Letter to Editor: Robert Halfon: This Conservative Government has boosted the life chances of thousands of young people in Harlow

General Election 2024 / Wed 13th Mar 2024 at 09:24am

Dear Editor, 

OVER the last two weeks, claims in Your Harlow by senior figures in the Labour Party, and from Stop School Cuts, have misled readers about the state of education in Harlow. Claims about a lack of funding do not reflect extensive capital investment in our local schools or the £3.9 billion funding increase this year compared to 2023. 

Since 2010, I have championed education, skills and apprenticeships in Harlow. I am proud of what our town has done in this time, with children and young people accessing better quality education than ever before and climbing the ladder of opportunity. This Conservative Government has boosted the life chances of thousands of young people in Harlow by:

  • Improving school standards – 85% of schools in Harlow are now rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, up from 46% in 2010, thanks to the inspiring work of our teachers and support staff. 
  • Boosting school budgets – Harlow schools have seen a 15% increase in their budgets over the last two years, worth over £11.5 million. The minimum per pupil funding is almost £6,000 for secondary and over £4,500 for primary aged pupils per year. Over £23 million has been spent to upgrade schools in Harlow on top of funding for the new BMAT STEM university technical college, and the new SEND school, Greenwell Academy.
  • Creating apprenticeship opportunities – over 9,120 young people have started apprenticeships in Harlow since 2010. This is up from just 100 in 2009. There are now over 680 apprenticeship standards at all levels in everything from aerospace to zoology with digital, healthcare, media, policing and everything in between. Labour’s plan to weaken the apprenticeship levy will halve the number of apprenticeship starts overall. 
  • Investing in Harlow College – from the new Electric Vehicle Centre to the new Institute of Technology, Government has invested £8.5 million in Harlow College in addition to core budgets since 2019. This is in addition to the £12 million Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Centre which opened in 2017. 

Nationally, an extra £2 billion over the next two years will take school funding to almost £60 billion, helping to deliver 27,000 new teachers in classrooms since 2010, putting English children at the top of the performance tables for reading and literacy in Europe, and cutting school absence rates. 

Just this week, the Leader of the Opposition said that the arts had been ‘hammered’ – this is simply not true. This Government has invested £115 million in music, art & design and dance with half of all secondary aged students completing GCSE qualifications in an arts subject. In Harlow, we are investing in the arts by delivering a £23 million cultural quarter with workshop spaces and extra curricular arts programmes for people of all ages, whilst upgrading the Playhouse to ensure Harlow is front and centre of the creative arts sector. 

I am proud of what we have achieved in Harlow, expanding apprenticeships, driving up standards of education and boosting social mobility all whilst putting our future generations at the heart of the educational landscape. I thank every single teacher and member of support staff who work tirelessly to deliver the best education possible for our children, students and apprentices. 

Yours sincerely, 


Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP
Member of Parliament for Harlow

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10 Comments for Letter to Editor: Robert Halfon: This Conservative Government has boosted the life chances of thousands of young people in Harlow:

2024-03-13 09:57:57

Obviously concerned there is an election coming up. He misses out - Locked us down like inmates in our own houses, destroyed economy by printing 400B in response to paying people sitting at home, pandered to education unions over closing school damaging development and education for many. Closed the NHS to anything but covid resulting in a 7 Million waiting list. Just yesterday it emerged from the Chief Scientists diary many actions taken were political especially by the Scottish government but then the week craven PM in Boris copied them. Constant war mongering across the world look at Ukraine, we have money for everywhere but to invest in our own country and people. Then we have high taxes, a collapsing justice system, the last 14 years have been utterly wasted by a party which started out for individual freedoms and economic growth which has merged in to a socialist progressive organisation that everyone on the right and the left rightly cannot stand. The one PM who understood in recent times we had to cut taxes we removed via a coup due to supposedly gilts etc which are much higher today, the issue was pension funds had not been entirely honest with their investment an nearly went bust. Of course Rob supported Sunak, he would as he is of the managerial political class.

2024-03-13 10:16:49

Are these “boosted life opportunities” in the room with us now? No, I didn’t think so. Empty rhetoric from an empty (and AWOL) MP. Much like potholes, the Tories can boast about what the numbers say, but people know that it isn’t manifesting in the lives of young people. Oh, and where’s our hospital, Rob?

2024-03-13 10:27:50

Pull the other one Robert.

2024-03-13 10:36:05

Indeed. https://www.yourharlow.com/2023/08/21/shock-as-sir-frederick-gibberd-college-closed-due-to-safety-fears/

Secondary teacher
2024-03-13 10:36:53

Mr Halfon, I work in a secondary school just outside Harlow. The roof leaks in several places and, in heavy rain, buckets are out to catch the water. Classes of over 30 are common, although the classrooms only have desk space for just 30. Teaching assistant support for pupils with additional needs is virtually non existent. We have no text books at all in my department. The technician who supported our department has left for better paid work and has not been replaced. Some classes for core subjects had only non specialist, day to day, supply teachers for more than a year. My school is not unusual in facing these issues. The young people who are attending schools in leaking buildings, without essential equipment and staff, are not having their life chances boosted by your government. They are struggling through in a valiant effort despite the government you claim to be a proud member of. You should be ashamed.

Kim Oconnor
2024-03-13 11:30:24

I think Mr Halfon lives in a fairy world. I only ever see him going to passmores or Harlow college, look around at the mess that surrounds us all.. my partner waiting over 24 hours for a hospital bed this week, and some a lot longer. Spend the money where its most needed, crumbling wet damp schools, our hospital is broken , our services are a shambles utter shambles. . Staff in schools and colleges trying to cope with lack of staffing, Theses people doing the work of 2 to 3 people, through your government s cuts over years, good teachers and lectures lost there jobs because of your government Mr Halfon.. As I've said before,, your government like to be seen on the world stage , never looking underneath at the problem s that every one is facing.. Its a real pity and really sad that , theses regeneration big ups and talks ,, never ever address theses problems.. And probably never ask the people who work in theses services, because they don't really want to hear the truths.

gary roberts
2024-03-13 13:04:48

Come on guys Mr. Halfon works hard for Harlow and the people of Harlow or so he keeps telling us. More realistically those who work in the schools say another story is nearer to the truth. Teachers are leaving the profession in their droves leaving the schools to find replacements at short notice and then asking under qualified agency staff to find them replacements at a premium rate. That is the truer and disgraceful picture Mr. Halfon. Hopefully you will be in retirement soon leaving unsound Conservative leaflets and photo shoots behind but leaving other unqualified people to sort out the many problems you and your government have created. The current standard of MP' is very low and many of my political champions [Attlee and Nye Bevan] would be appalled and disgusted at the state of this town and this country today.

2024-03-13 13:27:42

Oh come on Robert Halfon. Do you REALLY believe this to be true? Or are you just spouting this nonsense because you have to?? I know people who work in schools in Harlow and they talk about lack of teaching staff, overcrowded classrooms, lack of equipment and text books, leaks in roof and crumbling buildings. Im afraid I am more likely to believe the people who work on the front line, rather than an MP whose Government has caused the majority of the problems in our schools.

New town dreaming
2024-03-13 17:09:38

Harlow has the highest level of child poverty in Essex.

No racism thanks, I'm British
2024-03-13 17:15:59

Do you mean this?: https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/young-children-arrested-rough-sleeping-young-people/ Or https://www.itv.com/news/2024-03-04/exclusive-55-homeless-children-have-died-in-temporary-accommodation-since-2019 Do you mean the NHS spending less per person than 20 years ago? Or the recession? Or the impossibility of young people being able to move out? Or the cancellation of the erasmus scheme? Or are you just looking to distract from the fact that the tories are now just openly racist? Puts the Windrush scandal, grenfell, go home vans and all the vile anti immigrant talk in a new light doesn't it?! Given your party are now happy to accept racism- do you mean all young people or just white people? Please speak out Robert. Harlow doesn't support or accept our government trivialising racism.

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