Providing every child with access to a good school place that meets their needs has been my priority in politics. I know from personal experience that my attendance at a good catholic comprehensive has enabled me to get to where I am today and I want every child to have the same opportunities I had.
Under Michael Gove we had an education policy that set out to deliver exactly that. OFSTED were charged with expecting higher standards from our schools and failing schools would be dealt with. Today more children are attending good or outstanding schools than ever. Nowhere is that more evident than here in Thurrock where the liberation of academy status has seen our schools go from strength to strength. The past six years have seen a step change in the performance of our schools. I have also been pleased to support the creation of two new schools with one more on the way in partnership with Harris and Gateway, two fantastic multi-academy trusts who are delivering for local children.
There has been much talk about the return of grammar schools. For those of us who believe that school provision should offer choice then clearly there is a role for selection in our school provision. But let me be clear, there is no question of going back to the days when everyone was judged as successes or failures at 11. Most pupils will continue to attend non selective academies and we will continue to insist on the highest standards from them.