Labour leader Keir Starmer pledges a school revolution to boost the future of kids as he sets out his plan to win the next election in a crunch conference speech
Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Thousands of new teachers will be recruited to sort the mess schools have been left in by crippling Tory austerity, Keir Starmer will vow tomorrow.
The Labour leader is to put a revolution in education at the heart of his conference speech, to boost the futures of children.
Mr Starmer will say in Brighton: “Labour will launch the most ambitious school improvement plan ever.”
He will vow to fix an education system battered by more than a decade of austerity as he puts the future of children at the heart of Labour’s revolution
With almost half of pupils leaving school without the qualifications that can give them a good start in life, the party leader is to pledge to recruit thousands of teachers to fill vacancies and skills gaps across the profession.
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Mr Starmer will on Wednesday set out his upbeat blueprint for government if he is voted into No10 at the next election, in the biggest speech if his career.
Announcing Labour is “back in business”, he is to present himself as a serious alternative to Boris Johnson, who has presided over a string of blunders, U-turns and excuses during the pandemic.
It comes after a period of infighting in the party and the shock resignation of Shadow Employment Rights Secretary Andy McDonald.
Asked on Tuesday what is most important to him, unity within the party or winning, Sir Keir said: “Winning. Winning a general election.
“I didn’t come into politics to vote over and over again in Parliament and lose, and then tweet about it. I came into politics to go into government to change millions of lives for the better.”
Even before Covid struck, 200,000 primary age children in England were growing up in areas without a primary school rated good or outstanding.
Mr Starmer will warn Britain faces being left behind unless it opens up opportunities for all young people.
Daily Mirror/Ian Vogler)
In his speech at the party’s conference in Brighton, he will say: “I want every parent in the country to be able to send their child to a great state school. On top of that, 40% of young people leave compulsory education without essential qualifications.
“What does that say about their future? We will not put up with that.
“That is why Labour will launch the most ambitious school improvement plan ever.”
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
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Ofsted will be reformed to focus on supporting struggling schools. And heads and teachers will get more ongoing development and leadership skills training.
Mr Starmer said this week private schools would pay £1.7billion a year in tax to fund a learning revolution for state-educated children under Labour.
The Government has committed extra funding for schools in England next year, but it will not reverse a cut in real terms school spending per pupil.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
And its school recovery tsar Sir Kevan Collins quit after Mr Johnson rejected his £15billion plans to help the education system recover from Covid.
Labour insiders said the speech would be a forceful diagnosis of the state of the nation after more than a decade of disastrous Tory rule.
Mr Starmer is keen to prove the party has changed since Jeremy Corbyn led it to election catastrophe in 2019.
He will say: “Too often in the history of this party our dream of the good society falls foul of the belief that we will not run a strong economy.
“But you don’t get one without the other. And under my leadership we are committed to both.
“I can promise you that under my leadership Labour will be back in business.” And he will turn his gaze firmly out towards the country.
Mr Starmer will highlight the fuel crisis and the rising cost of living as evidence the PM lacks competence and the Government is “lost in the woods”.
The fiercely private politician will give his most personal address yet, with wife Vicky watching from the front row, sharing previously unheard details of how his background shaped him.
One Labour aide said: “Keir’s speech will be noticeably different from what you’ve heard from Labour in recent years. It will be more optimistic, more focused on the future.
“The speech will be a demonstration of the way the Labour party has changed. It will be a clear indication that Labour will never again go into an election with a manifesto that isn’t a serious plan for government.”
But Mr Starmer faces fury from the left for opposing a £15-an-hour minimum wage – a key reason Mr McDonald cited in his resignation.
And after he quit he told the leader Labour was more divided than ever over the infighting. But Mr Starmer insisted Mr McDonald’s “wrong”. There was already rows over the suspension of Mr Corbyn from the party for refusing to apologise over accusations of anti-Semitism on his watch.
Mr Starmer said it was up to the former leader as to whether he gets the Labour whip back as the “ball is in his court”. He added: “The position today is exactly as it was when we last spoke, which is an issue between Jeremy and the chief whip. And it is unresolved.
“Jeremy was asked to apologise, to take down the post that caused the problem and to work with us. But I am trying to turn our party from a party that spends far too much time talking to itself to a party that talks about the issues that matter to the country.”
Mr Corbyn earlier told a fringe event: “There is no case other than I should be reinstated on the Labour whip.”
Mr Starmer also admitted to “huge agreements and disagreements” with his deputy Angela Rayner.
He said he has spoken to her after she branded the Tory party “scum” but it is understood he stopped short of scolding her. He added: “I wouldn’t have used the words that she used.”