Starmer pledges education reforms to make children ‘ready for life’

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Sir Keir Starmer has promised that a Labour government would reform the education system to ensure children are “well rounded” and “equipped for life”.

Labour would overhaul the curriculum in England, with a focus on digital skills, practical work and life skills, and sport and the arts.

Over the long term – combined with professional careers advice – this would mean no young person would leave compulsory education without the qualifications needed, the party said.

Labour leader Sir Keir said: “Every child should leave education ready for work and ready for life.

Labour Party Conference 2021
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“And young people have told me how ambitious they are for their own futures.

“That’s why Labour would create an education system that would give every child the skills for the future.”

In the latest policy promise during Labour’s conference in Brighton, the party said it would reform the citizenship programme within the curriculum to include pension planning, understanding credit scores, and applying for a mortgage.

Every child would have access to a device at home through a fund available to local authorities to replace laptops and tablets given out during the pandemic.

A fortnight of work experience would also be made compulsory and young people would have access to a professional careers adviser.

Sir Keir’s attempt to shift the focus on to Labour policy came after a bruising row over reforms to internal rules.

He is awaiting the result of a conference vote on a shake-up of the rules for electing a party leader having been forced to water down his proposals in the face of opposition from unions and the Labour left.

Under the original proposal, the one member, one vote (OMOV) system would have been replaced with a return to the electoral college made up of the unions and affiliate organisations, MPs and party members – each with an equal share.

Those plans were abandoned, although the revised proposals still amount to a significant shake-up and have angered some in the party.

The package includes requiring candidates for leadership elections to have the support of 20% of MPs, up from the current 10%.

In a further sign of the leadership being prepared to take on the Labour left, general secretary David Evans challenged his critics by calling a vote on his own position, which he won by 59.05% to 40.95%.

Ed Miliband interview
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband will set out plans to ‘green’ the steel industry (Nick Ansell/PA)

He will tell the party conference in Brighton on Sunday that Labour would invest up to £3 billion over the coming decade to green the steel industry, working with steelmakers.

He will accuse the Conservatives of failing to invest in the transition and of attempting to weaken safeguards that protect steelmakers from being undercut by cheap steel imports as well as spending tens of millions on imported steel to build schools and hospitals.

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