Seventy years ago, Labour created our NHS - now help us do the same for education writes Angela Rayner
Angela Rayner writes exclusively about the National Education Service Roadshow for the Red Robin.
Launching the National Health Service in 1948, Labour’s Health Secretary Nye Bevan announced that the new NHS would be free at the point of use for everyone and financed entirely from progressive taxation, so that people pay into it ‘according to their means’.
This was something that the whole movement had fought for since its earliest days. It was straightforward and radical: health care provided according to clinical need, not financial wealth. It remains in many eyes Labour’s greatest achievement in our history as a party.
We created the NHS because we believe that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of their circumstances. Seventy years later Jeremy Corbyn's Labour is adopting the same principled approach to our policy.
In our General Election manifesto last year we announced the next Labour government would create a unified National Education Service (NES), providing cradle-to-grave learning. It too will be free at the point of delivery and funded from progressive taxation.
We have made clear that a successful economy is based on investment, not cuts, and when we invest in education, the whole country benefits.
So at the Labour Party Conference last year I announced the draft charter for the NES. The charter outlined 10 key principles that Jeremy and I proposed to underpin that new service.
Because we need a fundamental change in our public services.
Over the past eight years, Tory austerity has meant cuts to the adult education budget, Sure Start centres and schools; a teacher retention and recruitment crisis; increases to tuition fees; and the further education expected to provide ever more with ever less.
Enough is enough. It is time to reinstate a principled, value-led approach to education.
The NHS has shown just how important it is to get the principles right and we want the NES too to be led by our values.
That’s why Jeremy and I launched the National Education Service Roadshow. While the draft charter begins to lay the foundations of the NES, we don’t just want members and supporters to share our vision but to shape our vision as well.
So whether you are a parent or a student, a childcare provider or an adult education lecturer, a teacher or support staff, or just passionate about education, we want to hear from you and there is still time to be heard. Our consultation remains open for today, and you can submit your views at https://labour.org.uk/issues/2018-policy-consultation/national-education-service-roadshow/.
Education policy has been devolved to our nations but I still want to hear from everyone in shaping our education service. There is much we can learn from the best that has been achieved in every part of the UK, and will all share the benefits of better education in every nation.
I hope we will all be part of building the successes of the next Labour government - because it is only by working together we can create an education service that works for the many, not the few.