standard and make that available through adult life to enable people to get the skills they need and for our economy to grow. Funding for adult education has dropped significantly over the last 10 years.
  • There should be a change in how we view technical education. For too long it has been seen as the inferior option to academic education.  We have some of the best universities in the world and we should also become world leaders in technical education. The new T Levels, equivalent of 3 A Levels, are a chance to change this with the first being taught in 2020; the extension of T Levels should continue
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