Stop any parent or guardian in Tameside and ask them what kind of Britain they want their children to grow up in and I’ll wager most will say something along the lines of “a country where if you work hard, you’ll be able to get on, no matter your background”.
It’s a simple principle, and one that is the bedrock of a successful society. Sadly, however, it is principle that Britain is currently failing to uphold.
Recent research has consistently shown that a child’s upbringing is increasingly dictating their outcomes as an adult. For example, someone who grows up receiving free school meals earns just over half as much as their better-off peers by age 28.
Here in Tameside, we have kids with bucketloads of ambition and even more talent. That these kids might be blocked from achieving their potential because of the wealth of their family is beyond depressing and must be addressed.
I want parents and guardians in Tameside to know that no matter the money in their pocket their kids will receive an exceptional education and access to opportunity.
Last week, Labour unveiled its mission to ‘break down the barriers to opportunity’. With commitments to expand high quality education, boost child development and improve young people’s school outcomes, the mission is a bold roadmap to unlocking the potential of our children and young people. I’m particularly excited by the plans to review the national curriculum, and to make it broader.
Not only will this ensure that young people don’t miss out on subjects like music and sport, but it will also guarantee that young people develop the skills they need to thrive in the world of work.
Most notably, Labour has committed to introducing ‘oracy’ which would see young people learning speaking skills. I think this is so important.
For instance, I’ve met plenty of young people who want to get into things like politics, business or teaching, but are nervous about speaking in front of a room filled with people. What I always say, though, is that you aren’t born with a gift for public speaking, it is something you learn. A skill to develop like any other.
Why shouldn’t we empower every young person to learn that skill? Tameside has so much potential, but it is being stymied by a Government that is out of road and out of ideas.
It’s time for change, and to build a Britain where there is no class ceiling on the ambitions of young people in Britain.