The Future of Our Children: Jeremy Corbyn’s Speech on Education Policy

from Another Angry Voice

AAV compares the standing ovation Corbyn got for this speech with Theresa May’s lamentable performance on the Andrew Marr show, where she could be seen “evading questions” and offering “robotic repetition of her ridiculous “strong and stable” mantra, refusing to admit that nurses relying on food banks to survive is wrong,” and “trying to whitewash the ongoing Tory electoral fraud investigations”. It’s a reasonable point. May is a blank-eyed automaton with all the charisma of a cornflake. She couldn’t sell water in the desert. The question is, in a country that supports the NHS and needs good schools, why do the polls suggest this ghastly person and her corrupt horde of greedy idiots are going to win hands down?


[Introductions] …
It is a great honour to address you, leaders of one of the most important professions in our society, those who look after the education, the wellbeing, and the future of our children.
That is why Labour is making our children’s education one of the cornerstones of our General Election campaign.
The choice in this election could not be clearer – and it’s not the re-run of the EU referendum that the Prime Minister wants it to be.
Britain needs a government for the many not the few – one that’s ready to invest in our economy and public services. But the Conservatives have demonstrated that cannot be them, preferring to give the richest and largest corporations tax hand-outs worth tens of billions.
The NHS and social care have been pushed into a state of emergency. Housebuilding has fallen to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. Schools across the country face real terms cuts in funding per pupil, and class sizes are rising – while those young people who want to go to university face huge debts.
There is no greater responsibility than ensuring our children get the education that they deserve. I know this, you know this, parents up and down this country know this. But it is clear that this Conservative Government has its focus elsewhere.
The NAHT has correctly pointed out that this election is make or break time for our children’s education system.
As all of you will know, the National Audit Office confirms that schools are facing a cut of three billion pounds in real terms by 2020, the first real terms cut in education budgets in a generation.
This is an absolutely staggering figure and shows the need for a complete change of direction in how the government of this country treats our schools.
And we have to ask ourselves: is this how we want to treat the education system of our children? Is this how Britain’s children deserve to be treated?
Do our children deserve to be held back by a chronic shortage of teachers?
Do our children deserve to crammed into schools like sardines?
Do our children deserve to be taught by teachers whose morale is at an all-time low?
Not by any fault of the teachers, they are the people who also bear the burden of government cuts, but the fault of governments who fail to recognise the importance of investing in the lives of children, and those who teach and support them, up and down this country.
That is why we must value teachers, because if we don’t we lose them. And you know better than anyone there is a recruitment crisis and that crisis will be made even worse if we don’t secure the rights of EU nationals.
Last year 5,000 teachers from EU countries qualified to teach here and there are thousands more working to teach our children. So that’s why, as Keir Starmer set out this week, a Labour government will guarantee the rights of EU nationals living here.
And if we lose teachers, we lose subjects, we narrow the horizons of young people. So that’s why I passionately believe in an Arts Pupil Premium so that every primary school child will benefit from a £160 million cash boost to help pupils learn to play instruments, learn drama and dance and have “regular access” to theatres, galleries or museums in their local areas.
And yet, while all this is happening, while funding to our children’s education is cut, multinational corporations have received multi-billion pound tax giveaways
How can it be right that money is being siphoned straight out of our children’s schools and directly into the pockets of the super-rich?
We have to be clear, once and for all, that enough is enough.
Throughout this General Election campaign, we will be making absolutely clear our commitment to build a country for the many, and not just the few.
A vital part of that will be creating an education system that provides for every child regardless of their background, or their parents’ income.
Labour will introduce a National Education Service, ensuring excellent learning opportunities for all from early years to adult education.
What we need now – and what you as teaching professionals need now – are concrete answers and concrete solutions to the problems that our education system is facing.
That is why Labour has set out a plan to help give every young person the best start in life possible, by introducing universal free school meals for pupils at primary schools. It’s a policy that is fully costed, and will be paid for by introducing VAT on private school fees.
There are clear educational benefits to providing universal free school meals. It boosts the attainment and level of education of our children. We know that these early formative years are the most important in a child’s education and we have a duty to provide for our children the best we possibly can throughout that period.
It’s a policy that demonstrates how a Labour government would care for the many, and not just the few.
We will ensure that every single child receives a healthy and nutritious meal which will not only boost children’s productivity in the classroom but also helps to ensure their personal wellbeing, no matter what their background.
Children eating together is a great start in life.
So not only will the policy help children throughout their time in education, it will also help teachers who will see the benefits of improved concentration and improved attainment in the classroom.
And it will help parents who will not only save money but will have the peace of mind in knowing that their child is getting a healthy school meal during the day
Investing in the health of our nation’s children, is investing in our nation’s future.
If we are to truly place value on our children’s education, we must also place value on the teachers, head teachers and other school staff who deliver that education.
We must put an end to the continual attacks on the teaching profession, end the downward pressure on pay and conditions, the constant undermining of morale and the erosion of standards that means we have more unqualified teachers than ever in our classrooms.
That’s why, as part of the comprehensive programme Labour has set out today to strengthen rights at work and end the race to the bottom in the jobs market, we have confirmed a Labour government will lift the cap on public sector pay.
It cannot be right that those who provide our vital public services have their pay squeezed year after year. Britain’s public service employees deserve a pay rise.
And we must give the teaching profession the recognition it deserves, not only in terms of pay, but also in terms of status in our society.
We need to listen to you, the teaching professionals, on how you believe schools can be improved and respect the huge wealth of talent and knowledge that lies in the teaching profession as a whole.
I have always believed that the people who know how to a job best are those who do it day in day out. We must start listening to parents, teachers and head teachers: you are the people who know how schools should be run and you are the people who best understand the needs of our children.
That is why Labour has taken our lead from the NAHT – and from the other teachers’ unions – when we set out in no uncertain terms our opposition to the expansion of grammar schools in this country.
Not only does the mass introduction of segregation in our education system not help the overwhelming majority of this country’s children, it also returns us to what are frankly Victorian notions of education based on a narrow curriculum.
The task is clear: we must build an education system that suits the needs of our children and the opportunities they will have in the jobs market of tomorrow.
And if we are to build an economy worthy of the 21st century, we need a schools system that looks forwards, and not backwards to the failed models of the past.
We must recognise that every single child in this country has talents and every single child deserves the chance to flourish and thrive to their maximum potential in whichever field suits them best.
But our children’s schools do not exist in a vacuum. I am always in awe of the local head teachers I work with. Like thousands of children, I have learned so much from them.
And what I admire most is their commitment – not just to managing their schools and to educating our children – but the multi-faceted demands of the children in their community: their housing issues, immigration problems, their mental health. You are the heart of your communities.
You are part of a wider care system and you need the other parts of that system to work effectively alongside you, youth services, the NHS and social care.
Support for schools by these services is essential to promote pupil wellbeing. The duty to directly address pupils’ mental health needs ultimately rests with the social and care services.
No school should be asked to fund health and social care services from the school budget. That is why Labour has pledged to address the chronic underfunding for social care and the NHS.
As you all know schools are most effective as places of learning when they work together with high quality social care and health services to meet the needs of all students but especially those who are most vulnerable.
One in ten children and young people in this country suffer from a mental health condition and 75 percent of adult mental health problems are found to begin before the age of 18.
We must prioritise the mental wellbeing of our children. This is the least they deserve.
It is vital that we enable early intervention and provide support when problems first emerge but to do this we must build an education system that integrates social and health care.
Improving the way our society deals with mental health is a particular concern of mine because I am passionate to see opportunities for all.
That’s why I have been so impressed by the work so many of you do for children with special needs and how good special needs co-ordinators can liberate children from what has sometimes been a lifetime of exclusion.
That focus on the individual child is what drives our determination to reduce class sizes. We know that half a million children have been landed in super-size classes of 31 pupils or more.
This government is failing on education on its own terms. The Prime Minister herself has said that super-sized classes are proof of a school system in crisis. So then why is it allowed to continue?
Why are our children’s schools, not getting the funding that they deserve? This is a choice. And it is the wrong choice. The cut to schools funding is also a breach of their manifesto the Conservatives’ pledge to protect schools funding.
Labour will ensure schools have the resources they need.
I’m afraid I can’t give you a sneak preview of the full Labour manifesto today but be assured if it’s a choice between a tax giveaway to the largest corporations paying the lowest rates of tax in the developed world or funding for our schools. Labour will make very different choices from the Conservatives.
We have already started to set some of that out not just our free schools meals policy.
And our commitment to reintroduce the Educational Maintenance Allowance for college students from lower incomes.
We are also committed to restoring maintenance grants for university students so that no one is held back from realising their ambitions and so that every schoolchild knows that the options of further and higher Education are available to them.
We must not be ashamed to value education, for education’s own sake.
Schools should exist to get the very best from our children, to give them the best start in life, to enable them to succeed in whichever walk of life they chose.
Whereas Theresa May’s government has repeatedly cut resources and staffing we will invest in our children’s futures because they deserve nothing less.
The excuses from the government come thick and fast. They’ve blamed teachers for not working hard enough, they’ve diverted funds to their vanity projects. £138.5 million wasted on schools that have closed, partially closed or never opened in the first place.
We will not bring back a system that blamed children and parents for not passing the eleven plus and getting into a grammar school.
They blame everybody else, to divert attention from their own damaging failures. They need head teachers to tell them, own up, take responsibility and say sorry.
Labour will give schools the funding that our children deserve, the funding that teachers and headteachers deserve and the investment that our country and our economy deserves.
This election can be the chance for a fresh start, with a Labour government that will invest to create shared prosperity, protect our public services and build a fairer Britain.
A Labour government will work with you, we will give schools the funding the need and we will ensure you and your staff get the respect and resources you need.
We have a duty to our children and we will meet it.
Thank you.
[Standing ovation]


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Hayden Richard
Hayden Richard
May 30, 2021 12:15 PM

Education is the future of our child, so as policy maker, you need to be aware of the future of youth. The speech is a lesson for the people who want to secure their future through education. The student also can apply for the scholarship only if they are studying at online college, you just need to follow the https://studentscholarships.org/scholarships/485/7_best_scholarships_for_online_college_students.php and fill the information.

May 10, 2017 3:56 PM

I just wish that Corbyn was… angrier and reached out and touched people’s heart on an emotional level too. There’s simply too much ‘head’ about Corbyn and not enough heart. It’s not his fault. That’s the kind of guy he is. But surely there must be others in his team that can communicate with people and inspire them to rise up and grab the bastards by their throats and shake them like rag dolls? They should hit May hard for being a fake and a coward. He’s scared to even meet Corbyn in a debate. So much for her strength and stability, ha, ha! And her public meetings are rigged to keep the public out and she gets the questions in advance, and the press goes along with this. Labour should make this an issue, the entire fake strength story around May. Attack her personally, cause she’s selling her personality… Read more »

May 10, 2017 2:41 AM

There are a few doom-and-gloom merchants commenting here.
The simple fact is that only a vote for a Corbyn-led Labour Government will ease many of the current ills.
Voting for anyone else is simply a waste of time.
Even worse is not voting at all.
Let’s stick it to the Tories and their lap-dog media!

May 10, 2017 9:31 AM
Reply to  John

Does voting a) bring about lasting and deep seated social change; b) assuage the collective social conscience and transfer power to an unrepresentative superminority of vested interest; c) appease the masses whilst the sovereignty of the electorate and their concomitant civil liberties are asset stripped in silence? If you answered a combination of b) and c); you get a red star! This country is moving inexorably to the right, and I am afraid, rather than fight tooth and nail to prevent elitist rule – the Labour party, at PLP level (i.e. not necessarily grassroots or Momentum level) has been a complicit and enabling force. That is undeniable. Frankly John, I have been surprised, and not a little disheartened. I have been a party member twice in my life: back in the day when at least 250,000 of us marched with Michael Foot (and Joan Ruddock) to support CND; and more… Read more »

May 10, 2017 10:37 AM
Reply to  BigB

Sorry – I have to go out canvassing.
Instead of sitting around at home all day, some of us get up off our rear ends and go out and do some work.
That is how we manage to achieve real change – not pontificating on the internet all day long.
As Marx might have said, people like you spend all your time interpreting the world.
The point is to change it!

May 10, 2017 10:54 AM
Reply to  John

Marx, didn’t he spend his life pontificating, supported by Engels’ dad’s exploitatative factory? I’m at work and socially engaged too, John. Where did Marx say workers of the world, unite – and vote to validate your oppressors?

May 10, 2017 11:06 AM
Reply to  BigB

Marx – clearly – has been more influential in world affairs than you – or I – will ever be.
Don’t let your envy show!
You admit, then, that you are wasting time at work when you should be doing real work?
I wonder if your employer realises this?
Unless your boss is someone like Mark Regev, a professional spin doctor?
My advice: do the job you are paid to do and leave the social trawling to when you are at home.

May 10, 2017 12:51 PM
Reply to  John

Let’s not denigrate Marx further. You misquote his ethos, use him as a cultural icon in your defence, then tell me to act as a good socially conformist Capitalist tool???
Besides, you answered all my misgivings with a clarity that transcends the written word. As did my local constituency members. Be sure and let me know when voting brings about the end of Capitalist exploitation.

May 10, 2017 6:17 PM
Reply to  BigB

I am sure a capitalist stooge, flunkie and mindless labourer like you will be fully aware as to when the capitalist system comes to an end – unless, that is, unless your employer realises just how much dead wood you are from the top of your empty head downwards and kicks you out for wasting time when you should be working.
Either way, you will remain clueless – won’t you?

May 8, 2017 9:22 PM

This kind of speech is… okay. He’s addressing a ‘captive audience’ and telling them what they want to hear… then it’s standing ovation time, whilst outside in the real world the Tories head for a crushing victory. Social Democracy of the type exemplified by Corbyn, is finished as political force. His cloying nostalgia for a bygone age almost brings a tear to the eye. Keynesian economics is… dead. It ain’t gonna save Capitalism and it sure ain’t gonna save Labour, which, having been complicit in forty years of failure, doesn’t really deserve to be saved. Perhaps with Labour crushed there’s a chance that a new force in UK politics will emerge over time, but that’s not certain. Corbyn isn’t the person to lead a political revolution that really challenges the inverted ‘class warfare’ of the last forty years, in fact he never even mentions it, almost like he doesn’t think… Read more »

May 8, 2017 3:33 PM

Will Labour stop for profit education? Will they prevent those attempting to further their education from falling hopelessly into debt? When the fine words clear all we will be left with is more fake austerity, more loss of civil liberty and probably more war. Why be a part of a system that abuses at every opportunity?

May 8, 2017 3:57 PM
Reply to  Alan

VAT on for-profit education is designed to meet the cost of free school meals for all primary-age children.
Labour are pledging the reintroduction of the trainee nurses’ bursaries.
They are also talking about reintroducing maintenance grants for students.
Instead of posting empty points here, why don’t you make the effort to learn what Labour is actually saying?
Or are you happiest when staying inside your own self-induced little mental mind prison?

May 8, 2017 12:59 PM

I can only speak for myself: this is a fine speech about the future of our children – but it rings hollow to me – what about the future of the children of Syria? At the end of last year, JC stood in solidarity with Treason May and asked us to download the MP4 single in support of the Jo Cox Christmas Appeal – part of the proceeds going to the White Helmets. That is quite an error of judgement, all the evidence is available for a man of conscience to choose more wisely. What this says to me is that JCs ‘Overton Window ‘ (the ideas that he perceives the public will accept) has been narrowed – by ‘democracy ‘. We’ve supposedly had a thousand years of democracy in the UK, a hundred years of universal suffrage – in the past forty years we have had our own form… Read more »

May 9, 2017 10:36 PM
Reply to  BigB

[[ I shall be protesting the vote again (as did some 4 million in France yesterday) rather than endorse the tyranny of an unethical minority ]]
Why not just vote for Theresa May directly – and cut out the middle man?

May 10, 2017 12:39 AM
Reply to  Seraskier

Because I know from personal experience a vote for my local Labour candidate is a vote for Syrian intervention, is a vote for the White Helmets, is a vote for another Rashideen, is a vote for another Khan Sheikhoun. There are 400 US/UK military vehicles massed on the Jordanian /Syrian border. If they are still there in a months time – do you think Labour will stop them going in? Bear in mind that Labour started 5 wars in the first 6 years when they were last in power. Jeremy will stop them – will he, does he even control his own party? If Labour were to get in, how long do you give Jeremy as leader? Are you going to vote for the White Helmets / al Qaeda? The party system of shamocracy is already neo-totalitarean in nature. Research the power of Facebook, Google, Cambridge Analytica to sway elections.… Read more »

Michael Leigh
Michael Leigh
May 10, 2017 11:57 PM
Reply to  BigB

Well Actually BIGB it was 16 million French voters who abstained or destroyed their voting slips, that is a very significant minority looking for change, and not being able to find it !

kevin morris
kevin morris
May 8, 2017 11:17 AM

As a moderate Labour Party supporter I support Jeremy Corbyn. Sadly, I also know that on the doorstep he is reported by many as an impediment to Labour’s success in this election. SOme years ago and listening to Radio Four’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ I remember hearing of a research paper that suggested that as hard times hit a society, many people respond favourbly to views expressed that the poor deserve little because they are scroungers and that a good government is one that makes it more difficult for them to scrounge. What this seems to mean to me is that when times are hard, the right are likely to do well in a way that seems counter intuitive. However much I want a Labour Government this time, the sad fact is that the Tories have it all their own way and will probably walk it, for it is Governments that lose… Read more »

May 8, 2017 11:35 AM
Reply to  kevin morris

At times like this, it is always well to recall the wise words of Harold Wilson: “a week is a long time in politics.”
That especially applies during a general election campaign.
Yes, it can go either way during such a time but however much the Tories and their supine media try to fix things, it is always possible that a late-breaking item of news can completely transform the situation.
No one really believed Trump could win the US presidential election.
There is – of course – simply no comparison between Trump and Corbyn.
However, the Trump situation does go to show that even currently believed outcomes can be changed.
For myself, I shall simply keep my head down and beaver away at getting Corbyn into 10 Downing Street.
To paraphrase another famous saying, “It is better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all”

kevin morris
kevin morris
May 8, 2017 3:19 PM
Reply to  John

Harold WIlson was a remarkable player and beat the Conservatives several times. He was almost as successfu as Tony Blair at winning elections and did considerably more that Blair at a very difficult time. I do respect Jeremy Corbyn and wish him well. I am happy to fight for Labour and am doing so, but I fear that ‘a week being a long time in politics doesn’t appear relevant to this election. Everybody has made up their minds and the fact that May has shown her ineffectiveness several times since she became Tory leader makes not a jot of difference.
Would the country be a better place under a Corbyn Labour Government? Most certainly. Is it going to happen? Sorry to say but highly unlikely.

Dead World Walking
Dead World Walking
May 8, 2017 10:17 AM

Corbyn is a breath _ _ _ no, a gale of fresh air.
The English working class may still have a chance to save themselves from self destruction.
When trickle down became $$$$$$ucked UP, the world was condemned to a slow death.

May 8, 2017 8:53 AM

Sorry to have to pour cold water on the article but …. Corbyn is a social-democrat, a principled social democrat at that. He believes in and means what he says, but one must wonder whether the social democracy we knew between 1945-1975 based upon the economics of Keynes and the social policies of Beveridge can mount a serious challenge to the New World Order. The neo-liberalist political and stranglehold on the mass electorate combined with the increasing integration of the global economy have made the recrudescence of a social-democratic, to say the least problematic. In 1945 the independent nation-state was in control of its economy, there existed a comprehensive welfare system, full-employment, low inflation, high growth rate – a golden age of capitalism, le trente gloriesues as the French called it. In fact the economic recovery was due more to the imperatives of post-war reconstruction than Keynes’ demand management policies.… Read more »

May 8, 2017 9:23 AM
Reply to  Frank

Frank, I was largely with your analysis until the final paragraph, where it sort of petered out…… I think John McDonnell is aware of the fact that former Keynesian approaches no longer work. The reason for this is simple: Keynes assumed a largely closed national economy, whereas it is now recognised that most modern national economies “leak” money in and out of their systems. This is why Mitterrand’s attempts at economic reflation for France in the 1980s were an utter failure. Intriguingly, one possibly positive aspect to Brexit is regaining greater control over the UK economy. I cannot speak for McDonnell or Corbyn but – in the event of them forming a national government – I would urge them both to look at and apply the lessons that can be learned from window guidance. This approach – involving state availability of credit for selected industries – is what brought Japan… Read more »

Jim Porter
Jim Porter
May 7, 2017 8:22 PM

The attack on the teaching profession started decades ago, working the hardest workers into the ground before finally leaving. It is not an attractive profession any more, (much like how junior doctors are going) so it is no wonder that there is a problem. For the level of responsibility that there is for the next generation in society, the wages are rubbish (taking into account after-hours marking). Is the role of government really meant to be running everything down under the guise of saving money?

May 7, 2017 8:44 PM
Reply to  Jim Porter

Jim, Where the Tories are concerned, private is good and public is bad. Their intention is to shrink the state to the minimum possible. In the past, that meant keeping order, defending their assets (not ours) and protecting the currency. These electronic days, protecting the currency may no longer be as important to them as it was in the past. Defending their assets means defending their schools, colleges and universities for them and their children. As for everyone else, well – let’s face it – rolling out mass education only became necessary after people like Lloyd George and Churchill had sight of the Bismarkian welfare reforms in Germany and realised that this produced a superior work force and potentially fitter army recruits compared to the ones the British system produced, as had become shockingly apparent at the time of the Boer War. Today, it may be considered somewhat different, with… Read more »

May 7, 2017 5:17 PM

What is completely lacking is challenging teachers to ask what school education is expected to achieve. There is still this nonsensical belief that it is either grammars and private focussing on the ‘bright/rich’ or ‘education for all our children’, as if all children have the same needs, which they patently do not. It is also pertinent to ask what percentage of teachers have actually done anything but studying and teaching. No teacher I was taught by knew anything of the real world, so all the advice was nonsense. It is pertinent to ask the value of trotting out facts in exams, solving problems for exams which are irrelevant in the real world. It is worth asking how ready middle class 7 year olds are to be adults sacrificing their own needs for working class pupils. They are expected to do that far too often…. It is worth asking why streaming… Read more »

May 7, 2017 4:37 PM

Excellent speech.
As to why fewer people apparently support Corbyn than “Frit” May, just look at the mass media coverage.
The polls have been narrowing and there is every hope Labour could still win on June 8th.
We must all get out and vote Labour and vote Corbyn on that key day.
We must all also try to persuade others to behave similarly.