This week, schools across England return from the summer break to start a new academic year. Infants will experience their first day at school. Teenagers will make the transition to college. For all, this is a time of excitement and promise.
Parliament also returns this week. The biggest single item on our agenda is the legislation to make our withdrawal from the European Union a reality and a success. But the result of last year’s referendum represented more than just a vote to leave the EU – it was a vote for change here at home, too.
I am determined that the Government I lead will deliver that change and make Britain a stronger and fairer country as a result.
This week, schools across England return from the summer break to start a new academic year. Infants will experience their first day at school. Teenagers will make the transition to college. For all, this is a time of excitement and promise, writes THERESA MAY
That starts with building a first-class state education system, which gives every child, regardless of their background, an excellent start in life. The children and young people starting back at school or college this week will benefit directly from seven years of successful school reform from Conservative Education Secretaries.
There are 1.8 million more pupils being taught in good or outstanding schools today than there were in 2010. Our new, more rigorous GCSEs and A-levels are raising the standards we expect of our young people, so they can match the best education systems in the world. As this summer’s excellent exam results showed, teachers and students have risen to the challenge.
Despite having to take difficult decisions to control public spending and reduce the deficit, we have been able to protect the core schools budget since 2010. But I know that more now needs to be done to ensure our schools are fully resourced for the future.
That is why in July, I announced an additional £1.3 billion for our schools over the next two years. This new deal protects per-pupil spending in real terms, so school budgets will increase as the school-age population rises.
More money has to be accompanied by a continuing determination to improve standards and outcomes. English secondary schools are the best-performing in the United Kingdom, according to international assessments. In devolved parts of the UK, where reform has not been as rigorous, we can see the consequences in poorer outcomes for young people.
Free schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas of England, such as Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford and the Reach Academy in Feltham, have produced outstanding results this summer.
Some 52 new free schools will open their doors this term, bringing the total number of free schools opened since 2011 to more than 500. I want us to build on this success and ensure that there are even more good school places available in communities across England.
A rigorous education is the right of every child. So we will ensure that