Nurseries, schools, apprenticeships, colleges and universities; all of which will be affected by the party that is elected on the 8th of June. Education continues to play a prominent role during this campaign period, with each of the main political parties setting out how they plan to address some of the more pressing challenges, including education funding, improving standards and access to high quality educational provision, and supporting young people’s mental health. We’ve looked at each party’s manifesto and taken the time to analyse each of their plans for the UK’s education system.
The Conservative Party
The Conservatives have made the most modest pledges on education in comparison to the other parties. They state that they are determined to tackle the longstanding educational divisions in the UK and support ordinary working families. They plan on doing this by offering better schools, a knowledge-rich curriculum, support to teachers, fairer funding, technical educations and more career training. Their manifesto breaks down each of these categories. Here are their biggest pledges:
- No school will have its budget cut as a result of the new funding formula.
- Introduce T-Levels – across fifteen routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science.
- The Conservatives appear to be offering the smallest change to school budget plans, increasing funding by £4bn by 2021-2022.
- The Conservatives have changed their policy of preserving universal free meals for infants, and plan to scrap the scheme (saving £650m), whilst introducing free breakfasts for all primary school pupils (they estimated this would cost £60m per year).
- The Conservatives are clear that they would lift the existing legal prohibition on new grammar schools.
The Labour Party
Labour have by far made the largest additional spending pledge on education – £25.3bn more per year than current government plans by 2021- 22. Labour plan to create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use. The NES will be based upon the principle that education matters for everyone, whether that be adult or child. The Labour party’s policies can be broken down into each stage of the education process, from early years to higher education. We have analysed each stage and pulled the key pledges:
- Expand early years education and childcare to 30 hours a week for 3 and 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds in Scotland.
- Will not follow the Tories’ market-driven education reforms in Scotland.
- There will be no selective grammar schools in Scotland.
- Continue to guarantee no tuition fees for university education. Jeremy Corbyn has stated that if Labour is elected they could abolish tuition fees as early as Autumn 2017.
- Labour appears to be promising the biggest boost to school budgets – with a commitment of an extra £6.3bn, by 2021-22, over existing plans.
- Labour plan to extend free meals to all children in primary schools.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have placed education at the heart of their agenda, promising to offer every child a great start in life so they are equipped to shape their own future, and are determined to make sure that the education system finds and unleashes the best in everyone. They plan on doing this by introducing a pupil premium, investing in children who might otherwise fall behind. The Liberal Democrats key pledges for the next parliament are:
- Spend £7bn extra on education, increasing school budgets and the Pupil Premium.
- Investing in high-quality early years education, tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000.
- Oppose grammar schools.
- End the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises.
- Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students.
- The Liberal Democrats plan to cancel planned reductions in per pupil funding, protecting it in real terms, including the pupil premium, but not to reverse cuts that have already taken place.
The Scottish National Party
The SNP promise to provide a smarter Scotland; not only for young people but for adults that wish to learn also. They promise to invest in good education for Scotland, and give young people the best possible start in life.
- Expand early years education and childcare to 30 hours a week for 3 and 4 year olds and vulnerable 2 year olds in Scotland
- Will not follow the Tories’ market-driven education reforms in Scotland
- There will be no selective grammar schools in Scotland
- Continue to guarantee no tuition fees for university education
- Increase the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 each year by 2020.
The UK stance on education will impact directly on the preparedness of our future generations. Whilst many parts of each manifesto focus on research and development spend on key sectors, parliament must remain aware that the true path to innovation begins in our education systems. Each of the party manifestos is available online from their respective websites, should you wish to carry out further research. Here at AGL Wealth, we practice a culture of accountability and due diligence- especially in the face of uncertainty. Should you feel that you would like to talk to an expert with regards to your portfolio in light of the current political climate, do not hesitate to get in touch.