Our children and young people must be given every chance to make the very most of their potential. This begins with a high-quality education. Whilst I wasn’t the best student, I was lucky to have many excellent teachers and wonderful opportunities at school.
Since last year’s announcement of Hastings as an Opportunity Area, the Department for Education, local partners and I have been working together to see how we can make sure that our share of the £72 million of funding split between the 12 Opportunity Areas can ensure that local students get the best possible start in life.
Education is both about learning about monarchs, plays and timetables in the classroom, and developing wider skills needed for future success. I want to ensure that children can enjoy a wide range of enrichment activities which allow them to learn beyond the classroom, whether this is playing a sport or volunteering in our community. This funding will help our young people to identify and develop their talents and ambitions.
Nationally, the Government recently announced the “Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential” plan. This aims to close the word gap in the early years and also to tackle the attainment gap in school outcomes between disadvantaged young people and their peers. This will give all children access to the language and literacy skills they need to develop and to achieve their goals.
I am delighted that on Saturday 20 January, “Now Teach” launches in Hastings. Now Teach is a fantastic programme which encourages individuals who have already had one successful career to retrain as teachers. Having teachers with skills in additional areas is a huge asset to education and can inspire children to achieve their aspirations, opening the door to the option that they might not only have one career. As I worked in investment banking and venture capital before becoming an MP, I am very aware of how career goals can change! This programme is a welcome addition to Hastings and I look forward to working with Now Teach and seeing its impact in our communities.
Helping children and young people to fulfil their potential is vital for giving our community the brightest possible future. This support and funding will help us to realise this ambition.
Throughout this year, I will continue to visit our local schools to see the excellent work of staff and discuss the support they need to ensure that each child has the tools to succeed. I am positive that, with the hard work of our skilled teachers and the targeted funding being made available to us, our community will continue to excel through harnessing the talents and the potential of future generations.