Theresa May calls for ‘first class technical education system’

Prime Minister Theresa May told the Conservative Party Conference Britain needed to establish a first class technical education system ‘for the first time’

Will Martin

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Prime Minister Theresa May has called for the creation of "a first-class technical education system for the first time in the history of Britain" at the Conservative Party Conference.

Ms May, addressing delegates during her keynote speech earlier today, said that "technology institutes" – believed to be a reference to the institutes of technology – would be built in "every major city in England" and more training would be given to 16- to 19-year-olds as part of the Conservatives' ongoing reforms of technical education.

In addition, Ms May called for a review of student financing, and said university tuition fees would be frozen next year.

'Seize the opportunities'

Ms May said: "We will continue to reform education and skills training, so that people growing up in Britain today are ready and able to seize the opportunities ahead...after years of stagnation under the last Labour government, we are turning things around."

She added: “[We will establish] a new generation of technology institutes in every major city in England, providing the skills local employers need, and more technical training for 16- to 19-year-olds – a first-class technical education system for the first time in the history of Britain.”

The speech was marred by a series of interruptions, as comedian Simon Brodkin – who uses the stage name Lee Nelson – managed to walk up to the lectern to hand the Prime Minister a mock p45 which he said was "from Boris Johnson". She also suffered from a coughing fit, prompting the hall in Manchester to give her a sympathetic impromptu standing ovation, while chancellor Philip Hammond passed her a cough sweet.

In January, Ms May pledged £170 million to institutes of technology as part of the government's industrial strategy. Last month, a draft document published by the Department for Education said that the new institutes would be up-and-running in 2019, with FE colleges "playing a major part".

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Will Martin picture

Will Martin

Will is a junior reporter at TES

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