Labour Party General Election manifesto

Any new Government will need to reverse cuts to education to boost skills, close equity gaps and deliver the necessary workforce. 


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

“After 14 years of damaging austerity, we welcome Labour’s commitment to education and securing economic growth.  

‘Education is a key engine of economic growth, which can only be secured if we develop the skills and potential of our young people.  Deliberate Government policy choices since 2010 have resulted in cuts to education funding, SEND funding, attacks on teacher pay and sky-high workload.  

‘Such is the legacy that has been handed on the task ahead is huge. 

‘But failing to properly support education is a false economy and there is no indication in this manifesto that current cuts to education will be reversed. 

‘Any new Government will need to reverse cuts to education and match the funding levels of other OECD countries in order to boost skills, close equity gaps and deliver the necessary workforce. 

‘The situation in our schools and colleges has now reached tipping point – without serious investment, schools will be closing due to a lack of funds. No incoming Government can ignore the problem. Our schools need an ambitious plan that heads off the catastrophe heading their way. 

‘We welcome the fact that Labour recognises we are in a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. 6,500 new teachers, while a start, does not go far enough. The competitiveness of teacher pay and workload has been hit so hard that we have a full-blown teacher recruitment and retention crisis.  

‘To secure sustainable economic growth and to repair the damage to our education service from 14 years of austerity, we need a Government which recognises that education is an essential investment in the national interest, not a cost to be minimised.  We need to see a fully funded pay correction for the educators we rely on to deliver our crucial education service, as well as effective solutions to workload issues.  This is in the interests of parents, young people and the country as a whole as well as of educators themselves.   

‘We all benefit if we can ensure every child has the same chance to succeed in life and we welcome the priority Labour has given to breaking down barriers to opportunity and supporting the ambitions of young people.  Reforms to SEND and Early Years provision, mental health support in schools, access to arts music sport are all vital.  The NEU will work with whichever party wins the election to ensure the investment is provided to achieve these objectives. 

‘There is so much potential and scope for better national choices– forced academisation must stop immediately under any new Government and Ofsted must go. 

‘Schools need support, development and funding, which are the keys to success rather than threats, punitive measures or being forced to join chains not connected to their local area. More responsibility for co-operation and co-ordination of education services should be returned to the local area, alongside other services for families. 

‘Helping children out of poverty needs to be a central part of any new government’s policy. There are currently nine children out of a class of 30 living in poverty. Labour needs to recognise the impact poverty has on children and young people’s live chances and be bold when addressing it. 

‘Child poverty costs our economy £39 billion per year. While welcoming the introduction of free school breakfast clubs for primary school children, we urge Labour to commit to removing the two-child benefit cap. Such a move would lift 300,000 children out of poverty. 

‘A new government should also commit to free school meals for all children. No part of the school day should be means tested. Education is not currently able to respond properly to the inequalities in our society when we have so many children and young people arriving at school tired and hungry.   

‘Should Labour form the next Government we look forward to working with them alongside the other education unions to ensure that we have the policies and funding in place to give every child the education they deserve”.

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