‘Look my son in the eye and tell him why Labor is about to ruin his education’

In Labour’s 142-page manifesto released on Thursday, the party said the tax raid would raise £1.5 billion and fund a range of measures including new ‘expert’ teachers and reforms to Ofsted.

The public’s fears about larger class sizes come amid a public row between senior Labor figures over the impact of the VAT raid.

Shadow Attorney-General Emily Thornberry said last week: “It would be fine if we needed to have larger class sizes at short notice.”

But the comments were branded ‘wrong’ by Sir Keir, who said analyzes from the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank – which estimates that up to 40,000 pupils will be driven out of private schools – show there will be a ‘negligible impact’ .

Ms Gardner said she agreed with Sir Keir that state schools needed more funding, but told him: “There are smarter ways to raise money for education and not by punishing children and hard-working parents.”

Labour’s £1.5 billion figure quoted in its manifesto is £190 million less than the £1.7 billion figure the party initially quoted in January 2023.

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, which represents the private schools sector, previously urged more clarity on the policy.

Ms Robinson said: “Schools and families certainly need clarity on Labour’s proposals – they can’t make plans based on headlines.

“At the same time, there is great uncertainty about whether the policy will do what it was designed to do: there is a real possibility that it will not raise money for state education.”

The PvdA was approached for comment.