The Right Education for Everyone

Thank you very much Damian, and my thanks
also to Mandy for hosting us here at the college today. Now I took my very first steps into
elected politics as a local councillor, in south London. For two years I was the chairman
of the education authority in Merton. It was an experience I will never forget. I saw how
vital good schools and colleges are to a community. How the hopes and aspirations which parents
have for their children, and which young people have for their futures, are bound-up with
the quality of education on offer. And here in this fantastic setting, in a building from
Derby’s proud past, which today is helping to define a fantastic future for this city
and county as part of Derby College, the immense value of great local institutions, providing
people with an education that truly works for them, is clear. I drew on my experiences
in south London when I first became an MP, and made my maiden speech in Parliament on
the subject education in 1997. I said then that the aim of education policy should be
to ‘provide the right education for every child’. That ‘for some children that will
be an education that is firmly based in learning practical and vocational skills. For others,
it will be an education based on academic excellence.’ A lot has changed in the last
20 years, but that core principle, that the needs of every child and every young person
deserve to be met, still drives my vision of the education system our country needs.
And the need for such a system has never been greater. First, because the new technologies
which are shaping the economy of the future will transform the world of work and demand
new knowledge and skills in the decades ahead. Technologies like artificial intelligence,
biotech and new advances in data science have the potential to drive up living standards
and open new possibilities for human achievement and personal fulfilment. But if we are to
seize those opportunities, if we are to make Britain a great engine room of this technological
revolution in the twenty-first century, we need to make the most of all of our talents.
The sixth form students I met at Featherstone High School in Southall this morning, and
the young people studying here at Derby College, will be starting their careers in the new
economy of the 2020s and 2030s. To give them the skills they need to succeed, we need an
education and training system which is more flexible and more diverse than it is today.
One which enriches their lives with knowledge, gives each of them a great start in life,
and is there for them when they need it. And there is another reason why we must act now
to deliver that education system that truly works for everyone. Because the Britain of
the 2020s will be a Britain outside of the European Union, pursuing a new course in the
world. I want the Britain which those young people will be living in to be a self-confident,
outward-looking Britain. The best friend and ally of our EU partners. But also a Britain
which is out in the world, forming even closer ties with friends and allies right across
the globe. We will learn together, collaborating in research which makes new scientific breakthroughs
and improves our understanding of the world. We will trade together, spreading opportunity
and prosperity ever more widely. And we will stand together in support of the shared values
which unite Britain with so many other likeminded countries – in Europe yes, but across the
world too. To become that Britain, where a thriving economy drives up living standards
and creates greater security and opportunity for everyone, and where the prosperity which
economic growth generates is more fairly shared in our society, we need education to be the
key that unlocks the door to a better future. Through education, we can become a country
where everyone, from every background, gains the skills they need to get a good job and
live a happy and fulfilled life. To achieve that, we must have an education system at
all levels which serves the needs of every child. And if we consider the experience which
many young people have of our system as it is, it is clear that we do not have such a
system today. Imagine two children currently in secondary school and thinking about their
futures. One is a working class boy from here in Derby. He aspires to a career as a lawyer,
but he doesn’t have a social network to draw on with any links to the profession,
and he doesn’t know if someone like him can make it. The road he will have to take
to achieve his dream is much more challenging than the one his counterpart who is privately
educated will face. Almost a quarter of the students at our research-intensive universities
come from the 7% of the population who go to private school. And the professions which
draw their recruits primarily from these institutions remain unrepresentative of the country as
a whole, skewed in favour of a particular social class. For the boy from a working class
home here in Derby, the odds are stacked against him, and as a country, we all lose out when
we do not make the most of everyone’s talents and ability. And now imagine a second child.
She is a girl from a middle class background, who is privately educated. Her dream is to
be a software developer, and she wishes she could go straight into the industry. But she
faces another set of pressures, which tell her that studying academic A-levels and making
a UCAS application to a Russell group university is what the world expects of her. The idea
that there might be another path, just as promising and better suited to her individual
hopes and dreams simply doesn’t occur. In each case, the system is not working for the
individual or for our country. Paul Johnson of the IFS recently wrote about the experiences
his two sons had of leaving school. One, a natural fit at university, found the application
process simple and straight forward. The other, who wanted to pursue a technical course, found
it much more difficult because, ‘everything points to university as the default.’ Roughly
half of young people go to university and roughly half do not. But in the twenty years
since we introduced tuition fees, public debate on tertiary education has been dominated by
a discussion of how we fund and support those who go to university, and there has been nothing
like the same attention paid to how we support the training and develop the skills of the
young people who do not. Most politicians, most journalists, most political commentators
took the academic route themselves, and will expect their children to do the same. And
there remains a perception that going to university is really the only desirable route, while
going into training is something for other people’s children. If we are going to succeed
in building a fairer society and a stronger economy, we need to throw away this outdated
attitude for good and create a system of tertiary education that works for all our young people.
That means equality of access to an academic university education which is not dependent
on your background, and it means a much greater focus on the technical alternatives too. One
of the great social achievements of the last half-century has been the transformation of
an academic university education from something enjoyed almost-exclusively by a social elite
into something which is open to everyone. But making university truly accessible to
young people from every background is not made easier by a funding system which leaves
students from the lowest-income households bearing the highest levels of debt with many
graduates left questioning the return they get for their investment. And for those young
people who do not go on to academic study, the routes into further technical and vocational
training today are hard to navigate, the standards across the sector are too varied and the funding
available to support them is patchy. The UK’s participation rate in advanced technical education
– teaching people skills which will be crucial for the future – is low by international
standards. The latest annual figures show that fewer than 16,000 people completed higher
qualifications through the further education system. That is compared to almost 350,000
undergraduate degrees which were awarded last year. This imbalance has an economic cost,
with some businesses finding it hard to recruit the skilled workers they need. But it also
has a social cost in wasted human potential, which we too often ignore. So now is the time
to take action to create a system that is flexible enough to ensure that everyone gets
the education that suits them. That’s what the review which I am launching today sets
out to deliver. And in doing so, it will build on the enormous progress we have already made
in raising standards in our schools since 2010. The success of every young person in
whatever they go on to do in life, is shaped by the education they receive at school and
Conservatives have put restoring rigour and high standards in our primary and secondary
schools at the heart of our education reforms. We launched a major expansion of the academy
programme, putting school teachers in charge of raising standards in their schools. And
we also went a step further, creating free schools – to give teachers, universities
and charities the chance to bring greater innovation and specialism to the mix. I have
always believed in the great potential which Free Schools have to improve the lives of
children. That’s why I put them in the Conservative election manifesto in 2001, as shadow education
secretary. And now free schools score some of the very highest results at GCSE. The range
of reforms which we put in place are leading to improved outcomes for young people. 1.9
million more children are being taught in schools that are good or outstanding. The
attainment gap is shrinking at primary and secondary school. And England is improving
internationally. The job is not yet done, but we are making excellent progress, and
enormous credit is due to the teachers whose hard work has driven these improved outcomes.
On top of the firm foundation of a great primary and secondary education, and the reforms we
are putting in place to introduce high quality T-levels we now need to ensure that options
open to young people as they move into adulthood are more diverse that the routes into further
education and training are clearer and that all options are fully accessible to everyone.
That is why I am today launching a major and wide-ranging review into post-18 education.
The review will be supported by an expert panel. And I am delighted that Philip Augar
has agreed to chair that panel. It will focus on four key questions. How we ensure that
tertiary education is accessible to everyone, from every background. How our funding system
provides value for money, both for students and taxpayers. How we incentivise choice and
competition right across the sector. And finally, how we deliver the skills that we need as
a country. This is a review which, for the first time, looks at the whole post-18 education
sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education, so we
can create a system which is truly joined-up. Universities – many of which provide technical
as well as academic courses – will be considered alongside colleges, Institutes of Technology
and apprenticeship providers. There are huge success stories to be found right across the
sector, at every level, and by taking a broad view, Philip and his expert panel will be
able to make recommendations which help the sector to be even better in the future. Our
universities are world-leaders and jewels in Britain’s crown. 16 British universities
are in the world’s top 100, and four are in the top ten. I want to know how we can
build on that success, and at the same time ensure that people from all backgrounds share
the benefits of university study. So the review will examine how we can give people from disadvantaged
backgrounds an equal chance to succeed. That includes how disadvantaged students and learners
receive maintenance support, both from Government and universities and colleges. But the review
will also look more widely, and examine our whole system of student funding. There are
many aspects of the current system which work well. Universities in England are now better
funded than they have been for a generation. And sharing the cost of university between
taxpayers as a whole and the graduates who directly benefit from university study is
a fair principle. It has enabled us to lift the cap on the number of places – which
was in effect a cap on aspiration – so universities can expand and so broaden access. But I know
that other aspects of the system are a cause for serious concern – not just for students
themselves, but parents and grandparents too. This is a concern which I share. The competitive
market between universities which the system of variable tuition fees envisaged has simply
not emerged. All but a handful of universities charge the maximum possible fees for undergraduate
courses. Three-year courses remain the norm. And the level of fees charged do not relate
to the cost or quality of the course. We now have one of the most expensive systems of
university tuition in the world. We have already begun to take action to address some of these
concerns. We scrapped the increase in fees that was due this year, and we have increased
the amount graduates can earn before they start repaying their fees to £25,000. The
review will now look at the whole question of how students and graduates contribute to
the cost of their studies including the level, terms and duration of their contribution.
Our goal is a funding system which provides value for money for graduates and taxpayers,
so the principle that students as well as taxpayers should contribute to the cost of
their studies is an important one. I believe – as do most people, including students
– that those who benefit directly from higher education should contribute directly towards
the cost of it. That is only fair. The alternative – shifting the whole burden of university
tuition onto the shoulders of taxpayers as a whole – would have three consequences.
First, it would inevitably mean tax increases for the majority of people who did not go
to university, and who on average earn less than those who did. Second, it would mean
our universities competing with schools and hospitals for scarce resources, which in the
past meant they lost out, putting their international pre-eminence at risk. And third, it would
mean the necessary re-introduction of a cap on numbers, with the Treasury regulating the
number of places an institution could offer, and preventing the expansion which has driven
wider access in recent years. That is not my idea of a fair or progressive system. And
Philip and his colleagues will also look beyond universities, to examine choice and competition
right across the sector and recommend practical solutions. This will build on reforms which
are already in train to increase the options which are available across further and higher
education. Over the last few years, reforms to technical education have improved every
aspect of the offer available to young people. We now have higher standards for apprenticeships
and vocational courses. T-levels are on the way, which will provide a high-quality, technical
alternative to A-levels. A new network of Institutes of Technology will specialise in
the advanced technical skills our economy needs. This review will now identify how we
can help young people make more effective choices between these different options. That
could include giving young people better guidance about the earning potential of different jobs
and what different qualifications are needed to get them, so they can make more informed
decisions about their futures. But this isn’t just about young people. Retraining throughout
the course of your career, to change jobs or gain promotion, will only become more necessary
as new technologies have an impact on our economy. We need to support flexible life-long
learning, including part-time and distance learning – something which the current funding
system does not always make easy. So by focusing on these four key priorities, making tertiary
education accessible to all promoting choice and competition in the sector, delivering
the skills our economy needs, and getting value for money for students and taxpayers,
we can give every young person access to an education that suits their skills and aspirations.
One which opens up possibilities for their future and helps them into a rewarding career.
Almost thirty years ago, when I was in charge of that local education authority, an incoming
Conservative Prime Minister, who like me went to a state school, said that the great task
of the coming decade should be to ‘make the whole of this country a genuinely classless
society’. Eighteen months ago, when I became Prime Minister, I spoke of my desire to make
Britain a Great Meritocracy. Today, our ambition for the Britain we will build outside the
EU must be just as great. And it must be matched with a determination to turn that ambition
into reality. Because by voting to leave the EU in 2016, millions of people across this
country were not just choosing to leave the European Union, they were sending a clear
message about how our society and our economy works – or rather doesn’t work – in
too many communities. If we are truly to make good on the instruction of the referendum,
we need to reconnect everyone in our society to a sense of fairness and opportunity. We
need to make Britain a country where everyone can go as far as their talents will take them
and no one is held back by their background or class. Where education is the key to opening
up opportunity for everyone. The vision I have for the Britain we will build is of a
country which is fit for the future, delivered through bold social and economic reform. That
is why we are building an education system which unlocks everyone’s talents, and gives
them the skills they need to go as far as their hard work will take them. It’s why
we support the market economy and back entrepreneurs and wealth creators – but step in when businesses
don’t play by the rules. And it is why we are making the UK the very best place in the
world to start and grow a high-tech business – while also making sure that new technologies
work for everyone in society. If we get it right, we can build a country that truly works
for everyone. A country where your background does not define your future, and class distinctions
are a thing of the past. Where a boy from a working class home can become a High Court
judge, thanks to a great state education. And where a girl from a private school can
start a software business, thanks to a first-class technical education. That is my vision for
a fairer society and how we will deliver it. A society where good, rewarding work is available
for everyone. An economy with the skills it needs to succeed. Britain as the Great Meritocracy,
a country that respects hard work, rewards effort and industry, where a happy and fulfilled
life is within everyone’s grasp.


  1. رحمة عثمان said:


    February 20, 2018
  2. void null said:


    February 22, 2018
  3. Franklin Chen said:

    I am quite fond of PM T.M.

    February 25, 2018
  4. Thomas kirkpatrick said:

    March 23, 2018
  5. Symon said:

    Really hope the review searches out solutions based in 'meritocratic idealism'. Does free online meritocracy offer opportunities that many peoples – domestically and in the wider world through commonwealth voluntary association – might not ordinarily have?

    March 27, 2018
  6. اياد سليمان said:

    Wonderful mrs may

    April 5, 2018
  7. L Xong said:

    I know its very speacial drums Lovers Princesse May.

    April 25, 2018
  8. Conner Wilson said:

    Scum bag completely out of touch with the people resign nothing you say will come to pass all talk no actions.

    May 31, 2018
  9. tom kat said:

    As Tony Blair once said " MAY IS A LIGHT WEIGHT! And, Jeremy Corbin is a Nutter 🌰 " Case CLOSED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2018
  10. SARWAN SINGH said:

    please speech on population topic

    June 5, 2018
  11. socialmeasles said:

    Theresa May……if ever the ever-loving universe has an arsehole, it's Theresa May. She really knows how to stink a place out. Theresa May, bog off.

    July 6, 2018
  12. fAhIm Jk said:

    Both labour and conservative are following political correctness path.. didn't talk on actual point.. UK need an Alternative Party same like Germany today

    July 10, 2018
  13. Highway Pro said:

    Thank God for other EU countries like Germany which don't have tuition fees at all. Granted, our German universities might not be as well funded, but £9250 debt per academic year is a crippling burden of debt for any aspiring graduate, even if they pay it afterwards. If I was a UK citizen, I would seriously consider studying abroad or pursuing a different career path (e.g. apprenticeships)

    July 16, 2018
  14. maxime djoudi said:


    August 2, 2018
  15. maxime djoudi said:

    come for help

    August 2, 2018
  16. satinde Kaur said:


    August 4, 2018
  17. ROCKFORD C64 said:

    Don`t forget that we never used to be in the EU. The rest of EU didn`t want the UK to be in. The Eu was ok before it got too big. We are better out as we were.

    August 5, 2018
  18. Michael O Neill said:

    Theresa May makes Jeremy Corbyn electable, Jeremy Corbyn makes Anjim Choudry electable

    August 20, 2018
  19. ravi valand said:

    Impressive 🦄

    August 22, 2018
  20. Vincent Poulaert said:

    may Why 640000€ for several and only a 1000€for those who lead us i call you from bekkeggium

    September 3, 2018
  21. Huntsman said:

    Britain will have its great future by Brexit

    September 4, 2018
  22. Gurjant Singh said:

    Superb speech has given by respected prime minister on education and funding system in UK.Also this speech helps to those who are not good enough in English communication specially Punjab students which are migrating from motherland to alien land .. thanks once again

    October 6, 2018
  23. ODD-one out n about said:

    NO NO NO to biometric electronic tattoo on you or rfid microchip implant in or on you. .no heaven no way out of the lake of fire for those who take the 'chip'…learn off grid skills asap before it's too late. .please read REV 13:16-18 REV 14:9 and REV 16:2 it is written that whoever takes this mark will ETERNALLY be cut off from GOD and you will be one with the Wi-Fi beast system forever ..the whole world one day will burn up totally and your eternal soul will be unredeemable.we are eternal beings. .

    October 6, 2018
  24. दीपक KR said:

    I'm seeking help for quality English language education from UK or NZor Australia,or Ireland. !!!!!

    October 8, 2018
  25. Armchair Critich said:

    Lower achievement has to be a guarantee of three, none of this three R’s nonsense. Three degrees of guarantee of three. The best subject for low achievement substantiated by benefit. Recruiting direct from source, an engagement between low achievement and low achievement. Centres of excellence are a hobby paraphrased as such by tertiary

    October 8, 2018
  26. Naqeebullah Ansari said:

    In few years uk will be on the bank of new imagine world which all of us thinking and liking to be there

    November 14, 2018
  27. Wayne Wedderburn said:

    Psalms 23;27;91;1-150 God protection and blessings

    November 15, 2018
  28. Bảo Ngô Ngọc Bảo said:

    Cháo là 2 còn 6 là cháo còn 9 là từ chính sát và chính trị

    November 30, 2018

    All correspondence school), only trading practical that proper, skilled training…… It can be implement in us uk

    May 8, 2019

    House renovated and cook, cleaning 🚰
    🛁,…….. One computer all correspondence studies then skill development manga account to talent or will, then industrial training, deploy 🚢 and earn, it can happen in developed countries

    May 8, 2019

    School according to pocket s correspond e ssss

    May 8, 2019
  32. ท้าว.จันทะสอน หานชะนะ said:

    สะบายดี.ท่านยิงผู้นำปะเทดชาดของท่านยิงเราขอให้ท่านยิงมีความสุกและมีความรักปะเทดชาดที่คนรักท่านและเราขอให้ทุกคนมีความสุกทุกสิง. จากคนทังโลกที่รู้จักเรา.🌎💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟🐕นี้กำลังใจให้ท่านยิงแลัทุดท่านขอขอดใจ.(ขๅนจากคิดและคิดจากใจเราขๅนรักท่านทุกคน).

    May 10, 2019
  33. Music and Sport said:

    I never let School interfere with my education

    Let me be clear with you politicians, leaders and policymakers

    Education comes from the Latin word educe which means to bring out the gifts but the school doesn't bring out much it just stuffs more facts inside of you.

    May 15, 2019
  34. Attack Sintuwong said:


    August 4, 2019
  35. Attack Sintuwong said:


    August 4, 2019
  36. Attack Sintuwong said:


    August 4, 2019
  37. Al Dabiri said:

    I can't agree more my dear!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2019

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