Well, it’s that time again: election campaigns are in full swing and amidst the usual promises; allegations and counter allegation; accusations of media bias and fake news the manifestos are finally out in the open.
Here at Pivot we cover a range of political views, some to the left, some to the right and some straight down the centre so I thought it could be useful to provide a breakdown of what the main parties have to say, specifically about education and children’s social care.
Lets make a start with Labour as they were the first to release their manifesto (particularly early if you count the leak but that’s a different story altogether).
Labour are going big this time around with a National Education Service (NES) to provide education no matter your age that is always free at the point of use.
Early Years: remove the payments to parents for childcare and bring it under direct government control; ensure free nursery places are sufficient to meet demand; transition to a graduate led workforce in early years; half sure start closures and increase funding.
Schools: reverse conservative cuts in funding, invest in new buildings and removal of asbestos; drive up standards and refocus on what happens in the classroom; simplified admission processes; accountability for school standards; inclusion through different courses and qualifications; close the attainment gap between children of different backgrounds; free school meals for all primary pupils; looking at different assessment and reviewing KS1 and 2 SATs; ending the public sector pay cap; involving teachers in the curriculum and reducing bureaucracy; teacher sabbaticals and placements in industry; reintroduce schools support staff negotiating body and national pay settlements for teachers; introduce schools based counselling; strategy for SEND
Children’s Social Care: increase funding to children’s mental health services and ensure schools based counselling is available; support all training routes for Social Workers; prevent the private sector from running child protection services; strengthening mandatory reporting; refocus social care to work with families in the community to prevent children coming into care; promote educational achievement of children in care; increase support for children in kinship and foster care; regulation of fostering agencies and conduct a review on a national fostering service; extend staying put arrangements for all children in care until 21.
So if Labour aren’t to your taste and you’re a little more centrist in your thinking, next off the block were the Lib-Dems with their argument that although they won’t win they can at least from a useful opposition. Lets start with:
Early Years: increase early years pupil premium to £1000; aim for every formal early years setting to have at least one person with a teaching qualification by 2022
Schools: £7 billion to be invested in the education system increasing school budgets and the pupil premium; opposing selective schools and given LAs control over admissions and new schools; reverse all cuts to school budgets; introduce a national funding system for schools; protect the pupil premium; end the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises; all teachers in state schools to be fully qualified by 2019; guarantee ongoing CPD; support long term planning of teacher education prioritising shortage areas; establishing an independent Education Standards Authority; reform OFSTED inspections; scrap the plan for grammar schools; allow OFSTED to inspect LA schools and MATs; prioritise early identification of SEND; introduce a slimmed down national curriculum prioritising PHSE; improve vocational education; challenge gender stereotyping and sexuality issues; ensure all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health concerns and provide counselling in schools; free meals for all primary pupils;
Children’s Social Care: Interestingly the Lib-Dems make no explicit mention of pledges to change or support children’s social care.
…and finally the conservatives manifesto. This finally dropped today for those somewhat more right of centre although with a new focus on being the party to stand up for the general public. So how does this reflect itself in the areas we’re interested in?
Early Years: 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds all new primary schools to include a nursery; capital fund to develop nurseries in current primary schools;
Schools: more good school places; ending the ban on selective schools; new institutes of technology; more free schools (100 per annum) no new school places in inadequate or requires improvement schools; universities charging full tuition fees to sponsor academies and free schools; specialist maths school in every city; new faith schools to prove that families of different faiths or none would be happy to send their children there; build on the phonics screening test; all 11 year olds to know their times tables by heart; increased accountability at KS3; 75% of pupils to be entered to the EBacc combination of GCSEs bye end of the next parliament with 90% by 2025; no student loan repayments whilst teachers remain in teaching; increase in school funding by£4 billion by 2022; free school breakfast to every child in primary school (but no free lunches except for low income families); T Levels to replace current technical qualifications; mental health training for teachers in primary and secondary and a single point of contact for mental health services.
Children’s Social Care: reform of CAMHS to reduce wait times; all LAs to provide the highest possible service and those who are failing to be taken into trust; no placing children out of area unless strictly necessary; view support for CiN understand why the outcomes are so poor.
So there you go. I’ll be back next week to have look at how these pledges stack up against each other and just what each party is offering different to the others.