Hodge Hill's university applications double

Thought I would start what will be a tough year with some good news - the extraordinary turn-around in the number of our young people going to university. This is a major priority for me over the next five years - and has been a big part of my work over the last five years.

Figures out today in the Guardian now show that over the last 10 years the number of our young people going to university has doubled - that is the second best performance in Birmingham (Erdington slightly pipped us to the post for the no. 1 slot).

But most of all it is a huge testament to our young people, their parents, our teachers and headteachers, whwo have transformed the quality of local education. Just before Christmas, for example, I had the privilige of speaking at Park View's celebration for becoming the first school in the constituency with 100% A-C results.

With results like these, I'm naturally worried about the government's plans to triple tuition fees and cut budgets at local schools. I think the cuts could push us backwards. That's why I'm stepping up my campaign for community service for young people. All the research we've done in Hodge Hill tells us that it's crucial in transforming the appetite of young people to go and achieve their real potential.