Education

As your Hammersmith MP, I will work for a society where every young person, no matter what their background or circumstance, can grow up to achieve anything they set their mind to.

Misguided Conservative education policies are having a disastrous impact on Hammersmith. I support the borough’s headteachers who recently warned that it could get worse, describing it as a future “downward spiral” if the government goes ahead with its package of cuts.

Under the Liberal Democrats, education would move back to the prime place it deserves. We were proud to introduce the Pupil Premium – additional money to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – when we were in government. It is our policy to protect school funding in real terms, from the early years right through to college.

In contrast, the Conservatives’ proposed new funding formula by itself will chop 3 percent from all schools in Hammersmith while the combined effect of reduced income and increased costs has already resulted in a real reduction in overall funding of around 8-9 percent over the past three years, the headteachers said.

Recently a teacher approached me, and almost in tears, described the knock-on effects on her secondary school pupils and her colleagues of the current Conservative policies. She is considering quitting her profession.  And not just her, nearly half of Britain’s teachers plan to leave in the next five years. The LibDems and I are committed to working with education professionals to tackle their workload and recruitment challenges.

It is a tragedy that in 21st Century Britain, the wealth of a child’s parents and where they are born are still indicators of how well they will do at school. The Liberal Democrats strongly oppose the government’s plans to open divisive new grammar schools which will disproportionately benefit children from wealthier backgrounds.

Access to education and new opportunities should not end at 18. The Liberal Democrats introduced a record number of apprenticeships in the last Parliament to support people to gain new skills or change career at any age and we want to see greater investment in adult skills training and further education colleges.