I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
The high quality of debate so far this afternoon reflects that which has been sustained throughout the passage of the Bill. The contributions of hon. Members from both sides of the House have been productive and professional, by and large, throughout the exhaustive and, at times, exhausting sittings that we enjoyed. The Bill is long and complex, but it is also important. Proper consideration and scrutiny have been essential, so I thank everyone who has contributed both this afternoon and throughout the earlier stages.
In November, we achieved Royal Assent for the Education and Skills Act 2008, which took the bold and historic step of raising the participation age in education, employment or training to 18 from 2015, because nothing could be more important than ensuring that young people have the opportunities to get the skills that they need to succeed. Those opportunities must, of course, be open to all learners, not just the fortunate few, so we supported the raising of the participation age, with a broader range of options at 14 to 19. Those diplomas are introducing new areas of study and new methods of study through a combination of theoretical and applied learning. We have also strengthened existing qualifications at 14 to 19. Now, every learner can find something that captures their interest and plays to their strengths. This is a moral cause and an economic one.
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