The shadow education secretary and Labour MP, Angela Rayner, promised to use her personal experiences a teenage mother to improve childcare across London. Revealing plans for a new childcare taskforce, she said “Parents all over London are struggling to meet the soaring costs of childcare which is flexible enough to fully meet their needs. Labour’s childcare taskforce is now charged with ensuring that every parent in London- whether single or a couple, working full time or part time, on shift work or nine-to-five- has access to affordable, top-quality care for their children.”
With reference to the improvements made in poor-performing schools in London, she added: “Labour has already shown, through the London Challenge, that we can raise standards amongst children living in some of the most deprived areas of the capital. Our task now is to focus on the early years, which can make such a huge difference to a child’s future life chances and social mobility.”
Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, told Labour delegates in Liverpool how Labour’s Sure Start centres benefitted her personally. Leaving school at 16 due to pregnancy with no qualifications, she stressed the importance of excellent childcare that had helped her as she endeavoured to balance work and raise her three sons. She attacked the Prime Minister’s plan to expand selection in school and introduce new grammar schools which Rayner described as “toxic.” She continued to criticise selection, referring to it as “segregation” because it “entrenches division and increases inequality.” The Labour MP emphasised that the ‘failings’ of the existing education system needed to be tackled, with tackling the issues of oversized classes, teacher recruitment problems and ensuring the accountability of free schools and academies to local communities.