Sir Keir Starmer visits Purford Green Primary as he makes major commitment to education in Harlow and beyond

Education / Mon 11th Mar 2024 at 03:40pm

LABOUR leader, Sir Keir Starmer visited Purford Green Primary school today (Monday) as he made a major pledge on education in Harlow and beyond.

He was accompanied by the Shadow Education Minister, Bridget Phillipson and the Labour candidate for Harlow, Chris Vince.

All major media outlets were there and Sky News Sophie Ridge conducted a lengthy interview with him regarding his vision for education.

But before that he saw, first hand, music lessons in the school.

Keir Starmer told YH that he pledges to make the arts accessible to every child in Britain, helping to unleash a “generation of creativity” and reverse a “Conservative education policy that has hammered the uptake of arts subjects in state schools”.  

Drawing on his own working-class background, Sir Keir Starmer said the opportunity to learn a musical instrument gave him “confidence to kick on, and the drive to achieve.”

He set out how Labour will change the curriculum so that every child can develop their creativity. 

He added that it is his passionate belief that creative subjects are “a path that every child deserves to have at their feet.”

The Labour leader is on a personal mission to smash the ‘class ceiling’, warning today that Britain’s world-leading arts organisations do not include enough people from working class backgrounds and need to do more to turn this around.

YH interviewed Ms Phillipson and asked her what differences Harlow children might see should Labour take power at a General Election, that could be called very soon (but most likely in the autumn).

Labour’s mission to break down barriers to opportunity and boost creativity includes commitments to: 

·  Broaden the curriculum – A Curriculum Assessment Review to broaden opportunities for state-school pupils and ensure that children don’t miss out on subjects such as music, art, design, sport and drama.

·  Change school accountability mechanisms – to encourage creative subjects as a first step to a broader curriculum.

·  Recruit 6,500 new teachers – to boost school capacity, funded via ending tax breaks for private schools. 

·  Embed oracy and life skills in education – raising the importance of speaking skills to give children confidence, improve academic attainment and build skills for later life.

·  Breakfast clubs in every primary school – improving children’s learning and development, boosting performance in maths and reading, alongside improving behaviour and attendance.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party said: 

“It is short-sighted and frankly immoral, to allow arts and culture to become the domain of a few privileged pupils. Britain is a world leader in music and film, but we are holding back masses of potential because the Conservatives’ creativity crisis is shutting kids out.

“Growing up in a working-class household, the opportunity to learn an instrument gave me benefits far beyond the music. It gave me the confidence to kick on, and the drive to achieve.

“My mission is to ensure all children are supported to be creative and reap the practical, emotional and social benefits that come with it. That’s irrespective of your school, your family income or where you live.

“Labour will unleash a generation of creativity across Britain. We’ll improve access to creative subjects and speaking skills. We’ll give our young people the confidence, the belief that their ideas matter, and the voice to speak up.

“This a path that every child deserves to have at their feet.”

Leading figures have backed Labour’s plans to improve access to creative subjects, including: 

Sir Steve McQueen CBE, filmmaker and artist, Academy Award and BAFTA winner, said:

“If we are talking about opportunity for young people, then the ability to express themselves imaginatively and creatively, and in their own way, is one of the greatest opportunities you could possibly give them. 

“Culture and the arts are something this country is the best at, and they need to be nurtured and protected.”

Bobby Seagull, maths teacher and TV personality, said: 

“There’s sometimes a temptation to separate creative thinking from maths, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

“Whether it’s problem-solving and deciphering complex patterns in music, improving speech and presentation skills in drama, or thinking outside the box in art, there are countless ways that creative subjects can make you a better mathematician. And it’s not just maths. Many other subjects benefit from these skills too. 

“Labour’s pledge to broaden the curriculum, boost teaching staff and make the arts available to everyone is really exciting. It will greatly benefit the mathematicians of tomorrow.”

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28 Comments for Sir Keir Starmer visits Purford Green Primary as he makes major commitment to education in Harlow and beyond:

2024-03-11 15:57:56

If Labour do get in at least it will be for only 5 years.....People have a short memory of the mess they made last time.........

2024-03-11 16:00:49

Chris Vince. Did you mention to him that you don't know how to work out a budget plan.

2024-03-11 19:34:49

You ladies are great comedians. Girl power.👌

2024-03-11 20:09:26

Did you know he is exempt from the life time pensions contribution limit. The leader of the labour party supposedly caring about the working people and he has a benefit most cannot get. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-65037136

nick ashford
2024-03-11 20:15:24

I don't think politicians should be allowed to visit schools. Its poisoning young impressionable minds.

David Forman
2024-03-11 20:41:58

It is a wonder Sir Kid Starver didn't apologize for why he can't tax the rich more, but prefers not to lift the two child benefit cap. In a so-called Christian country we should not be punishing children for the alleged sins of their parents. Keeping working class children in poverty is NOT a 'value' that will encourage me to vote Labour.

James Gamble
2024-03-11 21:22:34

PSmithy you must be referring to the worldwide financial crash. Hospitals were improved under Labour with waiting times down. Schools were improved after Thatcher and Major ran them down so much parents were asked to buy school books.

2024-03-11 22:16:26

David Forman 60% of all income taxes are paid by the top 10% of earners in the UK how much more do you want. Perhaps the kids parents should think about contributing their fair share by working harder, getting more educated etc if they are in poverty maybe stop with the Sky Tv, vaping, and poor life style choices. As for taxes here is the link to make voluntary donations knock yourself out https://www.gov.uk/guidance/voluntary-payments-donations-to-government

2024-03-12 07:51:42

What a difference between Kier Starmer's visit to Harlow and Rishi Sunak's. Starmer and his team engaged with the press, local and national. Sunak arrived in secrecy, spoke only to some invited stooges and left without answering any questions, what do the Conservatives have to hide?

2024-03-12 08:52:19

I compare die hard tories to lemmings, despite the leaders going over a cliff they still follow the same path. Why? Because they can't reason that there may just be other paths that lead to a better outcome.

2024-03-12 09:15:51

Mark, you are wrong. Starmer came down to enroll Chris Vince in Sums classes at Junior school so he can improve his understanding of how a Budget works after his woeful and embarrassing performance in Full Council. Sunak with his extensive financial background and experience as Chancellor already knows how budgets work. Anyway, we are looking forward to seeing Chris Vince's performance at the proposed hustings debate. Still awaiting his confirmation of attendance. He probably hasn't had time to reply with all his first day at school Sums homework. Give him a nudge.

Peter Henegan
2024-03-12 09:44:31

Amazing how the lack of a labour budget is being jumped on. I am not a politician so I don't understand why labour needed to waste their time on presenting a budget which would not be accepted. I am guessing that even the tory budget would have been pre agreed within that party. Labour will be presenting their plans for the forthcoming elections. Liz Truss had a budget, that went well!!

2024-03-12 09:52:07

Education in the uk is stuck in the Victorian era, governments and a deluded dfe think they have a gold standard but are looking at iron pyrites - fools gold thinking that competition that kills creativity and ruins mental health is better than collaboration. Crumbling schools and a oscified curriculum that crushes creativity and fails to deliver on stem, the arts, education and on training the workforce the uk needs. It's why legal immigration is through the roof, we steal skilled workers from across the world whilst overloading our teachers in what can truly be described as a terminal system. The excessive quest for rigor in a dull silo'd system simply accelerates rigor mortis and the silos become the coffins in which the uk education system is being buried. And as for OFSTED, well suited in its role as the grim reaper.

2024-03-12 10:14:55

Peter Henegan, You are clearly an incurable optimist: "Labour will be presenting their plans for the forthcoming elections..." . Chris Vince and his shower presenting coherent plans??? Not on a month of Sundays. I presume that you are joking, of course!!

2024-03-12 11:53:47

The calbre and mindset of a party can be judged by the attitudes of it's major donors and leading MPs. Alex, have you bothered reading the news today, yesterday and realised that the Conservatives are in total hypocritical chaos. MPs jumping ship and donors making unacceptable possibly unlawful comments about an opposition MP. Locally taking a wrecking ball to the town and backing other local councils in a plan to overload the infrastructure and environment and Nationally backing caps on how many places in HE are available to our children whilst ramping up legal immigration to record levels and wasting millions on sending refugees to an unsafe country rather than sorting out the home office and their broken systems.

2024-03-12 12:18:32

Nostradamus. Please spell out in monosyllables, if possible the Chris Vince equivalent of the Harlow Conservative administration's Corporate Plan for HARLOW. I am not talking about the national government, MPs, Gaza, Ukraine or Colombian coffee production. Whoever we elect to run Harlow Council in May will have zero influence on the above. What is Chris Vince's concrete plan for HARLOW; nothing else?

Guy Flegman
2024-03-12 14:05:39

More diversion activities. Most people have been disengaged by politics, and I will predict that all elections this year will have record low turnouts. Maybe both parties need to look closer at themselves to work out why the majority no longer vote. We are heading down a very dangerous road indeed.

2024-03-12 14:27:20

Guy Flegman - they are two cheeks from the same arse. People SHOULD vote, but vote for someone else. That would be much more effective.

2024-03-12 14:45:10

Peter Henegan. The Harlow labour party don't seem to understand the rules, by law you must come up with an alterative budget . Also the voters need to know what they are voting for on 2nd May. I am sure you would not vote for a party if you did not know what they were going to do . I believe that if they had shown their budget plans, they probably would lose votes. How was your holiday.

2024-03-12 15:14:59

John makes a fair, but also very concerning point. How can we vote for a person to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who is unsure whether a woman can have a penis? That is insane. All this woke trans business is an affront to women and the rights they have achieved. Any party or leader supporting or not openly condemning this attack on women is unworthy.

David Forman
2024-03-12 16:17:34

For Yvonne's benefit, Chris Vince had already received a maths lesson from Tory councillors Dan Swords and James Leppard at the February Cabinet meeting.

2024-03-12 17:34:43

Nathan - yes it is concerning. The leaders in our country should be taking a stand against this nonsense and not feel afraid to speak out against it and the cancel culture overall. It's outrageous that people like JK Rowling and Graham Linehan have been ostracised for speaking out.

Reply to 'adam'
2024-03-12 18:09:28

Adam....if you bothered to actually read the pension story that you posted a link to, a tbe words, not just the headline, you'd have seen this bit, take note: 'Labour has said the rules for Sir Keir's pension as DPP were set by the government at the time, which was headed by Conservative PM David Cameron.'.....there you go. Nobody makes their own rules on tax concerning their pension.

Nathan get a grip
2024-03-12 18:36:17

With the disastrous state of the British economy, the bunch of self serving and corrupt Tories in government, a lame duck PM scared of his own cabinet and what worries you the most is 'woke trans business'? What planet are you living on?

Billy Edwards
2024-03-12 19:18:34

Nathan Get a Grip, am certainly not living on planet Woke! Every thing that worries you are trifles and transitory. As John and other on here have said, the whole woke, cancel culture, rewrite history is like a cancer destroying the minds of our young, an Orwellian nightmare and a destroyer of our cherished freedoms of thought and speech. The greatest shame is that this has persisted even under a Tory government which shows how infiltrated and rotten our schools, civil service and public services have become. We need a really strong determined Government to reverse and eradicate this pernicious, toxic movement.

2024-03-13 15:40:42

Eddie, can you advise where one can confirm it is a law that the opposition party “must” come up with an alternative budget? That is not how it works in Westminster? There was no alternative budget last week when Jeremy Hunt gave his spring budget? I’ve heard it is unprecedented, but not necessary by law? To the average person an alternative budget just seems like a big waste of time. The opposition can present their plans without the need of an alternative budget. If it is against the law as you stated why has no one been charged or prosecuted?

2024-03-13 19:51:44

@ Nathan get a grip - your attitude is similar to most politicians in that these things aren't or shouldn't be important to people. The fact is, they are - and any Party that dismisses or ignores this topic and those concerns will learn a valuable lesson at the next election.

Chris Harris
2024-03-17 02:09:12

Chris Vince is a Maths graduate and was a Secondary Maths teacher. I think it is highly unlikely he would need any help in this area. Really encouraging and positive visit. Putting Arts and Culture back where it belongs in the curriculum and removing accountability measures that marginalise it are essential for a deeper and empowering experience for learners.

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