Rebecca Long-Bailey is new shadow education secretary

MP for Salford and Eccles joins Keir Starmer's first shadow cabinet after being beaten by him in Labour leadership race

Amy Gibbons and Dave Speck

Coronavirus: Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey has written to the education secretary about apprenticeship funding

Rebecca Long-Bailey has been appointed Labour's new shadow education secretary today.

The former shadow business secretary and MP for Salford and Eccles has been named by new Labour leader Keir Starmer as a replacement for Angela Rayner, who takes up a new role as party chair after being elected deputy leader.


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When she was running for Labour leader, Ms Long-Bailey set out her vision for England's education system in a Tes article.

Labour shadow education secretary: 'The strain of constant assessment'

She said a “key pillar” needed for everyone to realise their aspirations was a” world-leading education system, free and available to all”. 

Ms Long-Bailey raised concerns about the mental health of children “under the strain of constant assessment”; headteachers “forced to beg parents for donations”; teachers who are “underpaid and overworked”; and class sizes “at their highest level in decades”.

She campaigned on a “triple lock of protections for schools”; for classes sizes of less than 30; for all schools to have “adequate funding”; and to restore teacher and school staff pay to “pre-crisis levels”.

Ms Long-Bailey said during her leadership campaign: “A properly funded public National Education Service would join up our education system from cradle to grave, from free childcare to a right to free lifelong learning as an adult. 

“And, of course, as part of this, we should keep our promises for free school meals, to scrap tuition fees and to restore the education maintenance allowance, which was a lifeline for poorer students. 

“We should prioritise high-quality apprenticeships, particularly in new green industries, and properly fund further education. 

“And we should remove tax loopholes for private schools and bring academies and free schools under local democratic control.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said:  "Congratulations to Rebecca Long-Bailey on being appointed as shadow education secretary.

"At this time of national crisis, it will be important for the official opposition to work with the government and to hold ministers to account to ensure that education professionals and children and young people are protected in these immensely difficult times. 

"We look forward to working with the shadow education secretary and politicians from across the political spectrum on fashioning the type of education service that will be fit for the 21st century and after Covid-19."

"We can't go back to an 'exam factories' view of education, with schools and colleges reeling from cut after cut, teachers, leaders and support staff feeling undervalued and the life chances of over 4 million children blighted by their being trapped in poverty."

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Amy Gibbons and Dave Speck

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