I’m a big believer in the power of education. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that I got into politics in the first place.
We hear a lot in this country about ‘levelling up’. However, If we actually want to do it, we need to make sure that no matter where you grow up, you have access to a supportive and ambitious learning environment. I get really frustrated with the lack of central Government action on improving our education services. Poor education provision is a real barrier to social mobility and stops children and adults achieving everything that they’re capable of.
Crucially, good education doesn’t just mean great schools, but wraparound services that ensure that when a child sits down in a classroom, they feel supported to succeed.
There’s been some great strides in Stockport in improving access to good education. Earlier this year, Stockport Council’s Children’s Services were rated ‘Good’ after a thorough inspection by Ofsted. This is a fantastic achievement, and I’d like to pay tribute to the previous Labour administration in Stockport for helping to facilitate this result. I look forward to working with the new administration to continue this positive trend.
But of course, excellent education should not just be restricted to children and young people. A key part of building a fairer and more prosperous future is ensuring that adults have the skills to succeed. This is something I’ve championed in Parliament for many years. I want to live in a country that empowers people of all ages to learn new skills. It’s not only the morally right thing to do, but also good for rebuilding our economy after the financial shock of the pandemic.
That’s why I’ve been pleased to see the Council stepping up to support adult education. The Central Library will continue to function as a library, but also as a new hub for adult education services. This will come alongside the development of ‘Stockroom’, a £14.5m project which will see abandoned retail units converted into learning and community facilities.
These are very positive steps and mean that Stockport is at the forefront of education and learning services. Whilst there is always more work to do, I’m pleased that we’re taking the issue of education so seriously and look forward to seeing what more we can achieve.