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Election 2017: Sidegate pupils show off election skills to Labour education spokeswoman

PUBLISHED: 15:11 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 17 May 2017

Sandy Martin and Angela Rayner with the aspiring politicians at Sidegate Primary School. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Sandy Martin and Angela Rayner with the aspiring politicians at Sidegate Primary School. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Shadow cabinet member Angela Rayner has visited Sidegate Primary School in Ipswich to promote Labour’s education policy – and see youngsters preparing for their own election.

The General Election takes place on June 8The General Election takes place on June 8

And she insisted that, despite the message from opinion polls, her party could still be in a position to form a government and implement her policies after the General Election.

Ms Rayner and Ipswich Labour candidate Sandy Martin spent an hour at the school watching children take part in their own version of hustings before a mock-election which will decide on some minor changes to the way the school is run.

Three year five classes have formed “parties” to propose changes like planting more in the playground, improving goalposts, or improving the quiet area. The winning party will see its proposals put into place.

Ms Rayner was impressed by the way the youngsters developed their arguments – and how engaged they were in the political process.

Sandy Martin and Angela Rayner at Sidegate Primary School. Picture: PAUL GEATERSandy Martin and Angela Rayner at Sidegate Primary School. Picture: PAUL GEATER

And she said it was important that young people took part in the election ahead: “There are lots of issues that affect young people: tuition fees, finding your own home, getting a good job. Those are the kind of thing that worries young people and the families of young people.”

The Labour Party is planning to use £25bn to help create a “National Education Service” in a similar way to the National Health Service was set up after 1945.

Ms Rayner said she would put more money into schools and that there would be no need for schools to make teachers or teaching assistants redundant.

Sidegate Primary is a school that is having several visits during the campaign, partly linked with its pupils’ election. Headteacher Wendy James said Conservative Ben Gummer and Liberal Democrat Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett were coming to see the pupils before the election.

Angela Rayner talks to pupils at Sidegate Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATERAngela Rayner talks to pupils at Sidegate Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Ms Rayner insisted that despite opinion polls consistently showing Labour trailing badly – and comments from union leader Len McCluskey and party deputy leader Tom Watson that suggested it could not win – anything was possible on June 8.

She said: “What happens on June 8 is not down to Len McCluskey. It’s not down to Tom Watson. It’s not down to me. If people want what’s in our manifesto and vote for it, then that is what they will get.”


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