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General election 2017: NAHT summarises the three parties' manifestos


 This week has seen the three main political parties publish their manifestos and we’ve been able to assess how far each is prepared to address what we see as the key issues in education.

See below for our summaries on the following issues: 





Liberal Democrats



Public sector pay

• Labour will tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis by ending the public-sector pay cap.

The Lib Dems will end the 1 per cent cap on teachers’ pay rises.




Labour will reverse the Conservatives’ cuts to school budgets and introduce a fairer funding formula.

Conservative plans for schools to pay the apprenticeship levy will be scrapped, with £150m put back into supporting children in schools instead.



The party will invest nearly £7bn extra in children’s education – increasing school budgets and the Pupil Premium to protect against rising costs and pupil numbers, and introducing a fairer national funding formula.

The Lib Dems will reverse all cuts to front-line schools and college budgets, protecting per-pupil funding in real terms.

•The party will increase Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 per pupil per year.

Education budgets would be protected in real terms by a Lib Dem government.

A goal of thirty hours' free childcare a week for all parents in England with children aged between two and four, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave to two years.


It will introduce new funding arrangements to open a specialist maths school in every major city in England.

The Conservatives will continue to make funding fairer over the course of the next parliament but ensure that no school has its budget cut as a result of the new formula.

The party will increase the schools budget by £4bn by 2022.

The Conservatives will continue to protect the Pupil Premium.

A future Conservative Government will introduce thirty hours of free childcare for three and four-year olds for working parents.

The Conservatives will “immediately” introduce a capital fund to help primary schools develop nurseries where they currently do not have the facilities to provide one.

Curriculum & Assessment 

• Labour will abandon plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and launch a commission to look into curriculum and assessment.

•.The party will review the EBacc performance measure.

The party will invest in measures to close the attainment gap between children from different backgrounds.


The Lib Dems will prioritise primary progress measures, while reforming tests at age 11.

Arts and creative subjects would be protected in the school curriculum under a Lib Dem government.

A manifesto commitment to improving the quality of vocational education, skills for entrepreneurs and self-employment.


  The party commits to strengthening the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years.

The Conservatives will build on the success of the phonics screening test.

The party will expect every 11 year old to know their times tables off by heart.

The Conservatives pledge to improve schools’ accountability at key stage 3.

The party will expect 75 per cent of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSES by the end of the next parliament, with 90 per cent studying this combination by 2025.

The party will create a curriculum fund.


Recruitment & Retention                

The party will transition to a qualified, graduate-led workforce for early years by increasing staff wages and enhancing training opportunities.

The party will tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis by giving teachers more direct involvement in the curriculum and tackling rising workloads by reducing monitoring and bureaucracy.





The Lib Dems will ensure that by 2022 at least one person in every formal early years setting will hold an early years teacher qualification.

The Lib Dems will guarantee that all teachers in state-funded schools be fully qualified or working towards a qualified teacher status from January 2019.

Introduce a clear and properly funded entitlement for professional development for all teachers, reaching 25 hours per year by 2020 and 50 hours by 2025.


The party will continue to provide bursaries for prospective teachers.

The party will offer teachers forgiveness on student loan repayments while they are teaching and bring in dedicated support.

The party will create a single jobs portal for schools to advertise teaching vacancies.

The Conservatives pledge to provide greater support for teachers in the preparation of lessons and marking.


Pupil support and wellbeing

 Labour will invest in new school buildings, including the phased removal of asbestos from existing schools.

Free school meals for all primary school children will be introduced, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.

School-based counselling will be extended to all schools at a cost of £90m per year.

The party will deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities

Labour will make age-appropriate sex and relationship education a compulsory part of the curriculum.

A future Labour Government will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the bullying of LGBT young people and how to address them.



  The Lib Dems will prioritise early identification and support for special educational needs and disabilities.

The Lib Dems curriculum entitlement will include Personal, Social and Health Education which will include financial literacy, first aid, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Sex and Relationship Education.

·The party commits to SRE teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships and issues surrounding explicit images and content.

· The party will ensure all teaching staff have mental health training and schools provide immediate access to pupil support and counselling.

Wellbeing to become a statutory duty for schools as part of Ofsted inspection framework under a Lib Dem government.

Free school meals will be extended to all children in primary education and promote breakfast clubs.
The party will offer a free school breakfast to every child in every year of primary school in England and only children from low-income families will continue to receive free school lunches.

Through the new comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education in all primary and secondary schools, the party will ensure that children learn about the risks of the internet, including cyberbullying and online grooming.

The party will introduce mental health first aid training for teachers in every primary and secondary school by the end of the parliament and ensure that every school has a single point of contact with mental health services

Structures & Accountability
Labour will create a “unified” National Education Services (NES) for England, to incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to adult education.

Labour will ensure that all schools are democratically accountable, including appropriate controls to see that they serve the public interest and their local communities.

Labour will require joined-up admissions policies across local schools to enable councils to fulfil their responsibilities on child places.

Labour will reduce class sizes to less than 30 for all five, six and seven-year-olds.

The party opposes grammar schools and free schools.

The Lib Dems will oppose any new selective schools and give local authorities proper democratic control over admissions and new schools.

Reform Ofsted inspections to focus on longer-term outcomes.

The party will repeal the rule which makes all new state-funded schools free schools or academies and make local authorities accountable for local school places planning.

Planned expansions of grammar schools will be scrapped by the Lib Dems and money for new school places will be devolved to local authorities.

The manifesto commits to allowing Ofsted to inspect both local authorities and academy chains.
The Conservatives will continue with the free school programme, building at least a hundred new free schools a year.

The party will prohibit councils from creating any places in schools which have been rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.
· The party will replace inclusivity rules which prevent the creation of new Roman Catholic schools.

The Conservatives will require new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths or none would send their children to the school.

The manifesto commits the party to working with the Independent Schools Council to ensure at least 100 independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools.

The Conservatives will lift the ban on the establishment of selective schools, subject to conditions.

The party will conduct a review of the school admissions policy.

The manifesto pledges that the party will never introduce a mandatory lottery-based school admissions policy.



Page Published: 19/05/2017

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