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February 2019 update

27th February 2019

While the scale and pace of movement in British politics is not unprecedented, it is certainly dizzying. As we reach the final stages of Brexit negotiations, the sense of urgency grows by the day - as does the frustration of so many of my Constituents who want Parliament to “just get on with it”.  

I totally agree, which is why I have been consistently voting for the PM’s deal which delivers Brexit by March 29th.

But, it is also right that the concerns raised by MPs over the backstop are being addressed and I expect there to be progress on this in the next few days. 

As a Business Minister, I see every day the impact this is having on business confidence, investment and hiring plans.

That is why, along with other Ministers, we have been clear this week that the PM must allow votes shortly on the improved Withdrawal Agreement and future framework, and if she cannot secure a majority, to seek a short delay from the EU rather than deliver a disorderly ramshackle Brexit that benefits no one.  

We CAN exit with a good deal and it is my firm intention to make sure that we do.

Any non-Brexit news is extremely welcome, as is any announcement that benefits the thousands of service personnel who call the Devizes constituency their home.

That is why I was pleased to see the recent announcement that our Armed Forces service leavers and their families will now be able to access military accommodation for up to a year after leaving the services, giving them more time to look for permanent accommodation as they transition to civilian life.

This additional measure will ensure that every person who has served in our Armed Forces, and their families, has more time to make the transition to civilian life that bit easier. 

Posted by Claire Perry at 8:08am

January update

28th January 2019

It has been a busy start to the New Year, with Brexit continuing to dominate Parliament and the news.

I have consistently voted with the Prime Minister, and will continue to back the Government, because I believe that this is the best way forward to ensure we leave in an orderly way with a good deal, and ensure that the UK has the decent, moderate government it needs to build a country that works for everyone. We now have a responsibility to work together to identify a way forward that can secure the backing of MPs across the House of Commons.

Beyond Brexit, the Government has launched a new integrated Recruitment and Retention strategy to boost teacher numbers and make sure that teaching remains an attractive and rewarding profession.

Locally, I am continuing to work closely with Head Teachers at schools across the Salisbury Plain Area and Wiltshire Council to ensure everything is in place to welcome the military children who will relocate under the Army Rebasing programme. 

Over £1bn of investment is being made across the local area, and new schools and extensions are being built. However, Head Teachers, including Susan Raeburn at Bulford Kiwi, have made me aware that the existing pupil funding arrangements created difficulties for local schools with large increases in pupils due to re-basing moves, as the money required to plan and recruit teachers was coming too late. 

Baroness Scott and I raised this issue with the Department for Education, and last year we received good news that schools would receive funding of £2.8 million to deal with this specific local challenge.

Since then, I’m pleased that Wiltshire Council has secured an additional £750,000 from the MOD’s Education Support Fund which will enable each school that’s expected to welcome new pupils to recruit an extra teacher to lead on preparations during this academic year, ahead of the largest group of children joining local schools in September.  

Posted by Claire Perry at 3:45pm

November update

27th November 2018

It’s been another busy month, starting with events to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. I’m always filled with a huge amount of pride to see the heartfelt tributes paid to the members of our Armed Forces, past and present, on Remembrance Day, and this year has been a particularly poignant opportunity to recognise the enormous sacrifice they make to keep us safe.

I was delighted to join hundreds of veterans, serving members of our Armed Forces, their families and those who wanted to pay their respects at events throughout the Constituency to remember those who sacrificed their lives for their country.  It was an incredibly moving few days of remembrance, and I personally thank everyone who helped to organise a local event and all those who attended.

Meanwhile, after thousands of hours of negotiations, we have now reached a good deal with the EU on the Withdrawal Agreement, and agreed on a Political Declaration on our future relationship. Of course, there have been compromises made, on both sides, because that is what happens in negotiations, and I freely admit that it is not a perfect deal, but we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Having read the deal in detail, I firmly believe that this deal delivers what the British people voted for in June 2016, and what the Conservative Party was elected on in our 2017 Manifesto.

If we don’t move forward with the agreement that we have achieved, nobody can know for sure the consequences that will follow. It would be to take a path of deep and grave uncertainty. That is why I am backing Theresa May in supporting this deal and working to achieve a positive relationship with the EU that creates the best outcome for the people of Devizes.

Posted by Claire Perry at 10:15am

September update

24th September 2018

As young people across the country start and return to Higher Education courses, I was struck this year to see many more students embarking on non-traditional further education routes.

In recent years, there seemed to be a sense that young people ‘had’ to go to University and study an academic degree in order to find work.

However, whilst the right route for some, this left many young people without the skills really needed to succeed in today’s modern workplace, and I have been very pleased therefore to see the government’s drive in recent years to encourage more young people to consider apprenticeships and hands-on skills training.

From 2020 we will be investing £500 million every year into new gold standard T-Levels – the technical equivalence to A levels – which will be introduced into colleges from 2020, and combine classroom study and real-world industry placements in fields like manufacturing, digital, medicine and construction.

This will ensure that we are giving young people the best start in life, and also developing the skilled workforce that will make sure the UK seizes the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Locally, I have been delighted to see that Wiltshire College has now been granted University Centre status, meaning that it will now be known as Wiltshire College and University Centre.

Huge congratulations to Amanda Burnside and team, who I know have been working hard for a long time now to achieve this fantastic recognition.

The College currently delivers over 20 university level courses across its four campuses, including courses in Early Years and Childhood Studies, Computing, and Animal Science and Management.

For any young people starting to think about what they might want to do after leaving compulsory education, I would suggest Wiltshire College and University Centre’s website as a great starting point to see all the exciting options available locally.

Posted by Claire Perry at 4:57pm

August update

28th August 2018

Many local families (including the Perry household!) will have been anxiously awaiting A Level and GCSE exam results these last two weeks. 

I so hope that all the hard work that our young people put in over the last few months will have paid off. 

As many will know, the previous Conservative Government reformed GCSEs and A Levels to better prepare young people.

The new national curriculum and reformed tests and qualifications are designed to ensure that students receive the rounded, knowledge-rich education that they need.

As a result of these changes, and our wider school reforms, there are now 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, representing 86% of pupils compared to 66% in 2010. 

A Levels have been reformed to improve students’ readiness for the demands of higher education, and we are now starting to see the changes in action – with the A Level results this year showing the number of pupils achieving the top grades up slightly, while the number of pass grades down slightly.

Alongside this, GCSEs have been reformed to be more rigorous, matching expectations in countries with the highest performing education systems, and have a new grading scale from 9 to 1.

The new grading scale better differentiates between the highest performing students and distinguishes clearly between the old and new GCSEs. 

I think we can safely say that young people today are working at the highest level, and it is not only thanks to reforms to the curriculum that standards in schools are rising, but also to the hard work of teachers.

Thank you and good luck to all! 

Posted by Claire Perry at 2:51pm

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