Wednesday, October 5, 2016

News: Greening thanks Rotherham teachers

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Justine Greening MP has used her first conference speech as Secretary of State for Education to thank her teachers in Rotherham for opening up opportunities for her.

A reshuffle under new Prime Minister, Theresa May, saw the government department for skills moved over from business to education so that Greening's department now covers everything from early years, schools and further and higher education, to adult skills and apprenticeships.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference at The ICC in Birmingham this week, the Rotherham-born minister, who attended Oakwood Comprehensive School, spoke about her party's desire to "give people control over the things that matter most in their lives."

Greening said: "All parents have their hopes and dreams for their children, but in practice, for most, they can never really take their eye off the economic realities of everyday life. And what's it like for the children in those families? Well, I was one of them, and when I think back to my own childhood, growing up in Rotherham in the eighties: All I wanted was a level playing field. I didn't expect any more - but I didn't think I should expect any less either. And neither did my parents. And nowhere was that more important to me than in my education.

"I loved going to school. Herringthorpe Primary, Oakwood Comprehensive, Thomas Rotherham College. As the first comprehensive school educated secretary of state for education, I want to say thank you to the teachers in all those schools that opened up so many opportunities for me. We all remember great teachers, and no other profession has the power to transform futures so much.

"My job - our job now - is to make sure that today's children, whatever their background, get the best start. And to me, that means three things: knowledge and skills; the right advice at the right time; and great, challenging, life shaping experiences.

"These are the building blocks to help young people be successful in their years ahead."

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Greening, who is also Minister for Women and Equality, added that she is determined to "put the quality of technical education on a par with the quality of our academic education," transforming the technical skills route with University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and three million more apprentices, at the same time as transforming the academic route through free schools, academies and grammar schools.

As part of a focus on social mobility and finding and nurturing "rough diamonds", the department is establishing Opportunity Areas where local partnerships will form with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields talked about the role of business, adding: "Business has a vital role because British business is the ultimate opportunity giver. I want to see businesses spotting and polishing up the talent of a new generation, the rough diamonds, to make sure we unlock all the talent of our country, especially in these Opportunity Areas where it's most likely to be missed.

"Business has such a great role to play, setting young people's sights high and broadening horizons. It's hard to aim for an opportunity if you don't even know it's there."

Images: CBI


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