Lib Dems pledge 20,000 more teachers and an extra £10bn

Election 2019: Ahead of manifesto launch, the Lib Dems also commit to ending 'political meddling' in the curriculum

Catherine Lough

Election 2019: The Liberal Democrats have pledged to increase school funding and hire more teachers

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to raise education spending by an extra £10 billion per year and hire 20,000 more teachers by the end of the next Parliament.

In the party's election manifesto, it will promise to reverse cuts to school budgets through an “emergency cash injection” of £4.6 billion next year – nearly double the package promised by the Conservatives of an extra £2.6 billion for 5-16 education in 2020-21.

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Related: Election 2019: Labour’s Ofsted and Sats bonfire

And by 2024-25, the Lib Dems are promising to spend £10.6 billion more on schools than in 2019-20, and to offer more to schools than the Conservatives in every year of the next Parliament.

The party has said the additional funding will increase the number of teachers by 20,000 over five years, as well as boost recruitment and retention through raising starting salaries for teachers to £30,000 – a commitment also made by the Conservatives.

Election 2019: Lib Dems pledge to increase teacher pay

The Lib Dems want to give all state school teachers a pay rise of 3 per cent a year for five years, also pledging a fully-funded entitlement of 50 hours of CPD per year by 2025.

The party will set aside £7 billion over five years to invest in building classrooms, and will allocate £10 billion of a £50 billion “Remain Bonus” – the money saved from preventing Brexit – to increase funding for schools.

Layla Moran, the party’s education spokesperson, said: “Headteachers are crying out for more staff. But too many are leaving the profession because they are overworked and underpaid.

“The Conservatives only care about teaching children to be tested. High-stakes Ofsted inspections and Sats tests are placing an unacceptable burden on pupils and teachers alike.

“Highly valued, well-trained teachers are the most important resource we have in our education system. So Liberal Democrats will recruit 20,000 more teachers and give them the pay and support they deserve.

"We will increase salaries by 3 per cent a year, guarantee high-quality training, stop political meddling in the curriculum and end teaching to the test. Let’s trust teachers to give children the best possible start in life.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the announcement but warned that the Lib Dems needed to secure the future of 16-19 education.

“This is a significant funding pledge by the Liberal Democrats, which we are pleased to see," he said.

"It also involves a number of big spending commitments on teacher pay and continuing professional development, which have great merit but would absorb a sizeable chunk of the extra money. We would, therefore, need to understand the figures in more detail to be able to assess exactly how it impacts on schools.

“As far as we can see, this announcement applies to schools rather than colleges and sixth forms. It may well be that the Liberal Democrats address this issue elsewhere in their manifesto, but it is critical that 16-19 education receives more investment as a matter of urgency because it is extremely poorly funded."

Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “This is an investment in our children’s future. Our schools should be world-class, helping every child make the most of the challenges ahead.

“But instead, they are trailing behind. The Conservatives have cut school funding to the bone and children have paid the price, especially those with the most complex needs.

“It is disgraceful that some schools feel they have no choice but to ask parents to chip in for supplies, and are closing early on Friday to balance the books.

“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for every child. By stopping Brexit, we can spend £10 billion of our Remain Bonus on reversing school cuts and hiring 20,000 more teachers – so that pupils can leave school happy, healthy and with the skills they need to succeed in life.”


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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