Exclusive: Labour is only party to woo more teachers

Tes poll of teachers shows three-quarters have not been swayed by election campaign – with Labour increasing its lead

Catherine Lough

Election 2019: The main parties' pledges on FE remain unclear, warns the Education Policy Institute

Labour has been the only party to persuade more teachers to vote for it during the general election campaign, according to a final week Tes survey.

More than three-quarters – 76 per cent – of teachers responding to the poll have not switched their preferences. But Jeremy Corbyn’s party is the sole beneficiary of those who have changed their voting intention.

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graph of voting intentionsLabour was already the most popular party among teachers at the start of the campaign, favoured by 51 per cent of teachers responding, and the latest survey shows its share has now climbed to 60 per cent.

Election 2019: Who will teachers vote for?

graph of voting intentions at the start of the campaign

The Conservatives saw their support among the teachers drop from 17 to 15 per cent and the Lib Dems also saw their share fall from 16 to 13 per cent.

The other four parties stayed within a percentage point of their original position and the proportion of respondents who were undecided declined from 6 to 4 per cent.

Nearly three-quarters – 74 percent – of the 1,829 teachers who responded to the snap survey said education policy had played a part in deciding their vote.

Labour’s education policy has included pledges to scrap Sats testing and Ofsted, as well as a promise to funnel an additional £10.5 billion into schools over the next three years.

This is £7.5 billion when inflation is accounted for, but still more than the sums promised by the Lib Dems or Tories - £5.6 billion from the former, and £4.3 billion from the latter.

Labour has also promised to bring free schools and academies back under the control of parents and local communities and to close tax "loopholes" for private schools.

The poll also found that teachers want the next government to focus on school funding, teacher workload and teacher pay as its top three priorities.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "There will be some people who say, 'This was totally predictable – teachers will always vote Labour,' but we shouldn't assume inevitability.

"But a lot of teachers looking at the manifestos will look at plans to scrap Ofsted, workload, and they will make their decision based on the government's track record. 

"The current government has been in denial for so long, and teachers are going to make their decision based on that record."

He added that the government reforms of the education system, which had increased workload, were likely to be a factor in teachers' choices in the polling booth.

And Mary Bousted, general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: "I think teachers are more disposed to vote Labour, as they work in public service.

"They don't feel their work has been valued under the current government – lots of people might have said they value their work, but they don't feel it has been.

"They have seen the decimation of public services and the effects of austerity, with schools being left to fill the gap."

She added that the NEU has no political affiliations. 



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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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