Conservative Party General Election manifesto

Conservative spending plans would result in the most catastrophic cuts to education for generations.


Commenting on the Conservative Party General Election manifesto, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This election manifesto from the Conservative Party is bereft of any real solutions to the chronic underfunding of our schools and colleges and the teacher and recruitment crisis that is gripping education. All brought about by their own policies and direction.   

‘The Conservative Party should not be speaking about the education system they have been running for the past 14 years with anything other than an apology and regret. A whole generation of children have been put through a school system that does not match the expectations of parents, carers and school staff. 

‘The Conservatives’ party manifesto on education opens with a highly misleading statistic about Ofsted grades. Ofsted themselves say, "A number of the factors discussed previously in this document affect the comparability of this statistic over time and should, therefore, be used with caution... users should be particularly cautious if comparing outcomes from 2015/16, or later, with those of previous years."[1] 

‘Rishi Sunak’s commitment to continue "protecting day-to-day schools spending in real terms per pupil" reads as a bad joke after 14 years of cuts to education. Parents, carers and the general public need to understand what the Conservatives are promising to do to education. School costs are higher than the preferred measure of inflation the Conservatives are referring to (GDP Deflator) and there is a predicted fall in the school roll over coming years. School funding increases every year to help with schools' costs. Their pledge translates into just £175m per year. On average school funding has increased by £1.8bn per year since 2010 which was not enough and has resulted in 70% of schools with lower spending power. The Conservative spending plans would result in the most catastrophic cuts to education for generations and result in hundreds of school closures.

‘The situation is dire, and parents are acutely aware of the problem. In a Deltapoll/NEU poll of parents, 61% express that they feel current funding either just meets fundamental needs or leaves a shortfall. 

‘Since 2010 real terms pay cuts have resulted in pay in education falling so far behind pay in the wider economy that we now have a full-blown recruitment and retention crisis.  The Conservative manifesto includes nothing that will reverse the pay cuts or tackle the widespread teacher shortages that are damaging our young people’s education and prospects.  The Conservatives are in denial about the extent of the recruitment and retention crisis, but parents and teachers are all too aware of the damage it is doing.  

‘Whoever wins this election needs to be in no doubt that bold reforms are needed. Education is at breaking point. Schools need to be properly funded.  We need a fully funded correction to make pay in education competitive again after years of pay cuts from the Conservatives. We need to address child poverty. There needs to be a clear understanding that without significant investment and reform, the education system will collapse”.

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