Keir Starmer pledges to shatter 'class ceiling' with 'radical reform' of education system

5 July 2023, 23:58 | Updated: 6 July 2023, 07:00

Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer
Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to shatter the "class ceiling" by undertaking "radical reform" of the education system in Britain.

The Labour leader says he wants to reform education in the UK to make it more suitable for preparing young people for work and real life.

Speaking in Gillingham later today, Sir Keir is expected to argue that the "class ceiling" is preventing children across the UK from becoming successful.

"There’s also something more pernicious. A pervasive idea, a barrier in our collective minds, that narrows our ambitions for working class children and says, sometimes with subtlety, sometimes to your face - this isn’t for you," he will say.

"Some people call it the 'class ceiling' – and that’s a good name for it. It’s about economic insecurity, structural and racial injustice – of course it is. But it’s also about a fundamental lack of respect.

"A snobbery that too often extends into adulthood. Raising its ugly head when it comes to inequalities at work – in pay, promotions, opportunities to progress."

The Labour Leader will join Nick Ferrari on Friday from 9am to answer your questions during the latest Call Keir - Watch Live on Global Player

Education is at the centre of Sir Keir&squot;s fifth and final pledge "for a better Britain"
Education is at the centre of Sir Keir's fifth and final pledge "for a better Britain". Picture: Getty

Referencing his own working-class background, Sir Keir will say: "This mission is my core purpose and my personal cause. To fight – at every stage, for every child – the pernicious idea that background equals destiny.

"That your circumstances, who you are, where you come from, who you know, might shape your life more than your talent, effort and enterprise. No – breaking that link: that’s what Labour is for. I’ve always felt that. It runs deep for me."

Read More: Keir Starmer tells PM to 'locate his nerve' as nation grapples with soaring interest rates and mortgage costs

Read More: Partygate investigator Sue Gray broke Civil Service code by discussing a job with Labour, inquiry finds

Labour's proposed education reforms including an attempt to boost child development by setting a goal of more than half a million children hitting their early learning targets by 2030.

The Labour party will also set out plans to modernise the school curriculum "so that it properly prepares young people with the knowledge, skills and personal qualities needed to thrive in work and life".

Other planned reforms include:

  • Strengthening the teaching profession, which would see Labour aim to "end the recruitment and retention crisis that is doing so much damage to standards in schools"
  • Reforming skills, with Labour aiming to create more opportunities for young people "to learn vocational skills and adults to retrain in the skills businesses need"

Sir Keir announced his five 'national missions' to 'fix' Britain back in February, which centred around the economy, the NHS, crime, childcare and the environment.

Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan. Picture: Getty

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: "Labour's empty words are easy - delivery is difficult.

"Under Labour we had worse standards in schools, poorer outcomes for kids, and skills training that promoted pole fitness and balloon artistry.

"Labour offers nothing but flip flop after flip flop, from tax hikes to tuition fees - showing there is no guarantee that they will even stick to their word.

"Keir Starmer's track record shows he will have probably changed his mind by the start of the summer holidays. So there's no way parents and teachers can rely on anything he says."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

England lost to Spain in the Euro 2024 final

England's heartbreak as Spanish goal four minutes from time seals Euro 2024 final defeat

Prince William and Prince George at the Euro 2024 final

Smiling Prince George attends Euro 2024 final with Prince William as England face off against Spain

Kate with Charlotte at Wimbledon

Princess Kate looks radiant in purple as she presents Wimbledon trophy at men's final

Corey Comperatore was killed during the Trump rally attack.

Pictured: Man killed in shooting at Trump rally as he 'tried to shield family from bullets'

Carlos Alcaraz has retained his Wimbledon title

Carlos Alcaraz retains Wimbledon title as he beats Novak Djokovic for second year in a row

England are facing Spain in the final

England 1-2 Spain: Heartbreak for England as Spain win Euros 2024

Melania Trump shared an emotional statement on the incident

Melania Trump breaks silence after attempted assassination of husband Donald at rally

The wife and two daughters of racing commentator John Hunt were killed at their Hertfordshire home

Bereaved racing commentator John Hunt has fundraiser set up after wife and two daughters killed

Princess Kate has made just her second appearance since her cancer diagnosis - as she prepares to bestow the Wimbledon men's singles trophy at the All England Club.

Princess Kate arrives at Wimbledon as crowd applauds for royal's second engagement since cancer shock

Donald Trump was shot at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania yesterday

‘We will FEAR NOT’: Trump urges Americans to ‘stay united’ after attempted assassination

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly pro Graziano Di Prima allegedly 'spat, kicked and berated' Zara McDermott before sacking

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., on Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Gunshots and a defiant fist: How the first attempted assassination against a Presidential candidate in 52 years unfolded

What will following the shooting of Donald Trump?

Donald Trump shot during campaign rally: Jon Sopel explains what it means for the US Presidential race

The nation is gripped by Euros fever

England expects! Nation gripped by Euros fever as fans prepare for historic final against Spain

Donald Trump has been shot through the ear at a rally in Pennsylvania - as one bystander was killed and two others were critically injured.

Pictured: Shocking scenes as gunman shoots Donald Trump during rally leaving one bystander dead

Liz Truss has reacted to her party's terrible election results

Liz Truss blames Tory election drubbing on Rishi Sunak ‘trashing her record’ before pointing finger at Tony Blair