A pre-Christmas election appears to be on the cards. The Lib Dems schools offering will including scrapping Ofsted, Sats and league tables. Here's what you need to know.
An end to Ofsted, league tables and Sats
Lib Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran is a former physics teacher and has spoken out against Sats and the rigidity of school league tables in the past. Like Labour, the party proposes abolishing Ofsted. It wants to replace it with a new inspectorate that will look at “the performance of a school in the round, focusing on its culture and the wellbeing of teachers and pupils as much as academic performance”.
They are also committed to scrapping all school league tables and replacing these with a wider range of information about individual schools, including information for parents about the level of pastoral care on offer.
The party wants to replace key stage 2 Sats with low-stakes assessment by class teachers.
At curricular level, the party plans to introduce a slimmed-down curriculum “entitlement” to be taught in all state-funded schools, with a greater focus on life skills such as financial literacy, first aid, mental health education and sex and relationships education (SRE).
The party also plans to scrap the English Baccalaureate GCSE measure, and promote arts and creative subjects.
And they would create an independent Education Standards Authority, working with teachers to pilot future changes to the national curriculum in consultation with teachers.
The party says it will reverse cuts to school funding through an “emergency cash injection” for schools, as well as committing to protect the Pupil Premium.
It will also increase council budgets for educating children with SEND.
And it has prioritised funding for early years, promising to increase the Pupil Premium for youngest pupils to £1,000 per pupil per annum. The Lib Dems also want to ensure all early years staff either have or are working towards an early years qualification, as well as promising that there will be a graduate leader in every early years setting over the long-term.
A key focus at their party conference in September was a commitment to lifelong learning. Ms Moran spoke of how she herself only realised what she wanted to do with her life at the age of 25, and the importance of professional flexibility and career changes.
The party passed a motion committing to create a Personal Education and Skills Account (PESA) of £9,000 in total for all adults over the age of 25. A Liberal Democrat government would make at least three payments of £3,000 each over the course of an adult’s lifetime which they could access at 25, 40 and 55 to retrain or learn new skills.
The motion – Education is for Everyone: Investing in Further Education and Learning Throughout Life – was passed at the party conference in Bournemouth and also committed to ending compulsory resits of GCSE English and maths for pupils aged 16 to 19.