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May defends Tory record on schools

Prime minister attacks Labour policy on academies and free schools and says Tories 'will build more of them'

theresa may, conservative conference, speech, schools, academies, free schools, labour

Prime minister attacks Labour policy on academies and free schools and says Tories 'will build more of them'

Theresa May has defended the Conservative’s record of “keeping standards high” in schools in her speech to her party’s conference.

Speaking in Birmingham today, the prime minister used her address to attack the policy Labour announced last week of blocking the creation of new free schools and academies.

She said: “In our schools, we are keeping standards high.

“And where Labour want to roll-back reform, scrap academies and kill off free schools, we will build more of them, because every child reserves a great start in life.

“Every child, in every town and city, across the whole country.”

But there was no mention of grammar schools. Creating more of the selective secondaries was a key policy when Ms May entered Downing Street in 2016.

Plans to expand existing grammars remain but the prime minister chose not to highlight them today. 

In a section of the speech entitled “end of austerity”, Ms May acknowledged that public sector workers had their wages frozen, and said “there must be no return to the uncontrolled borrowing of the past”.

However, she said that “the British people need to know that the end is in sight”.

Looking ahead to next year’s government spending review, she said: “Debt as a share of the economy will continue to go down, support for public services will go up.”

It was not clear whether this means that schools will see a real-terms funding increase.

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