Department for Education

Part of Estimates Day – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee 5:30 pm, 3rd July 2018

I thank Members from all parties for speaking on this important matter. The shadow Minister, Mike Kane, was kind about my speech, but then said that he preferred textbooks to Tories and compared himself to the England captain; I have to say that Harry Kane is a lot better at scoring goals.

On the general question of education, in the 1970s, we Conservatives often felt that if there was enough economic capital, everything else would be solved. We now realise that we have to build economic capital and social capital hand in hand. I hugely respect my right hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards. He has built up academic capital, transformed reading in our country and done many good things to improve standards in schools, but we have to concentrate as much on social capital and skills capital as on academic capital. Great social injustices remain in our education system. As Government and Opposition Members have said, we have to deal with early-years injustice and with maintained nursery schools, which were described as the jewel in the crown. We have to deal with the problem of exclusions, with 833 fixed exclusions every day for special needs pupils, and we have to deal with further education. I urge my right hon. Friend to support a 10-year plan for education, just as has been achieved for the NHS.

Question deferred (Standing Order No. 54).