If you try to put your finger on the education background of someone in a senior position in the government, chances are a few things would spring to mind.
Private school education, for starters. An Oxbridge degree would be no surprise.
That’s what we’d all expect, right?
Well, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner’s background might come as a bit of a shock to you.
Rather than the highbrow scholarly experience, Rayner left school at the age of 16 to have a baby, and attended counselling and social care classes at her local college instead.
Unsurprisingly, her varied background is reflected in her attitudes and education policies — for one, she wants to axe the current policy that makes GCSE English and Maths resits mandatory if you score a grade 3 (or a D, in old money) and want to go on into further education.
This means the students who think a little differently aren’t forced to keep redoing the same standardised one-size-fits-all exam, and have different qualification options open to them.
And we’re all about celebrating your uniqueness here at Push.
She also protested the lack of diversity in the civil service — another sector that you’d expect to be filled with only the most privileged.
Rayner’s a great example of overcoming obstacles, and using skills gained throughout education and life experience to go against the grain and prove you’re the best for the job, no matter the status of the school you attended.
A standard school-college-uni route might work for a lot of people, but Rayner proves it’s not the be all and end all.
Not sure about the route for you? We’ve got info on uni, apprenticeships and the wonderful world of work here..
LUCY HARDING is the Editorial manager for Push. She is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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