On 10th May 2017 Labour announced its plans for a new National Education Service to offer adult education that will be free at the point of use. This will have the same “transformative” impact on education as the NHS did for healthcare.
Julian Ware-Lane, Labour’s candidate for Southend West, welcomes this plan: “all too often children and adults are held back through lack of access to education, and our country needs to develop a better skilled workforce in order to make our economy more productive.
“Labour will increase funding for schools in real terms and introduce free, lifelong education at further education colleges so that everyone can upskill or retrain at any point in their lives.”
Labour’s other key pledges are:
· Reduce class sizes to under 30 for all five, six and seven year olds
· Introduce free school meals for all primary school children
· Restore education maintenance allowance for college students
· Restore student grants for university students
· Drive up the quality of apprenticeships and set a target for doubling the number of completed Level 3 apprenticeships before the end of the Parliament
· Invest in the FE sector to become a world-leading provider of adult and vocational education.
The cost of this policy has been estimated at £5.6bn by the end of the parliament and will be funded from the £19.4 billion that will be raised by reversing the Conservative Party’s cuts to corporation tax. Labour previously announced that extending free school meals to all primary age children will be funded by levying VAT on private school fees.
Julian also denounced the Tory’s track record on Education: “after seven years of Tory education policies we appear to be moving backwards. We are seeing class sizes increasing, while at the same time there is a chronic shortage of well-qualified teachers. The future looks grim with schools facing massive cuts to their budgets. Parents should be worried that their children’s education is under threat.”
“All our children deserve an equal opportunity to receive the best education available. Parents are ambitious for their children and they now have a distinct choice between Tory cuts and a return to selective education, or Labour’s bold new plan for a National Education Service which will deliver opportunities for the many, not the few.”