Jesse Norman on Education for the Hereford Times

One way and another, I have been involved in education all my life.  That experience has helped me to make a real difference for local people during my five years as MP.  Since 2010 I have visited dozens of local schools, hosted visits to Parliament by many more, and given work experience to local young people wherever I can.

Education in Herefordshire has been chronically underfunded for generations.  But after a sustained period of lobbying, last year we secured a major breakthrough:  an inflation-busting £2.6 million a year extra for Herefordshire schools from 2015-16.

I have also worked very closely with the Royal National College for the Blind, which recently won a £3 million work support contract for the visually impaired.  And I have campaigned for fairer funding of our outstanding Sixth Form College, and for dedicated 16-25 provision in Hereford for young people with special educational needs. 

In 2011 I teamed up with local educator Maggie Steel to launch FunKey Maths; a highly innovative play-based approach to teaching mathematics to Key Stage 2 children who struggle with it.  And I have worked with the national charity Chess in Schools and Communities to bring chess to two local schools.  I even played a simultaneous display myself against 14 pupils at Holmer School! 

Finally it has long been my dream to have a full university in Herefordshire.  The economic and social case is overwhelming, but after three years we are still in the early stages.  I have tried to help the university team at every step of the way, recruiting outstanding senior advisers, securing ministerial interest, lobbying the Council to release key locations for university development, and making the first financial donation myself.

These have been my priorities, and if re-elected I will continue to press them in the years ahead.