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Labour pledges to tackle Stockton's overcrowded classrooms and protect education funding

This week Ed Miliband set out Labour’s plan for education with a pledge to end over-crowded primary school classes in Stockton and to protect the education budget.

Analysis from the Labour Party shows that the number of infants being taught in classes of over 30 pupils has risen by 169% in Stockton-on-Tees since January 2010.

The Conservative Government has scrapped Labour’s policy to cap infant class sizes at 30 pupils. The proportion of class sizes bigger than this has trebled. On these trends if the Tories win a second term, the number of classes over 30 is on course to grow to 11,000 - a number close to the deeply damaging levels we inherited in 1997.

Welcoming the announcement, Louise said:

“For the last five years the Tories have taken their eye off the ball. Class sizes here in the Stockton borough have soared. I have spoken to lots of Head Teachers who are desperate for more space and staff.

“I welcome Ed Miliband’s announcement. Children are our most precious resource and deserve the best when it comes to their education. Labour will ensure that they get it.”

Labour has also committed to protecting the overall education budget and ensuring it rises with inflation. This is because we understand the value of the early years and post-16 education. Our spending review will also identify savings in the schools budget and wider education department so that additional money reaches the frontline. Meanwhile Tory plans mean a real terms cut in the schools budget.

Labour’s plan for education will equip young people in Stockton South with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed with excellence in the adult world.

Education today for the economy of tomorrow.

 

The next Labour government will:

  • Protect the education budget and invest in the next generation
  • Cap class sizes at 30 pupils for 5, 6 and 7 year olds.
  • Create the required places in high need areas and oversubscribed schools by ending the Tory practice of create new Free Schools in areas that do not need them.

Drive up standards in Stockton’s schools by:

  • Ensuring all schools are locally accountable to new Directors of School Standards responsible for intervening in underperforming schools.
  • Granting every parent body the power to call in Directors of Standards when concerned about failing standards.
  • Giving every head teacher the key freedoms currently given to academy heads.
  • Ensuring every area has a new Standards Challenge setting a tough target to raise performance in every school. These are modelled on the last government’s successful London Challenge programme which dramatically improved attainment in the capital.

Ensure all children in state schools are taught by high-quality qualified teachers by:

  • Ensuring all teachers become qualified, creating a new Master Teacher status and establishing a College of Teaching to help ensure all teachers continue to build their skills and knowledge
  • Issue a ‘call to arms’ to bring the best of the 200,000 qualified teachers who have left the profession back into state schools to help to raise standards across the country. And address the looming teacher shortage.

Raise the status and quality of vocational education and skills in our schools and colleges by:

  • Introducing a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-18 year olds which includes an employer accredited vocational qualification.
  • Ensuring all young people study English and Maths to 18.
  • Raising the quality of apprenticeships so they all last a minimum of two years and are at least a level three standard (A level standard).
  • Bringing in new Technical Degrees as a next step for young people who excel in our new vocational route through school and college.
  • Backing new Institutes of Technical Education linked to local industry and charged with delivering our Tech Bacc and apprenticeships.

Give our children the creativity, character and resilience they need to succeed in the 21st Century by:

  • Bringing in compulsory work experience for all young people between 14-16.
  • Introducing compulsory age appropriate sex and relationship education in schools.
  • Guaranteeing two hours of organised sport a week.
  • Widening the franchise to voters at 16 and redesigning the curriculum for citizenship education 

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