Shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, calls for more ‘high qualified’ teachers to boost school exam results in Ipswich visit

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt

The man who would be in charge of education if Labour wins the General Election has outlined his vision to improve standards in Suffolk.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt at the Bramford Lane Annex of the Highfield Children's Cent

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt at the Bramford Lane Annex of the Highfield Children's Centre, Ipswich. David Ellesmere, health visitor Amanda Bennett, family support worker Alison branch, centre manager Jannice Simpson, Tristram Hunt MP and support and information officer Tess Howe

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt was in Ipswich yesterday to visit Halifax Primary School and Highfield Children’s Centre’s facility in Bramford Lane. There he set out his vision to raise education standards across Suffolk.

Last week it was revealed that 88 Suffolk schools have “red” risk ratings, assigned by Suffolk County Council. The ratings, which are unconnected to Ofsted reports and are either red, amber or green, are based on information from the Department for Education and from each school itself.

Mr Hunt, who was accompanied by Labour’s candidate for Ipswich, David Ellesmere, said: “I think that Suffolk does have real challenges and nothing the Government is coming up with at the moment: cutting the early intervention grant, having more free schools – none of this is going to deliver for Suffolk.

“What we would do is secure the investment for early intervention which is how you tackle disadvantage and inequality at our children’s centres and our pre-schools.

“We need to have high qualified teachers in the classroom, to have professional development for them.”

He said Labour would introduce “directors of schools standards” who would be tasked with raising levels in the classroom.

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Labour would also abolish the National College for Teaching and Leadership and set up the “School Leadership Institute” in its place, which would “go back to talent spotting” headteachers.

His visit came on the same day David Cameron announced plans to open at least 500 new free schools if the Conservatives gain a majority in May. The proposals for free schools, which can be set up by community groups including parents, charities or teachers, would mean an extra 270,000 places at the institutions.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said free schools gave pupils the chance to attend “excellent local schools”, and were one of the “most important” modern drivers of social mobility.

But Mr Hunt dismissed the proposals and said Labour would cancel the free schools programme. He said “I think parents will be shocked to see a government prioritising school places in areas where they are not needed when we know that there is a primary school places crisis.

He said it was the “wrong priority” at the “wrong time” .