- Cap class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year-olds
- Drive up standards in every classroom, in every school, in every region
- Ensure all children in state schools are taught by high-quality qualified teachers
- Raise the status and quality of vocational education and skills.
- Give our children the creativity, character and resilience they need to succeed in the 21st Century
"There are two very different plans for Britain at this election. There is one plan - the Tory plan - that focuses on just a few, based on the idea that success will come from tax cuts for the wealthiest, stripping the rest of government back to the very bone, public spending at levels not seen since the 1930s. And there is another plan - a Labour plan - that says we build long-term, enduring success for ourselves as a nation only when we support all working people."
Labour will also pledge to cap class sizes for 5,6 and 7 year-olds. Labour say the Tories have scrapped Labour’s policy to cap infant class sizes at 30 pupils. The proportion of class sizes bigger than this has trebled. That means the number of youngest children taught in such classes has risen by over 60,000. This is in part because the Tories’ Free School programme has opened schools in areas that have a surplus of places. It has seen more than 30,000 places created in areas where they were not needed over this Parliament. On these, trends, Labour say, if the Tories win a second term, the number of classes over 30 is on course to grow to 11,000 - a number close to the deeply damaging levels we inherited in 1997.
The next Labour government will:
- Cap class sizes for 5,6 and 7 year-olds so they are not bigger than 30 pupils for more than 12 months.
- Create the required places in high need areas to deliver this cap, including in the over-subscribed schools which parents often put as their first choice by ending the Tory practice of creating new Free Schools in areas that do not need them.
Ed Miliband is expected to say: "Successful teaching and classroom discipline is made harder when classes are so much bigger. Since 2010, the number of the youngest children taught in classes bigger than 30 has gone up by almost 60,000. It is treble the number it was. And it is set to get far worse. Currently, the government is spending money on new Free Schools in areas where there are surplus places. This simply makes no sense when class sizes are rising in the way they are. Or when people can’t get their kids into the good schools they want. So by ending the scandalous waste of money from building new schools in areas of surplus places, we will create more places where they are needed. This will allow us to cap class sizes for 5, 6, and 7 year olds at no more than 30 pupils."
Labour say they will drive up standards in every class room, in every school, in every region. There are still 1.6 million children being educated in under-performing schools. We will take the battle to raise standards from our great cities where standards have risen over the last two decades to every corner of our country where there is persistent under-achievement. These include:
- Sefton: in 2010, 15 per cent of schools were less than good, in 2014, this figure has risen to 50 per cent.
- Swindon: in 2010, 20 per cent of schools were less than good, in 2014, this figure has risen to 45 per cent
- Torbay: in 2010, 25 per cent of schools were less than good in 2014, this figure has risen to 38 per cent.
Labour say they will ensure:
- Every area has a new Standards Challenge setting a tough target to raise performance in every school – modelled on the last government’s successful programme in London which dramatically improved attainment in the capital
- Every school is locally accountable to new Directors of Standards
- Every parent body has the power to call in Directors of Standards when concerned about failing standards
- Every head teacher has the key freedoms currently given to academy heads.
Ed Miliband is expected to say: "We should always be the eternal warriors for higher standards. For Britain being the world’s best. There are still 1.6 million children being educated in schools that are rated as less than “good”. And the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and everyone else is actually growing wider. It is up to the next Labour government to improve standards in every part of the country not by turning the clock back but by ensuring proper accountability within the diversity of provision that we have.
“We want all head teachers to have the powers currently given to academy heads. But we also want every school to be locally accountable. That is what our new Directors of School Standards will ensure. And they will have a specific mission to drive up standards in every type of local school: local authority run, academies and Free Schools. And they will have clear objectives, a Standards Challenge, agreed when they are appointed because we must now do the same in terms of driving up standards in all our regions that the last Labour government did in London. And parents will no longer be powerless. They will have the right to call in the Directors of School Standards in if they are worried about what’s going on in their school."
Labour say they will also ensure all children in state schools are taught by high-quality qualified teachers. Saying last year 50,000 experienced, qualified teachers have left the profession – an increase of 25% since 2010 - while the number of unqualified teachers who have taken their places in our classrooms rose to 17,000.
- Ensure all teachers become qualified, create a new Master Teacher status and establish a College of Teaching to help ensure all teachers continue to build their skills and knowledge
- Issue a ‘call to arms’ to bring the best of the 200,000 qualified teachers who have left the profession back into state schools to help to raise standards across the country. And address the looming teacher shortage
Mr Miliband is expected to say: "And in a world where what matters for our children it is not simply knowing one set of facts but an ability to learn new things throughout their lives, it means the skills of teachers need to be even broader than before and even more fundamental. What a difference from this government and their contempt for the profession. 50,000 experienced, qualified teachers have left the profession in the last year alone. There are massive problems of recruitment throughout the profession. Nobody could possibly call this a success."
"We now have 17,000 unqualified teachers in our classrooms, when all the evidence is that qualified teachers are best. The government proposes to do nothing about it. We will put an end to it, demanding that all teachers work towards qualified teacher status. We will support the teachers to learn new skills and develop their talent. We will create a new status of Master Teacher to which they can aspire. And we will stop denigrating the profession."
Labour will raise the status and quality of vocational education and skills. Under the Tories, the latest figures show that 202,000 16 to 18 year-olds are not in education, employment or training (NEET), employers say skills gaps are getting worse and complain about poor standards in Maths and English, we are training less than half the number of engineers needed per year leaving Britain with a shortfall of more than 400,000 by 2020, and the number of apprenticeships for young people is falling.
Labour will prioritise the forgotten 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university by:
- Introducing a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-18 year olds which includes an employer accredited vocational qualification, English, Maths and work experience.
- Ensuring all young people study English and Maths to 18, so they have the core skills they need to succeed in work, further study and apprenticeships.
- Raising the quality of apprenticeships so they all last a minimum of two years and are at least a level three standard (A level standard).
- Bringing in new Technical Degrees as a next step for young people who excel in our new vocational route through school and college.
- Backing new Institutes of Technical Education linked to local industry and charged with delivering our Tech Bacc and apprenticeships
Ed Miliband is expected to say: "Indeed the biggest challenge we face is preparing our young people for the economy of the future, not of yesterday. In the 21st century, world class education isn’t a luxury for the individual. It’s a necessity. We need an education system that brings out the talents of every single person. We will ensure equal respect right across the curriculum, vocational, academic and creative subjects."
Labour say they will give our children the creativity, character and resilience they need to succeed in the 21st Century. They claim the Tories are not equipping our young people for the challenges of the modern world because they are driven by a narrow and old-fashioned ideology on education. Labour also say they will prepare young people to be citizens by:
- Bringing in compulsory work experience for all young people between 14-16
- Introducing compulsory age appropriate sex and relationship education in schools.
- Guaranteeing two hours of organised sport a week.
- Widening the franchise to voters at 16 and redesigning the curriculum for citizenship education
Ed Miliband is expected to say: "We must adapt the vision or education to the 21st century: an era where young people have more opportunity open to them than ever before, as globalisation brings the world closer together and technology opens up so many possibilities. "But at the same time, where they often face more pressures than ever before. Financial pressures in their own family. Peer pressures turbo-charged by the internet. And the pathways into adulthood and careers so much less certain than they used to be."