Pupils must not be held back through a lack of good schools in their area, the Shadow Education Secretary will tell heads.
In her maiden speech as Shadow Education Secretary, Bridget Phillipson will tell heads gathered at the Association of School and College Leaders’ annual conference that pupils must not be held back because of where they were born.
She will highlight how before the pandemic, 200,000 primary age children in England were growing up in areas where not a single primary school had been rated “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted.
And she will say that her priority will be ending the pattern which sees “too many children held back by virtue of where they are born, their circumstances or family background”.
Labour’s commitment to recruit more than 6,500 new teachers, as well as its ongoing teacher and school leader development programmes to ensure pupils are taught by subject experts, have already set the country on this path, she will say.
Ms Phillipson will commit to ensuring every pupil has the chance “both to achieve and to thrive”, adding that her own experience as a state school pupil was “a lesson in the power of education”.
Education must be put “once more at the heart of our ambition for Britain”, she is expected to say.
“I went to a school where teachers were fiercely ambitious for me and my friends, because they believed in the value and worth of every single one of us,” she will tell the conference in Birmingham.
“They had high expectations and saw no reason why either our ambition or our achievements should not meet them.
“So I was lucky. But life should not come down to luck… Government should not temper, but match, the ambition of young people.
“I want every child to benefit from a brilliant education which instils in them a love of learning carried throughout their life.”
Ms Phillipson will also condemn a “drumbeat” of failures from the Government’s flagship tutoring programme.
The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has been criticised by the Commons’ education select committee this week.
A report from the committee, published on Thursday, said the Government must assess the success of the programme under Randstad, and that if the company cannot deliver, it should be “booted out”.
It said the programme appears to be “failing the most disadvantaged”, with the scheme reaching 100% of its target number of schools in south-west England by March 2021, but only reaching 58.8% of target schools in the North East.
In December 2021, only 52,000 courses had been started by pupils through the tuition partners pillar – 10% of Randstad’s target for this year.
Data published by the Department for Education today showed that over a million tutoring courses had been started throughout the programme’s history.
But just over 100,000 of these had been begun through the beleaguered tuition partners route, run by Dutch company Randstad, during this academic year. Schools have complained that the tuition partners route is “dysfunctional”.