The Leader Times series August 23rd 2019

For many young people and their families, the last few weeks have been stressful to say the least. The publication of A-level and GSCE results means lots of nervous anticipation.  The results mark the culmination of years of hard work for pupils, teachers and parents and everyone who has been receiving their results should be congratulated on their achievements. 

Once again Nelson and Colne College students have excelled, underlining our local colleges continuing performance as one of the best colleges in the country. I wish the students all the very best of luck as they prepare to head off to university, or the world of work.

They can do so encouraged about their future job prospects.  The number of people in work in the UK has never been higher (at 32.7 million).  Up by 3.7 million since 2010.  The unemployment rate (3.8%) has not been lower since 1974.  Regular pay (before inflation) is growing at its fastest for nearly eleven years and youth unemployment has almost halved since the 2010 election.

Nothing is more important than ensuring our young people get the best start in life and therefore I am pleased that recent changes to education are bearing fruit.  Because of the governments school reforms, we are seeing signs of substantial progress.

Nationally, there are now 1.9 million more children now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, representing 86% of pupils compared to 66% in 2010.  In Pendle the number of pupils attending good or outstanding schools has doubled since 2010.  Our local headteacher and teachers deserve huge credit for this progress, ensuring local parents have a better choice of high performing schools than ever before.

Away from exam results, I am looking forward to the bank holiday weekend, which as ever looks to be packed full of activities across Pendle.  For me the highlight is always the Colne Rhythm and Blues Festival as living in the centre of Colne it is always great to see our local bars, restaurants and shops full of people.  I’d like to pay tribute to all everyone – especially the volunteers – who continue to ensure this annual event goes from strength to strength.  There are so many good things happening across Pendle at the moment and so many events to attend – lets just hope for good weather!