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Every young person should feel they can have a career, a future.
Like I had.
You know, it shouldn't be the lucky few.
In the early '80s, I was the deputy head
of a local comprehensive school called Haverstock
in the London Borough of Camden.
And that's, of course, where I met Ed Miliband.
I think the education that I got in this comprehensive
was so much more than how to pass exams.
It was about how you look after yourself,
it was about... that the world is a complex place
with people of all kinds and all nationalities,
all classes, all races.
And, you know, that is a really important lesson in life.
I kind of hung around with Ed from about the age of 12 onwards.
He was, like, a very bright guy. Picked everything up so, so quickly.
To be honest, when it came to maths, kind of,
the way that his kind of brain worked was incredible.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ed gets what these schools need.
He's someone that could be trusted.
And someone who was, you know,
quite quietly but determinedly,
getting on with what needed to be done and not being influenced,
not needing to change who he was.
I'll always be grateful to Haverstock.
Because I honestly don't believe I'd be leader of the Labour Party
if it wasn't for the grounding, the education,
the learning about life that I had from this school.
Ed was an incredible lecturer.
He's got this incredibly wide-ranging knowledge,
and thirst for more knowledge.
And I think to make a journey like that
from your local comprehensive school to teaching at Harvard,
you've probably got to have that knowledge.
So my sophomore year at Harvard, I took a class called What's Left.
And there was Professor Miliband.
It was a really difficult class to get into, actually.
I had to stand in the hallway for the first class,
because it was so packed.
You've got to reflect all sides, all different points of view.
Because if you're a teacher, you're not somebody who is
trying to, sort of, tell people, "This is what you should think."
And so you've got to listen to all sides, but in the end,
you've got to say to people where you're coming from,
and what you believe.
And I had a blast, it was fantastic.
Coming from a comprehensive like I did, and like Ed did,
maybe that does give you a slight different perspective,
when you end up somewhere like Harvard. I don't know.
All I do know is
he came across as very down-to-earth and like a decent bloke.
One common theme from Haverstock to Harvard to training in economics,
is hard work. And that came from my parents.
Not because they said all the time "You must work hard,"
but they instilled in us a sense that, you know,
if you wanted to get something out, you need to put something in.
If you're appointed, well, in my field, head teacher,
it's sensible to get to know the people
you're supposed to be guiding, leading.
If you're a teacher,
it's sensible to get to know the children that you're moving on.
If you're going to be Prime Minister, well, for heaven's sake,
if you don't anything about most of the people in the country,
how can you make a rational decision?
So to start your life in local schools, you know,
meeting a huge range of people,
a cross section of that part of London,
had to have been an advantage to him later in life as a politician.
I think anybody with Ed's experience and background
in that kind of school environment must be good for this country.
I want every kid at Haverstock, at this school,
who can, who wants to go to university
and has the qualifications, to be able to do so.
But equally I want those who don't want to go to university,
but have huge talent and ability in other ways,
I want that to be tapped into.
I want them to be able to not be bored at school
or just drift through life with no qualifications.
Let's get them the best qualifications,
the best vocational qualifications.
Let's celebrate what they can do.
When I have people coming up to me saying, "I'm a young person,
"I can't find a job, I've sent off my CV to so many people
"and nothing seems to be going right for me,
"banging my head against a brick wall."
You know, that makes me angry and frustrated and think,
actually, I could be doing a much better job than this lot
and we could be doing something about it.