Parliament has just returned from Whitsun recess and as ever, I have very much enjoyed spending much more time at home in Suffolk. I especially enjoyed my annual visit to the Suffolk Show, celebrating all that makes this county such a fantastic place to live and work and I am sure that many of you also enjoyed a visit to the show.

It gives me great pleasure to bring some good news, this month, to some of the schools in our area. I have helped to secure a share of £450 million Government funding to upgrade school buildings across the country, to include projects at Kesgrave High School. In all, 859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools will receive a share of £456 million from the Condition Improvement Fund, and I am pleased to have played my part in helping to deliver this much needed funding to our schools here in Suffolk. This new investment will help to upgrade and improve school facilities, providing pupils with safer and warmer classrooms, and more energy efficient school buildings.

I am a regular visitor to schools in Suffolk and have long championed the excellent work they deliver, on a daily basis, demonstrating clear-sighted ambitions for the wellbeing and future development of the students. Therefore, I am especially pleased to have been able to support Kesgrave High School, in receiving a share of this funding. It is vital that our schools have access to high-quality facilities and these funding allocations will make sure that projects can go ahead to improve these learning environments so pupils and teachers can learn and work in comfortable spaces.

When I meet with staff and pupils at schools across Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, it would be fair to say that funding is always high on the agenda. Suffolk is a predominantly rural county and, in the past, cost per pupil funding has been significantly lower than other areas in the country. I have worked hard to support our schools and I am glad that funding is now improving but more needs to be done and I will continue to do all that I can to make sure that our children and young people can access a good education here in Suffolk.

Finally, I would like to close by putting on record my sincere thanks to all our schools’ teams for the enormous contribution they are making in supporting our fantastic children and young people. It is vitally important that our children remain safe, happy, and engaged when in school. When I visit schools, I am always impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment I see in staff and pupils, from academic excellence to pastoral care. Thank you.