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My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and nobody can move away from the fact that our schools face a tremendous burden from the pressures of the cuts and the additional costs that have been placed upon them. Our support staff and our teachers have done an absolutely superb job and I want to put on record my thanks to the teachers, the parents, the staff and everybody else who, through these really difficult times, has done their utmost for every child in our education system—and quite rightly so. But they need the support of our Government now, and that is what I am pushing for: no more warm words or jam tomorrow, but actual support in schools, where they deserve and need it most.
If the Conservatives really believe in their own proposals for education, when will they be put into law? If this week was not the earliest opportunity for them to do that, when is?
Another issue where parents have been left paying the price for Government inaction is the spiralling cost of school uniforms. Only weeks ago, the Secretary of State wrote to the Competition and Markets Authority committing to
“put the school uniform guidance on a statutory footing” and promising to do so
“when a suitable opportunity arises.”
The opportunity surely arose on Monday, but it was not taken. In November it will be four full years since the Government first made that commitment. We are also four Education Secretaries and three Prime Ministers on; each has reiterated the promise made by the last, yet none of them has managed to keep it.