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Labour's education focus will be on improving standards, not free schools

Labour Shadow education Secretary, Tristram Hunt joined Labour's Parliamentary Candidate, David Ellesmere in Ipswich yesterday on visits to a Children's Centre and a primary school.

During his visit, Mr Hunt denounced the Tories' free schools policy as "the wrong priority at the wrong time". 

At the Bramford Lane Annex of Highfield Children's Centre, Tristram and David met Children's Centre manager, Jannice Simpson and her team to hear about the work of the Centre, and got the chance to chat with young mums and their children attending sessions at the Centre.

Labour is committed to expanding access to children's centres if it wins the General Election, whereas 720 have closed under the current government, with nine Suffolk centres - two in Ipswich - due to close from April.

At Halifax Primary School, Tristram met head teacher, Anna Hennell James and discussed Labour's plans for education with teaching staff and Chair of Governors, Roger Fern.

Speaking about education locally, Tristram said: “I think that Suffolk does have real challenges and nothing the Government is coming up with at the moment: cutting the early intervention grant, having more free schools – none of this is going to deliver for Suffolk.

“What we would do is secure the investment for early intervention which is how you tackle disadvantage and inequality at our children’s centres and our pre-schools.

“We need to have highly qualified teachers in the classroom, to have professional development for them.”

Labour would introduce directors of school standards to help bring about school improvement, and cancel the free schools programme. He said “I think parents will be shocked to see a government prioritising school places in areas where they are not needed when we know that there is a primary school places crisis."

The Tory free schools policy is "the wrong priority at the wrong time".





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