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National Education Service

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Education makes our economy stronger, our society richer and our people more fulfilled. Whether it is businesses finding people with the right skills, a tech start-up making our economy more dynamic or more people in better paid work and able to contribute to public services, we all benefit from an educated society.

But education isn’t just vital to our economy – it lets people develop their talents, overcomes injustices and inequalities and helps us understand each other and form social bonds.

The Conservatives have starved our education system of funding, transferring costs onto students, staff and communities. They have lost sight of its value.

From cutting budgets of schools, disproportionately in deprived areas, to closing Sure Start centres and underfunding support for those with special educational needs and disabilities, Conservative policy has meant those in most need have lost out.

That’s why our National Education Service will be at the heart of Labour’s plan for real change. It will provide free education for everyone throughout their lives and will nurture every child and adult to find a path that’s right for them, by promoting all types of learning, skill and knowledge – technical, vocational, academic and creative.

Labour will make sure schools are properly resourced with increased long- term funding, while introducing a fairer funding formula that leaves no child worse off. We will invest to upgrade schools that have fallen into disrepair.

Labour’s funding settlement 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. We will also fund more non-contact time for teachers to prepare and plan.

Schools have faced years of budget cuts, leaving headteachers forced to beg parents for money for basic equipment. Despite promising to reverse their own cuts, the Tories latest funding announcement leaves 83% of schools still facing cuts next year.

Schools are being subjected to intensified testing, inspection, league tables and competition. These aren’t improving pupil achievement or narrowing the attainment gap, but are contributing to a growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

The narrowing curriculum is denying many children access to modern languages, arts and music, or technical and engineering skills that will be essential in a world shaped by climate change.

The academies system is over-centralised, inefficient and undemocratic. Parents, communities and even teachers are shut out of decisions about schools and vulnerable children are being let down. And there is no evidence that academies deliver better results.

The Conservatives have failed a generation of children with special educational needs and disabilities, who have endured years of cuts and chaos. Labour will provide the necessary funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Labour will end the ‘high stakes’ testing culture of schools by scrapping Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and baseline assessments, and refocussing assessment on supporting pupil progress.

We will introduce an Arts Pupil Premium to fund arts education for every primary school child. We will review the curriculum to ensure that it enriches students and covers subjects such as black history and continues to teach issues like the Holocaust. Pupils will learn both the science of climate and environmental emergency, and the skills necessary to deal with them.

We will end the fragmentation and marketisation of our school system by bringing free schools and academies back under control of the people who know them best – parents, teachers and local communities.

Under our system:

Budget and day-to-day decisions will be transferred back to schools, overseen by an accountable governing body with elected representatives
Responsibility for delivery of education and support for young people will sit with local authorities, they will manage and have responsibility for school places, including the power to open schools
Oversight and coordination, including of continuous, peer-to-peer school improvement modelled on the London Challenge, will be carried out by regional offices of the
All schools will be subject to a common rulebook, set out in legislation


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