Manifesto 2019:Rebuild our Public Services - National Education Service - Schools

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Labour will make sure schools are properly resourced with increased long- term funding, while introducing a fairer funding formula that leaves no child worse off. We will invest to upgrade schools that have fallen into disrepair.

Labour’s funding settlement will ensure pupils are taught by a qualified teacher, that every school is open for a full five days a week, and maximum class sizes of 30 for all primary school children. We will also fund more non-contact time for teachers to prepare and plan.

Schools have faced years of budget cuts, leaving headteachers forced to beg parents for money for basic equipment. Despite promising to reverse their own cuts, the Tories latest funding announcement leaves 83% of schools still facing cuts next year.

Schools are being subjected to intensified testing, inspection, league tables and competition. These aren’t improving pupil achievement or narrowing the attainment gap, but are contributing to a growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

The narrowing curriculum is denying many children access to modern languages, arts and music, or technical and engineering skills that will be essential in a world shaped by climate change.

The academies system is over-centralised, inefficient and undemocratic. Parents, communities and even teachers are shut out of decisions about schools and vulnerable children are being let down. And there is no evidence that academies deliver better results.

The Conservatives have failed a generation of children with special educational needs and disabilities, who have endured years of cuts and chaos. Labour will provide the necessary funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Labour will end the ‘high stakes’ testing culture of schools by scrapping Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and baseline assessments, and refocussing assessment on supporting pupil progress.

We will introduce an Arts Pupil Premium to fund arts education for every primary school child. We will review the curriculum to ensure that it enriches students and covers subjects such as black history and continues to teach issues like the Holocaust. Pupils will learn both the science of climate and environmental emergency, and the skills necessary to deal with them.

We will end the fragmentation and marketisation of our school system by bringing free schools and academies back under control of the people who know them best – parents, teachers and local communities.

Under our system:

  • Budget and day-to-day decisions will be transferred back to schools, overseen by an accountable governing body with elected representatives
  • Responsibility for delivery of education and support for young people will sit with local authorities, they will manage and have responsibility for school places, including the power to open schools
  • Oversight and coordination, including of continuous, peer-to-peer school improvement modelled on the London Challenge, will be carried out by regional offices of the
  • All schools will be subject to a common rulebook, set out in legislation

We will replace Ofsted and transfer responsibility for inspections to a new body, designed to drive school improvement.

A new teacher supply service will tackle the waste of funds going to private supply teacher agencies thanks to the government’s failure to recruit and retain experienced teachers.

We will take action to end ‘off-rolling’, removing the perverse incentives for schools to let pupils fall out of the system, by making schools accountable for the outcomes of pupils who leave their rolls.

We will properly regulate all education providers and reform alternative provision (AP) to ensure an excellent education is the right of every child, and improve the outcomes and life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in society.

We will ‘poverty-proof’ schools, introducing free school meals for all primary school children, encouraging breakfast clubs, and tackling the cost of school uniforms.

We will bring back the School Support Staff Negotiating Body and national pay settlements for teachers.

We will close the tax loopholes enjoyed by elite private schools and use that money to improve the lives of all children, and we will ask the Social Justice Commission to advise on integrating private schools and creating a comprehensive education system.