Education, apprenticeships and skills have been my passion in politics. I am currently a Minister of State at the Department for Education and from 2016-17 served as the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills. Between July 2017 and October 2022, I also served as the Chair of the Education Select Committee. I've worked hard to secure more funding for our schools and college as well as creating thousands of new apprenticeships for our young people.
6,000 more apprenticeship starts and rising
I was the first MP ever to employ an apprentice in my parliamentary office and have since employed five more. Across our town, I have worked with many local businesses and the brilliant Harlow college, to create thousands of new apprenticeship opportunities for our young people.
Since 2010, we have seen over 6,000 young people in Harlow take up an apprenticeship. In recent months, I have lobbied the Chancellor to announce further financial incentives for local businesses - which he did as part of the Plan for Jobs.
Thousands of new apprenticeships are being created across the town - with an extra 1,095 coming at Harlow College alone.
Major investment to Harlow College
I have visited Harlow College over 90 times as Harlow’s MP and have championed the college in Parliament consistently.
That includes securing £12 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Centre to offer incredible educational opportunities to Harlow’s young people; £1.5 million to upgrade the campus for T-levels; £1.5 million to deliver T-levels and £1 million for further campus upgrades.
This investment has helped to ensure that our college is one of the best in the country.
More money for every school and child
Almost every week I visit a local school to speak to teachers and meet with school children. That’s why I lobbied so hard over many years to secure more per pupil funding for every school in Harlow.
Each secondary school pupil will receive a minimum of £5,000 this year, and each primary school pupil will receive £4,000 by 2021-22.
Major building upgrades for 7 Harlow schools
Many of our schools are aging and the buildings are not fit for purpose. I am pleased to recently have secured millions to upgrade seven school buildings across the town. The schools include:
- Stewards Academy
- The Downs Primary
- St Mark's West Essex Catholic
- Potter Street Academy
- Milwards Primary School and Nursery
- Katherines Primary School
- St Alban's Catholic Academy
A new special school
I have worked hard to ensure that every child in our town has the support they need. Last year, I was able to secure confirmation that Harlow will have a new special school to support pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.
This brand new school will transform specialist education in Harlow, offering places for 90 pupils aged 7 to 19 who have severe and complex SEMH issues in Harlow. It will ensure that these children and their families receive the support they need to climb the education ladder of opportunity.
Stansted and Harlow Airport College
I worked hard to secure multi-million funding for the Stansted and Harlow Airport College - the first of its kind in the country. It offers specialist courses to kickstart a career in the aviation industry.
I also had the honour of opening the college in 2018. It offers hundreds of opportunities to Harlow's young people to climb the education ladder of opportunity.
For more information on my education work, click here.