Last week in Westminster I spoke in a debate about our schools and colleges. Before becoming an MP I had actually always wanted to be a teacher, and so I’m always keen to contribute to these kinds of discussions. Education has been a huge priority for me as Mansfield’s MP.
There have been some really positive things happening around education for our area, not least a general improvement in education standards and ‘good’ rated schools, but also in the way we have changed our national approach to education, with a shift towards technical and vocational qualifications.
I am proud of our progress embracing technical qualifications especially those in the science, technology and engineering sectors, that will prepare us for the high-skilled jobs coming to Nottinghamshire in the future, such as ‘Fusion’ energy research and clean energy investment. For a lot of people, of all ages, learning on the job, apprenticeships or more ‘hands on’ approaches are much better opportunities that traditional academic courses.
Since I was elected in 2017 Mansfield has become a university town too, with award-winning Nottingham Trent University now based here, and Vision West Notts College improving massively too during that time. There’s a new Higher Education campus and a new post-16 centre too.
Not only does this campus make HE more accessible to local people, it also means we can hang onto more of our talent locally, offer a wider range of opportunities, and create clear pathways through college, university and in to jobs.
When it comes to funding, I have always said that if I had just one pound, the whole of it would be spent on education.
We are seeing big increases in education funding in the Budget this year, all the way through from early years provision to schools and colleges. Thinking of some of the most disadvantaged estates in Mansfield, I know how crucial it is to get this right, so that from day one children have a fair shot in life.
With that in mind, I really welcome the extra £3 million uplift in funding for schools across Mansfield, starting this week, as part of a wider £2 billion package announced by Government.
In December the government announced that three Mansfield schools would be rebuilt. I am delighted by this as I know how beneficial this will be for the communities that these schools serve, and the lasting benefit new facilities will have for teachers and students. I’ve been encouraging Government to help make these building projects happen now as quickly as possible.
Investing in schools and education is a massive priority for me and for the government. We’ve had record investment recently, and there’s still tonnes of opportunity across Mansfield for even more, which I’ll continue to fight for in the years to come.