COLUMN: Lucy Frazer MP on the importance of young people getting a good education
PUBLISHED: 14:33 25 August 2019
"A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
I am often asked which particular quote inspires me, and this one by Robert Browning echoes my view that aspiration and ambition are a key part of helping young people think big, achieve their goals, or even an aim beyond their wildest dreams.
Getting on in life, seizing opportunities, and fulfilling your hopes are all important drivers in improving your life chances. A good education is also key to unlocking opportunity.
Here in East Cambridgeshire we were in 2016 placed in the bottom 14, ranked 311th out of 324 Local Authority Districts for social mobility.
It is for this reason (and as a result of much campaigning) that we were designated an opportunity area, with a £72 million opportunity fund that is shared alongside 12 other areas.
This has enabled our schools to access further resources to support teacher recruitment, improve literacy and numeracy, and strengthen the support for those with special educational needs.
And it is good to see that progress is being made to improve the life chances of our young people through education more broadly.
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According to the social mobility commission, twice the number of disadvantaged 16 to 18 year olds are in further education than in school sixth forms, reinforcing the importance of further education institutions as key drivers for improving social mobility.
Many organisations are deeply committed to improving the social mobility and education chances of our young people.
And I wanted to let you know of one particular opportunity - the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
Responsible for the Churchill Fellowships, the organisation supports UK citizens from all parts of society to travel the world in search of innovative solutions for today's most pressing problems.
The Churchill Fellowship is a life-changing opportunity to expand professional and personal horizons, and grants awarded by the organisation fund 4-8 weeks anywhere in the world to explore a practical topic that the individual feels passionate about.
When returning home, the Trust helps the application to make that change in their community or professions.
With travel grants available in 12 areas and open to all UK citizens aged 18 or over, this is a fantastic opportunity to explore your passion, build your skillset and give back to your community.
Young people are particularly encouraged to apply - and the deadline for applications is September 17 for travel in 2020.
For more information on the grant scheme visit www.wcmt.org.uk