Hastings Observer Column - 24 May

Every young person should have the opportunity to succeed. It is especially important to remember this as we reach the height of exam season. Whilst I enjoyed school, I certainly did not enjoy revising!

Each student needs the best support possible from their schools to reach their full potential. In 2019 – 2020, the National Funding Formula will allocate East Sussex £3,795 per pupil and £5,032 per secondary pupil. As of December 2018, 91% of children in East Sussex now attend schools rated good or outstanding, compared to 63% in 2010. Whilst this is a great improvement, we still need to go further. The Government is working towards delivering the best academic standards, prioritising the most disadvantaged, recruiting and retaining the best people and making sure every pound counts.

One of the biggest changes our education system is experiencing is accommodating the boom in the digital market. As we switch from notebooks to phones and computers, we must update technical education. Our country needs an estimated 1.2 million more people with specialist digital skills by 2022. Clearly, it is vital to ensure the next generation has the technological skills we need to help maintain the UK's position as a leading global digital economy. 

Last week, I met with TechResort, a local company working to increase knowledge in technology and engineering.  TechResort is currently operating after-school sessions in Hastings which are being funded by the Opportunity Area programme. The company is committed to improving social mobility, equality and inclusivity by offering people from all backgrounds a platform to explore technology.

Equipping people with the knowledge they need to succeed is essential. This is why I was pleased to see the Education Secretary announce the introduction of T Levels, technical qualifications that will be on a par with A Levels, is a much needed and once in a generation reform. T Levels will provide young people with a high quality post-16 technical education. Adapting our education system to meet with changing circumstances is vital to ensuring that our children not only succeed now but also excel later in life.

I wish our young people the best of luck in all their upcoming exams – it may seem to drag on now, but summer will soon be upon us!