This Thursday, millions of students across England will receive their GCSE results, with some pupils also receiving their results for Level 2 and 3 Vocational Technical Qualifications.
I know for some; results day can feel a little overwhelming. So, it’s really important to remember that there are many paths to success and that your future is not defined by the results you receive. I’d like to take a moment to say well done to every student who has worked so hard to get to this point and wish you all the very best for the future.
But this week has got me thinking a lot about opportunity and equal access to it. You may have seen that earlier this week Keir Starmer admitted that, if he were a student today, he simply couldn’t afford to attend University.
This intervention really resonated with me. I regularly visit schools in Tameside and am always inspired by the hard work and sheer talent of local pupils. It breaks my heart to think that, due to poor economic growth and circumstances, young people in Tameside might be met with barriers which prevent them from achieving their dreams.
I often talk about building a Britain that is fairer and more prosperous. Make no mistake, these two things are linked. If we want our economy to flourish, then we need to make sure that every young person can succeed in the things they excel at.
Addressing this problem, which has been exacerbated by poor economic management over the last 13 years, will be an absolute priority for the next Labour Government. That means supporting families during the cost-of-living crisis, and rewiring the economy so that it rewards hard work and aspiration.
Economic growth is key to this work. Analysis of the latest economic forecast shows that in 2024, UK growth will be the slowest in the G7. This low-growth trap leads to higher taxes, higher prices in shops, and leaves working people worse off. This has a knock-on effect on young people, who might look at the costs associated with further education and think it just isn’t feasible for them.
This problem can only be rectified by providing economic stability, securing investment in the industries of the future, improving employment support services and building a resilient trading economy.
When students open their envelopes on Thursday. I want them to feel reassured that, whatever their results, they will be supported to pursue their ambitions. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case over the last 13 years, which is why change cannot come soon enough.