Supporting local schools and ensuring our young people have the best possible start in life.

 With pupils and teachers from Falkland Primary School celebrating the arrival of their new equipment from the Sainsbury’s Active Kids programme.

As a parent and a Trustee of Mary Hare School for deaf children, I understand the pressures placed upon our young people and also those placed upon parents trying to ensure the best for their children.

I was therefore delighted to see the new figures from Ofsted which show that nine more schools in West Berkshire have been judged good or outstanding in their most recent inspection compared to 2015, which means that 70 of our local schools are now rated in those top two categories. In total, 13 schools in West Berkshire were rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted at their last inspection, and 57 were rated ‘Good’. None were rated ‘Inadequate’. This means 22,100 pupils in the area attend schools that are rated good or outstanding (out of a total of 25,700 in Ofsted-rated schools). That is 22,100 children with improved life chances.

Across the country the proportion of all schools judged to be good or outstanding at their most recent inspection was 89 per cent – the highest proportion ever recorded – with both the proportion of primary and secondary schools judged at these ratings continuing to rise in every region of the country. As a result almost 1.8 million more children are now in good schools compared to 2010.

Much has been said about the proposal to increase the number of grammar schools but this should be seen in the context of the Government’s extensive plans to make more good school places available and to harness the resources and expertise of universities, independent and faith schools. I fully support the aim to make sure every child can access high quality education, so that they have the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them, regardless of their background.


Over 4,000 new apprenticeships have been created in West Berkshire since 2010 and the Government has committed to a further 3 million across the country by 2020. Apprenticeships give young people the chance to get the skills that they need to get on in life and I congratulate every college and business locally that has taken on an apprentice. Over the past few months I have visited David Wilson Homes, Hitachi Capital, British Gas' Training Academy in Thatcham and AWE's Skills Academy and have seen firsthand how young people there are being trained and mentored to a high standard, equipping them for a future in work.

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I like Twitter. It is a useful way or keeping in touch with local and national issues. I have around 12,400 followers. It is hard to imagine any other platform that would allow me the chance to communicate with a crowd of that size.

There is a big "but" here...

Why NATO matters

After the momentous events in Parliament following the invocation of Article 50 last week, it was interesting being in Berlin at the weekend. I lead the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. This is a gathering of parliamentarians from across the alliance who provide some democratic accountability for those running NATO. As someone brought up in the Cold War, Berlin has always had a fascination for me. I found time to walk the line of the old Berlin Wall and to try and get a feel for how life was in the scary days when West and East faced off against each other over the iron curtain...

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Richard Benyon was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Newbury on 7 May 2015, with an increased majority of 26,368. Richard won 61 per cent of the vote share.



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