Keir Starmer pledges to launch an education “National Excellence Programme”

Keir Starmer pledges to launch an education “National Excellence Programme”
Keir Starmer pledges to launch an education “National Excellence Programme”

@Keir_Starmer will today (29th Sept) deliver his first speech as leader at Annual @UKLabour conference and pledge to deliver Labour’s ambitious school improvement plan, putting state education at the heart of his vision for Britain.

It also marks Labour’s shift to focus on improving the prospects of the 40 per cent of young people who leave compulsory education without essential qualifications.

Under Labour’s ‘National Excellence Programme,’ the next Labour government will boost the number of outstanding schools in all areas of the country; drive up standards; and enable every child to achieve their full potential.

The National Excellence Programme will include:

Recruiting thousands of new teachers to address vacancies and skills gaps across the profession;
Reforming Ofsted to focus on supporting struggling schools;
Providing teachers and headteachers with continuing professional development and leadership skills training.
Even before the pandemic, 200,000 primary age children in England were growing up in areas with not a single primary school rated good or outstanding.

Starmer’s speech will set out the short-term failures of the Conservative government and emphasise that the problems that are worsening because of their long-term neglect. He will warn that Britain risks being left behind if it does not open up opportunities for young people in every part of the country.

On Labour’s vision for education, Starmer 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 per cent 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.”

It would be funded by ending tax exemptions for private schools, first announced by Labour on Sunday, when Starmer set out plans to ensure that every child leaves school ready for work and ready for life.

There are hundreds of thousands of pupils in schools graded at requiring improvement or inadequate. Additionally, there are 210,000 pupils in ‘stuck’ schools which have received ratings of inadequate or requires improvement for 13 years or more.

There are also significant geographic inequalities, research suggests over 200,000 primary age children live in local areas where there are no good or outstanding schools and 11 out of 12 local authorities in the North East have a higher than average share of pupils attending an underperforming school. A secondary school pupil living in the North of England is around five times as likely to attend an underperforming school than one of their peers living in London.

On Sunday Labour announced it would make sure every child leaves school job-ready and life-ready with its ‘fit for the future’ curriculum.

In 2019/20 39.8% of 19-year-olds did not have level 3 attainment (2 or more A-Levels, BTEC, T-Level or equivalent apprenticeship).

Fewer 16-18 year olds stay in education than in many other countries: 71% of 17 year olds are in education in England compared to 89% in Estonia, 93% in Sweden and 88% in the Netherlands.


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