Published by: Department for Education

Published on: 8th January 2020

Welcome back

I was so proud to be appointed Education Secretary back in the summer – though that moment feels like an age ago now! I had a brilliant first few months meeting our fantastic teachers, social workers, lecturers and college staff. After five weeks of campaigning and the Christmas break, I’ve returned feeling more energised than ever, and can’t wait to pick up the work we’d already begun on implementing the government’s reforms.

I spent the election period talking to parents, teachers and students, and the resounding message I got from them is that they want government to focus on the things that matter in their everyday lives. We now have a packed agenda and education is going to be at the very forefront of our efforts. That’s why we’ve allocated an extra £14 billion for schools over three years plus £780 million in new funding for children with special educational needs. This means we are investing an additional £2.6 billion next year and an additional £7.1 billion a year by 2022-23. We have already announced that we will increase starting salaries for new teachers to £30,000. This isn’t just about making teaching attractive to the most talented graduates, it’s about recognising the prestige and value that we as a society put on the profession.

But we need to go further to ensure that the talent which is evenly spread across the country, has equal access to opportunity. I want every child to have the chance to make the most of their potential and to get the kind of start in life that will set them up for a fulfilling and happy future. Continuing to support our teachers and drive standards up in our schools will be a priority and while much progress has been made, we will continue to rapidly build on this. And I’m really looking forward to making progress on the great work we kicked off to improve outcomes for children who need our help and protection, as well as care leavers.

Skills education post-16 has a key role to play – not only to improve productivity, but also to enable people to reach their potential. That is why I’m determined to tackle one of our biggest challenges, and one I’m personally invested in, which is the transformation of post-16 education. We have already taken big steps by reforming apprenticeships and our T Level programmes. I want to go further to build a highly-skilled workforce, so that we can compete with other advanced economies and set our young people up for productive and fulfilling careers.

I found my first few months at the DfE an incredible experience and am looking forward to continuing working with you. We have an ambitious agenda to deliver and I will continue to listen to you, the experts. We all want the same thing: to make our education system one that delivers for all our young people, no matter which part of the country they live in, and no matter their background.

Thank you for your help, your dedication and your commitment. Together, I’m confident that we can achieve more.

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