Election 2015 - Policy on Education

Conservatives 

  • Protect England's schools budget - from reception entry at age four or five to the end of GCSEs at 16 - in cash terms although funding per pupil will not keep pace with inflation. 
  • Convert up to 3,500 more schools judged by Ofsted to "require improvement" into academies. State primary schools in England that repeatedly failed to have a proportion of year-six pupil pass times tables and writing tests be forced to become academies, or have sponsorship replaced if already an academy. 
  • Opposed to giving votes to 16 and 17-year-olds for UK-wide general elections and local elections in England.

Labour 

  • Increase the overall education budget in England, including schools, nurseries, Sure Start and provision for 16-to 18-year-olds, by at least the rate of inflation, although per-pupil funding is not specifically protected, meaning some of the increase will be eaten up by rising pupil numbers. 
  • Parents of primary school children would be guaranteed childcare from 8am to 6pm. 
  • The amount of free childcare for three and four year olds would be increased from 15 to 25 hours a week. 
  • Refuse to grant business rate relief to independent schools unless they can show a "meaningful impact" on state schools through a new School Partnership Standard, for example by lending teaching staff or assisting in university admissions procedures. 
  • Committed to extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in elections across the UK. 
  • Double the number of Sure Start childcare places to more than 118,000. 
  • Tighten up the rules on primary school class sizes to ensure they do not have more than 30 pupils.

Lib Dems 

  • Protect the education budget from cuts. 
  • Guarantee qualified teachers and a core curriculum set by independent experts, as well as compulsory sex education, in all state schools including academies and free schools. 
  • More money for disadvantaged school children and free childcare for all two year olds. 
  • A two-thirds discount on all local bus fares for young people aged 16-21. 
  • Supports lowering the voting age to 16 in all UK elections.

SNP 

  • Guaranteed free 30 hours of childcare a week for three and four-year-olds in Scotland, up from 16 hours. 
  • Maintain lack of tuition fees at Scottish universities, and offer financial support in grants and loans to students.
  • Continue to build and refurbish schools. 
  • Lower voting age to 16 in all UK elections.

Plaid Cymru

  • Introduce a compulsory modern foreign language GCSE in secondary schools and the teaching of modern foreign languages in primary schools. 
  • Look at ways to strengthen the teaching of Welsh history and culture. 
  • Look at moving from a per-pupil funding mechanism to a funding model based on the catchment area. 
  • Will not support any further increases in tuition fees for higher education students, and will seek the abolition of tuition fees as and when public finances allow. 
  • Supports lowering the voting age to 16 for elections to the Welsh Assembly and the UK Parliament.

UKIP 

  • More grammar schools. 
  • Scrap sex education for children aged under seven. 
  • Scrap tuition fees for students from poorer backgrounds who take degree courses in the sciences, technology, maths or engineering. 
  • Greater emphasis on vocational education with new Apprenticeship Qualification Option. 
  • School governing boards must be made up of at least 30% parents of children at the school. 
  • Allow universities to charge same amount for EU students as non-EU students.

Greens 

  • End performance related pay for teachers. 
  • Replace Ofsted with an independent National Council for Educational Excellence. 
  • Ensure all teachers are properly qualified, abolish SATS and Year 1 phonics tests. 
  • Raise school starting age to six if parents want it. 
  • Scrap National Curriculum. 
  • Allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in all UK elections. Scrap university tuition fees.

Posted in English on Mar 10, 2015.