Labour to outline plans for National Education Service and ‘cradle to grave’ learning

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Labour will today outline its plans for a National Education Service (NES) and pledge to create a “cradle to grave” system modelled on the NHS.

The party’s 2017 election manifesto included a pledge to establish the service, which it said would “give people confidence and hope by making education a right, not a privilege”.

Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, will use her keynote speech to the party’s annual conference in Brighton to lay out ten “principles” that underpin the NES.

In a nod to Labour’s promise to scrap tuition fees, Ms Rayner will commit to making education free at the point of use and promise to invest in lifelong education. She will also vow to ensure technical and vocational training is placed on an equal footing to academic education.

The NES will be accountable to those who use it, integrated with other public services and geared towards “tackling all barriers to learning”.

Ms Rayner is expected to tell party members: “Our National Education Service will be lifelong, providing for people at every stage of their life.

“That is our National Education Service. Not just another structure, not another new sign on the school gate. A promise from a Labour Government to the British people: that we believe in all of them, in their talent and their potential, in all they give to our country, and that we will never limit their aspiration or their ability to succeed.

“It sets out the education that people can expect throughout their lives. The contribution that society makes to them and that they can make to society.

“Education informs. It inspires. And it empowers. Because knowledge is power. I know that from my own life.”

Ms Rayner will also attack the Conservatives for failing to fulfill manifesto pledges to open new grammar schools and free schools, and provide free school breakfasts.

“Theresa May’s education ministers have spent the last few months ripping up their own manifesto page by page.

“They’ve gone from running the place to running away from the place.

“In fact, I went through their manifesto line by line. There are more education policies that they are reviewing or abandoning than that they’re implementing.

“They’re binning their manifesto; we are building on ours.”