Since the election of the 1997 Labour government, schools in my constituency have seen dramatic improvements in the quality of teaching, their exam results and the future prospects of pupils.
One cornerstone of this was the long term commitment of successive Labour council administrations and Labour governments to providing good levels of funding for both our schools and colleges.
While we have seen great strides in the quality of our local schools, this has not been always been matched by improvements in local colleges. Between 2010 and 2015 the Lib Dem-Tory coalition government made very large cuts to funding for our local colleges which created significant problems and resulted in a series of mergers, the closure of some college campuses, loss of staff and challenges in attracting and retaining pupils.
High quality further education, provided by our colleges, is vital both to deliver the opportunities our young people need and deserve, and in creating a thriving high skills economy. I am therefore pleased to see the recent judgement of OFSTED that LeSoCo has been on a path of improvement, but I want every school and college serving my constituents to be either Outstanding or Good.
On top of additional cuts to further education funding the Tory government is proposing to change the way that funding for schools is distributed across the country. Inner London boroughs like Southwark have greater challenges than affluent shire counties like Surrey and have historically been funded accordingly.
The details of the Tory plans have not yet been released, but there are serious concerns that our local schools may lose out in this change.
I will fight as hard as possible to ensure that our schools and colleges have the resources that they need to continue to deliver a great start in life for all of our young people, no matter what their background.