Plugging the STEM skills gap

One of the UK economy’s biggest challenges is the STEM skills gap which is identified in the Industrial Strategy. Tackling the skills gap is something that I have raised repeatedly as an MP and is particularly relevant to Wiltshire, which is a hub of engineering design and technology. This week I asked the Business Minister…

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Unconditional offers at University

Some Universities are exploring unconditional offers to hook in students for their fees. In fact 50,000 unconditional offers were made compared to just over 3,000 in 2013. These are usually given with the condition that the University must be placed as the student’s first choice which can result in them underestimating themselves and picking a…

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Pupil premium auto-enrolment

Pupil Premium is such an important area of education funding but currently a number of children don’t receive it even though they should. I believe it should be done on an auto enrolment scheme rather than parental applications (it is currently tied to free school meals). In addition it doesn’t help any children affected by…

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Children’s out of school activities

Today we interviewed Amanda Spielman, Chief of Ofsted on the Education Select Committee. I grilled her regarding her back flip to now supporting the inspection of our children’s out of school activities. She favours inspecting and regulating activities over 6 hours a week which would realistically have to include leisure, sport, religious classes and meetings…

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The value of higher education

As part of the Education Select Committee review into Higher Education we interviewed a panel of University Vice Chancellors. I stressed the point that their wages were ‘immoral’ being over double the Prime Minister’s and funded by taxpayers and student debt. They seemed to miss the last point when I questioned them and insisted they…

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Value in education

Once again I stressed in the Commons that there is not value for money in the UK further education system because it lacks transparency so students can’t make informed choices. I welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of a post 18 education review which will look at this.

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Parliament Week

Last week was the annual ‘Parliament Week,’ a week in which we celebrate UK Parliamentary tradition, democracy and the freedoms which our democratic institutions protect. I have always taken an active part in these celebrations and this past week I arranged a number of tours of Parliament as well as attending local school events to…

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Celebrating the Engineering Festival

Last Friday, I held the Wiltshire Festival of Engineering, supported by James Dyson Foundation and Wiltshire Air Ambulance, inspiring more than 3,000 children and involving more than 35 businesses and organisations. The Schools Minister kindly attended. The event highlighted that Wiltshire really is a hub of engineering. Today in UK Parliament I asked if the…

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