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Gavin Williamson: Our education can be the envy of the world

Gavin Williamson said schools in Britain can become the envy of the world as he hailed the start of a "post-Brexit education revolution".

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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

The Education Secretary claimed the UK's upcoming departure from the EU was the "perfect opportunity" for the country to become a global leader when it comes to educating children.

He also said a greater emphasis would be placed on further and technical education, and insisted the UK would continue to welcome top students to its universities after Brexit.

South Staffordshire MP Mr Williamson was speaking at the Education World Forum in London, where he announced a one-year extension to a £2.5 million school exchange programme allowing children from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience other countries, cultures and improve language skills.

He said: "The UK has always been an outward-looking and global nation, with a proud history and record when it comes to education and innovation.

"Just over a week from now, the UK will leave the EU. This is the perfect opportunity to march forward and be the global leader in educating children, young people and adults.

"Make no mistake, I want the UK to be the best place in the world to educate your child and make the most of people’s talents.

"As we step out into the world, our doors are open and our ambitions are bold. We will continue to learn from those countries excelling in areas like maths and will share with others the lessons we have learned.

"We will place a bigger focus on further and technical education and will continue to welcome hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest international students to our world-class universities.

"Achieving this comes by working in partnership with the rest of the world and that will not change. With world leading universities and one of the best school systems in the world, we are and will continue to be a global leader in education."

Mr Williamson said the UK’s doors are open to international students, highlighting the creation of a new graduate visa route to be launched next year, giving international students up to two years to find employment completing their studies.

UK higher education institutions hosted almost 486,000 students from outside the UK in 2018-19, up 27,000 on the previous year. The figure includes 120,000 from China and 27,000 from India.

The Government wants 600,000 international students studying in the UK by 2030.