LPC, News, Politics

The 4 schools policies in Angela Rayner’s Labour conference speech

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, has addressed the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

In a short speech, Rayner announced a number of policies that her party will enact if it wins power in a forthcoming general election.

Here are the schools policies she announced.


1. Integration of private schools – but no commitment on asset seizing

Rayner today appeared to give her backing to a motion from Labour activists calling for the abolition of private schools. She had previously told Schools Week she wouldn’t stand in the way of the move.

However, she stopped short of pledging to enact all of the policies in the motion, including a call to redistribute the endowments, investments and properties of independent schools.

The shadow education secretary told the hall that her party in government will set its new Social Justice Commission to work “on making the whole education system fairer through the integration of private schools”.

“John McDonnell and I will set out the further steps a Labour government would take. But I can say today, that our very first budget will immediately close the tax loopholes used by elite private schools, and use that money to improve the lives of all children.”


2. No opt-out for equality

On relationships and sex education, Rayner said Labour would back headteachers who follow the rules, adding that there would be “no opt-out for equality”.

This is a response to ongoing protests against moves by schools to teach pupils about LGBT issues, which have prompted accusations that the government has failed to support heads who do.

However, Rayner did not say whether Labour would make any change to upcoming reforms to RSE, following criticism that current guidance gives schools too much leeway to avoid teaching about some important issues.


3. Scrapping Ofsted

This was announced by Rayner in an interview with the Observer, and the party has set out more details, which you can read about here.

In her speech, the shadow education secretary said schools “will no longer be reduced to a one-word grade or subjected to a system that hounds teachers from the classroom”.

“A new system of peer review will deliver school improvement, led by the experts in our schools, who can achieve more working together for the common good.

“And a new, independent body will ensure every provider from nursery to college delivers the education that will be the right of every citizen.”


4. School uniform price cap

Rayner also pledged today to end the “spiralling cost of school uniforms and equipment”, by introducing a price cap.

“Parents forced into debt. Children in clothes that don’t fit. And the Tories failing for four years to keep their promise to act,” she said.

“So we will set a clear price cap, and stop the scandal of children priced out of school.”

It comes after the academies minister Lord Agnew pledged to clamp down on the use of “pernicious” exclusive uniform suppliers.

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