The education of our children today lays the foundation for our society and economy tomorrow. It is vital that our next leader and prime minister builds on the Conservative legacy since 2010 to further enhance the life chances of the next generation. We know that Rishi Sunak is wholly committed to making sure that all children have the opportunity to succeed. They deserve it, and our nation requires it.
We have both served as ministers in the Department for Education and we are proud of the government’s relentless drive to improve standards in state schools, the work on teacher recruitment and retention, reforms to school accountability and improved support for young people.
We have worked with the profession to transform England’s schools, brought exceptional education to many of the poorest and most deprived communities and boosted our standing in international league tables. There is a major upgrade in progress in technical and vocational education, with new business-designed T-Levels and reformed Apprenticeships.
But there is much more to do. In 2019, 65 per cent of children achieved the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths. Our ambition is to get that above 90%. The pandemic has exacerbated the challenges, despite the phenomenal work done by teachers to keep our children learning.
Whether it is meeting the commitments we have set out on children and young people’s mental health provision or driving forward the ambition set out in the schools white paper, our new prime minister must prioritise education. We trust Rishi to bring renewed energy to education reform and to do so in a considered way. He has already said that he wants to take a step back and look carefully at the Schools Bill, making sure it preserves the autonomy of schools and headteachers.
Rishi’s plan for growth has three core elements: investment, innovation and education. Under his leadership, the education system will be focused on excellence and delivering the skills and knowledge needed for the world of tomorrow. He will build on the work done since 2010, making sure that schools and colleges have the necessary freedoms to innovate and ensure the best outcomes for pupils.
Rishi will help the best multi-academy trusts to expand, and deliver on our commitment to establish high-quality post-16 specialist free schools outside London and the south east: young people should have access to high-quality education whether they are in central Manchester, the rural Yorkshire Dales or the most remote parts of Devon.
We trust Rishi to deliver. His record in government speaks for itself. As chancellor he funded the Oak National Academy, providing a new digital education service to support pupils from all backgrounds and areas of the UK to succeed at the highest levels. He has continued to support free schools, delivered on the single largest cash boost for the core schools budget in England for a decade and invested in the creation of institutes of technology. He also provided dedicated funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Rishi is committed to ensuring that no child is left behind. He is the leader to restore trust, rebuild the economy, reunite the country and win the next election — so that we can get on with what really matters and deliver the very best for our children.
This is an article by Nick Gibb MP and Damian Hinds MP which appeared in The Times on 20 July 2022. To read the original article, please click here.