Ensuring our national prosperity going forward is of vital importance.

If a nation wishes to secure both its longevity and maintain its prosperity it must invest in its children and young people – providing high quality compulsory education is the fundamental keystone to doing this.

Since the Conservatives came into power in 2010, we have seen improvement in education across the board. In Ipswich this is certainly the case. 

Ofsted, the non-ministerial department of the government that reports to Parliament on standards in schools, has declared that we now (as of December 2023) have 85% of schools in Ipswich that they ranked as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

When this is broken down into its components it reveals that 81% of primary schools (21 of 26) and 100% of secondary schools (6 of 6) are ranked as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

This, in itself, is sensational news, however when put into the context of the ground we’ve covered in Ipswich over the 14 years it is even better.

 In August 2010 only 69% of schools in the town were ranked as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, with this breaking down to 62% of primary schools (16 of 24) and only 67% of secondary schools (4 of 6).

This comparison asserts our high standards of education in the town as even more of an achievement. 

Another very promising revelation that can been drawn from these most recent Ofsted reports is that most of the school that were determined to ‘require improvement’ in 2010 have now achieve a ‘good’ ranking – this positive trend is largely reflected across the board as the vast majority of schools in Ipswich are moving in the right direction. 

Of course, I don’t view this through rose tinted glasses and do understand that sadly there will always be children who the education system, in part, fails, not receiving the best offer/network of support – I see this a lot through my campaigning and work for better provision for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

However as long as we keep this in mind and continue to fight for better specialist education, tailored to individuals, we can all benefit from the general direction of progress within local schooling. 

As we all know, one of the key ingredients to outstanding schools and their success is outstanding teachers.

This excellent improvement is largely down to the fantastic teachers and staff employed by the schools in Suffolk and their efforts to successfully improve standards make them a credit to said schools and our local community.

In the last 4 years alone, during my time as MP for Ipswich, I have fostered great relationships with many of the local schools, getting to know staff, hosting cohorts of pupils in parliament and making regular visits – I have seen this positive change and progress with my own eyes and can say with absolute confidence that the standard of education in Ipswich is at its highest during my time as an MP – this is further supported by the Ofsted reports. 

What makes all this even more impressive is the fact that the primary and secondary schools in the local area have managed these achievements despite some circumstances that could be described as less than ideal in recent years.

Whether this be the challenges presented by a lack of funding, the fact that some of these schools operate in areas with relative levels of deprivation or even more anomalously dealing with the pressures of providing high quality education during the pandemic and dealing with its fallout. 

I couldn’t be prouder of the standard of education in Ipswich and how it has improved and continues to do so.

Although we must never be complacent and always acknowledge there is room for improvement, as a town we can unite in praising and thanking our local schools and their staff for the fantastic service they provide to local young people.