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Celebrating achievement, building on success

Shahid-Malik-2Cabinet ministers joined forces with Operation Black Vote yesterday to celebrate Black History Month and to highlight the issue of educational achievement

A room in the Commons was packed with activists from all parties as Diane Abbott MP talked about the battle over the past three decades to tackle issues in education.

Abbott, who organises annual conferences on the issue, said that the Labour government had made progress, but added: ‘It’s been a long struggle. And we need to be very careful about figures.

Simon Woolley flanked by Baronesses Pola Uddin and Ros Howells

Simon Woolley flanked by Baronesses Pola Uddin and Ros Howells

‘It’s not enough that our children are getting vocations qualifications. We need to make sure our children are getting the sort of grades that will allow them to compete at the every highest levels.’

Schools minister Ed Balls said that school lessons on Black History Month was breaking down barriers in places like his constituency in Leeds.

He talked about his own young daughter who was learning about historical figures.

Universities minister David Lammy added: ‘There is more work to do and moments like this help us come together to reflect on the successes. To double our efforts for the many young men and women who lie a long way away from the corridors of power.’

Speakers also paid tribute to the successes of past OBV leadership initiatives, and were delighted that the latest Women’s Councillors Shadowing Scheme had been launched earlier in the day.

Diane Abbott MP

Diane Abbott MP

Francine Fernandes, head of OBV’s shadowing schemes, described the new participants as ‘torchbearers’ who represented the new face of British politics.

Simon Woolley, head of Operation Black Vote, commented: ‘This is a scheme that will transform our democracy, locally and nationally, and inspire a nation to be the very best they can be.’

Other speakers included government minister Shahid Malik (pictured above). Guest included Conservative frontbencher Theresa May, and Baronesses Pola Uddin and Ros Howells.

By Staff Writer

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