The strength of our society is closely linked with the quality of the education we provide our children. I strongly believe that all people should have access to the best educational opportunities from nursery school through to higher and further education.

I was one of the key advocates of the introduction of Sure Start. During my time as MP, I saw nearly every part of Bedford served by one — helping hundreds of local families.

I consistently supported our local schools, including nurseries and special schools. That’s why as your MP I urged the government to rethink funding formula in order to ensure that local schools got a fair deal.

Bedford’s two- and three-tier system of education has been particularly fraught in recent years. As your MP, I condemned local government inaction and took a strong stand presenting a viable way forward.

In addition to its own intrinsic value, education is also about ensuring that our citizens are equipped with the skills and knowledge that they need to achieve their best on their way to work.

Of course, learning is a life-long pursuit. I strongly believe that education must be a resource open to people of all ages. That is is why I supported opportunities for pensioners and those no longer in work to learn new skills.

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