Labour rising star Lucy Powell has been named as the shadow education secretary after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader at the weekend. A relative newcomer to frontline politics, facts about her positions on educational issues are few and far between. But here are ten things we do know about Powell and her educational politics:
- Powell does have some history in education, as shadow childcare and early-years minister from October 2013 to November 2014.
- In this role, she said she wanted to see an expansion of free childcare, a reinvigoration of Sure Start’s core principles and an increase of graduates in early-years settings.
- Her emphasis on this sector won much cross-party and non-parliamentary suppprt.
- She has been involved in politicis from an early age – she told the Guardian in January about her memories of polling day in 1983 with her father, a Labour activist, when she was nine years old.
- She was state educated at Manchester’s Parrs Wood High School and Xaverian Sixth Form College, where she stood as a Labour candidate in the school’s mock elections held to coincide with the 1992 general election.
- She studied chemistry at Somerville College, University of Oxford, and King’s College, London.
- Her political career started when she was appointed parliamentary assistant to Beverley Hughes MP, a politician who went on to become education minister under the Labour government.
- She was elected to Parliament in a byelection in 2012, before which she worked as deputy chief of staff to Ed Miliband.
- In November 2014 she was shadow minister for the cabinet office and vice-chair of Labour’s election campaign.
- She includes “busy mum” among the job titles on her Twitter profile.
One thing is for sure, Powell and her educational philosophy will become clearer in the weeks and months ahead.