Tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for five-, six- and seven-year-olds
This election is a choice between hope and aspiration versus fear and apathy. And there is no clearer dividing line between us and the Tories than our commitment to invest in our children at every stage of their education, preparing them for a better life and for better-paid, higher-skilled jobs.
Our pledges for the next generation are vital for communities across the country, not least in areas like Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove. There are three core statistics which are driving my campaign locally and make these pledges all the more important – 36.6 per cent of my constituents earn less than the living wage, 31 per cent of children here are born into poverty and one in four primary school pupils enter school with a reading age 12 months behind their actual age. This means that smaller class sizes are key, because primary education sets the foundation for every educational building block.
But it is our commitment to more and better apprenticeships which is key for my constituency. As a local member of parliament, if I am lucky enough to be elected in May, my main priority is bringing new, better-paid and higher-skilled jobs to north Staffordshire, but these jobs will only materialise if we upskill the local workforce at the same time. More and better quality, trade union-recognised, apprenticeships must therefore be at the heart of our new industrial strategy, providing hope for a fairer, more balanced, economy.
Ruth Smeeth is parliamentary candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North
All articles from the Election 2015 Doorstep Guide are available here
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