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Labour would appoint Collins as school standards tsar

Sir Kevan Collins will be appointed as Labour’s school standards adviser if they form a government next month. His brief would include finding solutions to the “biggest barriers to opportunity” for children including teacher shortages and high absence rates.

Collins, who quit as Boris Johnson’s catch-up tsar in 2021 over a funding row, would become Labour’s “expert” adviser on “driving high and rising standards” in England’s schools.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said Collins has been an “outstanding force for driving high and rising standards in schools” and “stood up for our children in the pandemic when the Tories failed them”.

She added: “There isn’t a moment to lose. Our push for high and rising standards across our state schools will begin on day one of a Labour government and Sir Kevan will play a crucial role in delivering this agenda.

“Our first step of recruiting 6,500 is just the beginning of our plan for schools that will enable children to seize all the opportunities the future holds.

“It’s time to turn the page on fourteen years of Conservative failure. Only Labour can bring the change our education system, and our children’s futures, need. 

Collins said the “missed opportunities to aid children’s educational recovery will cast a long shadow”.

“The challenges facing our schools in the coming years will be severe and require a fresh approach from a new government with bold ideas for reforming education and delivering higher standards in every corner of the country.

“I believe Bridget Phillipson and Labour will provide the new impetus our schools badly need through a laser focus on higher standards, a broad, enriched school curriculum and a renewed drive to ensure our children acquire the knowledge and skills to help them thrive.”

The former Education Endowment Foundation chief executive resigned from his government adviser role in 2021, later saying the government’s Covid recovery package was “meagre”.

He had wanted £15 billion to help schools make up for lost learning which included extending the school day.

Collins started off as a primary school teacher, before leading the primary literacy strategy and working as director of children’s services Tower Hamlets council.

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