Improving Education

A good education is fundamental to improving life chances, and we are driving opportunity through the whole education system. No-one’s background should determine their life chances.

There has never been a more important time to deliver real change. We are working with businesses to develop British talent and ensure people have the skills they need to get on in life. 

Because of our growing economy and the balanced approach we take, that means we can invest in public services, we are putting in record levels of funding to our schools. Just last year we announced an extra £1.3 billion over the next two years which means the total funding per pupil will be protected in real terms over the next two years.

Early Years:

  • We have doubled free childcare to 30 hours a week for working families of 3 and 4 year olds. This saves families around £5,000 per year, and nearly 400,000 working families are eligible to benefit.

  • We are putting more money into the early years than ever before, spending a record £6 billion a year on childcare and early education support by 2019-20. Our £200 million innovation programme is helping develop new and better ways of delivering children’s services.

  • More than 9 in 10 providers on the Early Years Register are now rated good or outstanding. This means that more children are getting the best possible start in life.

Schools:

  • We’re driving up school standards, and there are now 1.9 million more children being taught in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010. 89% of schools are now rated as Good or Outstanding which is up from 68% in 2010 and so we are providing more children with the best chance to fulfil their potential.

  • We have introduced a national funding formula from April to fund schools and pupils fairly and consistently, so every child gets the right support wherever they are.

  • Last year we saw an international literacy study rank England joint 8th out of 50 countries, which was up from 19th in 2006, and show our highest results to date.

  • The attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers has closed by 9.3 per cent at age 11 and 7 per cent at age 16. We introduced the pupil premium, which provides additional funding for more disadvantaged pupils, in 2011, to ensure they benefit from the same opportunities as their peers. 

  • Our EBacc has led to a 75% increase in the proportion of pupils taking the core academic subjects at GCSE that will help give them the best jobs later in life.

  • We have introduced and protected the Pupil Premium, worth nearly £2.5 billion this year, targeting support to our most disadvantaged children. 

  • We’re investing record funding in our schools system. Core funding for schools and high needs will rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion in 2018-19, and £43.5 billion in 2019-20, protecting funding in real terms.

  • We believe in giving teachers the freedoms they need to innovate and raise standards for their pupils. Thanks to the expansion of the academies and free schools programmes, teachers and head teachers now enjoy greater control over budgets and the delivery of the curriculum, with the number of academies and free schools growing from 200 to over 7700. 

  • We want the brightest and best teachers working in our schools, and are investing £1.3 billion up to 2020 to attract new teachers into the profession.

University:

  • We removed the cap on student numbers, enabling more people to go to university than ever before. 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged areas were 50 per cent more likely to go to university in 2017 than they were in 2009 and 68 per cent more likely to attend highly selective universities.

  • We have announced that tuition fees will be frozen and we are raising the earnings threshold for repaying student loans to £25,000, and allowing this to rise with earnings after next year. This will save graduates earning at least £25,000 an estimated £360 in 2018-19.

  • We are moving away from a one-size fits all approach to university education by encouraging universities to offer accelerated degrees. Students could be left over £25,000 better off by choosing an accelerated degree instead of a traditional three-year course. Proposals include a £5,500 saving in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course. When added to the average salary of £19,000 in the first year after graduating, it means a potential £25,000 benefit overall.

  • We have launched a review of post-18 education and funding to explore how we can best provide choice, open up access and deliver value for money for students and taxpayers.

Skills;

  • We are reforming technical education, and set an ambitious target to deliver 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. Employers are investing more in apprenticeships and reaping the benefits they offer. The apprenticeship levy, which came into force in April 2017, requires all employers with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more to pay 0.5 per cent of their pay bill to invest in apprenticeship training. This puts apprenticeship funding on a sustainable footing and ensures apprenticeships deliver skills with real value in the jobs market.

  • We're reforming technical education with an extra £500 million a year. We are delivering a technical education system as rigorous and respected as A Levels, and in October the Government announced the first three T-levels. These will be equivalent to A Levels, and content will be developed in partnership with leading industry professionals, ensuring they have real credibility. T levels will provide a proper vocational alternative to A-levels which will help young people get the high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future.

  • We are promoting lifelong learning through the National Retraining Partnership. Lifelong learning will become the new norm, and our Autumn Budget launched a unique partnership between employers, unions and the government to deliver a new National Retraining Scheme.

Education in Swindon:

One of my key priorities has been making sure that Swindon delivers high quality education services and support to all of its children, from pre-school through to college and beyond.

In January 2013, I was delighted to be awarded the Grassroots Diplomat Policy Driver Award for my campaigning work on Special Educational Needs both locally and nationally. I will continue to work to help children and young people with SEN in Swindon and nationally. Around 4,440 apprenticeships have been created in South Swindon since 2010, helping young people gain the skills they need to get on in life.

The Conservatives’ education reforms will give millions of young people the best possible start in life. We will ensure this by:

  • Protecting the Pupil Premium and increasing the overall schools budget by £4bn by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the Parliament.
  • Free school breakfasts for every child in every year of primary school.
  • Ensuring world class technical education and helping to create 3m more quality apprenticeship places by 2020.
  • Providing more good school places, ending the ban on selective section and asking universities and independent schools to help run state schools.