As the General Election draws closer the parties are ramping up their activity, with both Lib Dem and Labour manifestos released this week.
The Labour Party’s manifesto promises a 5% pay rise for teachers, alongside an extra £6 billion of funding to be made available to schools next academic year, with increases of £2.3bn and £2.2bn in the following two years, resulting in a total spend of £10.5bn in 2022/23. The party has pledged that this will “ensure pupils are taught by a qualified teacher, that every school is open for a full five days a week, and maximum class sizes of 30 for all primary school children”.
Meanwhile the Lib Dem manifesto pledges to boost teacher numbers by 20,000 and match the £30,000 starting salary pledge from the Conservative Party. They have also pledged extra funding starting with an ‘emergency cash injection’ of £4.6bn next year, rising to a total spend of £10.6bn by 2024/25. They have also pledged to halve school contributions towards provision for students with Education, Health and Care Plans.
TES has also looked at voting intentions of teachers in an online poll, which found that almost half of respondents plan to vote Labour, while the share of those intending to vote Conservative dropped from those who had done so in 2017, leaving the Conservative in third place amongst teachers.
Despite Labour’s previous pledges to abolish private schools, 30% of respondents from independent schools intend to vote Labour, just behind the Lib Dems at 32%. The poll further showed that most of the respondents from independent schools felt that Labour had the best policies on education, though it seemed Brexit took priority as the biggest factor influencing their vote, which was the case amongst all respondents.
From the pledges and manifestos released so far, it seems all parties are continuing to take a broad and national view of education policy, failing to recognise the particular contexts of different geographical areas. That is why Schools North East will be launching a ‘Manifesto for North East Education’, asks from our region’s Head Teachers to take our region’s specific circumstances into account when forming education policy.
Please keep an eye out for more information on the Manifesto coming soon.