Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall supports free schools

Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall has said she supports free schools – in contrast to previous Labour policy.

Appearing at a Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch, Ms Kendall said she would support any type of school providing its pupils with a “great education”.

She said: “As leader, I’m not going to waste time obsessing about school structures. If a school is providing a great education – whether it’s a local authority, academy or free school – we will back it. Full stop.”

Ms Kendall also encouraged a more positive tone towards the people running free schools.

“If someone wants to help run their school, they deserve credit not criticism,” she said.

This change in tone contrasts with fellow leadership contender, Andy Burnham, who said last weekend that he would continue opposing free schools.

The shift may also lead shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt to change his position on free schools.

During the election campaign Mr Hunt said he opposed the schools and would replace them with ‘parent-led academies’.

Having decided not to run for leadership himself, Mr Hunt has now given his backing to Ms Kendall’s campaign.