Let’s Get Political…

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Today, Thursday 8th June 2017, millions of us will be voting and with more young people registering this year, the results aren’t easy to predict. Some of you may have already made your mind up but for some, you may still be undecided. Education is incredibly important to us as teachers and for some of us, this will sway our votes.

The manifesto’s have been out for a little while now and although certain bits have been tweaked by certain politicians since their release, the education policies have had little changed. Here is a breakdown of each party’s views on education:

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Conservatives

The Conservatives want to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to reach their potential rather than just those who are privileged. Their key policies are:

  • Continue building free schools
  • No new places at schools rated as inadequate
  • Ensure more places become available at good schools
  • Lift the ban on selective schools
  • Strengthen teaching in English and math’s
  • Academic, knowledge rich curriculum
  • Continue providing bursaries to top graduates to do teacher training
  • More support for teachers in preparation of lessons and marking and reduce workload
  • Fairer funding so that all schools get equal funding
  • No more free school meals for every child

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Labour

Labour believe that a good education not only helps the individual but all of us. Their policies are:

  • Improve Early Years Provision so that all have access to affordable and high quality childcare from one years old
  • Reinstate Sure Start centres and funding
  • Invest in schools to ensure they are appropriately resourced
  • Trust teachers more and use this to improve the quality of education
  • Investment in inclusion
  • Reduce class sizes
  • Free school meals for all primary children
  • Reviewing of SATs to avoid ‘teaching to the test’
  • Make FE courses free and bring back Education Maintenance Allowance
  • Bring back maintenance grants and abolish tuition fees

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Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dem’s hold the belief that every child should have a great start in life and are equipped to choose their own future. They want an education system that unleashes the best in everyone. Their key policies are:

  • Stop the education cuts and have fair funding for every school
  • Invest in high quality Early Years education
  • Improve status of teaching profession including ending the cap on teachers pay, higher quality CPD for all teachers and tackle unnecessary workload
  • Ensure that all schools are offering an excellent education
  • Slim the national curriculum down and include the teaching of life skills such as finance, first aid and sex and relationship education
  • Improve vocational education
  • More training in mental health so that teachers can support parents more in their children’s education
  • Free school meals for all
  • Repayment of university fees made fairer and reintroduction of maintenance grants
  • Lifelong opportunities for learning with more opportunities to retrain or update their learning

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UKIP

UKIP’s approach is to ensure that no child is held back and education is responsive and flexible to the individuals needs. Their key policies are:

  • Phonics as model for learning to read and write
  • Focus on mental arithmetic and times tables
  • Languages to start in Y1
  • Reintroduction of technical, vocational, selective grammars and specialist schools with a grammar school in every town and exams changed to give others the opportunity of a place
  • Training on the job whilst attending a vocational school
  • Employability lessons within Secondary’s e.g. interview techniques, public speaking, networking
  • SEN learners to have choice over attending mainstream or specialist school
  • Stop funding towards degrees that do not result in relevant employment
  • Eventually abolish tuition fees but in the meantime, bring back maintenance grants

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Green Party

The Green Party believe that education is a right and should be available to all ages. Their key policies are:

  • Funding and spending per pupil increase
  • Bring Academies into the LA
  • Abolish SATS
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Free universal early education and childcare for all, with formal education starting at 7
  • Ensure that every child with SEN can access mainstream education
  • Reduce teacher workload
  • Abolish Ofsted
  • Pupil centered curriculum with more focus on teaching rather than paperwork
  • Scrap University fees and bring back the grants
  • Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16-25 year old’s

Group 8

There are a lot of similarities between the parties. All recognise that something needs to be done to tackle teacher workload and Labour, Lib Dems and Green, all echo each others believes that education is a priority and should concentrate on improving it for the child through smaller classes, more funding and giving teachers back their autonomy to make sure that education is individualised and flexible. These three parties also want to ensure that University is made more accessible financially, with two wanting to abolish fees and all wanting to bring back the maintenance grant. They also suggest strategies to ensure that families have more access to affordable childcare, recognizing that this will allow more parents to return to work, which will improve family situations, but also recognising the value of early years education on overall achievement. Green Party’s policy for formal education to begin at 7 echoes the successful education system of Finland and Sweden and is certainly interesting.

UKIP have quite an old-fashioned approach on education, wanting to bring back different types of secondary schools, which can open a whole new debate.

Having been in power for the last 7 years, a Conservative education system is what we’ve come to know and it looks as though more of the same is set to continue should they remain in power.

Whatever your views are on education and the other policies outlined in the manifestos, it is our duty to vote for what we believe in, so remember to get down that polling station and VOTE!

For full manifestos, find the links below:

https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto

http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017

http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto

http://www.ukip.org/manifesto2017

https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/

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