Liz Savage delivered a speech on education at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. Here's the text of her speech:
Conference this Tory led government has failed our children from birth to Higher Education. They have made huge cuts that are devastating to our childrens’ education.
There are now 628 fewer Sure Start centres than there was in 2010 when this government took control. As an Early Years Teacher I’ve seen the benefits that children gain from this early start to their education.
One of Labour’s greatest achievements in Education was lowering class sizes. We ensured that except in exceptional circumstances that all children in infant classrooms would be taught in classes with 30 or less pupils.
In 2010 the Conservatives manifesto promised to create “small schools with smaller class sizes” David Cameron even said “the more we can get class sizes down the better”
Yet the Tories have relaxed Labour’s regulations on class sizes. In Southport, where I’m standing for Parliament the local authority has 500 children who are being educated in class sizes over 30. Again we see that this Tory led government has failed to deliver for children.
It’s not just our young children who the Tories have failed but our teenagers too. From lack of local scrutiny and oversight for academies and free schools to unqualified teachers.
My fifteen year old daughter will be taking her GCSE’s shortly and she is already concerned about how the cuts are affecting her education. Due to severe cuts in the Local Government Budget she will have to find transportation costs to a college ten miles away as her school has no sixth form. Lancashire County Council is facing over 300 million pounds worth of cuts to their budget, again down to David Cameron.
Clegg promised our young people that he would scrap tuition fees. However, within months of being elected tuition fees tripled thanks to the Liberal Democrats going back on their promise.
When I was going to University, Education was seen as a right not a privilege. Now our young people are put off from having the same opportunities that we had due to the fear of debt.
Private school pupils already have the advantage of getting the lion’s share of places at top universities. Are we going to get to the stage where only private school pupils will go to University?
Our vision does not include lumbering our young people with £40,000 worth of debt for participating in Higher Education. It’s vital that High Quality Apprenticeships are available as well as Higher Education for our young people. As a party we must ensure that apprenticeships are used to support our young people and equip them with skills for their future career rather than cheap labour to benefit employers.
Conference the Tory led government along with the Liberals have damaged our young people’s education but together we can reverse this. We need to ensure that we win in 2015 and make this a one term Tory government so that our young people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential.l