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New education secretary lays out goals during first school visit

12/01/2018 Joanna

The newly-appointed education secretary Damian Hinds has outlined some of his goals and objectives for UK schools and teaching during a visit to a primary school in Cambridgeshire.

Having succeeded Justine Greening as secretary of state for education earlier this week, Mr Hinds made his first visit to a school in his new capacity, with St Andrew's Church of England Primary School in Soham chosen as the venue.

During the visit, he spoke about his intentions to push forward improvements in educational standards across the country, supported by a rise in the number of high-quality school places, enhanced literacy, improved exam results and better access to technical and vocational qualifications.

Mr Hinds said: "I want to make sure everyone in this country gets a world-class education and look forward to visiting more nurseries, schools, colleges and universities to see for myself some of the excellent progress being made and what more needs to be done."

The latest national assessment results in reading, writing and maths indicate an improvement of eight percentage points from last year, while it is estimated that 154,000 more six-year-olds are now on track to become fluent readers than in 2012.

St Andrew's Church of England Primary School was selected for Mr Hinds' first visit in part because of its location in one of the Department for Education's 12 Opportunity Areas, which are expected to be among the leading beneficiaries of any improvements in educational standards.

These areas were singled out for investment due to a lack of social mobility among local communities, and are now receiving a combined total of  £72 million in funding to create new opportunities for children and young people who face particularly significant social challenges. This work is expected to continue unchanged under Mr Hinds' leadership.

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