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Access to Local Schools

Volume 598: debated on Monday 20 July 2015

It was recently reported that 82% of schools are now rated good or outstanding, which is the highest proportion ever, and we know that 1 million more pupils are in schools rated good or outstanding. But there is more to do, which is why our Education and Adoption Bill will allow us to intervene faster in failing schools and tackle coasting schools that are not supporting pupils to reach their full potential.

Two schools in Horncastle are working together in a truly innovative way, sharing their expertise under the Horncastle umbrella trust. Will the Secretary of State join me in congratulating Banovallum school, a non-selective academy, and Queen Elizabeth grammar school, a selective academy, on their efforts to work together for the benefit of local children, and will she visit them with me?

I always manage to fill up my diary after Question Time. I would, of course, be delighted to visit those schools with my hon. Friend. I welcome the fact that the non-selective Banovallum school and Queen Elizabeth grammar school in Horncastle are forming a joint academy trust. Collaboration is an important part of the academies programme, and we know that academies and other schools are working together up and down the country, providing challenge and support and sharing best practice and resources.

There are insufficient school places at the secondary level in Wharfedale, which affects both my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Kris Hopkins). This is a problem that Bradford council does not seem to care about, focusing instead on its Labour heartlands. May I encourage the Secretary of State to get her officials to look specifically at Wharfedale and provide funding for the school places that my constituents need to ensure that they can go to a good local school?

As we have heard, this Government are going to invest £7 billion in this Parliament until 2021 to create more good school places. I encourage my hon. Friends the Members for Shipley (Philip Davies) and for Keighley (Kris Hopkins) to consider whether an application for a free school might also be in order so that parents and others are in charge of providing more good school places locally.