Building a society where everyone has the chance to get on and do really well is a key priority for me. Our young people deserve the opportunity to study hard and achieve great success.
Central to this is having strong post-16 education and good local schools. Too many young people still don't realise their full potential or do as well as they could. Our schools in Dover and Deal should be places where students are encouraged to perform to the best of their ability and aspire to high level study.
This is particularly important because some of our local schools have been through tough times. Yet recent exam results show just how much progress our schools have made. There was strong improvement in many schools' A-Level results published last week. This means that more of our young people will have the chance to go to university, further education or find a better paid first job.
The strong local GCSE results that came out yesterday provide an essential foundation for further academic and vocational study. It was really encouraging to see students from our local schools achieving the good grades they need to get on in life.
Castle Community College in Deal has seen strong progress. The number of A* - B grades more than tripled on last year and every final year student got into their first choice university. At GCSE they saw their results rise for the second year running, with students going on to apprenticeships, traineeships and sixth form and college courses.
Dover Grammar School for Boys also performed strongly. Nearly all the students there passed their A-Levels with many going to top universities like Cambridge. They also achieved their best set of GCSE results for 9 years, with 94% of students achieving five A*- C grades.
There was also good news at Dover Christ Church Academy. The school beat its previous high performance in 2014 with 31% of grades rated at A*- B. To add to the good news, GCSE results at the school were their best ever, with over 43% of students securing five or more A*- C grades.
Congratulations are also in order to Dover College, Dover Grammar School for Girls, St Edmund's Catholic School and Astor College for the Arts for turning in many strong results.
Of course, A-Levels and university are not the only route to a good education and life chances. Many young people in our area do vocational courses or start an apprenticeship after GCSE's. But those who have strong academic talents must get the opportunity to push themselves and achieve the highest possible results.
When new sixth-form students begin next term, they will be studying the new AS and A-Levels. These have been designed to be as rigorous as possible. These will put our exam standards up with the top qualifications in the world. Students will be pushed further and those who do really well will have their achievements recognised.
Many congratulations to all of the students who worked so hard and did so well.
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