Angela Rayner, shadow Education Secretary, attacked Theresa May’s grammar school plans as “right wing dogma”.
Speaking to TUC 2016, Rayner lambasted plans to reintroduce grammar school and said it would “guaranteed to reduce the life chances of millions of children”. She said that this policy “flies in the face of all evidence.”
May’s grammar school plan has been criticised by Labour MPs from all wings of the party. Leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed to defeat the government’s plans.
Rayner, who grew up on a council estate, drew on her own past to make her point, telling the audience that she is “passionate about education and equality”. She said:
“My parents needed the welfare state, free school meals and the help of my nan to keep us afloat. By the time I was 16, I was pregnant, and I had no qualifications. I didn’t go to university. I got a job as a home help. Determined to provide a better life for my son. And that’s when things began to change for me. Within a year, I was a Unison rep. Standing up for others in my workplace. Getting a qualification in care. Education and my union – that was my second chance”.
TUC annual congress runs from Sunday 11 to Wednesday 14 September in Brighton. To see the rest of our coverage go to LabourList’s trade unions page.