All children should receive a high standard of education that sets them up for the future. Today, however, too many children are falling behind and the path from education into a good career is far less certain than it used to be.
The Tories’ plan for education is failing young people by letting standards slip, from scrapping the requirement that teachers must be qualified and causing class sizes to rise, to allowing under-performance in many schools to go unchallenged. In Stockton, approximately 1,100 children are being taught by unqualified teachers and the number of infants being taught in classes of over 30 pupils has risen by 169% since January 2010.
Rather than focusing on what really matters - the quality of teaching and learning in all of England’s classrooms - the Tory-led Government have focused only on a small number of Free Schools and academies.
Vocational education has been neglected, wasting the talent and limiting the life chances of young people.
University tuition fees have trebled meaning the average student will now graduate with £44,000 of debt.
A Labour government will invest in and reform education so that all our children have the best possible start, all benefit from good schools and colleges wherever they live and standards are raised through high-quality teaching. We will give all young people the opportunity to excel through gold-standard vocational education and more quality apprenticeships.
Here’s how we will improve education for all children and young people.
We will give every child a good start
- We will protect the entire education budget so that it rises in line with inflation, from the early years through to post-16 education and skills.
- We will restore the role of Sure Start centres as hubs for family services, requiring centres to offer childcare so we deliver up to 50,000 extra Sure Start childcare places and give every child a good start.
- We will cap class sizes for five, six and seven year-olds. We will end the flawed Free Schools programme and use the money to cap infant class sizes at 30 pupils or fewer. Free Schools that have been approved will continue under a Labour Government.
We will raise standards in schools and colleges and increase opportunities for young people
- We will raise teaching standards by requiring every teacher to become qualified and continue to update their skills and knowledge, introducing a new Master Teacher status and supporting plans for a College of Teaching.
- We will turn around underperforming schools by introducing new Directors of School Standards in every area to monitor the performance of local schools and support them to improve. Directors will have clear objectives and a new Standards Challenge, agreed when they are appointed, which will set a tough target to raise performance in schools in every area.
- We will make maths and English compulsory to 18 to improve the core skills young people need for future employment and study.
- We will guarantee all young people face-to-face careers advice, with personalised, independent guidance on the different routes available to them.
- We will cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 for all undergraduates from September 2016, reducing the burden of debt on students and the country. We will also provide additional grants for students from lower-income backgrounds, benefitting half of all students.
We will make sure there are options for young people who don’t want to pursue the traditional academic route
- We will create a Technical Baccalaureate in schools and colleges: a gold-standard vocational award for 16- to 18-year-olds that will combine a Level 3 qualification accredited by employers with a quality work placement.
- We will create new Institutes of Technical Education to deliver the Technical Baccalaureate and the high-level skills needed by industry. This status will be awarded to high-performing Further Education colleges with strong links to employers.
- We will guarantee an apprenticeship to every school-leaver who gets the grades so that young people who don’t go to university can get the skills they need to get on. We will do this through a plan to make it the norm for employers in the public and private sector to offer apprenticeships, including a requirement for any firm that gets a large government contract to offer apprenticeships.
- We will make new Technical Degrees the priority for expansion at university, so that young people can specialise to degree level in vocational skills, with opportunities to work and get paid in a good job while training for their chosen career.
Read Labour's Better Plan for Education in full here.
Louise will support and champion all schools in Stockton South, to ensure our young people get the best possible education. She has visited several of our local schools including her old school Conyers on two occasions, Egglescliffe and Thornaby Academy. She has recently reiterated her support for the rebuilding of Eggy to replace the dated infrastructure with modern buildings, following the Government’s refusal to pay for a new building.
Louise has also attended a public consultation in Ingleby Barwick over secondary school places after the issue was raised with her by residents on the doorstep. Having listened very closely to residents’ views at the public meeting and on the doorstep she has made it clear to the council that no changes to catchment zones should be considered until borough-wide school boundary reviews take place.
Image: Louise at Conyers in 1979
Image: Louise and shadow chancellor Ed Balls with Conyers Sixth Form mock election candidates in 2015