Sajid Javid: Like all parents, mine wanted me to enjoy a better start in life than they did. That’s why they came to Britain for the chance to build a brighter future for themselves and for their eventual family.
Central to their vision was a better education. When my brothers and I were young, I remember my mum watching over us to ensure we were doing our reading at the library. She would make sure we’d done all our homework.
Nothing out of the ordinary for most families, but my mother didn’t speak English. She wasn’t taught. When she was growing up in Pakistan, village girls didn’t go to school.
People in Westminster sometimes say to me, “Saj, you’ve got a great backstory. But what does it mean in practice? Aren’t you just another politician?”
With respect – I think that’s rubbish. I remember the pride in my mum’s eyes as her kids, with a decent education behind them, were able to succeed beyond her wildest dreams.
I remember how she did all she could to lay the foundation for us to get on – leaving her home, living in poverty, working overnight at the Singer sewing machine in our kitchen to ensure we didn’t have to go to work but could get on with our studies.
Hers is a unique story, but not that much different from the millions of Brits who make those sacrifices for their children.
So as Prime Minister – with the whole of the Government behind me – I will make our schools and colleges the envy of the world.
Education will be my guiding mission in Downing Street. Today I’ve announced a plan that will transform our education and skills system.
We’ll be there at the earliest years, to tackle the attainment gap. We’ll commission experts to deliver a multi-year, multi- billion-pound funding plan for our schools.
And, as a former student of a further education college, I’ll treat them with the seriousness they deserve.
For a changing economy, we’ll deliver skills and lifelong learning to ensure that our people don’t just survive but thrive in the 21st century.
There’s another thing I remember about my mum.
She never let me make excuses. And if I became Prime Minister, I wouldn’t. How can you, with all the machinery of Government behind you?
So I promise you – no ifs, no buts, no excuses.
I’ll give the next generation of Brits a fair go at getting on.