The leaves are still turning yellow and falling from the trees, and so that can only mean two things – the central heating needs to go on, and it must the political party conference season!
I will be looking at the three main parties education pledges over the coming weeks.
Last week I looked at the Labour Party – this week is the turn of the Conservatives.
Education Secretary Justine Greening addressed the 2017 Conservative conference in Manchester. Following on from a disappointing election performance, this was an important moment for the Conservative Party, as many from within the party felt that they had fallen behind on their education policy.
In response, Justine Greening made some key announcements:
- A new loan ‘forgiveness’ scheme will be piloted which will be targeted at the subjects and geographical locations considered most in need. Initially to be piloted in Modern Foreign Languages and Science, it seems that the scheme will pay-off students loans for each month a teacher is working. The exact details are yet to be announced, so watch this space.
- £6 million additional funds will be targeted at maths hubs
- £12 million will be targeted at the creation of new English hubs within the ‘northern powerhouse’ (this includes northern ‘core cities’ Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle)
- £140 million school improvement fund will focus on reception numeracy and literacy
- £30 million will be targeted at providing ‘tailored support’ for encouraging teachers to join schools that struggle with recruitment and staff retention.
- Teaching will no longer be a graduate only profession. There are plans to introduce new vocational routes, such as apprenticeships (a blog post covering this in more detail will follow…).
In addition to these announcements, the Prime Minister Theresa May, announced on the eve of the conference that the earning threshold for repaying tuition fees in England will change. Students will now pay back when they earn £25,000+, rather than the current £21,000.
Fees will also be set at a higher rate of £9500 per academic year of study – cancelling the proposed rise.
The Conservatives are already committed to the implementation of the new T Level qualifications. For more details about these new vocational qualifications, please take a look at this blog post: