Robert's Weekly Swindon Advertiser Article - 19th August 2015

Last Thursday, A-Level students across England and Wales received their long awaited results. I was delighted to hear that students across South Swindon performed so well.

Of all those who took their exams at New College, for example, there was a pass rate of 98 per cent. Furthermore, 41 of the subjects sat, including Biology, English Literature and Geography, achieved a pass rate of 100 per cent which is fantastic news.

ST Joseph’s Year 13 students have achieved a 95.4 per cent% pass rate in A levels, BTec and other nationally recognised qualifications. 

A huge well done to all students in my constituency, but also to higher education schools in Swindon for providing a platform for young people of various needs and abilities to achieve their goals. This year’s A-level results once again show how well we’re doing as a town, and I am sure there will be just as much success when the GCSE results are revealed shortly.

On the subject of education, I am pleased that a record breaking number of young people are now studying core academic subjects at A-level thanks to the Government’s education reforms. These results show that the introduction of the EBacc and the Government’s drive since 2010 to persuade more pupils to study core academic subjects has been a success. 

The reforms mean that thousands more pupils from all backgrounds will be able to secure a place at university or an apprenticeship – meaning more young people will get the skills they need to compete in the workplace. In fact, UCAS figures reveal that the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university has increased by 4 per cent since last year. Overall, the number of students that were accepted at UK universities on results day is up 3% on last year which is great news for our country’s education sector.

There’s also great news from Swindon's pharmaceutical sector, which is an extremely important part of our local economy.

Patheon, the world’s leading provider of contract drug development and manufacturing services, has signed a ten-year manufacturing and supply agreement with Flexion Therapeutics Inc. for the manufacture of FX006 – a sustained-release steroid used to treat osteoarthritis. This deal will see a dedicated manufacturing site established in our town. 

Musculoskeletal diseases like arthritis can have a huge impact on peoples’ lives, and I am pleased that the Government is committed to ensuring that services for people suffering with MSDs are consistent and effective. I also wish to pay tribute to the work of charities such as Arthritis Research UK, which do a fantastic job supporting people with Arthritis.

The treatment of long-term conditions like arthritis is one of the areas prioritised by the Secretary of State for Health. The £5.3 billion better care fund is designed to help more people with long term conditions such as Arthritis, providing people with a personalised care plan. This fund aims to introduce better integrated, more co-ordinated care based on individual needs and preferences, and allow more people to be treated in their homes and in the community.

It was great to talk to local residents at my advice surgery in Tesco last Monday. If you would like to attend a surgery, please get in contact with my constituency office or get in touch via my brand new website