Election 2017 - education policies at a glance

With the general election not far away what are the three main political parties saying about education?  We have compiled all the key points and main pledges so you can see at a glance what each party are promising.

Conservatives

Main pledges

  • Increase the overall schools budget in England by an extra £4bn by 2022 - this will be partly funded by ending the current provision of free school lunches for all infant pupils in England although free breakfasts will be offered for primary school children.
  • Introduce the new school funding formula and guarantee that no school will have its budget cut.
  • End the ban on new selective schools. New conditions would include allowing pupils to join at "other ages as well as eleven".
  • Introduce T-Levels - Technical Levels.

Other policies

  • Open at least 100 new free schools a year.
  • Every 11-year-old will be expected to know their times tables off by heart.
  • Change the rules to allow the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools.
  • Open a specialist maths school in every major city in England due to new funding arrangements and establish an Institute of Technology (IoT) in every major city in England. IoTs will be eligble for public funding for productivity and skills research, access to loans and grants for their students and will be able to gain royal charter status and regius professorships in technical education. 
  • Explore teaching apprenticeships sponsored by major companies, especially in STEM subjects.
  • Introduce a “Ucas-style portal for technical education”. The government’s industrial strategy green paper published in January called for a “course-finding process for technical education similar to the Ucas process”.
  • Introduce significantly discounted bus and train travel for apprentices to ensure that no young person is deterred from an apprenticeship due to travel costs.
  • Ask universities and independent schools to help run state schools, and if universities want to charge maximum tuition fees, they will be required to "become involved" in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools. Considering that just over half of universities are currently involved in such measures, those not involved will need to take note of what successful local collaboration looks like.
  • Work to build up the investment funds of universities across the UK.
  • Doubling of the "Skills Charge" from £1,000 to £2,000 per employee per year for employers who hire non-EU immigrants in skilled jobs. The revenue from this charge will go into skills training for UK workers.
  • Create a right for employees to request leave for training, and introduce a “national retraining scheme”, with training costs met by the government. Companies will be able to access levy funding to support wage costs during the training period.

Labour

Main pledges

  • A promise to reduce class sizes to "less than 30" for five, six, and seven-year-olds and extend as resources allow.
  • Overhaul existing childcare system and extend 30 hours of free childcare to all two-year olds.
  • Reintroduce maintenance grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees.

Other policies

  • Create a unified National Education Service for England to incorporate all forms of education that will move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use.
  • Free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
  • Put £150 million back into schools by scrapping the current plans for schools to pay the apprenticeship levy.
  • Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds.
  • Replace Advanced Learner Loans and upfront course fees with direct funding, making FE courses free at the point of use.
  • Devolve responsibility for skills to city regions or devolved administrations.

Liberal Democrats

Main Pledges

  • Invest £7bn extra in education to increase school budgets and the Pupil Premium.
  • Oppose new selective schools and give local authorities control over admissions and new schools.
  • Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students.

Other policies

  • Invest in high-quality early years education by tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000.
  • End the 1% cap on teachers' pay rises.
  • Extend free school meals to all children in primary education and promote school breakfast clubs.
  • Guarantee all state school teachers are fully qualified or working towards qualified teacher status from January 2019 and introduce a professional development entitlement of 25 hours per year for all teachers, rising to 50 hours by 2025
  • Reform Ofsted inspections so that they include a focus on longer-term outcomes and sustainable improvement as well as teacher workload, sickness and retention.
  • Scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools.
  • Improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment, and improve careers advice and links with employers in schools and colleges.
  • Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, by extending apprenticeships to new sectors such as creative and digital industries.

We recently surveyed the education market to find out what the real challenges and issues people working in the sector come across every day. You can download our summary report for free here:

What are the real challenges and issues people working in education face?

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