I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. He is absolutely right. Some of us here could do with training in the use of social media, because some of the things that colleagues on both sides of the House—I will not mention any names—tweet or say on social media are, frankly, outrageous and do not improve the quality of debate, but that is just my personal opinion. I would like us all to be a bit more positive. If teachers want to look for training, they should not look to the House of Commons to learn how to use social media unless we improve our own standards. I would welcome the approach he suggests, and perhaps the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills could address that in her response.
Funding for 16 to 19 education has been particularly squeezed over the past few years. My right hon. Friend Robert Halfon, the Chair of the Select Committee on Education, said in a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer a couple of months ago:
“It cannot be right that a funding ‘dip’
exists for students between the ages of 16 and 18, only to rise again in higher education. Successive governments have failed to give further education the recognition it deserves for the role” it plays in addressing our problem with productivity—or words to that effect. He is absolutely right.
Young people of 16 to 19 are moving into the next stage of their life, and it is vital that there is no let-up in preparing them for an incredibly challenging, demanding world. The world is full of opportunities, but people need to have the skills and the background to take up those opportunities.