In my last post I went through the policies of the Conservative Party that they have put forward in relation to schooling.
Of course my aim is not in any way to influence anyone vis-à-vis their voting, but rather to provide a checklist so that whatever party gets in, there is a ready-made list of what might happen.
So, working from Labour’s manifesto we have a £10.5 billion increase in the schools’ budget by 2022-23 and the promise of a fairer funding formula “that leaves no child worse off.”
All primary school pupils will be taught in classes of a maximum of 30 – although I am not clear how the additional teachers or teaching spaces will be found to arrange this rapidly, so I imagine it is to be phased in over time.
KS1 and KS2 SATs and baseline assessments will go, to be replaced by assessments based on targets centred around “supporting pupil progress.”
There will be a £160 million annual arts pupil premium to fund arts education for every primary school child rising to £175m by 2023-24 – which is interesting as the Conservative Party also have noted the need for more money for the arts. (As an ex-music teacher I rather like that.)
There will also be a review of the curriculum to ensure that it “enriches students and covers subjects such as black history and continues to teach issues like the Holocaust.”
As for free schools and academies, these will be brought under the control of parents, teachers and local communities, while at the same time giving schools control over budgets and day-to-day decisions, overseen by “an accountable governing body with elected representatives.” Councils will be in charge of admissions and they will have the right to open new schools.
Schools will be accountable for the outcomes of pupils who leave their rolls – this aims to stop the increasingly widespread practice of “de-rolling” in which schools simply tell parents that the child is no longer suitable for their school and they should look elsewhere.
There will be a common rulebook for all schools, set out in legislation, and adherence to it will be overseen by a new body that will replace Ofsted.
A teacher supply service will be set up to tackle wasted money going to private agencies, and there will be “proper regulation” of all education providers. I think this means schools, rather than the providers of learning materials.
All primary children will have access to free school meals, and schools with space to do so will be encouraged to set up breakfast clubs.
The cost of school uniforms will be regulated and the school support staff negotiating body and national pay settlements for teachers bodies, which were removed during the Cameron parliament, will be brought back.
There is an announcement about closing the “tax loopholes” that currently apply to private schools and the introduction of VAT on private school fees. Also the Social Justice Commission will be given the job of advising on the integration of private schools and the creation of a comprehensive education system.
Elsewhere teachers and support staff will get a 5% pay rise in April 2020. Plus a network of mental health hubs and 3,500 professionals will be introduced to give every child access to a school counsellor
4,500 more health visitors and school nurses will be recruited, and there will be a ban on fast food restaurants near school sites.
I never hide the fact that I am a Labour voter but I have tried to set out the plans of the Conservatives in my last post and Labour above as evenly as I can.
But there is one issue in the Labour plans that I think could take a while to implement, and that is the reform of the private education system. If private school fees rose by 20% because of VAT, the number of pupils and students moving into the state-funded sector could be quite large. As it is, state financed schools are not coping too well with the large rise in the number of pupils and the very small rise in the number of teachers.
At present around 630,000 young people are educated in private schools and even if only 20% of those moved into state schools that would be a huge inrush to take at a time when the population is continuing to rise.
Anyway, I hope you find these two comparators helpful. I will try to offer a Liberal Party perspective on education shortly.
If you want to know more about promoting to schools in the new political environment please email Stephen@schools.co.uk or call 01604 880 927. If you want to book in mailings to schools for the new term, as always if we receive your booking for a 4-Email programmev in December, we’ll give you a December mailing for free.