Nicky Morgan – 2018 Speech on Customs and Borders

Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP for Loughborough, in the House of Commons on 26 April 2018.

It is a pleasure to follow three such excellent speeches, two of which I agreed with and one that, as I think the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey) will not be surprised to hear, I did not. However, I do agree with one point that she made. Right at the end, she mentioned a dishonesty in debate, and I take the tenor in which she made that point. Actually, Parliament is doing today exactly what it should do and teasing out the issues in these complex and important negotiations, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) said.

The Select Committees are bringing before Parliament the hours and hours of evidence that we have gathered from expert witnesses. I know there is a suspicion of experts, but there are many people who want to share their thoughts, their expertise and the points that they had to get on the record before the Select Committees. It is right that those Committees should have called today’s debate via the Liaison Committee, because this is a very important issue. When the hon. Member for Vauxhall talks about dishonesty, let me say to her that the dishonesty is not fronting up to the issues that we face. We must be able to discuss them, and part of the reason for today’s debate is that we are not having it in the heat of amendments to legislation, when we know there is enormous pressure on Members on both sides to vote one way or another. I hope that today’s debate can remain calm and rational, so that we can get the evidence out there. If there is any doubt about the amount of evidence, Members have only to look at the number of reports on the Table here in the Chamber or the number of reports tagged on today’s Order Paper.

Time is very limited and I do not want to repeat all the points that have already been made, but I want to say a few things, in particular to my party colleagues and party members out in the country, some of whom seem to think that it is an affront for Members such as myself and others with my views to be making these points today. First, the Prime Minister was very clear in both our manifesto and the Lancaster House speech when she talked about wanting a customs agreement. The manifesto talks about a

“free trade and customs agreement”,

and the Prime Minister said in the Lancaster House speech:

“I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU. Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position.”

Much has been said about free trade agreements and the fact that they will take some time to negotiate, but it is not just the new free trade agreements to be negotiated; it is the ones that we are currently party to that have to be renegotiated. That is a complex project. It will take a long time to make that pulling apart happen, and I do not think that the time necessary for it has been allocated by the Government.

Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con) I utterly agree with everything that my right hon. Friend has just said. I joined a free-trading Conservative party that was pro-business. Does she agree that inevitable delays and complexities, the additional form filling that is required and dead-weight costs on businesses can do nothing but reduce the competitiveness of British business, unless we have the kind of effective customs union that she is talking about?

Nicky Morgan My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The cost to business, as identified already by my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake), must not be forgotten. This is not just about costs for the Government; it is about costs for business.

Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest) (Con) rose—

Nicky Morgan I give way to the former Trade Minister.

Mark Garnier Just on a small technical point, my right hon. Friend is absolutely right that a trade deal takes a long time to complete and negotiate, but the plan is to transfer across the existing trade deals that we enjoy within the European Union at the early stage and then renegotiate at our leisure where we can improve them, so we will ensure continued business afterwards without deviation.

Nicky Morgan I understand the point my hon. Friend has made; he is a former Minister and everything else. I will talk about this in a moment if I have time, but the trouble with it is that we have been saying, “The plan is—” for some time now. We had a speech last month from the Prime Minister and we had position papers last summer: “The plan is—”. Time is running out, as we heard from the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee. The hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) is not in his place, but as he said, when we travelled to the United States with the Treasury Committee, the US was very clear: “Yes, you can have a free trade agreement. It’ll be on our terms.”

Let me talk about logistics. As I have said, part of today’s debate is about getting the evidence, and we took evidence in the Treasury Committee from Jim Harra, a senior official at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, who said:

“The key challenge, for example, in ro-ro ports, in contrast with container ports, is that in a lot of them there are no port inventory systems in place.”

We have less than 12 months to go to March 2019 and not that much longer to December 2020, and no port inventory systems are in place. He also talked about ensuring that declarations can be linked

“to the vehicle that is carrying the goods,”

so that they can

“flow off the ferry and we know what…lorry we need to check.”

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has come up with a proposal for a new customs arrangement. Have the Government been exploring it? Much mention has been made of Northern Ireland, and for me this is a critical issue. I had the pleasure in the 2010 to 2015 Parliament of being a Treasury Minister. I was the Duties Minister, and I visited the Northern Ireland border. Other hon. Members will know far more about it than I do, but it is over 300 miles long and incredibly porous. Had it not been for the policemen I was with, I would not have known which side of the border I was on. It was impossible to tell. Realistically, how on earth is such a border going to be policed? This is not just about the economy; it is about the political and cultural sensitivities of the border. We have already heard about the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s conclusion about the aspirational aspects of the technology that might be needed.

This is a debate of the Government’s own making, because as we have heard, time is running out and silence on these important issues is no longer an option. It is completely right that Members of Parliament and Select Committees should ask questions about these issues. What are the Government’s plans? How are things going to work? We have to listen not just to those in the country, but to individuals and business in our constituencies. The Treasury Committee and the Select Committee on International Trade had a joint evidence session this week. When asked about the free trade agreements and the free trade policy that we are apparently going to pursue, Professor Patrick Minford, who many Members on my side of the House will say is somebody we should listen to, said:

“We don’t have any precedents for this.”

This country is being asked to experiment, at other people’s pleasure, with a free trade policy when we do not know what the costs will be for constituents and businesses in this country. I say to my party: if we undermine and ignore the evidence, the peace in Northern Ireland and the business and financial security of people in this country, we will not be forgiven for a generation.


Nicky Morgan – 2017 Speech on Budget

Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP for Loughborough, in the House of Commons on 22 November 2017.

Thank you very much indeed, Mr Deputy Speaker, for calling me to take part in a Budget debate for my first time as Chair of the Treasury Committee. If media reports are to be believed, I am not the only former Education Secretary who is using “long, economicky words” at the moment. At this point in the debate, my predecessor as Chair of the Committee would always congratulate the Leader of the Opposition on making the most difficult speech of the parliamentary year. I am happy to continue that tradition, although much of the Leader of the Opposition’s speech appeared to have been written in advance, and I suspect he will want to look at more of the detail of the Budget and to find more to welcome in the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor.

Today, it was perhaps the Chancellor who had the hardest task. Beset by demands for more public spending, rising economic uncertainty and downgrades in forecasts, he has taken a common-sense approach that will no doubt displease many on both sides of the Chamber. We have to remember, however, that it is only thanks to seven years of common sense and concerted efforts by Conservative-led Governments to reduce the deficit and restore credibility to the public finances that the UK has the resilience necessary to face the challenges ahead.

The reclassification of housing associations might have given the Chancellor some timely room for manoeuvre, but it does not alter the underlying picture or the risks in the outlook, and those risks could grow. Although the OBR has made a more negative assessment of productivity, it still forecasts a relatively benign Brexit—a smooth adjustment to the new trade arrangement, with no cliff-edge in March 2019. But that cannot be guaranteed, and even though a transitional arrangement that would allow for such a smooth adjustment is manifestly in the interests of both the UK and the EU, it might, of course, not happen. The Treasury Committee will be looking closely at the consequences of failing to reach a deal on transition and expects to make a report to the House in the coming weeks.

Beyond the public finances, household balance sheets are also under pressure. Rising interest rates, high inflation, lower wage growth and a working-age benefits freeze all stand to put pressure on ordinary households. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor has set out two important principles for Conservative-led Governments: first, work should always pay; and, secondly, people should keep more of the money that they earn. I am happy, as I think all Conservative Members are, to support him on those two principles.

The pressures on household finances—the Committee is looking at them as part of our inquiry into household finances—will be exacerbated, particularly for the younger generation, if action is not taken to tackle long-standing problems in the housing market, as my right hon. Friend said. I therefore welcome the measures on housing. He has announced a comprehensive package on skills, land availability and financial incentives to get Britain building. I also welcome the review that will be chaired by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin). We always know there is a problem when my right hon. Friend is sent for to solve it. He will look at the gap between permissions granted and houses built, and why it exists.

I also hugely welcome, as I think all Conservative Members will, the stamp duty cut for first-time buyers. As the Chancellor said, it will make home ownership a reality for more young people. The Committee intends to hear from housing experts as part of our Budget scrutiny, and we will investigate whether the rousing wartime rhetoric of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government matches the reality of what has been announced today.

Of course, pressures on the public finances and on household balance sheets can be alleviated in the long term only if, as the Chancellor said, productivity growth improves. I welcome very much his further investment in the national productivity investment fund, and he was right to emphasise the challenge regarding productivity in the UK, which is now the weakest in the G7. The average UK worker has to slog from 9 until 5 to produce the same value of output that a worker in Germany produces between the hours of 9 and 3. The regional disparities in the UK are even greater, so I welcome what the Chancellor said about more devolution. I do not know where the Leader of the Opposition got the idea that Conservative Members do not take seriously the northern powerhouse and the midlands engine. I can tell him, as a midlands Member of Parliament, that we take them very seriously. We believe in devolution.

There are no easy solutions to the UK’s weak productivity, but we can do two things to help with the productivity puzzle. The first is better infrastructure, including digital infrastructure. The chair of the National Infrastructure Commission told the Treasury Committee recently that the big political divide in infrastructure policy is not between the parties, but between action and inaction. The Chancellor must act on the commission’s recommendations when they are published, and I welcome his commitment today to implement its recommendations on the Oxford-Milton Keynes Corridor. I also welcome the proposal for discounted lending to local authorities so that they can invest in infrastructure.

The second response on productivity is to retain the UK’s historical commitment to openness to trade, investment and migration. Global Britain must be a reality, not just a slogan. The economic case for leaving the EU has always rested—and continues to rest—on openness, and we must not allow the Brexit process to mark the start of a descent into economic nationalism. It is only through productivity growth that households can be weaned off consumer credit without cutting their consumption and reducing their living standards. It is only through productivity growth that the Chancellor has any hope of meeting demands for additional spending—on welfare, social care, prisons, the NHS, public sector pay and Brexit contingency measures—without damaging the Government’s hard-won reputation for fiscal credibility.

For the avoidance of doubt, let us for the thousandth time dismiss the idea that a Brexit-induced fiscal windfall will relieve the pressures on our health service. There are no easy choices and there is no pot of gold under the Brexit rainbow. Those who persist with this myth may win short-term approval from certain quarters of the media, but only at the cost of long-term damage to trust in politics.

On the industrial strategy, the Chancellor is absolutely right to have identified the technology revolution and to say that Britain is at the forefront of it. He is right to identify the need for more young people to learn maths and computer science to a higher level. We have to find a way of exciting everyone in this country—the next generation, and their parents and grandparents—about the technology revolution. We need them to be confident that they have the skills that will meet the demands of the future labour market, rather than frightened by change in the 21st century. This key part of our plan for a fairer Britain will unlock prosperity.

Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) (Lab)

May I pick up the point about education funding? The Government proposed £3 billion of cuts, which was reduced to just under £2 billion, but that means that there is still a £2 billion gap in our education funding system, and the Chancellor said nothing about how schools will cope with that. Does the right hon. Lady agree that there ought to have been some thinking about investment in our schools to prevent the reversal of the progress that has been made?

Nicky Morgan

First, I can say to the hon. Lady—I am pleased to serve with her on the Treasury Committee—that educational standards have actually improved dramatically in this country during the past seven years. I do not recognise her figures. The Secretary of State for Education announced an extra £1.3 billion for schools in July, and this Government are spending more on schools than any previous Government. If the hon. Lady is really concerned, she will want to deal with the debt that this Government are still paying off, given that we spend almost as much as our schools budget on paying debt interest.

The Chancellor announced a number of new tax measures. I was pleased that he said that our tax system can help to protect our environment. That is an important signal to send to those who are particularly concerned about the environment and to the next generation.

Wes Streeting (Ilford North) (Lab)

I welcome the exemption on the vehicle excise duty supplement for new zero-emission-capable taxis, so I thank the Chancellor for listening to representations. Through the right hon. Lady, may I urge the Chancellor to bring forward that measure so that it will kick in earlier than April 2019, because many such vehicles will be on the road from next month and we will want drivers to be able to take advantage of these new zero-emission-capable and environmentally friendly taxis?

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle)

Order. May I just say, because the hon. Gentleman will want to make a separate speech, that if Members make interventions, they should please make them short?

Nicky Morgan

It is also a pleasure to serve with the hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Committee. I am sure that the Chancellor will have has heard what he said. I am also sure that the Chancellor is looking forward to appearing in front of the Committee on 6 December, when we will be able to ask him such questions directly.

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green)

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Nicky Morgan

I will give way briefly, but then I will make some progress.

Caroline Lucas

Hidden in the Budget book is the really terrible news that no new money is available for renewables until 2025, but at the same time the Chancellor is giving away yet more tax breaks to oil and gas. How on earth is that compatible with a forward-looking country that is serious about climate change?

Nicky Morgan

This Government have done incredibly well in supporting the renewables industry. The renewable energy industry in the midlands is thriving. Again, however, the Committee may well want to take that up with the Chancellor.

I welcome the move on business rates—the change from RPI to CPI is very welcome—and I particularly welcome the move on the staircase tax, about which the Chancellor was asked when he appeared before the Committee recently. The approach builds on the evidence he gave, and I hope he is right about the cross-party support that the measure will be able to receive.

Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the changes to business rates will be particularly valuable for shops, restaurants and office premises in outer London, which are squeezed between the bright lights of central London and large out-of-town shopping centres, and for which the fixed cost of business rates is particularly heavy?

Nicky Morgan

That is an excellent point. Of course I agree with my hon. Friend.

I was just coming on to the Chancellor’s measures on taxing digital businesses, which is also very important for bricks-and-mortar retail businesses. Although the change is perhaps modest, an important principle has been established about the taxation of digital businesses that do business in this country. I welcome what the Chancellor has said about tax avoidance and evasion measures. I think he said that we will spend £155 million on HMRC’s revenue-collecting ability in order to collect £2.3 billion. That sounds very encouraging, but the Committee will of course probe those estimates.

I commend my right hon. Friend for continuing the practice of publishing a distributional analysis showing how the Budget affects households in different parts of the income distribution. That analysis, which provides an unprecedented level of transparency about the consequences of the Budget for ordinary people, emerged only as a result of pressure by the Treasury Committee over the previous two Parliaments, and there might be more work for the Committee to do in this one. What is not yet included in the Treasury’s analysis is an assessment of the gender impact of the Budget—an analysis of how much men and women stand to gain or lose from the Chancellor’s decisions. It will not surprise Members to hear the first female Chair of the Treasury Committee saying that my Committee will take written evidence, including from the Women’s Budget Group, on the merits of such an analysis.

Before I conclude, I want to remind the House about the Treasury Committee’s role in scrutinising the OBR and upholding its independence. There is widespread agreement across the House that the creation of the OBR vastly improved the credibility and quality of economic and fiscal forecasting, and empowered Members of Parliament to hold the Government to account on their fiscal policy. However, in this febrile political atmosphere, we must remember that the OBR is still young, so its hard-won reputation could be fatally undermined if the motives and good faith of its leadership are impugned by those who disagree with its findings. The OBR has a powerful line of accountability to Parliament, thanks to the Committee’s statutory veto on the appointment and dismissal of its senior leadership. We will seek assurances that the OBR has done its work without political interference, we will subject its forecasts to critical scrutiny and, if necessary, we will defend its integrity. As I have said, the Committee looks forward to hearing from the Chancellor on the Budget measures, and the economic and fiscal outlook, when he appears before us in two weeks’ time.

The UK faces many challenges. Brexit hangs over this place and the UK like a cloud. Some people think there is a silver lining; others think there will be more rain and fog. It was therefore important that today’s Budget showed that the Government are determined to do more than just negotiate our path out of the EU. I believe the Chancellor has more than achieved that with everything he announced today.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech to the Education Britain Summit


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster in London on 6 July 2016.

It’s a pleasure to be here at the Education Britain Summit today. Thank you to the Education Foundation for organising the summit with its positive focus on ‘celebration, ambition and inspiration’. These are, without doubt, challenging times but in a time of uncertainty the positive ‘can do’ approach of the Education Foundation is exactly what we all need.

When I accepted the invitation to speak at this event I knew that I’d be standing before you in a post-referendum world. The result is not the one I wanted or campaigned for and we are now living in uncertain times. I know, for many young people, recent events have been unsettling. We all – teachers, leaders, schools and parents – have an important role to play in providing reassurance and support to young people. I want to send a clear message today that:

– no child should live in fear of racism or bullying

– we will not stand for intolerance

– hate crimes of any kind must be stamped out

Long before this result, the government gave clear direction to schools to teach children and young people about the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

This is part of our drive to foster better social cohesion and encourage all young people to celebrate their differences alongside their unifying sense of Britishness.

Although the referendum result has changed so much about the world we are living in, my ambition remains resolute: to extend opportunity and deliver real social justice for all. Brexit doesn’t change that. We will continue with the ambitious pace of reform that we have begun. Now, more than ever, we owe it to the next generation to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on the challenges they will face.


Having spoken to the team behind today’s summit, I’m struck by their desire to build an ‘Education Nation’ – reforming of our system to meet the challenges of the future, but never forgetting to celebrate the things that are already being done well – rediscovering ‘national education treasures’.

So in that spirit I’d like to ‘celebrate’ the efforts of everyone here today. Your desire for a conversation and to work together is why I’m here and I’m really looking forward to you sharing your insights and expertise with me.

And as we approach the end of another school year we should also celebrate the efforts of teachers and leaders in schools throughout the country. Their hard work, commitment and exceptional ability to bring about excellent educational outcomes for young people represent our ‘educational treasures’. It’s thanks to their collective efforts that 1.4 million more children and young people are being taught in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools since 2010.


I am ambitious for the education system, and that ambition is clear: educational excellence everywhere. Our white paper builds on the reforms that started in 2010 which focused on making sure that every child gets the best start in life.

Yesterday, schools received the first set of key stage 2 results, following the introduction of a far more rigorous curriculum in 2014. As a government we made the decision to raise the bar on literacy and numeracy. Because while the old arrangements allowed politicians to celebrate ever improving results, the truth is, expectations were too low.

We had to bring our primary school curriculum in line with the best in the world, because nothing is more important than ensuring that young people master the basics of reading, writing and mathematics early on.

If they don’t, they’ll be left playing catch up for the rest of their lives. That’s why as part of this government’s commitment to delivering real social justice, started by Michael Gove my predecessor, we have raised the bar on what counts as a good enough standard in the 3Rs by the end of primary school.

Nicky Morgan at Education Britain Summit

Nicky Morgan presents the keynote at the Education Britain Summit
I want to thank all those involved in the tests this year, including teachers and parents, for supporting pupils through the transition to a more rigorous system. It’s important that all involved see these results for what they are – a reflection of how well children this year have performed against a new curriculum.

Whilst it is right that we should celebrate success and achievement, there is more we have to do. It cannot be right that in 2016 children’s educational outcomes are, in part, determined by where they live.

That’s why as a society we must share a common goal: to ensure that all children have an excellent education. We all have a part to play in achieving that goal. Everyone has a role to play. Central to that ambition are schools, their leaders and teachers, and that’s why the white paper has such a strong emphasis on ‘great teachers’ and ‘great leaders’.

There can be no doubt that high-quality teaching is essential to improving pupil outcomes. Excellent leadership is also key. Ofsted evidence has shown that the overall performance of a school rarely exceeds the quality of its leadership and management. That’s why getting great teachers and leaders where they are most needed is my absolute priority.

These are challenging times for some schools to get the teachers and leaders they need in order to drive up standards. I recognise that schools find it frustrating if they can’t secure the talent they rightly expect, and we are responding. An economy in growth presents challenges – in a competitive graduate market, the best graduates are in high demand.

I’m very clear about the role the government has to play, to create an environment in which schools can be ambitious. We’re tackling workload, encouraging recruitment to teaching and promoting higher standards.

And we’re making progress.

I’m delighted with the latest recruitment figures to teaching – we’re seeing growth in the number of people training to be teachers across a range of secondary subjects.

I can also confirm that our reform of QTS will be implemented no earlier than September 2018 – with a formal consultation about our proposals in due course.

We’re tackling workload so teachers and school leaders will have time to focus on what really matters – focusing on high-quality teaching and delivering excellent educational outcomes.

We recently published the reports of 3 independent review groups looking at tackling workload related to marking, planning and data management. These reports are a great example of the profession taking charge of their own development and they include clear messages that can empower teachers and school leaders. We urge everybody in education to consider and engage with the messages and recommendations in the reports.

We’re also focusing on reforms that support children to reach their full potential, like character education and mental health reforms. Equipping schools with the tools to make a real difference to the future success of their students.

As I said in my opening remarks, in a time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we equip the next generation with the confidence to succeed. Character plays a huge role in that, as I have been told time and time again by experts in character education like Carol Dweck and Angela Drummond, who say that children need and deserve opportunities to learn:

– how to persevere and respect each other

– how to bounce back when faced with failure

– how to collaborate and build strong relationships at work and in their private lives

That’s why we are investing £6 million to test approaches to character education. We’re also delivering Character Awards to highlight the excellent practice that already exists at schools like Archibald Primary, where character education is at the heart of the school’s ethos and embedded across the curriculum. The school’s motto is “Believe and achieve” and the staff place great emphasis on instilling a belief in pupils that, whatever challenges they face, they can achieve their full potential.

And the Chancellor has announced that we will invest over £500 million so up to 25% of secondary schools can extend their school day to provide a wider range of activities, including those associated with building character.

These broader qualities are sought by parents, educators and employers alike.

Last year I supported the creation of the Careers & Enterprise Company – so that young people and employers can connect much earlier and start having the right conversations about career options and expectations – letting them know which skills and qualifications they need in order to advance their careers. The Careers & Enterprise Company is already doing great things under a fantastic CEO, Claudia Harris, and I know it will go from strength to strength. I would encourage anyone in business, with the capacity to get involved, to do so and start inspiring young people to succeed.

Employers want young people to have access to the right routes through education, to complement their individual strengths, and so that the economy gains the types of skills it really needs. That’s why the government is publishing its Skills Plan later this week – a strategy to lift the status of the technical route and put employers in the driving seat as the people best placed to know what skills our country needs.


The truth is that the government cannot and should not do it alone. We have a role to play but we need to be clear about the roles we need others to play. I hope that if we approach it as conversation rather than confrontation we’ll make the progress we need.

Many of our key policy interventions have been based on advice from leading heads and teachers, and we welcome their input and wise counsel. We will continue with that approach so that reforms are owned by the educators. But we should be clear that schools and their leaders must step up and play their part.

We’ve been very clear about the role schools need to play in identifying and developing talented teachers:

– getting involved in ITT

– creating a working environment that provides opportunities and reward for teachers and leaders

– developing and training the next generation of leaders

The government has created opportunities – schools need to make the most of them. Many already are.

That’s why I want to inspire, empower and extend the reach of our best leaders, putting them at the heart of the education system where they can drive change and take ownership of the system. If we are to achieve our ambition for educational excellence everywhere, then a supply of high-quality leaders is needed at all levels, from middle and senior leaders to headteachers and system leaders and increasingly at MAT CEOs level.

We believe that schools are best placed to recognise teachers with the talent, ambition and commitment to become leaders. To support this, we want to ensure schools and prospective leaders themselves can identify and choose to access high-quality leadership development opportunities.

And I’m very proud of the creation of a ‘Women in Education’ network to further support women’s career progression. We’ll be working with organisations such as ASCL and #WomenEd and with schools to ensure that this provision does not duplicate existing support. We are creating the “leadership coaching pledge”. Our ambition is to have 1,000 pledges so that 1,000 women are supported through coaching by system leaders by March 2017.

Thank you

I’m clear that society as a whole – not just government and schools – has a shared responsibility to celebrate the dedication of everyone involved in education, and to recognise the essential contribution they make.

Thank you for all your hard work in pursuing educational excellence everywhere and the collaborative approach you are taking to achieving it.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech at the Careers & Enterprise Company Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, in Liverpool on 11 May 2016.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen and thank you Christine for that introduction.

It’s a real delight to be here in Liverpool today for this conference, to take stock of what The Careers & Enterprise Company has achieved already and for me, as the Secretary of State, to outline the government’s vision for careers provision, which we believe should be high-quality, consistent, engaging with employers, made up of several rather than one-off encounters, which start early on in a young person’s life.

Careers provision should focus on giving young people the information, aspiration, advice and training that will allow them to unlock their potential.

It has been a year now since The Careers & Enterprise Company appointed its CEO, Claudia Harris, and started its operations in earnest. It’s so great to see Claudia here today and I know you’re going to hear her speak later about her own enthusiasm for and dedication to the aims of the company.

Let me take this opportunity to thank Claudia for all the hard work she, and her team, have put in so far.

The truth is there is so much energy and enthusiasm in the careers space, and there are huge amounts of talent and excellent practice too, but there isn’t enough co-ordination. That’s why the work of the company is so important – amplifying the work of others as it seeks to ‘join the dots’ from education to the world of work.

It’s great to see so many of you here today as providers of careers and enterprise services, businesses, and school and college leaders – all seeking to support young people as they make the transition from school to the world of work.

Making real links between schools and colleges and those who can help young people to unlock their potential is vital to improving the life chances of individuals and delivering the social justice that we, as a government, are committed to. But it’s also vital for our country as a whole and our economy because we can achieve so much more when we harness everyone’s talents.

As I have said in the past, and as I’m sure all of you know, there is no one route to success. I believe in the academic route and I believe in the technical and skilled route, too – because we all have differing skills and strengths – so I want to see parity between the routes offered to young people, so they can make a real choice in choosing their career.

At the heart of The Careers & Enterprise Company’s work, as well as the government’s vision for the future of careers provision, is the Enterprise Adviser Network, established to build the long-lasting, regional coalitions that can inspire and prepare young people to make the right choices about their futures.

The Enterprise Adviser Network is the cornerstone of the company’s work, making it easier for schools and colleges to connect with local employers and careers and enterprise providers across the country. The network is able to stimulate provision where it is scarce or lacking, and filter the quality services where provision is overloaded or confusing.

Since its launch only 6 months ago, the Enterprise Adviser Network has engaged more than 30 local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), including my own in Leicester and Leicestershire and I was so pleased to speak, alongside Claudia, at the launch of my local Network at the National Space Centre in Leicester last week.

I know that Leicester and Leicestershire’s own Enterprise Co-ordinator, Abdul Bathin, is here today. His passion and enthusiasm for young people and building links with business is infectious and I know that he will grow a fantastic local network in my area, where he will soon be joined by more enterprise co-ordinators.

Locally here in the Liverpool city region there have been 4 enterprise co-ordinators in post since February, engaging with 30 schools, and 16 enterprise advisers who have been matched to 7 schools.

The national network already has 60 full-time enterprise co-ordinators employed by local enterprise partnerships all over the country, co-funded by the Careers & Enterprise Company; and has already signed up 600 schools.

The huge scale of that success in such a short time is testament to the collaborative leadership offered by the local enterprise partnerships and the dedication of the enterprise co-ordinators and business volunteers. But I know that this is only the beginning and I have no doubt that the national and local networks will continue to grow in the months and years ahead.

Alongside the Enterprise Adviser Network, The Careers & Enterprise Company is working to transform careers provision across the country, growing the evidence, sharing what works and providing investment, enabling the best programmes to scale up their work and do more in the areas where they are needed most.

It’s such a pleasure to see the 33 amazing projects backed by The Careers & Enterprise Company in their recent careers and enterprise fund. With government’s investment and by unlocking match funding, £9.5 million is backing the people and organisations working hard in this area, with 75% going to ‘cold spot’ areas where it is needed most.

What’s remarkable about this is that almost a quarter of a million young people stand to benefit.

And they will be benefiting from projects like CareerConnect here in Liverpool, a STEM-focussed programme which coaches young people to develop key character traits that will help them to succeed like confidence and resilience; Bridge to Work, from my own area in Loughborough, which offers flexible skills and coaching courses to help students get their careers on the right path; Groundwork UK in Birmingham which, through its enterprise camp, helps unemployed young people to develop their skills and engage with employers; the Ideas Foundation, providing inspiring encounters for young people with advertising and design agencies; and many more.

I understand that most, if not all, of the 33 programmes benefitting from the funding are here today. Let me say to you, I am so excited to see the impact of your work and looking forward to meeting you all.

One thing which has been shown to improve the life chances of young people is high-quality mentoring. We know that inspiration has to start young, so that’s why I am delighted that later this year The Careers & Enterprise Company will be launching its mentoring campaign to unlock mentors from across the business community and its supporting fund.

This exciting and important work will further bridge the gap between education and employment, scaling up proven mentoring programmes across the country, particularly in ‘cold spot’ areas.

The campaign will target young people and our rightly ambitious aim by 2020 is to reach and serve 25,000 young people a year who are most at risk of disengaging by offering them high-quality, careers-focussed mentoring.

Unlocking young people’s potential is something that involves all of us – which is why there is such a need for co-ordination and galvanisation if we are to end the postcode lottery that has existed in careers and enterprise provision for far too long. It means everyone involved needs to engage and make sure their voices are heard.

I’m really pleased to say The Careers & Enterprise Company intends to facilitate powerful, local voices in education to support the Enterprise Adviser Network. The company proposes to convene annually 39 school leaders who represent schools on local enterprise partnership boards. Those school leaders will ensure effective dialogue exists between the network and schools and colleges.

I have to say that I have been incredibly impressed by the scale of support from employers. A roundtable earlier this year brought together 40 leading employers and I will be convening the chief executives of those companies later this year to further harness their collective influence.

At the event in Leicestershire last week it was amazing to hear employers talk about their input to the Enterprise Adviser Network and, on the day, we had new volunteers stepping forward to get involved and offer their expertise.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone: careers and enterprise organisations, employers and schools for the hard work that is transforming this hugely important agenda.

The voluntary work of employers is a really important part of supporting the system to become a success and, if you’ve already signed up, please keep working with The Careers & Enterprise Company and your local enterprise partnership to improve the Enterprise Adviser Network, to scale up fantastic provision in your local areas; and sponsor those cold spots where better provision is so desperately needed.

The willingly collaborative work of our many excellent careers and enterprise organisations has been remarkable over this last year and I know that in continuing to work together so much more can be achieved.

I know the schools who are already working with the Enterprise Adviser Network recognise its worth to their students and I’d like to encourage all schools to work with the network and local enterprise co-ordinators to build employer engagement plans and take advantage of the Gatsby Tool that Sir John Holman and the Careers and Enterprise Company are launching later this year.

I’m delighted that our ambitions to improve the life chances of young people all over England are continually being strengthened. I am constantly thrilled to see the great work going on up and down the country to ensure our nation’s young people have every opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential – securing the prosperous future everyone wants and deserves.

I’m particularly pleased that The Careers & Enterprise Company is working closely with the government’s flagship National Citizen Service programme to look at the ways young people participating in it can benefit from engagement with employers and other organisations.

I know that if we all continue to work together: government, schools, business, providers and LEPs – then we can make a real difference to the life chances and future prosperity of everyone coming through the education system and heading into the world of work, whilst at the same time growing our economy with the types of skilled jobs it really needs.

Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for your hard work. And thank you for making a difference to the lives of children and young people.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech on Academies


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 9 May 2016.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I shall make a statement on all schools becoming academies.

In our White Paper “Educational Excellence Everywhere”, published in March, I set out the Government’s vision of continuing the rise in educational standards in England during the rest of the current Parliament. We are committed to building on the reforms of the past six years, which have led to 1.4 million more children being taught in good and outstanding schools. However, we are not content to stop there: 1.4 million children is a start, but it is not enough. We must ensure that we deliver a great education to every single child, because we owe it to the next generation to give them the tools that will enable them to realise every ounce of their potential.

The White Paper was called “Educational Excellence Everywhere” for a reason. As I have said before, for me the “everywhere” is non-negotiable. In the White Paper, for example, we set out our plans for “Achieving Excellence Areas”, where we will focus specific resources on tackling entrenched educational underperformance. The White Paper also sets out how we want to see the teaching profession take responsibility for teacher accreditation, tackle unfair funding, build leadership capacity and set high expectations for every child, with a world-leading knowledge-based curriculum in a truly school-led self-improving system learning from the best from across the world and preparing the next generation to compete on the global stage.

It is the vision of a fully academised system that has attracted the most attention. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have spoken to many hon. Members on both sides of the House, as well as to school leaders, governors, local government representatives and parents. It is clear from those conversations that the strength and importance of academies is widely accepted. There is a clear recognition of the case for putting greater responsibility for the school system in the hands of school leaders. Let me be clear: we firmly believe that schools becoming more autonomous and more directly accountable for their results raises standards. Academies are the vehicle to allow schools and leaders to innovate with the curriculum, have the flexibility to set the pay and conditions for their staff and bring about great collaboration with other schools.

We still want every school to become an academy by 2022. We always intended this to be a six-year process in which good schools should be able to take their own decisions about their future as academies. However, we understand the concerns that have been raised about a hard deadline and legislating for blanket powers to issue academy orders. That is why I announced on Friday that we have decided it is not necessary to take blanket powers to convert good schools in strong local authorities to academies at this time.

In March, a record high of 227 schools chose to apply for academy status, showing clearly where the momentum lies as school leaders, parents, governors and teachers across the country embrace the benefits that being an academy brings. Since then, we have also issued more than 104 academy orders to underperforming schools, meaning that the young people in those schools will soon benefit from the strong leadership provided by expert academy sponsors. That is why those who took to the airwaves this weekend to crow about a victory in their battle against raising standards will find themselves sorely disappointed. There will be no retreat from our mission to give every child the best start in life and to build an education system led by school leaders and teachers on the frontline, running their own schools as academies.

The Education and Adoption Act 2016 already enables us to rapidly convert failing schools and schools that are coasting, where they can benefit from the support of a strong sponsor. As a result, it is now easier to respond swiftly and effectively when schools underperform. Schools will not be allowed to languish unchallenged for years. As we set out in the White Paper, and as I have subsequently argued, the most pressing need for further powers is to boost standards for those schools languishing in the worst performing local authorities and to provide for schools in local authorities likely to become unviable. So instead of taking a blanket power to convert all schools, we will seek powers in two specific circumstances where it is clear that the case for conversion to academy status is pressing. In our worst performing local authorities, we need to take more decisive action so that a new system led by outstanding schools can take their place. Similarly, because of the pace of academisation in some areas, it will become increasingly difficult for local authorities to offer schools the necessary support, and there will be a need to ensure that those schools are not dependent on an unviable local authority.

We will therefore seek provisions to convert schools in the lowest performing and unviable local authorities to academy status. In some circumstances, that might involve the conversion of good and outstanding schools when they have not chosen to do so themselves. However, the need for action in those limited circumstances is clear, because of the considerable risk to the standard of education that young people in those schools receive, as the local authority is either unable to guarantee their continued success or support further improvement. We will consult on these arrangements, including the thresholds for performance and unviability, and I am making a clear commitment that the definition and thresholds of underperformance and viability will be the subject of an affirmative resolution in this House.

I would also like to reassure hon. Members in regard to concerns about how we protect small schools, particularly those in rural areas. I have already made it clear that no small rural school will close as a result of the move to have more schools becoming academies. There is already a statutory presumption against the closure of rural schools, but we will now go further. Where small rural schools are converting to academy status, we will introduce a dual lock to ensure their protection: both local and national Government will have to agree to a school closing before a decision can be made. There will also be dedicated support to help rural primary schools during the process of conversion, and a £10 million fund to secure expert support and advice for them.

While we want every school to become an academy, we will not compel successful schools to join multi-academy trusts. In order to share expertise and resources, we expect that most schools will form local clusters of multi-academy trusts, but if the leadership of a successful school does not wish to enter a formal relationship with other schools, we trust it to make that decision and will not force it to do so. Small schools will be able to convert to stand-alone academies as long as they are financially sustainable.

I began this statement by saying that our goal has not changed. This Government will continue to prioritise the interests of young people and getting them the best start in life by having an excellent education over the vested interests who seek to oppose the lifting of standards and the rooting out of educational underperformance. Those very same vested interests allowed schools to languish for years unchallenged and unchanged until the launch of the sponsored academies programme by the last Labour Government.

Our work to improve our education system will continue apace. We will continue to empower school leaders and raise standards. We will continue to hold high expectations for every child. We will establish a fair national funding formula for schools, so that young people everywhere get the funding they deserve. We will continue to work towards a system in which all schools are run and led by the people who know them best, in a way that works for their pupils, as academies. The reforms will transform the education system in our country and ensure that we give every child an excellent education, so that they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. I commend this statement to the House.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech in Leicester


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, in Leicester on 6 May 2016.

Good morning ladies and gentleman, and thank you Corin [Crane, Director, Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership] for that introduction.

Both as the Secretary of State for Education and as a Leicestershire MP, it’s such a delight to be here today, launching the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s local Enterprise Adviser Network in partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company.

And it’s a real pleasure to welcome the Careers and Enterprise Company’s Chief Executive, Claudia Harris, here this morning.

As a government we have made it a priority to make sure the education system is better linked to the world of work, with emphasis on young people mastering the skills the economy needs and relevant qualifications respected by employers who are able to have greater influence on the curriculum and how it is delivered.

This government wants to see real and long-lasting improvements to the quality of careers advice and guidance, with schools and employers working more closely together.

Getting this right means opening a world of opportunity for young people, making sure each and every one of them has the chance to succeed in life, and is a key component of our commitment to govern as one nation and deliver social justice.

We know we have made great strides forward since 2010, with the latest national figures showing 7.3% of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) – that is the lowest level since consistent records began.

However, in parts of our local area NEET levels are significantly higher than others, so we cannot rest on our laurels, and we have to continually commit ourselves to helping all young people to reach their potential.

By working together – government, schools, colleges, universities and employers – we can all play a part in the success of young people, setting them up with the tools to find a career that suits them and delivers the financial security of a prosperous future.

It’s vital for individuals, but actually it’s vital for the economy as a whole too. That’s why the careers strategy we’re publishing this year will rightly recognise the importance of careers provision.

I’m proud that this government has committed £70 million throughout this Parliament to transform careers provision – and we’re investing an additional £20 million to increase mentor numbers for those at risk of underachieving, so that they can get the high-quality mentoring that will give them the guidance and the confidence that will allow them to succeed.

Many organisations are already offering excellent careers and enterprise activities for schools, employers and young people, but access is inconsistent and coverage is patchy.

That’s why we backed the creation of the Careers and Enterprise Company, so that it could test and share evidence on what works, address inconsistencies and deliver targeted support where it is most needed, invest in and facilitate young people having more contact with employers during the crucial period when they are making decisions about their future, and create the lasting connections between schools and local employers that will make careers guidance meaningful and matched to local need.

The Careers and Enterprise Company has made excellent progress to date, launching its £5 million careers and enterprise fund, benefiting a number of national projects and of which £184k has been specifically awarded to excellent local initiatives.

Bridge to Work, based at Loughborough College, an initiative I have been delighted to support as a local MP, is one of the recipients.

It offers flexible courses, work experience, interview training, employability and job coaching, as well as intensive courses in vital English, maths and ICT skills. Its focus on the skills gap is helping young people to make a smooth transition from education to the world of work.

In October last year I was thrilled to be able to attend one of their careers events, alongside Claudia Harris of the Careers and Enterprise Company.

Bridge to Work is not alone, with other local schemes like the Engineering Development Trust, Founders for Schools, Twenty Twenty and World Skills UK also benefiting from the fund.

The Careers and Enterprise Company has made other progress too, publishing its ‘what works’ toolkit and announcing that it will lead a new mentoring campaign with the aim by 2020 for 25,000 young people a year to receive mentor support.

Enterprise education is about teaching young people to recognise and develop the skills of innovation, creativity, risk-taking and management and – while it is for schools to decide how best to provide entrepreneurship education – we know that contact with entrepreneurs and businesses is key, because modern careers guidance is as much about fostering aspiration and building confidence in young people as it is about making sure they have access to meaningful advice.

I am delighted that the Enterprise Adviser Network, launched by the Careers and Enterprise Company in September 2015, has been such a success.

Local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) up and down the country have embraced this opportunity to help deliver their skills plans by bringing schools, colleges, local employers and other organisations together.

The hard work of people like Corin, Abdul [Bathin, Enterprise Co-ordinator, Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership] and the fabulous team at the Careers and Enterprise Company has got the network off to a flying start and it is already making a difference.

There are now 59 enterprise co-ordinators in 35 local enterprise partnerships, with 340 enterprise advisers signed up.

And it’s set to grow rapidly, with the remaining local enterprise partnerships signing up and the recruitment of more coordinators and many more volunteer advisers.

As you know, the Enterprise Adviser Network is able to pair senior business volunteers with senior leadership teams in schools and colleges, with the volunteers supporting those schools to build employer engagement and careers and enterprise plans.

The network is underpinned by the enterprise co-ordinators working in clusters of 20 schools and colleges, knocking on employers’ doors and making it their mission to understand offers from service providers, significantly decluttering the work-facing schools and colleges trying to build engagement plans.

The success of the Enterprise Adviser Network depends on business volunteers giving up their time to work with schools and inspire young people, opening their eyes to opportunities available to them and helping them to take control of their futures.

I want to say a massive thank you to those who have volunteered already – it’s such an important role, and I think there’s something to be gained for the volunteers too, with the potential to inspire young people into their own sectors and contribute to the way their local economy adds to its workforce with the kinds of skills it really needs.

Evidence indicates, for example, that manufacturing employers find it difficult to fill vacancies because of a lack of applicants with the requisite skills.

This is a particular challenge here in Leicester and Leicestershire because we have higher-than-average concentrations of manufacturing with 14% compared to 9% nationally.

In other industries we have higher-than-average logistics and public sectors too, so we need to make sure we are taking steps to address that in the way we train and advise our young people on careers.

The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Adviser Network was created to build the lasting connections between local employers, and schools and colleges that Leicester and Leicestershire really needs.

I’m so pleased that the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has been so quick off the mark, recruiting one enterprise co-ordinator already, with 17 local schools and colleges signed up, and 14 enterprise advisers recruited to the programme, which it is now seeking to match.

The network ambitiously aims to have 20 schools signed up and 20 enterprise advisers recruited by the end of this month, and to have another enterprise co-ordinator in post, and 40 schools and enterprise advisers involved by September.

And I think that approach is absolutely right because we have to be ambitious for every young person and stretch the network’s reach as far as we can.

I’m really pleased that established and successful local provision like the Leicestershire Education Business Company and Leicestershire Cares are at the heart of the local enterprise partnership’s development of the Enterprise Adviser Network.

The network is already a fantastic example, building on the excellent practice that exists and stripping out unnecessary duplication, making it easier for schools and colleges to connect with local employers and careers and enterprise providers across the country.

I want to take this opportunity to wish Abdul well in his role as Enterprise Co-ordinator and ask that you work with him in the coming months and years, as he seeks, with his wealth of experience working with local businesses and young people, to grow the network and make it a success.

I’m so excited to see the Enterprise Adviser Network operating here in our local area.

The guidance, support and opportunities it can and will offer to young people here in Leicester and Leicestershire is crucial to making sure they are able to make informed decisions about their future careers, while at the same time matching them with the needs of our local economy.

Armed with the right information those young people can make choices that suit them and their skills, setting them up for the futures they really want.

Thank you.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech at Naz Legacy Foundation


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, in the Houses of Parliament on 27 April 2016.

Thank you, Harris [Bokhari OBE, son of Naz Bokhari in whose memory the Naz Legacy Foundation was established], for that introduction. It’s such a pleasure to be here with the Naz Legacy Foundation tonight.

It’s so fitting that you, Harris, and your family set up the foundation in the name and memory of your father, Naz, the first Muslim head in this country and an inspirational teacher with a passion for getting the best outcomes for young people.

The foundation’s work focuses on so many things I am passionate about and this government views as key priorities:

– an excellent education for all so we can achieve social justice

– the importance of character building to the long-term success of individuals, which I know is a key theme tonight

– and the full integration of those who choose to make Britain their home

We have a tremendously diverse society in Britain today with a huge mix of ethnicities, faiths and cultures. In fact more than a quarter of pupils at our schools are classified as being of minority ethnic origin.

British values

The richly diverse place modern Britain has become means we have to make sure all young people learn to relate to each other and share common British ideals. That’s why we have made clear the need for schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of people from different backgrounds.

This is something I believe is echoed by the work of the foundation’s Diversity Programme, promoting British institutions. Last year the programme took 70 pupils from 6 schools in areas of disadvantage to Clarence House, meeting the then Deputy Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales.

They were able to take part in sessions on the importance of the democratic process and tour Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. I have no doubt they would have found the day rewarding. I hope it has sparked in them a sense of how crucial it is to engage and participate with politics and vote in elections.

The achievement of young people from ethnic minorities in this country has risen dramatically over the last 25 years. But this government recognises that children from disadvantaged backgrounds can require extra support to ensure they do not underachieve. We know that we have made progress since 2010 by providing schools with additional funding through the pupil premium, targeted where it is needed most.

One of the things we recently published ‘educational excellence everywhere’ white paper talks about is making sure that no cold spots remain, so that every child has the access to an excellent education that I believe should be their birth right.

With a raft of new measures we are making sure that failing schools can be turned around quickly with new leadership, incentivising work in the most challenged areas to get the best school leaders where they are needed most, and making sure those leaders can get the best access to the most talented teachers.

The importance of character

But we know that, in order to tread a path to success, young people need more than just an excellent academic grounding. They also need to be instilled with attributes and skills like confidence, team-work and resilience – the kind of character traits that will help them to thrive by believing in themselves, working well with others and picking themselves up from disappointments. The kind of traits that give them a sense of society and, hopefully, spur them on to give back to their communities – something which feels to me to be innately British.

The new autonomy afforded to schools means they can choose to instil these character traits in young people within and outside the curriculum, using innovative new methods. The best schools are already doing this by encouraging their pupils to engage with debating clubs, team sports and other activities. The Chancellor announced in the Budget last month that we will be investing £500 million so that 25% of secondary schools can extend their school day to offer a range of these activities.

In the last year we have invested £5 million specifically in character education to fund grants to organisations to test new approaches and expand existing programmes:

– build the evidence base on teaching character

– and fund the Character Awards to recognise the outstanding practice already making a difference in the best schools

In our white paper we outlined plans to invest in a new web presence through which teachers will be able to access the evidence base and other character resources. They will be able to add to that resource, so all teachers can share ‘what works’ with each other. The white paper also outlined our plan to work with the What Works Centres to make available to schools new tools to measure progress in building key character traits in their pupils.

And of course there is the National Citizen Service (NCS), an opportunity for young people to get involved in a community project, building and honing crucial skills while spending some time away from home and experiencing the independence that brings.

The NCS represents a unique opportunity for young people from all walks of life to interact with each other, learn about their differences and find ways to communicate. We’re spending £1 billion over the next 4 years so that 60% of young people will have the opportunity to participate in the NCS and we are actively encouraging schools to recommend it to their students.


One thing which has been shown time and time again to have a positive impact on disadvantaged young people is quality mentoring schemes. The Careers and Enterprise Company, backed by my department in 2014, is leading a key mentoring programme, seeking to reach 25,000 young people a year by 2020, with high-quality, meaningful, careers-related mentoring. I believe those young people will have a better chance to succeed because of the reassurance and guidance mentoring brings.

We recognise that government can’t and shouldn’t do it all. That’s why the work of organisations like the Naz Legacy Foundation is so vital. Alongside its work championing excellence in education, it is placing thousands of key mentors into schools all over the country, recognising the role models who can give young people from ethnic minorities the confidence to succeed, and promoting the integration that is crucial if modern Britain is to become the truly inclusive society we want it to be. It’s no surprise that the Naz Legacy Foundation was a recipient of one of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Awards just 2 years ago.


Naz Bokhari was a firm believer in the impact an excellent education can have on any young person, no matter their background. And he focused on breaking down barriers, celebrating Britain’s wonderful diversity as one of its many strengths. He, like us, wasn’t focused on where young people are from, but instead where they are going.

It has been a real pleasure to be here tonight and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening. Thank you.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech at NAHT Annual Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, on 30 April 2016.

Thank you, Kim [Johnson, NAHT President], for that introduction.

I want to start by saying thank you – to all of you. Thank you for your hard work, your commitment and your exceptional ability to bring about excellent educational outcomes for young people. You, together with your dedicated staff, are at the forefront of our education system and it’s thanks to your collective efforts that education in England has taken huge leaps forward, with 1.4 million more children and young people in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools since our reforms began in 2010.

And let me be clear that, while we may not always agree, I have enormous respect for the work you do, leading your schools to success and ensuring that every child is encouraged and enabled to reach their potential.

Primary assessment

I recognise the pressures this term brings in terms of assessments, but it’s because we, like you, want to continue raising standards for young people that we made changes to primary assessment.

Let me take this opportunity to apologise again for the recent incident where a section of the key stage 1 final test was published early, alongside the sample papers. I have received a personal assurance from the Chief Executive of the Standards and Testing Agency that she and her team will be taking every possible step, working closely with my department, to ensure that such a mistake can never happen again.

We all agree it’s critical that we get primary assessment right, with tests fit for purpose, because mastering the basics in primary school is vital to the future success of young people.

But in terms of evaluating school performance, the primary school floor standard has 2 parts: attainment and, crucially, progress. We are increasing the emphasis on the progress pupils make, because it’s a fairer way of evaluating school performance, particularly for those schools making great progress for pupils from a low starting point.

Although one part of the floor standard is more challenging this year, with the new expected standard, we are really clear that schools will be judged on their pupils’ progress as well as their attainment.

As you know, if a school meets the progress standard it is above the floor altogether. We have made sure all who hold schools accountable are aware of this too, and we will continue to do so.

Historically, the floor standard has identified only a small proportion of schools every year which are below that standard – and this year I can reassure you that no more than 1% more schools will be below the floor standard than last year.

To get primary assessment right we have to make sure teachers have the time and resources to prepare, so we appreciate that we have to make primary assessment run more smoothly, with as much support as possible.

But I don’t accept the claim from some outside this hall, that the higher expectations embodied in the new national curriculum are somehow ‘inappropriate’. Virtually all children have the potential to become properly literate and numerate and I am unwilling, as I know you are, to settle for anything less.

In countries like Korea and Singapore, the proportion of functionally literate and numerate pupils aged 15 is over 90%, according to the 2012 PISA survey. In Ireland the proportion of functionally literate pupils aged 15 is more than 90% too, but in England it’s only 82%, and only 77% are functionally numerate.

According to the materials used by PISA, this means that one year prior to leaving school, just under a fifth of our pupils cannot read and understand the moral behind one of Aesop’s fables. And more than a fifth are unable to work out how many people on average climb a mountain each day, when given the annual figure – while more than 90% of their peers in Korea and Singapore can do so.

‘Will more rigorous tests at key stage 2 actually address this gap?’ you might ask. My answer is yes. These new key stage 2 assessments give a better picture of whether a pupil has the reading and mathematical ability, to prosper at secondary school. Because literacy and numeracy are not just 2 subjects among many, they are the foundation on which all other subjects rest.

And to those who say we should let our children be creative, imaginative, and happy – of course I agree, both as a parent and as the Education Secretary. But I would ask them this – how creative can a child be if they struggle to understand the words on the page in front of them – they certainly can’t enjoy them? What are the limits placed on a child’s imagination, when they cannot write down their ideas for others to read?

That is why the campaign being led by some of those who do not think we should set high expectations, who want to ‘keep their children home for a day’ next week, is so damaging.

Keeping children home – even for a day – is harmful to their education and I think it undermines how hard you as heads are working. I urge those running these campaigns to reconsider their actions.

The case for every school as an academy

I realise some of you have concerns about our plan for every school in England to become an academy, so I want to take this opportunity to explain why I believe it’s the right step for our education system.

The autonomy academy status brings means putting power into the hands of school leaders, because we improve outcomes for young people by ensuring the teachers who teach them, and the heads who lead their schools, are given the freedom to make the right decisions in the interests of those children.

The status alone doesn’t raise standards, it’s the framework of collaboration and support it provides that does. Far from creating a system of survival of the fittest, we want to build the scaffolding that will make it easier for swift action to be taken to support struggling schools with a range of solutions, facilitating excellent leaders to have a positive impact where they are needed most.

Academies make it easier to spread the reach of the best leaders over several schools; recruit, train, develop and deploy better teachers, incentivising them to stay in the profession through new career opportunities; and ensure teachers can share best practice on what works in the classroom.

On current projections, around three-quarters of secondary and a third of primary schools would convert to academy status by 2020. Before the white paper was published I was constantly being asked, at events like this one, whether this government wanted all schools to become academies. So I wanted to give you all a clear sense of direction and a 6-year time frame, so that all schools including those who had not yet considered academy status, can make the right choices, planning effectively for a sustainable future in the model – standalone or multi-academy trust – that works for them, keeping in place local arrangements that work and looking at new arrangements aimed at driving up standards.

We believe that most schools will choose to work in local clusters, which will enable you, our most effective leaders, and your best teachers to extend your reach locally, in order to support one other to succeed, as many do already.

Rowanfield Junior School, which I visited just 2 days ago, is a great example of how local schools can group together. A single converter academy, Rowanfield has expanded to form a MAT cluster in the Cheltenham community. Through this partnership it extends professional development, career opportunities and provides school to school support. Children benefit as teachers develop best practice and model excellence to develop the skills of colleagues within the trust.

Most multi-academy trusts are small and 80% are entirely based in a single local authority area – because collaboration works well. But I should be absolutely clear that there is a place for successful, sustainable, standalone academies.

For local authorities we envision a new role, continuing to provide special educational needs services and acting as champions for SEND young people, making sure every child has a school place, and offering excellent local services, which academies can continue to purchase – as many do now.

I know there are concerns about the costs of this policy but it is fully funded, and we have set aside more than £500 million to build capacity in the system, including the development of strong local trusts, so that no school will be left behind.

And as I know this is a particular concern for some members here, I want to be clear that no good rural school will close as a result of this policy.

‘Educational excellence everywhere’ white paper

But actually, despite what you might see in the media, or hear from the opposition, every school gaining academy status is only one chapter of a much bigger story told in the ‘Educational excellence everywhere’ white paper. In fact, much of it addresses issues raised by the teaching profession itself.

Our white paper is about great leaders, great teachers, intelligent accountability, fair funding and targeted support in challenging parts of the country – it’s about building the framework of school-led working and collaboration that will allow all schools to succeed.

We know that NAHT believes in the impact collaboration can have. The Aspire project demonstrates the potential of what can be achieved when schools work together to share expertise and drive up standards, and as we move towards a more school-led system that collaboration will soon be commonplace across the country.

Great leaders

We know that the leaders in our education system have an enormous impact on educational outcomes, with effective leadership shown to raise achievement, in some cases by the equivalent of many months of learning in a single school year.

So we need to make sure there is a healthy pipeline of leaders, and schools will take the lead on this. And through the new Foundation for Leadership, led by NAHT, ASCL and the NGA, we will be working with the best leaders and other experts, to develop a new suite of voluntary national professional qualifications for every level of leadership.

Through our new Excellence in Leadership fund we will encourage the best providers and multi-academy trusts to look at innovative ways of developing leadership in system cold spots, and through the new National Teaching Service we will put the very best leaders and teachers into the schools where they are needed most.

We envisage a dynamic new approach to collaborative system leadership with up to 300 more teaching schools and 800 more national leaders in education, targeted so that no part of the country misses out. And with new achieving excellence areas we will focus intensively on driving up standards where they have been too low for too long.

We want to ensure that accountability does not discourage excellent leaders from working in the most challenging areas, so as I’ve already said we are putting more emphasis on progress in accountability, which is fairer to schools with lower attaining intakes.

And we are introducing improvement periods, during which schools won’t be inspected, where a new headteacher is brought into a challenging school, so they can be given enough time to turn a school around before being judged by Ofsted.

And we’re doing it because you told us that you had concerns about taking the leap to schools in challenging circumstances, without sufficient time to make your mark and the potential career implications.

Excellent teachers

The white paper outlines our plans to get excellent teachers into the profession, recognise their proficiency in the classroom, and deploy them where they are needed most.

You have made it clear that recruitment is a challenge, so we have taken steps to help, like putting in place bursaries and prestigious scholarships for the subjects most difficult to recruit for.

But now we must go further, so we will reform the National College for Teaching and Leadership to plan and execute targeted incentive programmes, teacher recruitment campaigns, and opportunities that will attract the best graduates and entice back those who have left the profession.

We are continuing to drive up quality in initial teacher training, giving schools a greater role in selecting and training great teachers, and ensuring that there continues to be a clear role for high-quality universities, recognising the strengths they can bring to teacher education.

Crucially, we are replacing the arrangements for awarding qualified teacher status with a stronger accreditation that recognises consistently high standards of practice in the classroom. It is vital that school leaders and parents have confidence in the quality of teachers so the new accreditation will only be given to those demonstrating real proficiency in the classroom.

And we want the people best placed – leaders like you – to decide what good teaching looks like, and when a teacher should be accredited. And we want you to have the freedom to bring in subject experts who can have a positive impact on the lives of young people, developing and supporting them so they too can achieve accreditation.

Workload review reports

This government wants to make the school-led system a reality and we need your input to do that, as we develop the policies outlined in the white paper, so we will continue engaging with the teaching profession, as we do on things like workload.

The teacher workload reviews carried out by 3 outstanding school leaders – one of whom, Dawn Copping, is here today – with input from teachers and unions – including the NAHT’s very own Kathy James. The reviews were launched because of the concerns you highlighted.

I am committed to rising to the challenges set for the government and I hope you will consider the impact the recommendations have on the way you work, because reducing workload is not about one single policy from Whitehall, it’s about us in government, you in schools and Ofsted delivering on the report’s recommendations.

As I said at the beginning of this speech, for everything on which we disagree, we continue to be united in our desire to do better, be better and achieve more for children and young people in this country.

So let me say thank you once again, for everything you do already to bring about excellence in our system, let me reassure you that my door is always open and I always want to hear your views on how together we can achieve educational excellence everywhere.

Thank you.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech on Academies


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, at the ExCel Centre in London on 20 April 2016.

Thank you, Tom [Clark, Chair of Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association (FASNA)], for that introduction.

It’s such a pleasure to be here with you today. I know my colleague, Lord Nash, has been a regular visitor to the show. It is with thanks to the incredible teaching profession that we now have 1.4 million more children in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools. And you are the vanguard, leading the way and showing just what can be done with the autonomy offered by the academies programme. You have seized the opportunities to lead school improvement from the front, offering a world-class education and a bright future to more young people than ever before.

Why academies?

But I know that academy status doesn’t raise standards as a matter of course. What I believe is that academy status means that you have the vehicle by which we can achieve higher standards and that you – the excellent leaders in the system – are the drivers, using it to propel schools to success.

Academy status puts the power in your hands to innovate and try new things to get great results, you put in place local solutions and you can make long-term plans based on the needs of the children in your communities. This is a crucial rejection of the outdated, one-size-fits-all approach of the past, freeing your schools from the diktats of local and national governments.

Academies make it easier for you to recruit, train, develop and deploy better teachers and leaders in your schools and trusts; they allow you to recognise the expertise of any person who can have a positive impact for young people; pay them what you think they’re worth; and give them a clear path to career progression that will keep them engaged rather than looking for opportunities elsewhere.

We know there are lots of models for operating academies but we think many will choose – as many of you have already – to work in local clusters, supporting each other to succeed. But let me be absolutely clear that there is a place for successful and sustainable stand-alone academies and we will never put pressure on them to subscribe to a different model.

Right now 66% of secondary schools and 19% of primary schools are already enjoying the freedoms that come with academy status but there are schools, teachers and pupils that have been denied those freedoms and their associated opportunities for far too long.

New role for local authorities

So yes, we will ensure that – by 2022 – all schools become part of the dynamic academies system. The fact is that even if we didn’t, three-quarters of secondary and a third of primary schools would have converted to academy status by 2022 anyway.

That trajectory makes it impossible for local authorities to manage expensive bureaucracies with fewer and fewer schools. Resources are better focused in the classroom than on servicing inefficient bureaucratic structures. LAs themselves have expressed concerns about the sustainability of the situation and those concerns have been echoed by schools.

And yes, ‘good’ maintained schools will need to become academies too. So they can become sponsors and support those schools which are not meeting the high standards pupils need. But also because we do believe the freedoms that come with academy status will allow those ‘good’ schools to improve even further and achieve even more for their pupils.

We have deliberately given schools plenty of time – 6 years – to plan their transition so that they are in a position to make well thought out decisions in the best interests of their students and their local communities.

Many academies already work closely with their local authorities and we see no reason why that should change. LAs will continue to offer services which schools can pick and choose to purchase; they will continue to provide services for children with special educational needs; and they will continue to have a duty to provide school places for all children.

We believe this change in LAs’ relationship to schools will give them the opportunity to truly fulfil their role as advocates for parents and pupils. They will cease to be central service providers and will instead become champions of those in our schools.


Many of the critical voices of our vision point to the fact that we have seen some academies fail. But that doesn’t take account of the swift intervention offered by the academy route – which will now become the norm – and the range of solutions which will be offered to schools in difficulties.

We have already shown that we can respond quickly in the few instances where academies do underperform. We have issued 154 formal notices to underperforming academies and free schools, changing their leadership in 129 cases. And the powers introduced by the Education and Adoption Act – recently passed by Parliament – mean we can do that more quickly, ensuring that schools cannot continue to fail or coast – putting the future success of young people at risk.

We want you to seize the opportunities, in a new system of supported autonomy, to re-mould schools that aren’t working in the image of the successful schools you are already leading.

Too many children are still denied the access to excellent education that I believe should be their birth right. It is a matter of social justice for every child to have access to a good education, regardless of their background. But we know – and the white paper showed – that in some parts of the country that just isn’t happening. And as I have made clear the “everywhere” in educational excellence everywhere is, for me, non-negotiable. So we need to make sure that what is already happening in the best of our schools spreads to the rest of our schools.

I know from my conversations with teachers up and down the country that you go into teaching because you want to have a positive impact on the lives of young people. We want you to be able to do that for as many of them as possible, particularly in those areas currently lagging behind. The young people in areas of particular challenge need you to build capacity in the system. Without it they won’t be able to access the type of education that can deliver them bright futures. For our part we will do all we can to remove the barriers that might otherwise discourage you from rising to those challenges.

Our white paper

The proposals put forward in our ‘Educational excellence everywhere’ white paper concentrate on building the framework that will allow you to succeed. If academies are the vehicle for success then I want you, as the drivers, to get in the driving seat safe in the knowledge that you are supported throughout the journey.

The white paper outlines our plans to put more power into the hands of the best leaders; expand teaching schools and NLEs and target their reach so no areas will be without access; ensure teaching schools co-ordinate and define high-quality ITT and CPD, as well as acting as brokerage hubs to facilitate school-to-school support; put in place a new fairer funding formula and target funding so the best leaders can build capacity for support; and create a growth fund for multi-academy trusts as well as an excellence in leadership fund to develop innovative new leadership ideas for challenged areas.

We are going to incentivise work in challenging areas by offering inspection holidays to give you enough time to truly make your mark on schools, and through accountability that focuses on progress – rather than simply attainment – as a measure of success; create achieving excellence areas so the schools in the most need can get better access to excellent teachers and leaders; and crucially we will create a national teaching service so we can recruit and retain the best teachers where they are needed most.

Far from being about academy status alone, our white paper is about nurturing great teachers, developing great leaders, tackling underperformance, targeting intervention, resourcing that’s fair and accountability that’s intelligent. Taken as a whole it represents a new era for the education system, one with opportunities and incentives for you to spread your reach so we really can realise excellence in every part of the country and in every school.

In closing let me take this opportunity to say: thank you – for everything you are already doing to change the lives of young people. And let me urge you to seize the opportunities in the new era of education outlined by our white paper. Let me encourage you to use your incredible expertise to ‘inspire success and excellence’ in every part of the system. Let me say as your Secretary of State, how honoured I feel to see you telling the story of your own success.

With you, the professionals, rightly at the helm of the education system I know we will make educational excellence everywhere a reality.

Thank you.

Nicky Morgan – 2016 Speech on the EU


Below is the text of the speech made by Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, on The Fashion Retail Academy in London on 29 March 2016.

Thank you, June [Sarpong, Britain Stronger in Europe Board Member] and Amber [Atherton, founder of My Flash Trash], for that kind introduction.

It’s a pleasure to be here today and thank you to the Fashion Retail Academy for hosting us.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting the academy with Sir Philip Green. Founded and led by giants of fashion and retail, the college is a great example of our vision for employers to play a key role in designing courses that give young people the skills they really need, and those that will help them succeed in the workplace.

Two weeks ago, I published an education white paper – ‘Educational excellence everywhere’ – setting out our plans for how we would continue the work to reform and improve our schools over the course of this Parliament.

From improving how teachers are trained, to tackling educational cold spots, to giving all schools the freedoms that come with academy status, our white paper was about making sure that the next generation are receiving the sort of high-quality education they need to succeed in adult life. To make sure they leave school able to compete, not just against their peers in the UK, but from across the world, in what is an increasingly globalised labour market.

And to do that we have to make sure that young people are able to engage with the world as global citizens, that they know about the world beyond our country’s borders. It’s also about ensuring that we give young people the opportunities that allow them to make the most of their education and the chance to realise their talents.

I passionately believe that our membership of the European Union supports all of those things.

It does so by not only making our country more prosperous, but also by offering young people opportunities, right across the continent, opportunities which leaving the EU would certainly put at risk.

It’s those opportunities and risks for young people that I want to talk about today.

In doing so, I also want to send out the message to young people, loud and clear, that this is a decision which, whatever way it is ultimately decided, will shape the rest of their lives.

My message to them is to make sure that they make their voice heard in that debate, and not to have the decision made for them by other people.

After all, the whole reason that this referendum is taking place is because David Cameron made a commitment to the British people to let them decide.

So it won’t be a decision taken by politicians in Westminster, it will be a decision taken by every single adult British citizen who chooses to take part, and that must include young adults.

Because it is young people who arguably have the most at stake.

Brexit risks a lost generation

One of the reasons that the Great Recession was so damaging was that it hit young people the hardest. Youth unemployment soared, entry level jobs were cut and graduate opportunities were closed off.

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that we risked seeing a lost generation in this country.

In fact you only have to look at Greece, Spain or Portugal, to see how easily that could have been the case, with scores of young people unable to fulfil their potential and display their talents because of economic turmoil.

That’s the simple reason why tackling youth employment and making sure young people have the education and skills to get a job has been at the heart of our long term economic plan.

It’s why we made the difficult decisions which were necessary to rebuild a strong economy, so we could offer the promise of a better future to the next generation.

Undeniably, there is still work to be done, but the outlook for young people entering adulthood in 2016 is a far cry from where it was in 2010.

There are now a third of a million fewer 16- to 24-year-olds unemployed with a 25% drop in the rate of young people who are not in education, training or employment and the lowest number of 16-to-18 NEETs on record.

This year graduate recruiters are expecting 8% more vacancies – a 10-year high.

It’s thanks to the growing economy that we are making good progress on delivering our pledge of 3 million apprenticeships, with a significant recent rise in the number of 16-to-19 apprentices.

That doesn’t leave us any room for complacency, but things are significantly brighter for a young person leaving school today than they were 5 years ago.

A vote to leave the European Union would put all of that progress, and young people’s future prospects at risk.

CBI analysis has shown that a vote to leave could cost 950,000 jobs, leaving the unemployment rate between 2 and 3% higher; a report from the LSE last week showed that the average household is likely to see a fall in income of between £850 and £1,700 and new research out today from Adzuna shows that firms are already cutting back on advertising jobs because of their fear of a Brexit.

And we know it’s young people who will face the brunt of the damage a vote to leave would bring.

Because the Great Recession demonstrated the stark reality that when we experience economic shocks, the likes of which we could suffer if we leave the EU, it’s young people who suffer. As we saw in that recession, the largest increases in the rate of unemployment were among these young people.

That shouldn’t be a surprise – when the economy struggles and firms stop hiring, it’s those at entry level who they stop recruiting for first.

Even those jobs that are advertised receive many more applicants from higher skilled, older workers and second earners, meaning young people, looking for their first big break, are crowded out.

I know of one student who was told his graduate offer was at risk if the UK didn’t stay in Europe, as that firm was considering moving jobs elsewhere. He certainly isn’t alone.

It’s clear, that if Britain leaves Europe it will be young people who suffer the most, left in limbo while we struggle to find and then negotiate an alternative mode. In doing so we risk that lost generation becoming a reality. And everyone who casts their vote must understand that.

If parents and grandparents vote to leave, they’ll be voting to gamble with their children and grandchildren’s future.

At a time when people are rightly concerned about inter-generational fairness, the most unfair decision that the older generation could make would be to take Britain out of Europe and damage the ability of young people to get on in life.

The opportunities for young people

But it’s not just the risks of leaving that mean young people should vote for us to remain.

The opportunities afforded by the ability to work, study and travel in Europe are particularly important and exciting to young people as they plan their adult lives.

Taking them in turn:

The EU offers young people the opportunity to work anywhere within its borders.

So they can start a career as an engineer for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg in Germany, or spend a year as an English language teacher in Nice or as we’re here at the British Fashion Retail Academy, take the opportunity to work in the fashion capitals of Paris, Milan and Barcelona.

And young people can do this all without the hassle and risk of employment visas and time limits – free to stay for as long as they want and travel back to Britain when they want.

In fact, estimates suggest that there are more than 1.2 million British citizens taking advantage of freedom of movement and living in Europe – over 180,000 in France, over 250,000 in Ireland and almost 310,000 in Spain. I myself spent time working in Amsterdam and that experience of working abroad was invaluable, giving me new experiences and broadening my horizons.

Young people also benefit from the fact that people come from the EU to work in the UK as well.

To take just one example, relevant to my own department, we currently have over 1,000 language assistants from the EU teaching in British schools. That means hundreds of thousands of pupils are having the opportunities to have their study of French, German and Spanish supported by native speakers.

Which leads me on to the opportunities that the EU offers young people to study in Europe.

Being in the EU means young people have the chance to study at any of the thousands of European Universities. They have the flexibility to do so for either part of their studies, for a summer language course or for their entire degree.

In fact in 2013 there were over 20,000 British students studying in the European Union.

That is no surprise given that language skills and international experience is regularly cited by employers as a key competency they look for in job applications.

And students from other EU countries who choose to study here generate around £2.27 billion for the UK economy, supporting around 19,000 jobs.

Then there are the opportunities to travel.

For many young people travelling around the continent is a rite of passage before they settle down into adult life.

Whether it’s inter-railing, backpacking or city hopping.

Being in the EU makes it easier and safer to travel around the countries of Europe.

Young people traveling in Europe don’t have to worry about a myriad of visas and entry requirements and they don’t have to worry about the cost of falling ill because the European Health Insurance Card means they’ll be treated for free or at a reduced cost no matter which country they are in, with students covered for the duration of their course or foreign assignment.

And perhaps most importantly for young people traveling on tight budgets, our EU membership makes it much cheaper to travel as well.

The cost of flights is down by 40% thanks to EU action and the cost of using a mobile phone in Europe down by almost three-quarters, with roaming charges due to be scrapped completely in the next year. Meaning there’s no excuse not to make that call home!

Britain as a nation

But I know for many young people, the main reason that they want Britain to remain in a reformed Europe, is about more than simply weighing up the risks of leaving and the benefits of staying.

The fundamental reason why many young people think it’s important that we stay in the EU is because of what our membership of that block of 28 nations, says about our country and our place in the world.

They want Britain to be an outward looking country that engages with the world, they want us to choose internationalism over isolation.

This is the generation of Instagram, Easy Jet and Ebay.

They don’t want to see a Britain cut off from the world, where not only their opportunities, but our influence as a country, ends at our shores.

These young people have grown up in a world where international cooperation, economic growth, technological advancements and social media, have seen barriers being torn down across the world.

They want that to continue, for their lives to become ever more open, not for us to put up walls and go the other way.

They’ve grown up in a Europe which hasn’t seen war or conflict within its borders in over 70 years, which they know is in no small part a product of multinational cooperation. And they’ve seen first-hand how the EU is able to face down emerging threats, like Russian aggression.

Young people want to see the UK working internationally to tackle the big problems and issues that they care about because they want to make their world a better place.

Whether it’s sexual and gender equality, tackling poverty or protecting the environment and tackling climate change, the young people like those I often speak to at Loughborough University in my constituency, want to see the UK leading the fight against these global ills, and they know that our voice and impact are magnified by playing a leading role through the EU as part of a group of 28 nations.

The EU provides development assistance to 150 countries and is the largest aid donor in the world. We exercise considerable influence to ensure that aid is maximised, and it’s thanks to our lobbying that the vast majority of that aid goes directly to low-income countries.

As Minister for Women and Equalities, I’ve witnessed first-hand the important work that the EU does, driven by the UK’s leadership, in tackling issues such as FGM, human trafficking and forced marriage, which blight the lives of women across the globe.

And I’ve seen the impact that EU funding has in supporting projects which make a real difference to women’s lives.

Projects ranging from giving counselling and support to women accused of witchcraft and excluded from their communities in Burkina Faso, to providing training to 2,000 former female soldiers in Indonesia to help them find new employment.

And it’s thanks to our influence that the EU development agency has become much more focused on the rights of women and girls, leading to the EU Council declaring in December that gender equality in development is now an EU priority.

At the same time as we seek to secure global equality for LGBT people, the fact that there is an EU wide commitment to eliminating discriminatory laws and policies against LGBT people makes a profound difference – and in particular the fact that the EU has made ending the death penalty for same-sex relationships a key priority in terms of its diplomatic efforts.

On these issues, issues which young people don’t just care about, but expect us to be making a difference on, our role in Europe allows us to achieve real change and improve the lives of vulnerable people and groups around the world.

In short being in the EU allows us to exercise even more clout on the world stage, while at the same time allowing us to keep our distinct national identity.

That’s what most young people want to see, they are rightly proud of our culture, heritage and everything that makes us British. But they want us to be a nation confident enough to realise that working through international organisations doesn’t mean we have to compromise on any of that.

So my view is that our membership of the European Union not only offers young people significant opportunities, it also ensures we’re the type of engaged and outward-facing nation that those young people want to live in.

And as I started this speech by saying, I want young people to make sure their voices are heard in this debate – whichever side of the debate they might be on – otherwise they risk having the decision made by other people, their future decided for them, not by them.

As political scientist Larry Sabato rightly says: “Elections are decided by the people who turn up.”

And the evidence from elections and referendums in the past is that young people are the least likely to do that – estimates suggest that 18- to 24-year-olds were almost half as likely to have voted in the 2015 election compared to over 65s.

So firstly I’d ask young people to make sure they’re registered to vote, and to register by the 18th of April so that they can vote in the local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections that are taking place across the country as well, but at the very latest by the week of the 6th of June. It takes no more than 5 minutes and can be done online.

Secondly, on June 23rd I hope young people make sure they have their say on the future of their country, to make the decision about the type of country they want to spend their adult life living in, by casting their vote.

Thirdly, to those young people, I want say this – don’t think you have to keep your opinion on the EU debate to yourself. Go out and make the case to others and in particular your older friends and relatives. Make sure they know what the vote means for you.

In the Irish gay marriage referendum, young people made a real difference to the outcome, not just through their own vote, but by calling their parents and grandparents to tell them why it was so important to vote in favour. And I’d encourage young people here in the UK to do the same – tell your grandparents why you want Britain to remain in the EU and why they should vote to do the same.

And finally to those of you like me, who even on a generous interpretation, no longer fall into the ‘young person’ category.

I’d simply ask this – when you cast your vote, remember that you’re making a decision on the future of this country and shaping our country for generations to come.

I’d ask you to think about the impact of that vote, not just on your lives, but on that of your children and grandchildren.

I’d ask you to ask yourselves – what the impact of that leap into the dark will mean for them and others in the next generation.

I want to spend the next few years making sure that we build on the opportunities now available to young people, not trying to repair the damage that a vote to leave would do to them.

I want us to use our position in a reformed Europe, to demand more for the next generation and I want that generation to grow up in a nation comfortable enough with its own identity to work with others and lead on the international stage.

That’s why I’ll be voting to remain and why I’d urge all of you to do the same.

Thank you.