Jane Berney’s response to questions from Head Teachers
What are your priorities with regard to the allocation of funding to all schools and each pupil?
Labour will not waste money on inefficient free schools and the Conservatives’ grammar school vanity projects. Instead we will reverse the cuts in real terms made by the current Conservative government and the Conservative – led coalition that proceeded it. We will introduce a fairer funding formula that will not leave a school worse off and we will also redress the historic underfunding of certain schools.
How will you ensure that school budgets are protected in real terms for the duration of the next parliament? Please avoid telling me that more is being spent on schools; we have more children of school age than ever and costs are rising.
By introducing a fairer funding formula, we can ensure school budgets are protected in real terms. We will also put £150 million back into schools by reversing the Conservatives’ plan to impose the apprenticeship levy on school.
Some schools are looking to create classes of 60-100 children in the school hall because they cannot afford enough teachers. What are you going to do to prevent that?
Labour has pledged to reduce class sizes to under 30 for pupils aged five, six and seven. We also aim to do this for older children as resources allow. This will be achieved by reversing the cuts imposed by the Conservatives.
Our children should be provided with a broad curriculum, great support and enriching activities. How will you ensure that my child has the educational experience they deserve?
Labour believes that every child is unique and a Labour-led education system will enable each child to find their own learning path through a wide choice of courses and qualifications. As part of this we will also stop ‘teaching to the test’ and ensure that teachers and school leaders have the training, the support and resources they need.
Labour believes that investment in schools and education is vital for the future prosperity of our country. My children have benefited from an excellent state education, that has met their needs and instilled in them a love of learning and equipped them with the skills to participate fully in the world of work. Their school, like so many others, is facing funding cuts which can only mean future generations will not receive the same benefits. I think this represents a gross a dereliction of duty on the part of the current government and should be condemned as such.
We will also scrap Tuition Fee’s from September, stopping our young people from being saddled with debt for choosing to enhance their education and social worth that we all benefit from in the long run.
How will you ensure education for children with Special Educational Needs is adequately resourced? A large funding gap in this area is detracting much needed funds from all schools.
Labour’s policy on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is based on inclusion. This focus on inclusion will be further embedded into teacher training so that all school staff, children and their parents are properly supported.