Get education done

Get education done

As we leave 2019 behind and all the political uncertainty of the past three years I am hopeful that the new year could hold real promise for education.

For someone like me who has backed the changes to the curriculum, supports testing and schools being held to account and believes in selective and specialist state education provision – the general election result was good news.

The country has been stuck in a quagmire for far too long with an unstable government on one long-drawn-out battle to get Brexit done – and domestic politics has very much taken a back seat.

Education is my passion as I believe it is the key to unlocking long-term success for the country as a whole.

Boris Johnson – with his large majority – can now not only get Brexit done but also embark on domestic policies to move our country forward.

I for one hope he embraces this opportunity.

The Queen’s Speech confirmed the levelling up of funding for schools. This is a very good move as no school should be trying to function with less funding per pupil than another school.

I’d also like to see university funding addressed, with grants for poorer students re-introduced.

I was a government adviser in 2014, which saw more traditional teaching methods introduced to the curriculum for primary school children.

I’m delighted that the recently published PISA rankings show that earlier changes in the 2014 curriculum have started to have a good effect.

But further reforms of the curriculum at primary level should now take place. The reforms never went far enough in returning the system to teaching and reinforcing basic skills.

The Prime Minister has publicly stated his support for grammar schools in the past and I’d like to see him grab his chance to put that support into policy.

A new grammar school in every town should be built to give parents a genuine choice and a chance for poorer students to shine.

But I do not just want to see the return of grammar schools. Our education system needs to recognise and harness all our young people’s talents.

Technical and vocational specialist state schools for those whose talents lie in a practical direction – rather than academic – should be launched. This can involve T Levels but also allow students from 14+ to pursue a more vocational direction rather than waiting until they are 16.

This could give rise to GCSE qualifications being split into those with a vocational and those with an academic emphasis.

Getting the best out of all our young people can only be good news for the country’s economy.

Boris Johnson has been gifted a huge opportunity to make significant change – and I hope he grasps it.