As we weren’t expecting another General Election for two more years, how might the snap election on 8th June change the current educational landscape?
The main political parties have not yet released their manifestos, so here’s a brief look at what might be included so far:
The Conservative Party:
Their plans to create new grammar schools are expected to continue to take centre stage in their education policy.
The Conservatives also aim to open 500 more free schools by 2020. However, this target was set prior to the announcement of the general election, so this figure may well change in their forthcoming manifesto.
They are aiming to attract top graduates to teaching training programmes to help fight the current teacher recruitment crisis.
The current government has pledged to invest £18 billion into new schools. However, they are also planning to cut school funding by £3 billion by 2019-20 under the proposed national funding formula. This recommendation has become increasingly unpopular in recent weeks across all the main parties and will sway a great deal of voters with school age children.
The Labour Party:
Labour are opposed to the creation of new grammar schools.
They propose introducing a National Education Service, which would be modelled on what the NHS does for healthcare. It would ensure lifelong learning from early years through to adult education.
Labour have said they would ensure universal childcare is available to give all children a good start in life. This would further allow greater sharing of caring responsibilities and remove barriers to women participating in the labour market.
They have further said that they would like to bring about the ‘restoration of free education for all’. Would they go as far as scrapping university tuition fees? This would be a huge draw for younger voters.
Labour would also reintroduce Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) helping students access further education.
They would also introduce free school meals to all primary school aged pupils.
The Liberal Democrats:
The Liberal Democrats are opposed to the creation of new grammar schools.
They have pledged to provide a properly funded education system, “Pupil Premium” – additional money to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as extra funding for the arts, music and sports.
The Liberal Democrats have also talked about an increase in the threshold at which students pay back tuition fee loans, encouraging students to go to university to continue their studies.
They also propose greater investment in adult skills training and further education colleges.
The party manifestos are expected to be released in a couple of weeks’ time. Until then, keep your eyes peeled and make sure you’re registered to vote for the general election! The deadline is 22nd May. Here’s the link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote