Yesterday on the eve of launching Labour's manifesto for education, Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt took the opportunity of his visit to Ipswich to preview Labour's Parent Promise and how a Labour government will make a difference to education.
On his visit, Tristram Hunt set out his three priorities for education: early years; schools; and vocational and technical qualifications.
Following the closure of three Sure Start children’s centres by Tory led Suffolk County Council, Mr Hunt promised to reboot the Sure Start network, investing in children and investing in early years.
He said he would stop Free schools and the endless focus on structure but would invest in quality. He ruled out adopting Tory plans to have children who fail SATs repeat the tests in Year 7, on the grounds that the English education system does not lack examinations.
Mr Hunt made clear that Labour would ensure that all teachers are appropriately qualified and also support teaching assistants as part of the school system. In answer to a question from Richard Spencer, head of drama at a local high school, Mr Hunt said that “you cannot be an outstanding school without a broad and balanced curriculum,” adding that “music, arts and sport will be a part of that.”
Mr Hunt set out his plan to introduce Directors of School Standards at a local authority level, who would be responsible for commissioning school places, ending the wastefulness of building Free Schools in areas where school places were already available.
He ended the meeting by calling for support for Ipswich Labour candidate, saying that if Ipswich did not elect David, there would be another five years of Tory education policies.