As part of our informative service leading upto the UK 2015 General Election, we are noting what the different main parties say about Education in their Manifestoes, with the publication of the Labour Party noted here. For non-UK readers, the education promises here only apply to schools, colleges and universities within England, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own parliaments which look after their education provision. The full labour Party Manifesto is available by clicking here, but this is what they say in their section about Education…
A high quality education for all our children
Labour sees investment in education as an investment both in our children and in the future of the country. We will protect the entire education budget, including the early years, schools and post-16 education, so that it rises in line with inflation.
However investment on its own is not enough. We need to create a route to success for the 50 per cent of young people who do not go down the traditional academic route. We will raise the standard and status of vocational and technical education, with a high quality vocational route from school through to employment. The Technical Baccalaureate, a vocational award for 16 to 18-year-olds, will combine a gold-standard qualification accredited by employers, with a quality work placement.
We will transform high performing Further Education colleges with strong links to industry, into new specialist Institutes of Technical Education, with a remit to deliver the Technical Baccalaureate and higher-level skills. We will support more young people to gain the core skills they need for employment and further study. With Labour, students will continue to study English and Maths to age 18 and undertake work experience between the ages of 14 and 16. And to ensure young people are equipped to make the best choices for their future, we will introduce a new, independent system of careers advice, offering personalised face-to-face guidance on routes into university and apprenticeships.
We believe fundamentally that a world-class education system is made by excellent teachers. With Labour, every teacher will need to gain qualified teacher status. We will encourage teaching quality by creating new career routes for teachers who are expert in their subject. These teachers will be able to attain a new ‘Master Teacher’ status. Teachers will also be expected to update their knowledge and skills as a condition of remaining in the profession, and we will support plans for a new College of Teaching. These measures will help us close the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, and work towards all children reading well by age 11. We have supported the successful ‘Teach First’ since its inception and will continue to do so.
A new School Leadership Institute will support headteachers and improve school leadership. It will accredit gold-standard headship qualifications, support leadership training and development, and identify and develop the school leaders of the future.
The Government has attempted to oversee thousands of schools from the centre. This approach is not working. Underperformance is going unchallenged and parents do not have enough of a voice. Labour will introduce new Directors of School Standards at a local level to monitor performance, intervene in underperforming schools and support them to improve.
Where a majority of local parents have concerns about underperformance, or a dip in standards, they will be able to call in their local Director of School Standards to hold a school to account.
Labour will promote innovation in schools. We will give all schools freedoms currently only granted to some. Directors of School Standards will be responsible for commissioning new schools where there is a shortage of school places, encouraging innovative bids from established providers, good local authorities, parents, teachers and entrepreneurs. They will also encourage local schools to work together to improve the quality of education.
We will end the wasteful and poorly performing Free Schools programme, and switch resources to where they are needed, allowing us to cap class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds at 30 pupils or under.
Private schools currently benefit from generous state subsidies, including business rates relief worth hundreds of millions of pounds. We believe they should do more to contribute to raising standards in state education to justify receiving this subsidy. As a condition for continued business rate relief, private schools will be required to form a meaningful partnership with a school, or cluster of schools, in the state sector.
Children develop and learn best when they are secure and happy. We need to help our children develop the creativity, self-awareness and emotional skills they need to get on in life. We will introduce compulsory age-appropriate sex and relationships education. We will encourage all schools to embed character education across the curriculum, working with schools to stop the blight of homophobic bullying.
- introduce a new gold-standard Technical Baccalaureate for 16 to-18-year olds
- protect the entire education budget from early years through to post-16 education
- guarantee all teachers in state schools will be qualified
- appoint Directors of School Standards to drive up standards in every area
- cap class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds
- ensure all young people study English and Maths to age 18.