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Labour asking for views on its National Education Service

Labour proposes making adult education courses free for everyone and bringing back educational maintenance allowance (EMA) for 16- to 19-year-olds in further education

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Labour proposes making adult education courses free for everyone and bringing back educational maintenance allowance (EMA) for 16- to 19-year-olds in further education

The Labour Party is asking for input from education stakeholders and the general public as it consults on drafting the charter for its proposed National Education Service (NES).

In a consultation document entitled Early Years, Education and Skills: Towards a National Education Service, Labour criticised the Conservative Party for creating “an education system that is increasingly fragmented and, for too many, inaccessible” and a system of adult education that is “increasingly reliant on personal debt”.

Labour is asking a series of questions as part of the listening exercise, including: “What should a National Education Service be for and what values should it and the draft charter embody?”

The responses will be considered as part of Labour’s 2018 National Policy Forum Consultation.

Charter 'will underpin NES for generations'

Some of the key planks from Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto included making further education free at the point of use for anyone of any age and making lifelong learning for all a reality. The party also wants to bring back the EMA.

As part of the consultation, Labour is launching a National Education Service Roadshow which aims to visit the different nations and regions of the UK over the next three months.

“The roadshow will build on the work we have done so far and the final principles will underpin the NES for generations to come,” a spokesman for the party said. “The next stage in developing the NES is to consult on and develop this charter, to ensure that we are working from the correct principles, and to identify the policy questions we will need to answer in taking the vision of a National Education Service forward."

'Equal respect'

Further education and skills form a big part of the key principles of the proposed NES. Last September, the party pledged £1 billion extra for FE.

“All areas of skill and learning deserve respect,” the consultation document states. “The NES will provide all forms of education, integrating academic, technical and other forms of learning within and outside of educational institutions, and treating all with equal respect.”

You can respond to the consultation, which runs until Sunday 24 June, here: www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/consultation2018

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