David Blunkett also underlined his party's commitment to holding local parental ballots before abolishing grammar schools. The move, which was promoted as a change of policy, appeared to be an attempt to win votes in the Wirral South by-election, where Tories have claimed existing grammar schools would be closed. "There's no threat to the continuance of the grammar schools, or to their ethos or to their quality. I'm very keen to level up," he said.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Blunkett also hinted that he might be prepared to change his party's policy on forcing students to repay tuition fees. His party's policy is to make only maintenance costs repayable, but he said he was"prepared to listen" to suggestions of loans for fees.
Mr Blunkett said that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the party leader and shadow Chancellor, intended to spend a higher proportion of national income on education.