Yesterday a constituency resident brought to my attention that the head of Clacton County High School (CCHS) has sent this letter out to all parents, describing school finances as in a 'dreadful state' after years of Conservative cuts.
It is true that our local schools are struggling under the pressure of Tory cuts, and are set to face even more financial strain under current Conservative budget plans. While pupil numbers have increased and are set to continue increasing, schools are having to let good teachers go as they cannot afford to keep them on, and per-pupil funding is set to be cut by approximately 8%. It is shocking that funding has been cut so much that head teachers in our constituency (and across the country), who usually prefer to remain neutral in party politics, have felt compelled to speak out about the threat being posed against our local schools and our children's education. We must not allow this threat to continue.
The Conservatives are taking from our children's education to fund tax give always for the rich and to fix the mistakes of this government, who have failed to meet every one of their economic targets and have in fact doubled national debt since 2010. Our children deserve a decent education; schools need to be properly funded.
Labour are pledging to fully fund our schools with the introduction of our National Education System and I am fully committed to delivering on this promise.
Labour Party Policy on Schools
Labour’s schools policy will be built on the following four foundations:
1. Investment – we will make sure schools are properly resourced by reversing the Conservatives’ cuts and ensuring that all schools have the resources they need. We will introduce a fairer funding formula that leaves no school worse off, while redressing the historical underfunding of certain schools. Labour will also invest in new school buildings, including the phased removal of asbestos from existing schools.
2. Quality – we will drive up standards across the board, learning from examples of best practice, such as Labour’s London Challenge,to encourage cooperation and strong leadership across schools. We trust in teachers and support staff professionalism to refocus their workload on what happens in the classroom.
3. Accountability – Labour will ensure that all schools are democratically accountable, including appropriate controls to see that they serve the public interest and their local communities. We will require joined-up admissions policies across local schools to enable councils to fulfil their responsibilities on child places, to simplify the admissions process for parents and to ensure that no child slips through the net.
4. Inclusion – Every child is unique, and a Labour-led education system will enable each to find their learning path througha wide choice of courses and qualifications. We will invest in measures to close the attainment gap between children from different backgrounds.
- To give all children the best start in life, we will reduce class sizes to less than 30 for all children aged 7 and under, and seek to extend that as resources allow.
- To aid attainment, we will introduce free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
- We will abandon plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and launch a commission to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs. The world’s most successful education systems use more continuous assessment, which avoids ‘teaching for the test’.
- We will tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis by ending the public-sector pay cap, giving teachers more direct involvement in the curriculum, and tackling rising workloads by reducing monitoring and bureaucracy.
- We will also consult on introducing teacher sabbaticals and placements with industry to encourage interaction between education and industry and introduce broad experiences into the classroom.
- We will reintroduce the Schools Support Staff Negotiating Body and national pay settlements for teachers.
- We will put £150 million back into supporting our children in schools by scrapping the Conservatives’ nonsensical plans for schools to pay the apprenticeship levy.
- We will extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year. And we will deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) based on inclusivity, and embed SEND more substantially into training for teachers and non-teaching staff , so that staff , children and their parents are properly supported.
Labour's plans for a National Education System are the way forward. We must ensure that our children receive the education that they deserve and that our schools are adequately staffed and funded to provide this. I am wholly committed to delivering on this pledge.
Please vote #Tasha4Clacton on June 8th to reverse Tory cuts to education and protect our children's futures.