Angela Rayner - shadow education secretary - has pledged to reverse £500m cuts in funding for Sure Start centres.
Her speech to Labour conference, drawing on her experiences as a teenage single mother, promised a ringfenced grant from the Department for Education of an additional £500m a year for the children’s centres and early intervention services, as well as outlining plans for a national education service promised in the party’s manifesto.
She said: “When I became pregnant at 16, it was easy to think that the direction of my life, and that of my young son, was already set. My mum had a difficult life, and so did I, and it looked like my son would simply have the same.
“Instead, the last Labour government, through support of my local Sure Start centre, transformed my son’s childhood, and made sure that his life would not have to be as hard as mine had been.”
She also unveiled a 10-point charter for a cradle-to-grave education system, promising it will be “free at the point of use, available universally and throughout life”.
She said: "Our children will be ready for school and once they arrive they won't be let down either."
The charter sets out plans for democratic oversight of schools and colleges, as well as emotional and academic support for staff and learners. Plans include a boost to adult education, pre-school and skills training.