Robert Halfon is a member of the 1922 Committee's Executive and MP for Harlow. Follow Robert on Twitter.
Some people look at this Government’s education reforms and see them in terms of process. However, as Michael Gove has set out on these pages recently, Academies and Free Schools are more about improving standards than structural re-organisation. If one side of the policy is about standards, the other is getting students through the door in the first place. Recognising that reforming welfare can take a generation - but that a good education can provide a way-up for disadvantaged children and their families.
Education is everything. Quality education can quickly change people’s life chances. As long as we get pupils through the doors, we can change their lives by increasing their aspirations and providing them with the skills they need. Traditionally, eligibility for free school meals has been an indicator of poverty, with these pupils being outperformed by their peers. This year, the gap in attainment closed slightly, and the number of pupils getting five good GCSEs continues to improve. Last year, 36 per cent of pupils got five GCSEs grades A*-C, compared to 59 per cent of all pupils, and just 24 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals in 2008.