This week is my first meeting of the education select committee, one of Parliament’s formal scrutiny groups that I was lucky enough to be elected to this month by my colleagues, writes Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield.
Education is a huge personal priority for me, having always wanted to be a teacher prior to entering politics and having children starting primary school.
It’s also massively important for Mansfield and Warsop, everything from boosting social mobility and helping under-fives get the best start in there early years, to offering the skills local people need to access good jobs and to retrain throughout their lives.
I’ve visited close to 30 schools since I was elected as Member of Parliament for Mansfield, and each is unique.
I love to visit as I’ve found that the atmosphere is always positive, and many of the teachers and staff I have met have been simply inspiring.
It was an amazing to bring local teaching assistant Sue Cooper to meet the Prime Minister at Number 10, and to be able to catch up with local teachers as they took part in training on delivering sessions about democracy down in Parliament.
I’ve been in touch with all of our schools to encourage more young people to visit Parliament, something I think everyone should do at least once, and to explain what offers and financial support is available to help.
During my 16 months as MP I’ve also visited local colleges, nurseries and other providers to try and get a genuine insight in to how things work locally and to see the best practise and the challenges too.
As I said every school and college is unique and has different challenges too.
I’m working closely with some of their local leaders to try and make changes in a number of cases.
And the vast majority of schools have made huge improvements in recent years.
I can’t wait to get stuck in to the committee, starting with an enquiry into provision for children with special educational needs and to be able to use these local visits and experiences to inform this work and change things for the better.