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Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour leader has appointed Lucy Powell, the Labour and cooperative MP for Manchester Central, as Shadow Secretary of State for Education.
Commenting on her new appointment, Ms Powell said: “I'm delighted to be given the education job as it's an area I'm passionate about. My children are at local secondary, primary and nursery schools so it's a personal passion as well as a political one. There's a lot of change in education at the moment and I relish the chance to hold the Government to account on its poor policies and bad ideas.
“I will be leading the development of Labour's education policy. Jeremy and I agree on our commitment to excellence in state education, raising aspirations for all children and to an accountable, managed system which has local oversight. The areas of childcare, children's social care and child protection are really important too and ones where I will bring energy and ideas.”
Ms Powell was the first female Labour MP to represent a Manchester constituency and was Shadow Childcare and Children Minister for a year until November 2014, before working as vice-chair of Ed Miliband’s election campaign.
Since her election on November 15th 2012 Ms Powell has supported various campaigns and has called for better childcare provision.
Ms Powell’s recent appointment as Shadow Education Secretary has been welcomed by Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance. He said: “We warmly welcome Lucy’s appointment as Shadow Education Secretary. As Shadow Childcare Minister, she demonstrated a clear willingness to engage with the early years sector, and we hope that she will continue with this collaborative approach as she begins work on her broader education remit.
“With the Childcare Bill currently on its way through parliament, now is a critical time for honest and open discussions about the future of the early years sector. We at the Alliance look forward to working with representatives from across the political parties to ensure the development of child-focused, evidence-based, sustainable early years policy.”
Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) added: “We would like to congratulate Lucy on her appointment as Shadow Education Secretary in Labour’s new shadow cabinet. She was very supportive of childcare and early years in her previous time as a Shadow Education Minister.
“We very much look forward to working with her and her team on a wide range of issues at this crucial time in early years education; not least in ensuring the planned expansion in free early years entitlement has sufficient funding and in joining us in our call for a comprehensive workforce strategy to help early years professionals develop throughout their careers.”