Tory MP Esther McVey argued that there needed to be significant changes to the education system. While speaking on the first day of the Blue Collar Conservatism Conference in Mansfield, Ms McVey argued there were snobbish tendencies in favour of going to university. She insisted more focus needed to be made on other avenues to make individuals successful.
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She also argued against teachers becoming too political and left-leaning in the classroom.
Ms McVey said: “There has been a distortion over many years that has lead to the snobbery that university is better than something that is technical or vocational.
“Germany has always had that right and valued its technicians as much as those who are academic and went into a career.”
Ms McVey also highlighted the issues she has with current classrooms becoming overly political.
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She said: “I would have never known what my teacher thought politically or any other way.
“They would not have ever tried to indoctrinate me.
“I am now hearing that people aren’t teaching you what you need to do they are overly indoctrinating you.
“It has gotten political and some would say that it has gone to the left.
“I think that needs to removed from the whole education system, a left-leaning or educational bias.”
Regarding attitudes towards not going to university, Ms McVey claimed there needed to be a significant shift backwards.
She said: “Particularly when I was growing up, this ability to appreciate everybody for whatever job they did seemed to disappear.
“Because all of a sudden there was this set target that 50 percent of people had to go to university because that was the only way to go.
“But if you look at a house, it’s just as important that the foundations are right, that the roof is right and the plumbing and the electricity work as is somebody who conveys it properly for you. I think we’ve forgotten that as a society.
“It was just, ‘go to university,’ which was wrong and has put us on the wrong track for a long period of time. With that, let’s be honest, there’s been snobbery, ‘you’re good if you do this and not if you do that’.”
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Ms McVey’s intervention came during a lively discussion as part of the Blue Collar Conservatism Conference 2020, an event designed to listen to the views of grassroots voters in new Conservative seats across the UK.
Founded by Ms McVey in association with the Daily Express, the conference comes after a political revolution spearheaded by Boris Johnson saw the Conservative Party win an unprecedented number of seats from former Labour heartlands – the so-called “red wall” – in the 2019 general election.
All week Express journalists will travel up and down the country with Ms McVey’s team to hear what real people think of the key issues impacting their lives.
They will be joined by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Home Secretary Priti Patel, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, as well as “red wall” Conservative MPs.