Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, who grew up in a council house in Washington, Tyne and Wear, said her mum Clare didn’t go back to work full time until she started school because no childcare was available.
Bridget Phillipson has described how her family struggled when her single mum couldn’t work as there was no childcare available.
The 39-year-old, who grew up in a council house in Washington, Tyne and Wear, said her mum Clare, who helped to found domestic abuse charity Wearside Women in Need, didn’t go back to work full time until she started school.
She said: “There was no childcare and my grandparents were both working so they helped when they could, they couldn’t look after me.”
So that meant until I started at school, she couldn’t work full time. And that had a big impact on us as a family.”
When you’ve only got one parent anyway, and you’re dependent on that parent as the breadwinner, if they can’t work, then that pushes you into poverty and that was what we experienced.”
Ms Phillipson said her mum shielded as much as she could, but the family “really didn’t have very much and we would get to the end of the week and there was nothing left.”
She added: “For all we had it hard, there were kids in my street that had it far, far harder. And I feel incredibly fortunate that I’ve got to where I am and that I had a brilliant education, and that I’m able to give voice to those children and families today who were going through what I went through and who expect better from us as a country.”
Speaking to The Mirror, the Labour frontbencher also accused the Government of “playing games” over teachers’ pay – and told them to get serious about ending strikes.
Ms Phillipson pointed to the deal agreed in Wales to end the strikes last week, where teachers accepted a 8% pay rise this year.
In England, talks are ongoing to resolve the ongoing dispute.
More than half of schools in England closed or restricted attendance during two days of nationwide walkouts by the National Education Union this month, while just 43.9% were fully open on a previous national strike last month.
“When you’ve had five Secretaries of State in a year, it’s little wonder that you don’t see progress being made in resolving industrial action,” Ms Phillipson said.
“The Government has known for months and months that there was a need to get around the table and sort this out.
“But instead they’ve been playing games, posturing on social media and casting around to blame others.”
What we’ve seen in Wales where they’ve made progress and are settling that dispute shows what can be done when you’ve got a government that’s serious about negotiation and is serious about getting a deal that everyone can live with.”
In England, we haven’t had a Government that’s been serious about recognising the real frustrations that teachers feel, not just about the failure to value and respect education that they’ve seen from the Conservatives.”
Further strikes in England have been put on ice while intensive talks are underway over pay and conditions.
This article originally appeared in The Mirror