Teacher sabbaticals promised by Labour

Labour election manifesto makes £6.3 billion spending commitment to schools

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Details of Labour's official election manifesto are emerging, as the party launches the document in Bradford.

The manifesto includes pledges to increase school funding in real terms, provide free school meals for all primary children and cap class sizes at 30 for all five, six and seven year olds. 

In total the party promises £48.6 billion of spending commitments, including £6.3 billion of education commitments. 

    Labour has said the funding increase and other education spending pledges would be paid for by reversing the Conservatives’ cuts to corporation tax. The party would also reduce the 45 per cent income tax threshold from £150,000 to £80,000.

    The manifesto also includes commitments to: 

    • Abandon plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and launch a commission to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing key stage 1 and 2 Sats. “The world’s most successful education systems use more continuous assessment, which avoids ‘teaching for the test’,” the manifesto states.
    • "Tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis" by ending the public sector pay cap.
    • Reintroduce “national pay settlements for teachers”.
    • Consult on introducing teacher sabbaticals to “encourage interaction between education and industry and introduce broad experiences into the classroom”.
    • Put £150m back into schools “by scrapping the Conservatives’ nonsensical plans for schools to pay the apprenticeship levy”.
    • Spend £90 million extending schools-based counselling to improve children’s mental health.
    • Deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities and “embed SEND more substantially into training for teachers and non-teaching staff”.

    Last week, a draft of the manifesto was leaked, which contained a pledge to “reintroduce national pay bargaining”.

    However, in the official version published today, this has been changed to “reintroduce…national pay settlements”.

    Earlier this morning, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said headteachers and other public sector workers earning over £80,000 would be willing to pay more in tax to fund better public services.

    "We will be asking the highest earning – the top 5 per cent – to pay a modest sum more...for those headteachers to pay for the teachers in their classes, to stop class sizes increasing."

    Mr McDonnell said he believed these high earners "will want to...end the crisis in our public services".

    The manifesto vows to create a "National Education Service" to move towards "cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use".

    It says Labour will “not waste money on inefficient free schools and the Conservatives’ grammar schools vanity project”, and will “oppose any attempt to force schools to become academies”.


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