On the same day that Theresa May did a catastrophically inept interview on the Andrew Marr show (evading questions, robotic repetition of her ridiculous “strong and stable” mantra, refusing to admit that nurses relying on food banks to survive is wrong, trying to whitewash the ongoing Tory electoral fraud investigations …) Jeremy Corbyn received a standing ovation from hundreds of head teachers for his speech about Labour’s education policy.
The mainstream press will give Corbyn’s speech minimal publicity, and hardly any of the scant coverage that does appear will frame the speech in terms of the rousing ovation that it received.
That’s why I’m providing a transcript of the speech so you can judge it for yourself.
It is a great honour to address you, leaders of one of the most important professions in our society, those who look after the education, the wellbeing, and the future of our children.
That is why Labour is making our children’s education one of the cornerstones of our General Election campaign.
The choice in this election could not be clearer – and it’s not the re-run of the EU referendum that the Prime Minister wants it to be.
Britain needs a government for the many not the few – one that’s ready to invest in our economy and public services. But the Conservatives have demonstrated that cannot be them, preferring to give the richest and largest corporations tax hand-outs worth tens of billions.
The NHS and social care have been pushed into a state of emergency. Housebuilding has fallen to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. Schools across the country face real terms cuts in funding per pupil, and class sizes are rising – while those young people who want to go to university face huge debts.
There is no greater responsibility than ensuring our children get the education that they deserve. I know this, you know this, parents up and down this country know this. But it is clear that this Conservative Government has its focus elsewhere.
The NAHT has correctly pointed out that this election is make or break time for our children’s education system.
As all of you will know, the National Audit Office confirms that schools are facing a cut of three billion pounds in real terms by 2020, the first real terms cut in education budgets in a generation.
This is an absolutely staggering figure and shows the need for a complete change of direction in how the government of this country treats our schools.
And we have to ask ourselves: is this how we want to treat the education system of our children? Is this how Britain’s children deserve to be treated?
Do our children deserve to be held back by a chronic shortage of teachers?
Do our children deserve to crammed into schools like sardines?
Do our children deserve to be taught by teachers whose morale is at an all-time low?
Not by any fault of the teachers, they are the people who also bear the burden of government cuts, but the fault of governments who fail to recognise the importance of investing in the lives of children, and those who teach and support them, up and down this country.
That is why we must value teachers, because if we don’t we lose them. And you know better than anyone there is a recruitment crisis and that crisis will be made even worse if we don’t secure the rights of EU nationals.
Last year 5,000 teachers from EU countries qualified to teach here and there are thousands more working to teach our children. So that’s why, as Keir Starmer set out this week, a Labour government will guarantee the rights of EU nationals living here.
And if we lose teachers, we lose subjects, we narrow the horizons of young people. So that’s why I passionately believe in an Arts Pupil Premium so that every primary school child will benefit from a £160 million cash boost to help pupils learn to play instruments, learn drama and dance and have “regular access” to theatres, galleries or museums in their local areas.
And yet, while all this is happening, while funding to our children’s education is cut, multinational corporations have received multi-billion pound tax giveaways
How can it be right that money is being siphoned straight out of our children’s schools and directly into the pockets of the super-rich?
We have to be clear, once and for all, that enough is enough.
Throughout this General Election campaign, we will be making absolutely clear our commitment to build a country for the many, and not just the few.
A vital part of that will be creating an education system that provides for every child regardless of their background, or their parents’ income.
Labour will introduce a National Education Service, ensuring excellent learning opportunities for all from early years to adult education.
READ MORE & VIDEO RECOMMENDED : ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE