Speech: PM Speech: This is a government that delivers

Prime Minister

Thank you very much for that brief introduction. It’s great to be here at the de Ferrers Academy. I’ve had a look at your amazing wall charts for mapping the performance of every pupil to make sure that nobody gets left behind, to make sure they reach their full potential. And it is always inspiring to come to schools like this that care so much about what you do, have so much enthusiasm, and are serving our young people so well.

But it’s seven months to the day since the British people went to the polls at the General Election, and by putting a Conservative majority in power, they gave us an important responsibility: to deliver our commitments for opportunity, stability and security. We set out how we’d do that on the very opening page of our manifesto. When you are young: a place at a good school, like this one. When you leave school: apprenticeships, university places, good jobs. When you’re starting out, and starting a family: homes you can buy, help with childcare, lower taxes so you have more money at the end of the month. An NHS that is there for you, wherever, whenever. And when you reach retirement: reward for a life of hard work.

Now a manifesto shouldn’t be a wish list, it should be a checklist. And that’s why since the election, we haven’t been tacking off in the new direction, but marking off the commitments that we made.

And today I want to set out the progress that we’re making. I want to go back to that opening page and show that this is a government that delivers, and is accountable as it endeavours to do so. But I also want to explain how, in meeting those pledges, we’ve been trying to do something else. Not just delivering individual policies, but fundamentally changing the way our country works. Because that’s the way, in the end, to genuinely improve people’s lives.

One by one, we’ve taken the tired, old arguments that had been holding our country back; the arguments that, for instance, clogged up our economy, stifled schools, hampered home-ownership, and we’ve turned those arguments on their head. And in every case, we’re changing the way that things are done, because after all, that’s what real change is about. Not just introducing different policies, but introducing different mindsets, different approaches. Fundamentally different ways of doing things.

It’s that sense of fundamental change which guides our approach to our economy. Because let’s be clear, in 2010, when we first came to office, the government was addicted to spending money it didn’t have, and borrowing money it couldn’t afford. The failed political orthodoxy we inherited was this: that success was measured simply by how much money you throw at something. That politics is somehow a choice between either controlling public spending on the one hand, or protecting public services on the other. Now, of course, money is important. Good public services, like this school, they cost money. But it’s money plus efficiency, plus reform, that’s what achieves results. And of course, without sound public finances there is no money.

In the past five years, we’ve turned that old approach on its head. We made consistent arguments, that government living within its means is a means to an end: the economic security of every family in the country. That public services that we rely on, they depend on stable public finances. And that if you’re bold with reform, you can deliver more for less. And we’ve tried to live up to that. Next year the deficit is set to be less than a quarter of what we inherited. By 2020, it will be gone completely. That’s right, Britain out of the red, and into the black with a surplus; delivering that foundation stone of our manifesto.

And that strong economy allows us to deliver on our other commitments, those commitments from the first page of the manifesto I referred to. First, security when you’re young. Now in our manifesto, we said we’d maintain the amount of money that follows every child into school. And two weeks ago, we did more than that, pledging an annual schools budget of over £40 billion. But as I’ve said, change, real change in our education system, requires more than just money. It means taking on the failed approaches of the past. The failure to insist on discipline. The dumbing-down of exams. Not recognising the importance of getting the basics right. The idea that only the state can provide free public schools. And tied to that, the idea that local authorities should control those schools.

In the past five years, we’ve taken on all those arguments, and we tried to set our schools free. We’ve said to head teachers, ‘You control your budget, you decide on discipline policies, you set the ethos and direction of your school, and you manage it as you see fit.’ And at the same time, we’ve said to parents, charities, businesses, ‘You can set up new schools in the state sector if you want to.’ This academy and free school revolution has swept across our country, and the results have been extraordinary. Some brand new free schools are sending as many children to Oxbridge as private schools. Academies in our most deprived boroughs are getting some of the best results in the country. Schools where previously only a fifth of pupils got five good A to Cs at GCSE are now seeing two thirds reach that benchmark.

A million more children are learning in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools compared with when I became Prime Minister. But over the next five years, we want to go further and faster. We promised 500 new free schools in our manifesto, and since May we’ve opened 52 of them. We’ve also opened over 350 more academies, and yes, we have a new ambition: to make local authorities running schools a thing of the past. And while we’re doing that, we’ll take on another old failed argument; one that is perhaps more pernicious.

For a long time, the message has effectively been: as long as we’re giving children an ‘okay’ education, and the school isn’t actually failing, then that’s somehow good enough. I say, ‘no’. Education is about fulfilling a child’s true potential, not just avoiding failure. These are children’s lives we’re talking about. They only get one go at childhood, and it shapes the rest of their days. So a school that does just enough is not good enough, not for anyone.

So I’m announcing today how we’ll crack down on that dangerous tolerance of mediocrity. In our manifesto, we didn’t only set out how failing schools would be taken over by new leadership; we said that coasting schools would be taken over too. And today we’re saying that we will extend that to academies as well, so that potentially thousands more pupils are given the chances that they deserve. Yes, this is zero-tolerance of failure, but more to the point, it is zero-tolerance of mediocrity. A government that delivers.

Second: security when you leave school. Now we have a very clear view, that to give young people a good start in life, they should have the choice of an apprenticeship, or a university place when they leave school. Now to do this, we’ve had to take on two arguments that I think have really held our country back. One of them was that apprenticeships are somehow second best. They aren’t. Someone doing an advanced apprenticeship can expect to earn a £117,000 more in their career, compared with someone with just GCSEs.

Top employers have even said that their apprenticeship entrants are just as good, if not better, than their graduate intake. So that’s why we’ve expanded the numbers, and we’re making good on our commitment to reach 3 million apprentices trained in this parliament by 2020. It’s why we’ve got more companies involved, from fashion design to law, aerospace, many more. It’s why we’ve set higher standards, making sure each apprenticeship lasts at least a year, and it’s why we’ve introduced higher-level apprenticeships and apprenticeships which contain a full degree.

And it’s why today we’re going even further with our apprenticeship 2020 vision. We’ll make every part of the public sector from Whitehall to local government, the NHS, the police, we’ll make all of those organisations ensure that apprenticeships form at least 2.3% of their total staff. That will help us to deliver the skills that young people need, and the workforce of the future.

Now another argument that I believe was holding us back, was that the only way to fund university places was through tax-payers’ money. This artificially constrained the number of people that could go. Of course, it was great for the people that went, but not so great for those who wanted to go but couldn’t, because there weren’t enough places. So we’ve swept that away, saying that the bulk of university fees should be paid by successful graduates. Now this has meant we’ve been able to fulfil another pledge in our manifesto, to uncap university places, so we can have well-funded universities, and increased participation.

No more artificial targets or caps, setting out what percentage of young people could or should go to university. A simple statement instead: if you have the grades and you want to go, you should be able to choose to do just that. And it is working. In September, more 18‑year‑olds headed off to freshers’ week than at any time in our history: 200,000 of them. And more from disadvantaged backgrounds than ever before, opening up opportunity for all.

Now of course, the purpose of training, or studying, is to make sure you can get a secure job. So our manifesto made another clear commitment: to create two million more jobs. Now in the short time since the election, 158,000 more people are in work. There are, in fact, more people working in our country than ever before; more women working than ever before; the highest employment rate amongst young people for a decade. And these things haven’t happened by magic. They’ve happened because of the enterprise of British business, and because of the support of this government: cutting taxes, slashing regulations, offering the lowest corporation tax in the G20, and delivering for businesses so that they can deliver the jobs that people need.

Now, third: we talked about security when you’re starting out in life. We set out a huge mission in our manifesto: to create a million more homeowners. Because we don’t just believe in meeting the need for housing in our country; we believe in meeting the British people’s deep desire to own a home of their own. And we haven’t wasted a minute. We said we’d give 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy, and this autumn we secured voluntary agreement, with the housing associations, to do just that. Five of them began doing so two weeks ago, and 11,000 people have already registered an interest in buying their home.

We also pledged 200,000 new starter homes; those are homes at a discount for first-time buyers under 40. And to make that happen we’ve doubled the housing budget to £2 billion a year, we’ve reformed planning and we’ve helped councils prepare unused land, so we can get going with the first 27 starter home sites.

But to really create more homeowners, we need to go further. We need to change our whole approach to housebuilding. For decades, there’s been one assumption that I think has failed young people, and that is that affordable homes in our country should only really be available to rent. The assumption went something like this: if we provided homes that were affordable to rent, and if we controlled planning, then somehow that would also result in homes that young people were able to buy. The result, unsurprisingly, is that we created ‘Generation Rent’. And it went on and on, because frankly some people were happy to see tenants go on renting indefinitely.

Well, I want to see ‘Generation Buy’. So we’re taking that old thinking and again, turning it on its head. We’re saying, yes, affordable homes must be built, but they can be affordable to buy rather than rent. Today, we’re publishing proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, which will make this a reality. They send a clear signal to the councils that sign off developments, and the developers who build the homes, that the old rules on affordable housing are scrapped. In their place, new rules.

Developments should contain affordable homes to buy; a huge shift in the housing policy of this country. But also, hopefully, a huge shift in the lives of hardworking people, who assumed they’d only be able to rent, now looking at these new estates being built, going up in their area, and thinking, ‘I might finally be able to get a place of my own.’ So that should encourage more housebuilding, as builders see bigger returns. But more importantly, it will create a whole new raft of homeowners as people move from renting to buying.

And we’re doing something else important today. For years we’ve had shared ownership, where you part‑buy, part‑rent a property. And many people are attracted to this idea, especially those who thought they’d never have a chance of owning a home. But because it’s been heavily restricted, many of the people who’d like to do this have missed out. We’ve had local councils dictating who is eligible, based on everything from salary to profession to where the buyer comes from. Well today, we’re ripping up those rules. From April next year, that will make 175,000 more people eligible for home ownership. It means some people will be able to buy a house, for example in Yorkshire, with a deposit of just £1,400. It will be opened up to people of any occupation, the only restriction being that you have to earn, as a family, under £80,000 and under £90,000 in London. Yet again, a government that delivers, building a nation of homeowners.

Now fourth: security when you’re raising a family, and that should begin with childcare. Again, I think there was an argument that needed turning on its head. For years we’ve been constrained by this idea that by helping people with childcare costs, you’re somehow being unfair on those parents who choose not to work. But how does helping someone who wants to go to work hurt someone who wants to stay at home?

So at the Spending Review we made £6 billion of commitment to hardworking families, with tax-free childcare worth up to £2,000 per child per year from early 2017; with wraparound childcare launched today, allowing parents to request childcare before and after school and in the holidays; and yes, with that big commitment in our manifesto: 30 hours of childcare each week for the parents of three‑ and four‑year‑olds, worth up to £5,000 per child. Now, we said that would start in 2017. But today, I’m saying it will start in some areas in 2016, next year, reaching 5,000 children.

But security for families also means having more money at the end of the month. We said in our manifesto we would not raise VAT, National Insurance or income tax for the next five years, and that became the law of the land next month. But it is not enough just to stop raising taxes; I want to see taxes come down. And to do that, again we need to fundamentally change the way our country is run.

In 2010, we inherited what I’ve called a ‘merry-go-round’: people working on minimum wage were having that money taxed, often at quite punishing rates, and then the government would give them some of that money back, and more, in welfare. So it created a low-pay, high-tax, high‑welfare society, and that was wrong. It was wrong for the low paid, wrong for the taxpayer; wrong, I think, for our society. It put the role of the state as some sort of benevolent grants-maker, whose only role was to dish out people’s money rather than give them opportunities to earn more money. It said to families, ‘You are dependent on the state to make ends meet’; it said to businesses, ‘Don’t worry about paying a decent wage, government is here to top it up.’

And what we’re engaged in now is a fundamental reordering of that system. We’re phasing out tax credits under Universal Credit, and as they go something else is coming in: a new National Living Wage. Now today, we will lay a statutory instrument that writes it into the law of the land, and it means that by April no one in this country aged over 25 will earn less than £7.20 an hour. It will be a pay rise of at least £900 a year. By the end of the decade, it will reach over £9.00 an hour.

And yes, when people earn that money they will keep more of it too. We said in our manifesto we would raise the amount you can earn before paying tax, and it’s going up to £11,000 next April; that will take 570,000 people out of income tax, and we’re committed to reaching £12,500 before you start paying tax by 2020. So yes, we’re taking that low-wage, high-tax high-welfare society, and creating a new one. One where you have high enough wages, low enough taxes and enough help with childcare not to need government welfare; in other words, where you have the security that you deserve.

Now, fifth in our manifesto, we talked about security when you need it most: when you’re ill. We pledged not just to maintain NHS funding, but to increase it. At the Spending Review, we announced we’d deliver the first £6 billion upfront next year; all part of the biggest ever investment in the Health Service. But again, it’s not just about funding. In fact, for the last 30 years, NHS reforms have centred on an old formula: bureaucratic change plus money. So instead of fiddling with the system in the same way, we’ve gone back to the start and thought: who is our Health Service for?

And the answer is everyone: whoever, wherever, and crucially, yes, whenever. A seven-day NHS was one of our biggest manifesto pledges. And let me be clear: doctors and nurses and other staff already do vital work at weekends and around the clock. I know that, and I’m not asking anyone to work without breaks seven days in a row; that would be dangerous. But a genuine seven-day NHS means better management and better rota planning, so that the service is consistent everywhere, across the week; making sure urgent tests and treatments from family doctors and hospital specialists are accessible whenever they’re needed.

By March 2017, a quarter of the population needing urgent hospital care will have the same level of consultant assessment and review, diagnostic tests and consultant‑led intervention seven days a week. From Greater Manchester to Southampton, Northumberland to Leicestershire. By 2020 it will reach all of them, and GPs’ surgeries too. In fact, 16 million patients are now able to access doctors at evenings and weekends.

So no more ‘wait until Monday’ for the care you need; no more, ‘we don’t do that at the weekend.’ Instead, security 365 days a year, 24/7, for every single one of us.

We’re also trying to do right by pensioners, who, for too long, got a raw deal. We’re increasing the basic state pension to £119.30 a week, that’s the biggest real terms rise in 15 years, and we’re bringing in the new state pension, whose full amount will start at £155.65 a week. We’re making sure that when you get old, you can pass on your home tax free; you can spend your private pension as you choose; and you shouldn’t have to sell your home to pay for care. So, again, a government that delivers, delivering security for those who need it most.

So, I believe we’re making progress. We’re changing the way our country is run. I’m not saying we’ve done everything, not least, we’re only seven months into this term, but day by day, we’ve been holding firm to our pledges and paving the way for the brighter future that people voted for. And for me, the next five years will be about going further and faster. That is the key to good government. Not just delivery, but renewal.

I don’t want us to stand still for the next five years. I want us to move forward, taking on more arguments, creating newer ways of doing things, changing our country even more.

So, when for years, government has treated the symptoms of poverty, papering over the cracks, I want this government to really tackle the root causes of poverty, like chaotic home lives, addiction, mental health; all those no-go zones into which politicians don’t normally venture.

When, for years, government has believed the only barrier to social mobility is decent education for all, of course which is vital, I want this government to say, yes, that is important; that’s crucial, but let’s sweep away those other barriers to opportunity. Let’s take bold steps to end the gender pay gap, to end racial discrimination, to complete the fight for true equality.

When, for years, government has been trapped in a, ‘lock them up’, or ‘let them out’ debate, I want this government to get smart about prison reform, making sure that, of course, punishment must always fit the crime. But also, let’s make sure we treat prisoners as assets rather than just liabilities. Let’s give them a chance to make amends and to make good.

So these are big arguments for change; the important social reforms that I want this second term to be about. And they will support other big changes that we’re making: tackling non-violent, as well as violent extremism; delivering on climate change, not least by bringing an end to coal-fired power stations; delivering huge new powers to cities and regions; a government that delivers changing the way our country is run.

So, I hope you can see that these last seven months, there have been difficult decisions to take, and difficult arguments to make, but every day, we’ve been putting our money, in fact, your money, where our manifesto is. And with every child who comes home from a great day of lessons, every teenager who lands their first job, every sold sign that’s hammered into that front lawn, every patient seen and treated on a Saturday or a Sunday, every pension increase, it has been worth it. That’s our ambition: a government that delivers. Not just making good on our manifesto, but making Britain greater. And over the next four years and five months, that is exactly how we mean to go on.

Thank you very much for listening.

Question

Lynn Davidson from The Sun. Two quickly. Just following the tube attack at Leytonstone at the weekend, are you – do you have any concerns over the handling of the incident, given there were no armed officers at the scene?

And secondly, will you – can you confirm you will definitely make a decision on Heathrow before Christmas?

Prime Minister

Okay, first of all on Leytonstone, this is obviously a hideous attack and we’ve all seen pictures of it and read about it. First of all, full credit to the person and people who took on this attacker and full credit to very brave police officers who managed to subdue him.

What we have in our country is a growing pool of police who do carry arms; the arms response – armed response vehicles and other police involved in protective security. Their number will grow when it’s right and it’s right that we have enough people to respond. But I think it’s right that police aren’t routinely armed in our country and I think this event simply showed, again, what brilliant and brave and dedicated people there are when it comes to our police officers.

Let me also pay credit to the person, you can’t quite see who it is from the film, who made that brilliant statement about, ‘You ain’t no Muslim’. I think, some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and sound bites and everything to this subject, but, ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv’, said it all, much better than I ever could, and thank you because that will be applauded around the country.

On the issue of Heathrow, we’re having our – the cabinet committee that’s looking at this will be meeting shortly and we’ll hope to make some progress with the discussions that we have.

Question

Good morning, Prime Minister. Lewis Vaughan Jones, ITV News. Firstly, on the flooding, is it true that flood defence projects have been cancelled and will you now have to spend more?

Secondly, on the EU negotiations, Donald Tusk likely to raise concerns this afternoon. Is withholding benefits from EU migrants now impossible?

Prime Minister

First of all, on the flooding, we set out at the Autumn Statement a historic six‑year funding deal with record sums going into flood defences. We’ve spent a huge amount over the last few years. But the events of the last 24/48 hours demonstrate that sometimes there are levels of rainfall, levels of flooding that it’s extremely hard to protect against. I mean, first of all, I think our hearts all go out to those families who have been driven out of their homes by flood water, many of whom will have had a very worrying 48 hours. Some people stuck in their houses or people stuck in care homes and I think the emergency services have done a brilliant job.

So, what we must do now, is to make sure everything is done to help in this vital phase of dealing with the floods. I’ll be going later on to Cumbria to see for myself some of what’s been done and is being done. Then there’s the vital recovery phase where we need to try and help people get their insurance claims, help people get back into their homes, help in the clean-up operation.

And of course, as part of that, we should sit down again with The Environment Agency, look at the flood schemes that have been built, look at the ones that are planned, look at the level of rainfall and the level of flooding that there was and ask, what more can we do? Why didn’t – why were some of these schemes overtopped? What’s in the plan for the future? How does that need to change with what’s happened in Cumbria? That’s absolutely what should always happen after any one of these tragic flooding episodes and the government has already marshalled all of the machinery necessary to make that happen. There’ll be a statement in Parliament today by the Environment Secretary and she’ll be announcing that the Bellwin scheme will kick in; that’s the scheme where central government reimburses local authorities for their costs in dealing with floods and that will fully reimburse them once they’ve gone over the threshold in the way that we’ve done in the past and I think is absolutely right to do again today.

But let me again say, having seen at first hand and spoken to some of them, our emergency services did a brilliant job, coping in very difficult conditions. We think first of the victims of the floods, but we make sure we learn any lessons afterwards.

Question

Good morning, Prime Minister, I’m the head teacher of a local primary school.

And we’d like to – thank you. We’d like to thank you for your government’s commitment to a national fair funding formula. Staffordshire is one of the lowest funded local authorities in the country. But clearly the devil will be in the detail. And I’d like to ask you specifically about your reference to the 30 hours free childcare. Can you give us a commitment that your government will ensure that this is properly funded for schools, including if necessary capital funding for any additional places?

Prime Minister

Yes. Yes, thanks for the very good questions. First of all, on fair funding this has long been a demand of many around the country and your local Member of Parliament, Andrew Griffiths, has led the charge on this in many ways. And I think it is time to act and that’s why in the Autumn Statement we’ve said we’re going to phase in a fairer funding formula.

I think one of the reasons it’s become so necessary is the disparity between the best-funded authorities and the worst-funded authorities has got so large. And often the worst-funded authorities are not in, you know, inexpensive areas or not in areas with low levels of deprivation. Sometimes they can be in quite high levels of deprivation so it’s absolutely right to do this. I’m sorry it’s being phased in but we have to do these things in a reasonable way so they’re – so that it gives some cushion to those authorities that won’t be getting the extra money. But I think it will make a difference.

On the childcare we took some time, deliberately, to try to get this right which is why we’re piloting it next year, phasing in fully in 2017. We have also announced that we’ll be increasing the level of funding per place so that these can be well-funded places. As for your point on whether there will need to be a capital expenditure, I think that was also covered in the Autumn Statement because in some places clearly extra capacity is going to be needed as more parents take up the opportunity of the 30 hours a week.

I think it’s a really important step forward because for so many families, childcare is not sort of one issue amongst many. It is the issue. It’s the issue that determines, Can I go back to work? Can I work some extra shifts? Can I put some more money on the table for the family? Can I make a difference to our lives? And the extent of the childcare is the thing that makes the difference. So I think this 30 hours is absolutely crucial to get right.

Question

Good morning. My name’s John Potts. I represent a home-grown electronics company in Derby called Pektron. Although we’re very successful on a world stage, but looking forward one of the biggest challenges we face are finding high-calibre scientists and engineers. What can we do to encourage more young people to get into that sector?

Prime Minister

Well, how long have you got? This is a really important topic for us because the truth is that you have to start right at the beginning. You’ve got to work out: how do you encourage more children to study science subjects? How do you make sure those science subjects are well-taught? How do you make sure we teach the single sciences? Crucially how do we get more girls to study sciences? And not just to begin with, but all the way through. And crucially how do we make sure that those who do study sciences, don’t simply look at medical careers, but also look at careers in engineering?

I think those are the right questions to ask. Now, some of the answers lie within government and within schools, which is making sure we encourage the core curriculum to include science, as we do. Having great teachers here to teach science. Making sure that we measure these things. But some of it lies outside government. We need to inspire people about engineering and about careers in engineering. And this is where you come in, sir. That we need people to come back into school who’ve studied science subjects, who’ve gone into careers in engineering and manufacturing, to come in and inspire young people with what the potential is.

Because I think you always remember the people who come into school to talk to you about careers and the future and the things they’ve done. And so I think there’s a huge task there for business to get involved in. And that means schools being very open to local businesses and encouraging them to do it.

But I think it’s shared national effort, we get the teaching right, we get the funding right, you get the inspiration right and there’s no reason why we can’t be one of the great engineering and manufacturing success stories. And, you know, here in this part of the world we’ve got so many great iconic manufacturing and engineering businesses I think it – you’ve got a natural advantage.

Question

Thank you. Mr Cameron, some time ago – a short time ago you spoke about – I’m a County Councillor in Derbyshire and I sit on the Adoption Panel there and also in Staffordshire. And you mentioned shortening the timescale from six months and making it even shorter. However, there seems to be a consensus of opinion through panel members and also professional staff that shortening it any further would actually be detrimental and cause disruption. So could I ask that you perhaps reconsider doing that? But there is also a shortfall in foster parents and that’s something that we really need to push nationally.

Prime Minister

Yes. Well I would certainly have a look at the point you make. I – the big picture point I make is that we should really be aiming to see the adoption rate in our country go up. And when I became Prime Minister the delays for adoptions were huge. Sometimes people waiting two years, three years, longer. The amount of children left in council care, year after year, when there were loving couples who wanted to look after them. We had this absurd situation really where it was easier to travel half way around the world and find a child to adopt and bring up than it was to find one from Derbyshire or Staffordshire or Berkshire or anywhere else.

And so we tried to change that by being much more pro-adoption, by encouraging more parents to put in for being adoptive parents, by getting rid of the bureaucracy, by getting rid of some of the absurd rules that said, you know, a white couple couldn’t adopt a black child and all the rest of it. So we tried to shorten it. I’ll look happily at the thing that you suggest but I want to keep my foot on the gas on this issue because, you know, for every child we successfully get adopted that is the chance of a loving family home and a great start in life. And, you know, for all we must do to encourage – to improve the outcomes of children in care, I’m quite clear that the best outcome for those children is to have an adoptive lovely home, loving home, rather than be in care. So we should do that.

And that’s one of the reasons why we’re asking you all to form regional adoption agencies. Because again, you know, the idea that a child, you know, orphaned in Staffordshire can only be brought up by loving Staffordshire parents rather than in Derbyshire or in Devon or wherever, I think is wrong. I mean, what matters is the quality of the home and the quality of the adoption, rather than believing everyone has to be adopted within their county council area.

So I think this move to regional adoption is right. And just to reassure you, all these moves we’ve made have been based on very strong professional advice, not least by Martin Narey, the Head of Barnardo’s, who’s been advising the government and will continue to advise the government on how we get this vital social reform right.

With that can I thank you very much again? Can I thank the de Ferrers Academy for having us here? What I said about making sure that every child gets a start, no one is left behind, you live and breathe that every day. And there’s no – you understand fully that it’s not just avoiding failure, it’s avoiding mediocrity is the key to great education. And it’s an honour to come and see your school and make this speech here.

Thank you very much indeed.

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