“Work hard and you can achieve anything.” That’s what Keir Starmer set out as his ambition for Britain at Labour conference this year.
It’s the message that we tell our children, and teachers instil in their classrooms every day.
Labour wants every child to achieve, to aim high and believe that no matter what, they can realise their dreams. But to deliver that we need to give every child a fair shot.
At the moment, too many children are held back by their background and a lack of opportunities.
They are held back by the absence of a qualified teacher in their classrooms, with teacher vacancies trebling since 2010.
They are held back by a lack of careers advice, not knowing what opportunities are open to them.
And they’re held back by the heart-breaking rise in mental health conditions among young people.
Labour wants to tackle these barriers to ensure that every child can get on.
That’s why we would end tax breaks for private schools, to invest the £1.7 billion that raises into delivering a brilliant state education for every child.
With that money we would recruit 6,500 extra teachers, filling every teacher vacancy in our schools and hiring more. And we could go further.
Labour would recruit over 1,000 careers advisors to deliver more than a million hours of careers guidance to young people in schools and colleges. This guidance opens doors, ensuring young people know what apprenticeships, training programmes, university courses and employment opportunities are available.
Even before the pandemic, almost half of young people said they felt unprepared for the future, while similar numbers of employers reported young people were leaving education unprepared for the world of work.
Labour will support young people in building confidence and navigating the choices available to them to pursue their ambitions.
Since 2000, private school fees have risen every year while the proportion of children attending these school has remained constant.
I’ll never criticise parents for making the choice to send their child to private school. But we cannot justify tax breaks which could deliver so much for children across our state schools.
I went to a brilliant state school locally, with teachers who were ambitions for me and my classmates. They set high standards and saw no reason why we shouldn’t meet them.
Labour will set high standards for every child, and through investing this money in our schools and colleges, we will support young people to achieve them.