Backing Crawley's students

This week, pupils in Crawley will be receiving their GCSE results, following the release of A-Level results a few days ago. Good luck to all local students awaiting their marks and best wishes as they look to the future.

Nationally, a record rate of 18 year olds have been accepted to university, with record rates of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds accepted. This builds on the fact that disadvantaged 18 year olds were 50 per cent more likely to enter university in 2017 than in 2009, with university applications in Crawley increasing by 40 per cent over the last decade.

In April, the Government’s raising of the student loan repayment threshold came into effect, saving hundreds of thousands of graduates up to £360 a year.

Of course, going to university is not for everyone. Apprenticeships have been reformed to offer high-quality training led by employers themselves, the introduction of T-Levels will offer a technical option which enables young people to progress directly into work.

Over the last seven years, the results gap between richer and poorer students has narrowed by 10 per cent. The introduction of the Pupil Premium, worth nearly £2.5 billion this year alone, helps ensure children from less affluent backgrounds receive additional support.

No one’s path and prospects in life should be determined by where they live or what their circumstances happen to be. There is more to do to address the fact that 29 per cent of local children are not reaching the expected level of development at age 5. I am working with organisations including Save the Children on this issue and it is a cause which must remain at the forefront of the radar of ministers.

The Government’s commitment to help parents to work with their children on speech and language will promote social mobility by ensuring all children start school with the right foundations for a successful education.

Henry Smith MP