A good education is a cornerstone of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed in life. Since first being elected, I have been lobbying the Department for Education and Ministerial Colleagues to invest in our schools both financially and with broader support.
Suffolk has historically received lower levels of school funding when compared to similar counties and I have consistently pushed for fairer funding. Whilst I am pleased the Government has increased minimum per pupil funding, much more can be done and I have spoken over the past few weeks with minsters, the regional schools’ commissioners, and the County Council to make sure we are working together deliver for or children.
Across the years we have seen new school buildings such as Stowmarket High providing up to date facilities for our young people. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the construction of the Grace Cook school in Stowmarket, which has both primary and preschool facilities opening this September. In Bury, I was delighted to visit St Edmund’s where they have opened a new building to teach those of our young children that have additional challenges with learning.
It is also important that we invest in SEND and I am pleased to see that we are doing so. Many parents who come to me feel the system is inaccessible, so I am pleased to see recent developments allowing assessments to go on not only in Ipswich, but also in Bury St Edmunds. I have continually demanded that we go further on this issue, and I will push until I am successful.
I am also a passionate advocate of Further Education and have worked closely with West Suffolk College to highlight their good work in Parliament and to feedback any issues they have raised with me. They have a range of courses for the modern world and work closely with industry to ensure businesses have access to the skills they need whilst helping students find rewarding employment. Seeing them grow and deliver more lifelong education into the area is especially pleasing.
I recently visited Abbeygate sixth form which has really begun to find its stride offering a broad education to many of our young people as they get ready for their next steps either into university or work. The sixth form college has championed the Turing Scheme with the aim to broaden students’ minds, sharpen skills and improve outcomes. The students told me about their excitement for the Turing Scheme and the opportunity it is offering them to visit Thailand.
Every year, I aim to open both my constituency and Westminster offices up to students who want to better understand politics, the role of a constituency MP and the workings of parliament. Here they see first-hand a day in the life of a Member of Parliament and their team. As no two days are the same in my busy Westminster office, it is an opportunity for students to see the varied work I do such as writing correspondence, attending visits and meetings, and speaking in the chamber. This summer I have welcomed 6 students to my Westminster office including member of Youth Parliament.