Johnny’s latest press coverage

‘Majority of Plymouth schools are excelling and we should celebrate them’

January 24, 20240

We have some truly amazing schools in Plymouth which I am privileged to both visit and invite to Parliament every week, offering a tour of the Estate and its Education Centre, MP Johnny Mercer writes.

 

Having three young daughters of my own, I am passionate about getting young people involved in what I do. Doing just that and listening to the hopes and dreams of Plymouth’s next generation every week, I have been driven to put school standards at the centre of my work for Plymouth since being elected in 2015. 

 

Student Councils across Plymouth have organised some very effective road safety campaigns which I have been most grateful to take part in. The Youth Parliament Representatives for Plymouth also met with me in November to discuss the needs of children with separated parents. Just on Friday, I met with Tor Bridge Sixth Form to discuss my time in the British Army and why it compelled me to serve our nation in a new capacity, as the MP for Plymouth Moor View and Veterans Minister. It is a story which I have shared many times but, to my delight, Plymouth kids always find new, thoughtful questions to ask. 

 

By working with schools across Plymouth, I am able to stay well informed on the best practices and maintain an active voice on our school standards in Parliament. I have worked hard to help Plymouth schools transition to academies; secured a correction to the National School funding formula in Plymouth that saw an increase in school funding for every child; and supported successful applications to capital funds that have seen new school buildings across our City. 

 

The Government are investing heavily in education. Core schools funding will rise to more than £59.6 billion in 2024-25 – the highest ever level in real terms per pupil. Year-on-year, school funding is rising by over £3.9 billion in 2023-24, compared to 2022-23, and that comes on top of a £4 billion year-on-year cash increase last year. That is a 16 percent increase in just two years. In Plymouth, we have recruited an additional 53 teachers and 223 teacher assistants since 2010. Crucially, this record level of investment has transformed the international and local reputation of our education system.  

 

Nationally, English pupils have shot up the international tables for maths and reading, placing England as one of the top performing countries in the West. In December 2023, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reported that England had risen from 27th place for maths in 2009 to 11th and from 25th place in reading to 13th. As part of the Prime Minister’s new advanced British standard (ABS), the Government has earmarked an additional £60 million over two years to fully capitalise on improvements made to maths and reading. 

 

Locally, we have seen an incredible rise in school standards across Plymouth Moor View in the latest round of Ofsted assessments. Good and Outstanding Ofsted ratings have risen from 79.3 to 89.65 percent for primary schools and 60 to 80 percent for secondary schools. I am fiercely proud of this record and am intent on seeing further improvements made to Plymouth schools. 

 

I recently met with Tor Bridge Primary to celebrate their phenomanal improvement from a special measures to Outstanding school in one fell swoop. Only three schools have done this in the South West since 2012; it is very rare indeed. The scale of the work that CEO of the Trust Aaron Meredith and Head of School Olivia Barlett have put into the school since taking over cannot be overstated. I am determined to keep improving the life chances of all our kids across the City. That Aaron, Olivia and the team have managed to do this in two of the most deprived areas in my constituency is remarkable. 

 

If you would like to raise any concerns about your child’s education in Plymouth or if you would like to arrange a school visit, please contact me via johnny@johnnyforplymouth.co.uk or 01752 876979. Surgeries can also be booked with me through these channels. Furthermore, if you would like to be notified about what I am doing here in Plymouth, including when I next write an op-ed for the Herald, please sign up to my mailing list here.

Luke Jones

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