Education Funding

Part of EU Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice – in the House of Commons at 6:50 pm on 13th November 2018.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education) 6:50 pm, 13th November 2018

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

We heard nothing from Labour about our investment of half a billion pounds in arts and music education, including £300 million of funding for music hubs. There was nothing about the fact that the proportion of pupils taking history or geography GCSE has risen from 48% in 2010 to 77% in 2017, with the proportion taking at least two science GCSEs rising from 63% in 2010 to 91% in 2017.

The Labour party opposes free schools—state schools established by teachers, education groups and high-performing schools, rather than local councils—which are disproportionately graded as outstanding. Free schools such as Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford would not exist but for this Government. With a third of its pupils from a disadvantaged background, Dixons Trinity was ninth in the country last year for Progress 8, and 82% of its pupils entered for the EBacc, rising to 86% this year. Free schools such as Harris Westminster would not exist but for this Government. It told us that, with 40% of its intake from disadvantaged backgrounds, 18 pupils secured places at Oxbridge this year and one at Harvard. Six of those 18 were from a disadvantaged background. The King’s College London Mathematics School would not exist but for this Government. It takes students from all backgrounds, with last year 59% of its A-level grades being A* and 92% of its maths A-levels being A*. The free schools programme would be abolished by Labour, the enemy of promise and the enemy of social mobility.

My hon. Friend Derek Thomas spoke with sincerity about the exemplary work of the schools in his constituency, which teach about Parliament and the first world war. I enjoyed seeing the high standards and phenomenal work at Alverton Primary School in Penzance and at St Erth Community School in Hayle at his invitation last year. My hon. Friend Kwasi Kwarteng spoke perceptively about reading standards and mathematics, and about the improvement in standards in his schools and the importance of T-levels. My hon. Friend James Cartlidge spoke knowledgeably about reading and the rise in Progress 8 and Attainment 8 in his schools.

This is a Government who have put education reform at the heart of their programme, who are committed to ensuring every school is a good school, who have delivered fairer funding, who are spending record amounts on education and schools, on a par with the largest economies—