I was the first in my family to stay on at school, and education was something I had to fight for. I’m proud to be a Masters Graduate from Warwick University. My own experiences – and the massive contrasts between the resources I had as a young teacher in deprived areas, and those I saw living at Peterhouse (the oldest Cambridge College) – made me realise how education is utterly broken and built on inequalities
I stand right beside Angela Rayner and her bold pledge to create a ‘cradle to grave’ National Education Service which will allow everyone to reach their potential
And I welcome the priorities that she has outlined to be tackled in the first weeks of a Labour government. I’m particularly pleased to see an unequivocal commitment on relationships and sex education. It’s right that there should be ‘no opt out on equality’, and proper support for headteachers who face protests. The promised review of OFSTED is long overdue, as our children should be in school to discover and learn. As a parent I have been horrified at levels of stress created by the current system.
My husband, Matt, is Vice-Master of Birkbeck, University of London – Britain’s first socialist University founded to provide education to working people who were otherwise excluded. He has seen at first hand the decimation of adult education and lifelong learning under the Tories. At a time of major economic change, we need to support adult learners seeking new skills, or support and training, or learning for its own sake. I welcome the report of the Lifelong Learning Commission, chaired by the inspirational Estelle Morris, to which Birkbeck and other providers have contributed.