Bridget Phillipson and Keir Starmer meeting with school puplis

Break down barriers to opportunity

Labour has set out five national missions that we will build our manifesto around and, if elected, drive everything we do in government.

Labour will be focused on outcomes that matter: making sure people are better off, live in safe communities, and have the opportunities they need to succeed – wherever they live, and whatever their background.

These missions will only be achieved through relentless focus. They require government departments working together. Business working with unions. The private sector working with the public sector. And a common partnership between national and local government.

Each mission is built on the strong foundations of economic stability, national security, and secure borders.

Labour’s fifth mission in government will be to break down the barriers to opportunity for every child, at every stage and shatter the class ceiling.

How Labour will shatter the class ceiling in Britain

The promise we tell our children and grandchildren is that if you work hard, you’ll be able to get on, no matter what your background.

We tell them that everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their ability and get a career doing what they do best and love the most. We should all have that same opportunity and be able to enjoy a good life, with a good job and a secure home; the foundations of a high standard of living.

But Britain is currently failing on that promise.

A child’s upbringing has a strong influence on where they end up and parents will always want to ensure their children can build the best life they can. However, at the moment, one element of a child’s background – how well off their family is – is a disproportionate driver of the life they can build.

By reforming our childcare and education systems, Labour will boost opportunities for everyone, and our economy, and make sure there is no class ceiling on the ambitions of young people in Britain.

We have the tools to achieve this mission, through breaking down barriers to opportunity. To do this, Labour will:

1. Make security the foundation of opportunity

Britain’s success relies on everyone having the chance to get on, but currently too many people are held back by the lack of a secure job, secure home, a safe community and public services that aren’t there when you need them. Labour’s missions will tackle these barriers, giving everyone security.

2. Reform childcare and early years support so children have the best start in life

Children’s earliest years are crucial to their development and their life chances. By the time they start school, children eligible for free school meals are already five months behind their peers. By ensuring families have the early support they need, we can provide every child a firm foundation that sets them up for life.

3. Deliver a broader education and the highest standards in schools

Too many children are being let down, leaving school without essential reading, writing or maths skills. Too many are denied the opportunity to participate in arts, digital and sports subjects that develop life skills, like communication, teamwork, and digital skills, which are essential for their futures. Labour will raise school standards for all our children. We’ll ensure every child has the core knowledge and skills they need as part of a broad curriculum, delivered by recruiting and training thousands more expert teachers.

4. Provide pathways to good prospects for all

Right now, too many young people leave education without the qualifications they need and without high quality pathways onto apprenticeships, higher level education, or into good secure jobs. By pushing decisions on skills spending out of Westminster we’ll ensure local communities are able to join up training and job opportunities, with training routes coordinated between colleges and universities.

5. Spread opportunity beyond education

Conservative governments have been content to lock people out of too many spheres by cultural and social capital, allowing a class ceiling to remain intact for internships, prestigious jobs and in some cases, to getting on. Housing and job insecurity are barriers for too many people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Labour will turn this tide, delivering the opportunities everyone deserves.

Find out more about Labour’s mission to break down barriers to opportunity:

Keir Starmer launches Labour’s mission to break down the barriers to opportunity
Hear what apprentices think about Keir Starmer’s mission for education