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Liberal Democrats pledge qualified teachers and a core curriculum for all schools

Nick Clegg will spell out the Liberal Democrats' education manifesto today, calling for all teachers to have Qualified Teacher Status and a "core curriculum" for every state school.

The deputy prime minister will outline his party's education policies in London, giving a "parental guarantee" that every child will be taught a single national curriculum by a "properly" qualified teacher.

Mr Clegg is due to say that under the Liberal Democrats there would be no return to the "bad old days of Labour where teachers received a constant barrage of emails, regulations and guidance telling them how to run their school".

“But that does not mean parents and children should not have some basic safeguards," he will say. “There is no reason why a child attending an academy or free school should not enjoy the same basic right to be taught by a qualified teacher or to follow a core curriculum as any other child."

“These changes will guarantee parents that, whichever school their child attends; they will enjoy a world class education that will help them fulfil their potential,” he will add.

The decision to call for a core curriculum comes after both Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, and Labour's education spokesman, Tristram Hunt, called for all schools to be taught a "broad and balanced curriculum" following the Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham.

The schools watchdog found that a number of academies in the city had excluded subjects such as art, music and the humanities in its investigation, following allegations that pupils were being exposed to religious extremism.

A senior source within the Lib Dems said: "Many people will have been shocked by the revelations in Birmingham this week that show how easy it is for some schools to drop subjects parents might think are important, but that might not fit with a particular governor’s point of view. 

"Academies and free schools were already restricted in some areas, such as not being run for profit, and complying with Ofsted inspections.

"The Liberal Democrats intend to add having qualified teachers and a core curriculum to that list."

The manifesto was welcomed by the NUT, which said it was "surprised it had not heard any support for this previously from the Liberal Democrats currently at the Department for Education".

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, added: “In order to ensure we have enough qualified teachers, there needs to be a proper and coherent approach to initial teacher education, and to retain teachers, we need a better and national pay framework.

“All this needs to be underpinned by a light touch and professionally acceptable accountability system. It would be very popular with teachers if the Liberal Democrats announced the abolition of Ofsted." 

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