The election is only two weeks away now, but what exactly are the main parties saying on the subject of education? What would a change of government mean for our education system?
Not many of us have the time to trawl through each party manifesto, and so I have completed the task for you – and summarised the findings below!
Labour Party Manifesto
- The creation of a unified National Education Service (NES) for England in a move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use.
- The existing childcare system will be changed. Rather than parents receiving funding directly themselves and then being expected to source their own childcare provision, Labour propose to create high-quality affordable childcare places by funding the childcare providers.
- Subsidised childcare provision will be phased in on top of the current free-hour entitlement, to ensure that affordable childcare is available for everyone.
- The childcare workforce will become graduate-led. This will be achieved by increasing staff wages and improving training opportunities.
- The current 30 free hours will be extended to all two-year-olds and moves will be made towards making ‘some’ childcare available for one-year-olds and expending maternity pay to 12 months.
- Labour will halt the closure of any more Sure Start centres and increase the overall Sure Start funding.
- Labour are promising to ensure that schools are properly resourced by using a fairer funding formula that leaves no school worse off.
- Class sizes will be reduced to less than 30 for all 5-7 year-olds.
- Free school meals will be made available for all primary school children, and this will funded by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
- Labour will abandon the current government plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and will carry out a major review of Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs.
- Teacher recruitment problems will by halted by ending the public-sector pay cap and by giving teachers more direct involvement in the curriculum.
- The Schools Support Staff Negotiating Body will be reintroduced as well as national pay settlements for teachers.
- Schools will not have to pay the apprenticeship levy
Further and Adult Education
- Labour will introduce free, lifelong education in Further Education colleges.
- Labour are promising to improve careers advice and open up a range of routes through and back into education.
- The Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18 year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds will be reintroduced.
- Advanced Learner Loans and course fees will be replaced by direct funding, making FE courses free at the point of use.
- A target will be set of doubling the number of level 3 apprenticeships completed by 2022.
- Increases will be made to the number of apprenticeships made available for people with disabilities, care leavers, veterans, women, BAME and LGBT.
- Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees.
The Conservative Party Manifesto
- The current policy of building at least 100 new free school every year
- A specialist maths school will be opened in every city in England.
- The government will ensure that at least 100 leading independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools within the state system.
- They will lift the ban on the establishment of selective schools.
- The schools admissions policy will be subject to a major review.
- Every 11 year-old will need to know their times tables by heart.
- The Conservatives will build on the success of the phonics screening test.
- The overall schools budget will increase by £4 billion.
- Entitlement to free school lunches for all primary pupils will be removed. Instead, pupils will be offered a free school breakfast.
- The current draft of 13000 technical qualifications will be replaced and a new set of qualifications called T-levels. These will cover 15 vocational routes.
- To support the new T-levels, investment will be increased to further education colleges.
- New institutes of technology will be created in every city, and linked to major universities. They will provide technical courses at degree level and above.
- A UCAS style portal for vocational learning will be introduced.
The Liberal Democrat Manifesto
- £7 billion extra will be targeted to children’s education
- The Early Years Pupil Premium will be tripled, rising it to £1000.
- The Lib Dems are opposed to the opening of new grammar schools, or selective schools as the Conservative Party refers to them.
- Every early years setting will need to employ at least one person who holds an Early Years Teacher qualification by 2022.
- End the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises
- Guarantee that all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status from January 2019
- Give local authorities responsibility for local school places planning and repeal the rule that all new state funded school must be free schools or academies.
- Allow Ofsted to inspect both local authority and academy chains.
- Remove state-funded profit-making schools and ensure that new schools are built in areas where there is a real need for new school places.
- Slim down the core national curriculum.
- Protect the availability of arts and creative subjects and remove barriers to pupils studying these subjects.
- Improve the quality of vocational education, including improved careers advice in schools and colleges.
- Improve the links between employers and schools.
- Establishing a new online Family University, to provide every family with advice and guidance for learning and parenting at home.
- Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students
- Ensure that all universities work to widen participation
- Fight to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funding.
The Green Party
- Bring academies and free schools into the local authority system.
- Abolish SATs.
- Reduce class sizes.
- Scrap university tuition fees.
- Fund full student grant.