Last Friday I was delighted to be asked to reopen Rumboldswhyke Infant School in Chichester. It was a very special day as not long ago the school’s future was looking bleak as it was recommended for closure. The reopening was a moment to celebrate the school’s long history, founded in 1884, and look at its exciting future. A big thank you to all the parents, teachers and community for standing with the school as we fought to keep it open. I am particularly grateful to Bishop Luffa School who saved the day by stepping in to sponsor the academisation of Rumboldswhyke.
I also visited Chichester College, to see how they are getting on with reopening and the introduction of T-Levels, which are new technical qualifications, equivalent to three A-levels. These 2-year courses, launched in September, have been developed in collaboration with leading employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry - they are a blend of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience with industry placements of at least 9 weeks.
Over the weekend I joined the brilliant team from St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Bosham on a 10-mile walk from Chichester to Barnham as part of Sussex Hospices Trail. Hospices provide care and support to patients and families during the most difficult time in their lives. We are very lucky, right across Sussex, to have so many wonderful hospices with such experienced, caring and dedicated staff. It was lovely to be able to support them, and I encourage anyone who can to join in and do a sponsored walk too.
In Westminster this week it is the Conservative Party Conference, which unlike previous years is being held online. I have been dialling into events from head office which has worked remarkably well all things considered. On Tuesday the Prime Minister gave his keynote speech, which offered us his vision for the UK over the coming decade. For those of you who watched it will know, there is a huge drive to level up, improve skills development and education outcomes, as well as our public services offering with 48 new hospitals; eight of which are currently being built, and 20,000 more police officers; with 5,000 already on the job.
Most exciting for me was his commitment to net-zero and our green industrial revolution, with a planned expansion in offshore wind, meaning soon every home in the UK will be powered by clean, green energy.
It’s sometimes hard to believe it was just a few months ago we won the election, on a manifesto to invest in public services, infrastructure, skills, more homes and improve our environment. Despite the global pandemic the Prime Ministers speech reaffirmed our vision and drive to ensure we have a greener, fairer Britain that we will all want to see realised.