Suffolk: Prime Minister backs EADT education initiative

PRIME Minister David Cameron has today voiced his support for two education and skills initiatives in Suffolk, in an exclusive interview with the EADT.

Mr Cameron said he was “delighted” to see so many schools sign up to the EADT’s Maths Challenge - and acknowledged the good work being done by the pioneering Raising the Bar programme.

He said it was “essential” to address the reasons why many young people in Suffolk are failing to achieve their potential at school.

The Maths Challenge was set up as a response to disappointing attainment levels among the county’s 11-year-olds. The challenge is a six-week programme designed to help pupils develop maths skills through the use of a workbook in conjunction with the EADT. More than 100 schools have signed up to the programme.

Meanwhile, Raising the Bar is aiming to increase aspirations among the county’s young people - but particularly matching the skills they gain in school with the requirements of major employers. This is seen as a particular challenge for the energy sector, with major developments planned in the county in both the nuclear and wind power industries.

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Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts and a former advisor to Tony Blair, is heading the project.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, welcomed Mr Cameron’s support.

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He said: “Everything we’re doing as part of our Maths Challenge and Raising the Bar programmes is about raising attainment, aspirations and improving the employability of Suffolk’s young people.

“To do this we need to ensure that raising attainment becomes everybody’s business - parents, carers, employers and the media. We want everyone in Suffolk to play their part in challenging children and young people and supporting them to be successful.

“Having the Prime Minister’s backing is a most welcome boost and I hope it will help bring the issues we’re tackling to the attention of more people.”

Mr Cameron made his comments in an exclusive interview with the EADT. He also speaks of the importance of continuing to cut the national deficit, despite coming under increasing pressure to stimulate growth, and of the current state of the coalition.

For the full interview, see pages 16 and 17

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