Andy Burnham appointed as shadow education secretary

Neil Puffett
Friday, October 8, 2010

Andy Burnham has been appointed shadow education secretary by new Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The former Health Secretary takes over the reigns from Ed Balls, who becomes shadow home secretary.

Burnham, MP for Leigh, Greater Manchester, was selected for the job after being nominated by Labour MPs as one of 19 politicians to fill the shadow cabinet.

He had recently taken part in the Labour leadership contest in which he finished fourth, behind Ed Miliband, David Miliband and Ed Balls.

While standing in the Labour leadership contest, Burnham told CYP Now he was keen to break down the barriers faced by too many young people and provide them with the chances in life that others take for granted.

He said this meant investing heavily in early years education, challenging selection and elitism in schools and supporting young people with disabilities as well as young carers.

"To give young people the highest possible expectations and aspirations, we need bold action at every stage of their lives," he said.

"For a strong future, we must invest in young people, giving them the practical and social skills necessary to succeed," he said.

In his leadership manifesto, meanwhile, he proposed ending long-term unpaid internships for young people lasting more than three months.

He added that he would also explore giving students "extended access" to student finance for a period after graduation to enable them to take unpaid work experience on leaving university, or to look into subsidising an internship on minimum wage.

"I will also propose that all work experience, placements and internships be advertised by law so that the opportunities they present are available to all," he said.

As Health Secretary, he announced in April that children's hospices would receive an extra £30m this year.

He also launched the Action on Health Visiting Programme in an attempt to address falling numbers within the profession and rising caseloads.

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, said his new shadow cabinet wanted to win back the trust of the British people and take Labour back to power.

"Together, this new generation of Labour will work together to reject the pessimism of this coalition government as we set out our vision of what Britain can achieve.

"Our values are those of the British people, and this shadow cabinet will ensure that the hopes and concerns of working families are at the heart of our offer to the country."

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