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.

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 is our highest result 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.

  • 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 £43.5 billion in 2019-20, protecting funding in real terms.

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. 

Skills:

  • We are reforming technical education, and set an ambitious target to deliver 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. 

  • We have introduced an apprenticeship levy, which came into force in April 2017, that 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.

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.