Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Excellence in education: every child the chance to fulfil their potential
The challenge for Britain
To raise standards, promote excellence and narrow achievement gaps by giving the best school leaders and federations more schools to run, and by giving parents new rights and clear guarantees of high-quality teaching and support for every pupil — underpinned by increased spending. The Tories want to gamble with our children’s education, putting school improvement at risk and taking away the guarantees of an excellent education for all.
The next stage of national renewal
* Spending increased on frontline Sure Start and free childcare, schools and 16-19 learning.
* An expansion of free nursery places for two year olds and 15 hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three and four year olds.
* Every pupil leaving primary school secure in the basics, with a 3Rs guarantee of one-to-one and small-group tuition for every child falling behind; and in secondary school, every pupil with a personal tutor and a choice of good qualifications.
* A choice of good schools in every area – and, where parents are not satisfied – the power to bring in new school leadership teams, through mergers and take-overs, with up to 1,000 secondary schools part of an accredited schools group by 2015.
* Every young person guaranteed education or training until 18, with 75 per cent going on to higher education, or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training, by the age of 30.
Education is the key to personal background or circumstances. fulfilment, economic prosperity and social mobility. Our goal In 1997, half of our secondary is educational excellence for schools were below the basic every child, whatever their minimum standard. Now, because of sustained investment and reform, it is just one in twelve, with standards rising fastest in disadvantaged areas. Nearly 100,000 more children each year leave primary school secure in reading, writing and maths. School buildings, once characterised by leaking roofs and second-class facilities, are being transformed. The quality of teaching is the best ever and teachers have the status and respect they deserve.
Frontline spending on Sure Start, childcare, schools and 1619 learning will be increased, safeguarding our priorities such as an additional 41,000 teachers and 120,000 teaching assistants. But funding will not rise as fast as in recent years, making tough choices necessary to focus resources on the front line, with £950m saved through collaboration and efficiency in back office functions and procurement and £500m from quangos and central budgets.
The range and reach of innovative school providers will increase, spreading excellence to all schools. We will strive to get the best people into teaching and give parents new rights to secure good schooling for their children. Participation in post-school learning will expand, with more and better apprenticeships, improved vocational education, and wider access to higher education.
The early years
Good play-based early learning gets children off to a flying start, so that they begin school ready to learn and achieve. We have expanded high-quality early learning and childcare, which also supports parents to work when they have young children and improves family living standards.
There are now over 3,500 Sure Start Children’s Centres and every three and four year old has access to free nursery education, which is rising to 15 hours a week. Children’s Centres will become the bedrock of a new national under-fives service: ‘one-stop shops’, open to all families, offering excellent affordable childcare, healthcare and parenting advice. The number of free early learning places for disadvantaged two year olds will be expanded, on the way to our long-term goal of universal free childcare for this age group.
Flexible childcare Busy working parents will have more flexibility over the hours their children have access to nursery education, such as taking them over two full working days, as well as greater choice over when children start school. We will also explore allowing parents to carry over their free hours of nursery education from year to year. Childcare vouchers will be retained, with all families receiving income tax relief at the basic rate, and childcare standards will be raised by a more qualified workforce.
We want to strengthen parental engagement with Sure Start Children’s Centres. Some voluntary and third-sector organisations already run networks of Centres, and we will now pioneer mutual federations running groups of local Children’s Centres in the community interest.
Excellence for all: every school a good school
Every parent wants their child to attend an excellent school – with the best possible teaching and facilities. So for pupils and parents we will set out in law guarantees of the excellent education and personal support they can expect.
No school can be better than the quality of its teachers. We have the best generation of teachers ever, supported by teaching assistants and the wider workforce. But we must continue to get the very best people into teaching, from the most committed graduates to the highest calibre career switchers. Teach First will be extended to attract more of the best graduates into teaching, including teaching in primary schools.
We have invested heavily in the professionalism and expertise of the workforce, and will build on this success with a new right for every teacher to continuous professional development; in return they will have to demonstrate high standards of teaching to maintain their licence to practise. We will promote new Teacher Training Academies and £10,000 ‘golden handcuffs’ to attract the best teachers into the most challenging schools.
While the number of low-performing schools has decreased dramatically, we cannot tolerate any coasting or persistently poor schools. Over the last decade, we have developed a cadre of world-class head teachers, radically opened up our school system to new providers, and worked with local authorities and school governing bodies to drive up standards.
Our task now is to devolve more power and responsibility to strong school leaders and to spread excellence, with up to 1,000 schools, through mergers and take-overs, part of an accredited school group by 2015 – a new generation of not-for-profit chains of schools with a proven track record. These will include excellent school leaders from the maintained sector, universities, colleges, faith schools, academy chains and independent schools. We now have 200 academies and over 50 National Challenge Trusts, with another 200 academies in the pipeline. And we are pioneering new cooperative trust schools where parents, teachers and the local community come together to help govern their local school.
More power for parents
Where parents are dissatisfied with the choice of secondary schools in an area, local authorities will be required to act, securing take-overs of poor schools, the expansion of good schools, or in some cases, entirely new provision. Where parents at an individual school want change, they will be able to trigger a ballot on whether to bring in a new leadership team from a proven and trusted accredited provider.
School Report Cards will give every parent clear information on standards, levels of parental satisfaction and behaviour and bullying. They will provide information on the progress being made by all pupils, not just by some. We will consult on giving every school an overall grade for its performance.
We reject a return to the 11plus or a free-for-all admission system. Our commitment to fair admissions is essential to liberating the potential of every child. Ensuring all pupils make progress also requires a fair funding system, so we will introduce a local pupil premium to guarantee that extra funding to take account of deprivation follows the pupil. Barriers to social mobility will be tackled by giving disadvantaged families free access to broadband to support their child’s learning. All parents will be guaranteed online information about their child’s progress and behaviour.
We have high expectations for children with special educational needs and schools will be held to account for how well they meet the needs of these pupils. We are expanding the number of specialist dyslexia teachers and improving teacher training for children with autism. The statementing process will be improved to give more support to parents, and the supply of teachers with the specialist skills needed to teach pupils with severe learning disabilities in special schools will be increased.
Primary schools: no child left behind
More children than ever leave primary school secure in the basics. Every primary school now offers whole-class teaching of English using phonics, and we are introducing specialist teachers to achieve a similar step-change in Maths. But every parent rightly wants far more, so our primary curriculum reforms will create more flexibility for teachers to offer a broad, challenging and engaging education, with opportunities to play sport, and to take part in arts, culture and music, including the chance to learn a musical instrument. As part of these reforms, all primary schools will teach a modern foreign language. We will create a specialist Mandarin teacher training qualification, so that many more primary schools have access to a qualified primary teacher able to teach Mandarin.
Parents will be given a ‘3Rs Guarantee’ that every pupil who falls behind at primary school and early in secondary school will receive special one-to-one or small-group catch-up provision. This will include up to 40,000 six and seven year olds benefiting from extra tuition in English and Maths through ‘Every Child a Reader’ and ‘Every Child Counts’, and 300,000 receiving ten hours of one-to-one tuition in both English and Maths when they are older.
For primary-age children, we are guaranteeing childcare and constructive activities from 8am until 6pm in term-time at their own or a neighbouring school; this entitlement will particularly help busy working parents juggle work and family life. We are extending the provision of free school meals so that an additional half a million primary school children in families on low incomes will benefit from healthy and nutritious food, and we are trialing free school meals for all primary school children in pilot areas across the country. Together, these schemes will thoroughly test the case for universal free school meals, with the results available by autumn 2011.
Secondary schools: excellence for all, personal to each
Our secondary schools have been transformed by great school leaders, teachers and support staff. We will build on these achievements, tailoring education to the aspirations and aptitudes of individual pupils.
All secondary school pupils will have a Personal Tutor of Studies, and we will work with schools to extend one-to-one or small-group tuition to pupils in the run-up to their GCSEs. Such an education should no longer be the preserve of the wealthiest few, but a central part of the curriculum.
More young people will be able to study single science subjects and modern foreign languages. Diplomas will strengthen the status and quality of vocational study and bring together academic and vocational programmes. And the Gifted and Talented programme will be reformed and improved, guaranteeing additional personalised support. We will review the qualifications system in 2013, with any changes taking place in the Parliament after next. Meanwhile, the new independent exam regulator will ensure that standards are being maintained.
Because the learning environment itself matters, we will take forward our Building Schools for the Future programme to rebuild or refurbish secondary schools, giving our children first-rate facilities that support inspirational teaching and access to ICT, sports and the arts.
Zero tolerance of poor behaviour
The vast majority of schools have good or outstanding behaviour. But no child should have their learning disturbed by poor discipline in the classroom. Teachers have strong new powers to ensure order and discipline and we will support their use. Home School Agreements will be strengthened, making clear the responsibilities of families and pupils. Every parent will agree to adhere to the school’s behaviour rules, signing contracts each year facing real consequences if they fail to live up to them, including the option of a court-imposed parenting order. Safer School Partnerships will be extended to every school where the head or parents demand it.
Alternative education for excluded pupils will be transformed. New providers will be encouraged to take over existing Pupil Referral Units, pioneering approaches that bring order and discipline back to young people’s lives. More will be invested in anti-bullying interventions including tackling homophobic bullying.
Cadet forces will move increasingly into state schools and we will expand spare time activities for young people, doubling those available – including sport – on Friday and Saturday nights, with neighbourhood police teams closely involved in areas where youth crime is highest. Teacher training institutions will be asked to provide specialist courses for teachers in promoting pupils’ resilience and responsibility.
All children safe and thriving
Living in a family on a low income, having special educational needs or disabilities, and being in care all remain strongly linked to children failing to achieve. We are determined to narrow the gap between these children and their peers, and to continue to invest in specialist services, including short breaks for disabled children. Learning from the best systems around the world, we will improve foster and residential care. We will expand specialised foster care for the most vulnerable children and the Care2Work programme for all care leavers.
Through Children’s Trusts, children and youth services will work closely with schools and colleges, increasingly co-locating wider children’s services with schools. Early intervention programmes with a proven impact will be promoted. We will continue to reduce teenage pregnancy rates, with compulsory, high-quality Sex and Relationship Education.
Ensuring all children are safe from abuse and harm will remain a top priority. The new Vetting and Barring system will protect children without being unduly burdensome or interfering in private family arrangements. Social work training will be radically overhauled, raising the status and standards of the profession, and we will establish a National College of Social Work. We will publish detailed Serious Case Review summaries that explain the facts, but keep full reports out of the public domain in order to protect children’s identities.
Staying on to get ahead
Staying on rates at age 16 are increasing, thanks in part to our school leavers’ guarantee of a place at sixth form, college, training or an apprenticeship.
But to ensure a new wave of social mobility, we are committed to an historic change: raising the education and training leaving age to 18. All young people will stay on in learning until 18, Education Maintenance Allowances will be retained and there will be an entitlement to an apprenticeship place in 2013 for all suitably qualified 16-18 year olds.
Further education colleges are the backbone of our post-school education system and they are leading the way with new Diplomas, working with schools. We will introduce greater freedom for all colleges to respond to local community needs and free them up from red tape. Students will be given clearer information on the quality of courses on offer, with a ‘traffic-light’ grading system for all courses and colleges. To complement vocational learning for 14-19 year olds in schools
and colleges, we will pioneer University Technical Colleges and new Studio Schools that offer innovative curricula involving practical learning and paid work.
Advanced apprenticeships will be radically expanded, creating up to 70,000 places a year. These provide well-respected routes into high-skilled careers and further study at university and will support our ambition that three-quarters of young people enter higher education or complete an advanced apprenticeship or equivalent technician-level qualification by the time they are 30. New apprenticeship scholarships will enable the best apprentices to go on to higher education.
We will open up opportunity for people from families on low incomes to enter professions like the media and law, expanding paid internships for students. To increase social mobility, careers advice for young people, including for younger children, will be overhauled, ensuring much better information and guidance.
World-class higher education
Higher education is fundamental to our national prosperity. Demand for high-level skills is strong and growing, and the supply of good graduates is an increasingly important factor in global economic competition.
We have eliminated up-front fees paid by parents and students, and ensured that the repayment of loans is related to ability to pay. The higher education participation rate for young people from the most disadvantaged areas has increased every year since 2004.
The review of higher education funding chaired by Lord Browne will report later this year. Our aim is to continue the expansion of higher education, widening access still further, while ensuring that universities and colleges have a secure, long-term funding base that protects world-class standards in teaching and research. Ahead of the review, we have provided universities with funding to recruit an extra 20,000 students this year.
Universities must continue to raise their game in outreach to state schools, widening participation and boosting social mobility. We will guarantee mentoring and support for higher education applications to all low-income pupils with the potential for university study, with extra summer schools and help with UCAS applications; and expand programmes to encourage highly able students from low-income backgrounds to attend Russell Group universities. We support universities that already widen access by taking into account the context of applicants’ achievement at school.
In the coming years, priority in the expansion of student places will be given to Foundation Degrees and part-time study,and to science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees, as well as applied study in key economic growth sectors. The choices and views of students should play an important part in shaping courses and teaching. All universities will be required clearly to set out how they will ensure a high-quality learning experience for students.