With this election set to be one of the most fiercely contended yet, we explore what each party is offering when it comes to education, with school funding and Ofsted both featuring prominently on the agenda.
Election 2019: Lib Dems' manifesto pledges for schools
Conservatives: Funding at heart of Tory manifesto offer for schools
Labour: Labour’s Ofsted and Sats bonfire
Election 2019: Conservatives
The Conservatives have pledged to:
- Increase teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000.
- Increase school funding by £14 billion - although this equates to £7.1 billion extra by 2022-23 when double- and triple-counting is accounted for.
- Create additional school places for pupils with special educational needs – £780 million of the increased funding is reserved for pupils with SEND.
- Raise per-pupil funding levels to at least £5,000 per secondary pupil and £4,000 per primary pupil.
- Establish a £3 billion “national skills fund” for people to retrain.
- Back headteachers in the use of exclusions.
- Support Ofsted, stating their belief that the inspectorate “serves a valuable purpose”.
- Create an arts premium for secondary schools.
- Expand the number of alternative provision schools for pupils who have been excluded.
- Help teachers to tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying.
- Intervene in schools where there is “entrenched underperformance”.
- Build more free schools and support innovation through more specialist maths schools.
- Invest in primary PE teaching.
Labour has pledged to:
- Provide an extra £10.5 billion for schools over the next three years. This is £7.5 billion when inflation is taken into account, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, but still more than the Conservatives' pledge of £7.1 billion, which amounts to £4.3 billion in real terms between next year and 2022-23.
- The party says the money will be used to ensure “pupils are taught by a qualified teacher, that every school is open for a full five days a week, and maximum class sizes of 30 for all primary school children”.
- Create a National Education Service to “nurture every child” and promote “all types of learning”.
- In early years, reverse cuts to Sure Start and create a Sure Start Plus.
- Provide an additional 150,000 early years staff and 30 hours of free preschool education per week.
- Replace Ofsted with a new inspection body.
- Scrap Sats tests for key stages 1 and 2, as well as baseline assessments for early years pupils.
- Introduce an arts pupil premium for every primary school pupil.
- Transfer budget control back to schools, making local authorities responsible for the delivery of education and giving them the power to open schools.
- Create a teacher supply service to tackle public funds being used to recruit from supply agencies.
- Act to end off-rolling by making schools accountable for pupils’ outcomes after they leave their rolls.
- Introduce free school meals for all primary pupils, encourage breakfast clubs and tackle the cost of school uniforms.
- Close tax loopholes for private schools and ask the Social Justice Commission to advise on integrating private schools into the comprehensive school system.
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to:
- Increase school funding by £10 billion by 2024-25 – this amounts to £5.6 billion in real terms, according to the IFS.
- Hire 20,000 more teachers, and match the Conservatives’ plans to raise teacher starting salaries to £30,000.
- Ensure teachers have access to 50 hours of CPD per year by 2025.
- Give local authorities additional funds to halve the amount schools paid for pupils’ education, health and care plans to “end the crisis in special educational needs and disabilities funding”.
- Abolish Ofsted, replacing it with a new HM Inspector of Schools, which would consider “a broader range of factors including the social and emotional development of children, and the wellbeing of staff and pupils".
- End Sats, replacing these with low-stakes testing and teacher-moderated assessments at the end of each key stage.
- Introduce a new independent body of education experts who would oversee any curriculum changes.
- Protect creative subjects and the arts through abolishing the English Baccalaureate, which has focused on academic subjects.
- Introduce a “curriculum for life” in schools, teaching pupils content such as life-saving, financial literacy and sex and relationships education.
- Give local authorities the power to act as Strategic Education Authorities for their areas, and require multi-academy trusts to undergo external inspections.
- Oppose any future expansion of grammar schools.
- Give all primary pupils free school meals.
- Ensure all teachers are trained to identify mental health issues.
- Triple the early years’ pupil premium to £1,000.
- Introduce inclusive school uniform policies “that are gender-neutral and flexible enough to suit different budgets, and provide training for school staff on how to review and improve their uniform policies”.
- Give schools a statutory duty to promote pupil wellbeing, as part of the inspection framework.
- Improve vocational education.
- Challenge early sexualisation and gender-stereotyping through working with schools to promote healthy body image.