Lyn Brown

Member of Parliament for West Ham

Exam Results - Aug 2011

I’m sure many parents sighed with relief:  the waiting over, envelopes opened.  We know whether our children’s grades secured the University, College or career of choice.

Maria, my niece, worried about her grades, fluctuating wildly between hope and despair .  Her heart is set on a degree at the University of Exeter, but needed top grades.

This has been a very difficult year for Newham’s students seeking university places.  There are fewer courses available and, due to the hikes in tuition fees next year, demand for places is even greater.

Record numbers will not get university places and students who don’t, face debts over £15,000 higher, next year.

This Government fails to invest in our children.  It cancelled Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme, abolished EMA and trebled tuition fees, despite pre-election pledges to the contrary.

Youth unemployment stands at one million.  In the past three months, 15,000 more 16-24-year-olds lost their jobs.

This isn’t fair.  Our young people deserve the same chances and opportunities as young people leaving school over the last ten years.

When Labour came to power in 1997, books were falling apart, computers were scarce and buildings were crumbling.  Just 890 young Newham people  gained undergraduate degrees.  By 2009, there were 2,035.

In thirteen years, Labour Governments equipped schools with the latest books, up-to-date equipment, new buildings and more staff.

That good work is being undermined.  I fear the return to a time when successive Tory Governments starved our schools of vital resources.

This Government have to realise they must invest in the future.  Without properly-resourced schools, our economy cannot develop and a whole generation of children will miss out.

It’s still hurting, but just doesn’t work.

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