Education pledges in anticipation of the General Election on 12 December

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Article

29 November, 2019

With a raft of issues ripe for discussion in the lead up to the General Election, there is no rest for the main political parties vying for support. Education has always been a crucial social issue, and the pledges of each of the main political parties in relation to education has been eagerly awaited. Now all three of the main political parties have published their manifestos, it is possible to summarise the varying possible implications for education depending on which party, or possibly coalition, gains power following the election on 12 December.

Each party's main pledges relating to education are summarised below:

Labour -

Early Years

  • Reverse cuts to Sure Start and create a new service, Sure Start Plus with enough centres to provide a genuinely universal service available in all communities focused on the under 2s
  • Reform early years provision with a two-term vision to make high-quality early years education available for every child
  • All 2,3, and 4 year olds entitled to 30 hours free pre-school per week within 5 years, and access to additional hours at subsidised rates staggered with incomes
  • Extend childcare provision for 1-year-olds
  • Ensure childcare provision accommodates the working patterns of all parents
  • Transition to qualified, graduate led workforce, with free training to the workforce to attain these qualifications on the job
  • Increase funding and decrease fragmentation by funding providers directly
  • Recruit 150,000 additional early years staff, including Special Educational Needs Coordinators
  • Introduce a national pay-scale, driving up pay for the overwhelmingly female workforce
  • Sustainable and long-term funding to secure the future of maintained nursery schools

Schools

  • Ensure schools are properly resourced with increased long term funding while introducing a fairer funding formula that leaves no child worse off
  • Investment to upgrade schools that have fallen into disrepair
  • Ensuring pupils are taught by a qualified teacher
  • Every school open full five days a week
  • Maximum class sizes of 30 for all primary school children
  • Fund more non-contact time for teachers to prepare and plan
  • Provide the necessary funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Scrapping Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and baseline assessments
  • Refocusing on supporting pupil progress
  • Introduce an Arts Pupil Premium to fund arts education for every primary school child
  • Review the curriculum to ensure it enriches students and covers subjects such as black history and continues to teach issues such as the holocaust
  • Pupils will learn the science of climate and environmental emergency and the skills necessary to deal with them
  • End the fragmentation and marketisation of the school system by bringing free schools back under control of parents, teachers and local communities

System

  • Budget and day-to-day decisions transferred back to schools overseen by an accountable governing body with elected representatives
  • Local Authorities to manage admissions, school places and opening schools
  • Replace Ofstead with a new body designed to drive school improvement
  • New teacher supply service to tackle the waste of funds going to private supply teacher agencies
  • End 'off-rolling' removing incentives for schools to let pupils fall out of the system by making schools accountable for the outcomes of pupils who leave their rolls
  • 'Poverty Proof' schools introducing free school meals for all primary school children, encouraging breakfast clubs, and tackling the costs of school uniforms
  • Bring back the School Support Staff Negotiating Body and national pay settlements for teachers
  • Close tax loopholes enjoyed by elite private schools and use that money to improve the lives of all children
  • Ask the Social Justice Commission to advise on integrating private schools and creating a comprehensive education system

Further Education and Lifelong Learning

  • Align the base rate of per-pupil funding in post-16 education with Key Stage 4, providing dedicated capital funding to expand provision
  • Bring back the Education Maintenance Allowance
  • Free lifelong entitlement to training up to Level 3 and six years training at levels 4-6 with maintenance grants for disadvantaged learners
  • Additional entitlements for workers in industries significantly affected by industrial transition
  • Providing employers with a role in co-design and co-production of qualifications
  • Restore funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages and restore and expand the Union Learning Fund, giving workers the right to accrue paid time off for education and training
  • Reverse the fragmentation and privatisation of further and adult education incorporating it into a single national system of regulation

Higher Education

  • Abolish tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants
  • Develop a new funding formula for higher education that ensures all public higher education institutions have adequate funding for teaching and research
  • End casualisation of staff
  • Transform the Office for Students from a market regulator to a body of the National Education Service acting in the public interest

Liberal Democrats

The Best Start in Life

  • Childcare from nine months for all working parents
  • Free childcare for every child aged two to four and children aged between nine and 24 months where their parents or guardians are in work: 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year
  • Increase the funding for free hours to cover the actual cost of nursery provision.
  • Invest £1 billion a year in Children's Centres
  • Triple the Early Years Pupil Premium (to £1,000)
  • Require all Early Years settings to have a training programme for staff
  • Introduce 'baby boxes' in England

Schools that Prepare Children for Life

  • Reverse cuts to school funding, allowing schools to employ an extra 20,000 teachers and reduce class sizes
  • Invest to clear the backlog of repairs to school and college buildings
  • End the crisis in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities funding by allocating additional cash to local authorities
  • Introduce a 'curriculum for life', in all state-funded schools, including Personal, Social and Health Education, financial literacy, environmental awareness, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). Teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content will be included in RSE
  • Establish an independent body of education experts who will oversee any future curriculum changes
  • Scrapping existing mandatory SATs and replacing them with a formal, moderated teacher assessment
  • Replacing existing government performance tables with a broader set of indicators
  • Replace Ofstead with a new HM Inspector of Schools
  • Improve the quality of vocational education
  • Protect the availability of arts and creative subjects in the curriculum and act to remove barriers to pupils studying these subjects

Accountable Local Schools

  • Local authorities to act as Strategic Education Authorities for their area
  • Require MATs to undergo external inspection and allow local authorities to open new Community Schools where needed
  • Oppose any future expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital funding for new school spaces to local authorities

A Better Deal for Teachers

  • Raise the starting salary for teachers to £30,000 and increase all teachers' pay by at least three per cent per year
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Extra training to teachers who are required to teach subjects at secondary level where they themselves do not have a post A-level qualification

Children and Families Ready to Learn

  • Extend free school meals to all children in primary education and to all secondary school children whose families receive Universal Credit
  • Promote school breakfast clubs
  • Ensure that all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling with a specific individual responsible for mental health in schools
  • Give schools a statutory duty to promote the wellbeing of their pupils
  • Tackle bullying in schools
  • Require inclusive school uniform policies that are gender-neutral and flexible enough to suit different budgets
  • Challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation
  • Include teaching about how to use social media responsibly

Learning throughout Life

  • Reverse the damage to universities posed by Brexit and related uncertainty by stopping Brexit and keeping the UK at the heart of the EU
  • Invest an extra £1 billion in Further Education funding, including by refunding colleges for the VAT they pay
  • Help children from poorer families to remain in education and training beyond the age of 16 by introducing a 'Young People's Premium'
  • Raise standards in universities by strengthening the Office for Students
  • Require universities to make mental health services accessible to their students, and introduce a Student Mental Health Charter through legislation.
  • Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students
  • Establish a review of higher education finance to consider any necessary reforms
  • Ensure that all universities work to widen participation by disadvantaged and underrepresented groups across the sector, prioritising their work with students in schools and colleges, and require every university to be transparent about selection criteria

Conservative

  • £780 million funding to support children with Special Educational Needs next year
  • Raise teachers starting salaries to £30,000
  • Back heads and teachers on discipline by expanding programme to help schools with the worst behavior and back heads to use exclusions
  • Keep Ofstead
  • Help teachers tackle bullying
  • Create more great schools
  • Continue to support innovation
  • Expand alternative provision schools for those that have been excluded
  • Deliver more school places for children with complex special educational needs
  • Intervene in schools where there is entrenched underperformance
  • Ensure parents can chose the schools that best suit their children
  • Continue to build more free schools
  • Offer an 'arts premium' to secondary schools
  • Invest in primary school PE teaching

For more information contact Rosalind Leahy in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 01772 220185. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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