I’m the product of a comprehensive education in the Midlands. My year group produced an Oxbridge-trained anaesthetist, a world expert on space junk, a big data consultant, a futurologist and a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs. Two years below us, Shane Meadows emerged as a world-renowned film-maker – evidence, if it were needed, of the excellence of state education.
Primary and secondary schools in South Thanet are making pioneering attempts to share the legal and moral duty for the education of our children. Devastating cuts to education budgets must be reversed, and expensive PFI contracts must be renegotiated to prevent the leaching of funds away from teaching. Special account must be taken of the fact that the academic results of children from poorer backgrounds tend to diminish over time. Vocational education should be better supported in schools serving deprived coastal communities. Changes to education policy and performance indicators will be needed to recognise achievements beyond the core academic subjects.
Greater investment needs to be made in East Kent College, enabling the full range of trades to be offered. A new higher education facility would do much to train and retain people in Thanet. The National Education Service that will be developed under Labour will move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use.