Investing in education

Our children and grandchildren need first class support to help them realise their potential.

I want local schools to have the funds and freedoms they need to help our children do this. While the the core schools budget has been protected since 2010, I am pleased the Government listened to my calls for a fundamental review of how schools are funded. For too long schools in Cornwall have not been fairly funded. The same system has been in place for decades. Everybody across the political spectrum has accepted that the current way that we allocate funding to schools is unfair. There has been an extensive consultation on these proposals and I have had several meetings with Ministers making the case for more funding for our local schools and FE colleges providing 16-19 education. I am determined to see schools in Cornwall fairly funded.

I am pleased that schools in Truro and Falmouth have benefited from £10,594 million of additional funding for their pupils delivered through the new Pupil Premium between 2013 and 2017. This was a scheme I campaigned for to enable schools to provide additional help for disadvantaged youngsters. Over the same period schools in Cornwall have benefitted from £8,104 million of Sports Pupil Premium.

New academy status for many local schools has given them freedom to innovate. Tregolls Academy, previously in special measures, is now ranked by Ofsted as a high achieving school with teachers helping every child to succeed.

Music is an important part of our lives in Cornwall and I pleased the government announced last year £300 million for music education hubs. This builds on the £271 million invested in music hubs between 2012 and 2016. The funding will be administered by Arts Council England, which has a wealth of experience and strategic partnerships to improve music and cultural education for children.

Music education hubs are local partnerships - including schools, local authorities and arts organisations - which work together to ensure that all 5- to 18-year-olds have access to high-quality musical opportunities.

Government investment will also help young people from lower income families access music and arts. The Music and Dance scheme, which provides grants to talented young artists who could not otherwise afford to attend world-class institutions like the Royal Ballet School, will receive an additional £29 million a year until 2018.

I want local further education providers to not only provide first class education opportunities but also enable people to acquire the skills they need for the workplace. The outstanding Truro and Penwith College and also Falmouth Marine School are trailblazers, working with local employers to design courses and training programmes for people of all ages that teach the skills high quality local businesses need.

Falmouth University and Exeter University (Cornwall Campus) are showing that these successes can be replicated in higher education, allowing local people to access university education on their own doorstep. The creative and academic talent both institutions have brought to Falmouth and Penryn are providing unparalleled learning and development opportunities for residents; opportunities that should expand further in the future. Having worked with Ministers to secure further investment at Tremough, and full university status for Falmouth, I want to see more courses for local people to explore and further development of the Tremough Innovation Centre; a dynamic space in which academics can work with local businesses and enterprises.