Time To Put Children First

I visited Kings Heath Boys School last week which has just had a fine Ofsted report reflecting real progress achieved under four years of the current Head’s leadership.

It’s only by providing good schools that we can equip our children and grandchildren for the future. There’s always been a link between poor areas and school success. Labour understands this. In the 60s and 70s the Wilson government created Educational Priority Areas and after 18 years of Tory rule, the last Labour government introduced Education Action Zones to once again boost the chances of children from poorer backgrounds.

It’s by working with parents and carers and putting schools at the centre of communities that we build the solid foundations from which children succeed. Over 13 years of Tory rule, we’ve seen teachers abused and experts ridiculed and an attempt to return schools to teaching models experienced by too many government ministers, in private schools, over the past 50 years. It’s not structures like free schools or academisation or gimmicks about a smattering of Latin that matter. We need support for parents and programmes to attract the best teachers to disadvantaged areas.

Almost every successful person has a story about the teacher who influenced their direction and put them on a path to success. We need to rediscover an ambition and love for education.

At Kings Heath Boys they’re not planning to rest on their laurels but open up choice and opportunity by changing to an intake of boys and girls. We’re blessed with several outstanding schools in south Birmingham, they do a remarkable job despite squeezed budgets, teacher retention problems and children’s mental health issues. These are all things the government should be addressing.

I hope the local community will get behind plans for Kings Heath Boys which will give more children a chance to attend a school that’s best for them. I’m hungry for a Labour government that treats teachers with the respect they deserve and puts our children first.

It’s time to focus on a system where the talents of every child can be nurtured and where their achievements are the priority.

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