Angela Rayner: Labour will create “cradle-to-grave” system for learning

September 26 - Powered by Driver Youth Trust.

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Schools Week have the full text of her speech here.

Key points: 

  • The next Labour Government will create a “National Education Service, a cradle-to-grave system supporting everyone throughout their lives” – the party has released a draft charter for this, read TES’ coverage here.
  • Revealed that since 2012, £437 million pounds has been cut from Sure Start – nearly half of their funding.  Rayner pledged £500 million a year directly to Sure Start, reversing those cuts in full.
  • Criticised latest National Funding Formula saying there is “no new money” and that 88% of schools would still face real-term cuts.
  • Rayner said that “teachers are at the heart of the National Education Service” stating she would end the pay cap for TAs and support staff – would also introduce national standards for support staff.
  •  Pledged to invest £8bn in new school buildings and £13bn for existing school estates.
  • £10 million to end period poverty in schools.
  • Pledged a Labour government to focus on making FE world class and T-Level’s a “true gold standard” – she would invest £1bn to make this happen.
  • Finished by citing the government’s u-turns in education over the last year – “we have got the government running. Now let’s get running the government”.

Overall, it was a strong and confident speech by Rayner to the party faithful, she made clear two priorities for the opposition – sure start and “lifelong learning,” two areas she speaks passionately about relating to her own life experience. The speech was lighter in the area of schools: there were no new announcements, with all the funding pledges appearing in the manifesto (note: it may be worth watching Corbyn tomorrow for new major education pledge). She did commit to Labour’s line on more funding and removing the cap on teacher pay, which went down very well.

There was no mention of SEND – although she did use the rhetoric of “providing high quality education for all”. While there was no specific mention, it was good to see TAs & support staff receiving a rise in pay & national standards considering their contact with SEND learners.

Finally, the National Education Service is a radical idea that seeks to give our education system the same amount of prestige as the NHS. As Labour published its draft charter, we will be consulting with the party on these plans to ensure the “NES” has inclusion at its heart.

Further reading:

Dan Baynes is Policy and Research Executive for Driver Youth Trust

Dan Baynes, Driver Youth Trust