Education has remained in the shadows of the election debates

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06 May 2015 by Mary Bousted
Education policy has not been a prominent feature of the election campaign.  Political parties have vied for the mantle of NHS saviour and it is health, not education, which has taken pole position in the debates about public service provision.

It is a great shame that education has remained in the shadows of the election debates, because there are real issues which should be aired, and very different policy directions to be followed, depending on the outcome of the election.

Given the 500 (or so…) word limit I have set myself for these blogs, I can do no more than summarize the positions taken on key educational issues by the three main political parties.

The curriculum: Labour would, within 100 days, pass a joint DfE/BIS bill to transform vocational education with a new gold standard technical baccalaureate for 16 – 19 year olds.  The Conservatives would make the EBacc compulsory and mandate every child to learn core knowledge in English, maths and science.  The Lib Dems would establish an independent education standards body, removed from ministerial interference, responsible for the curriculum and exam standards, and would introduce a minimum curriculum entitlement.

School structures: Labour would end the free schools programme and claw back excessive academy reserves. The Conservatives would open another 500 free schools and would force all schools rated ‘satisfactory’ by Ofsted to join an academy chain.

Teacher career paths: Both Labour and the Lib Dems would require all teachers in state funded schools to have, or be working towards, QTS.  All three parties support a College of Teaching but with different emphasis for its functions.

Pay and reward: The Lib Dems have pledged to end the pay freeze for teachers and other public sector workers.  Neither the Conservatives nor Labour have committed to this.

School Accountability: Labour would reform Ofsted, introducing a peer review model of school accountability.  Both Labour and the Lib Dems would allow Ofsted to inspect academy chains and both parties would introduce stronger, local accountability and school improvement functions.

Teacher recruitment: Labour is committed to a review of teacher training. And UKIP would establish a grammar school in every town…

So much for what has been promised in the party manifestos.  What I am interested in, however, is those educational issues which are not talked about by any of the parties, but which, in my view, are going to be major challenges in the next parliament.

Qualification reform: Apart from Labour’s commitment to re-coupling AS and A level, no party is talking about the mess that has been made in the frantic rush to reform GCSE and A levels.  There are two major concerns.  One is the haphazard and, frankly, inept way in which Ofqual has overseen the tsunami of qualification reform which has engulfed schools.  (School leaders complain, in particular, of very late information on the revised syllabuses).  A longer term problem will be the lowering effect of timed, linear exams on pupil attainment.  Politicians will not be thanked by parents for introducing qualifications which lead to widespread failure.

School funding crisis: The rush to acadamisation, and the financial rewards accrued particularly by early convertors has left many school leaders in stand-alone convertor academies unprepared for tough economic times. It will not be too long before an academy, in danger of going bust, has to be bailed out by the Education Funding Agency. Restructuring (a euphemism for redundancies) will become the new normal in many schools – with all the negative consequences that entails for industrial relations both within schools, and nationally.

Tagged with: 
Election 2015


I know that this isn't strictly education related but as one of a group of women disillusioned by the election results , and as a retired teacher...please read/ consider these comments we made on facebook tonight.
Daphne Clemmitt
1 hr · Leeds ·
I reckon that the best we can do is...join those unions and make a difference :>>
Like · Comment ·
Tim Dunk, Penny Webb, Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard and 2 others like this.

Annette Walker I WISH...NEED THE JOB FIRST.... about time the jigsaw pieces for single parents with no support network fitted!!! even the job centre admit its near impossable finding work mon-fri no weekends when no childcare is availiable!! at 9 t cant be left alone but im sanctioned for not taking a job that means working till 1am!!!!
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 43 mins · Edited

Daphne Clemmitt Know exactly where you're coming from. It stinks x
Like · Reply · 43 mins

Annette Walker it does...I NEED to work....self worth and confidence is being sapped.....but its a 24/7 world that with a kid does not work!!.....hence my anger irritable status today...I WANT TO WORK!!! GRRRRRR
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 40 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard It's as if they don't want single parents to work. I don't suppose part time work would benefit you Annette? When mine were little I went back to college and ended up doing some voluntary classroom work and eventually got a job there. Sometimes just getting out of the house and into a world away from home life can make you feel better.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 37 mins

Annette Walker i do vol work for dove house hospice, collage..i got a place but the collage bit is evening and no one for theon, placement is no prob...ta course.
Like · Reply · 34 mins

Annette Walker im after pt work 16 plus hours but nothing around thats not weekends as well. i just have no care for family
Like · Reply · 32 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard That's a pain then? I had no family to look after mine either, but was lucky enough to get a course during the day. I hope something turns up for you soon x
Like · Reply · 31 mins

Maryann Williamson Someone should open a child care facility for people that don't have support, a kind of 24 hr thing we're the kids could stay overnight that sort of thing. .... know exactly were your coming from my youngest 24 and had the same problem .....A became a taxi driver but a did have support from my sis and niece's and it was still difficult so can sympathise with you x
Like · Reply · 1 · 30 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Daphne I'm seriously thinking of rejoining the Union.. have been for a while. x
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 30 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Maryann.. I never knew you were a taxi driver... I hope you didn't have bald tyres hahah xx
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 28 mins

Maryann Williamson Ouch am never going to live that doon. Aye 12 yrs a still don't know ma way round Glasgow lmao xx
Unlike · Reply · 3 · 25 mins

Annette Walker my BF is a taxi driver, i have considered it but day time is hard to make york its weekend evenings that pays the bills
Like · Reply · 24 mins

Daphne Clemmitt IT's the only way forward for workers. My union was a non-striking one...but we made our presence felt and we DID strike and march when we could do no more. We MUST make our voices heard...without working people those 'on top' would collapse. Cogs and wheels !!
Like · Reply · 1 · 24 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Pmsl @ Maryann you know we love you xx
Like · Reply · 1 · 21 mins

Daphne Clemmitt @ Annette. My wish is that people ( male or female) who choose to stay home to raise their children, should be valued and respected by society for the vital role they play.
Like · Reply · 3 · 20 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Absolutely Daphne! I've been in a few strikes and my union helped me out a few times in the past. I know the fees aren't much but on my limited budget I have to count every penny at the moment x
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 19 mins

Annette Walker ...sadly im not it qualified in experiance so dont get a look in even if i have done the a cook/retail and thats all 24/7 and sod all training around! i got a place at collage for an access course to go on to uni to do OT....but no funding...See More
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 19 mins

Maryann Williamson Defo daphne ...people let them take power away from them ....We the people need to give it in a union at work and to tell you the truth there pritty hopeless x
Like · Reply · 18 mins

Daphne Clemmitt It shouldn't have to come to that, Kaz :< That's why I continue to fork out union fees as a retired teacher xx
Like · Reply · 1 · 18 mins

Daphne Clemmitt @Annette. So sorry, hun. I was lucky enough to sneak in whilst training was free for oldies. I'll keep fighting our corner..cos us ladies deserve it xxxx
Like · Reply · 16 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Yeh I know what you mean Daphne.. that was a poor excuse now I read it back. I need to look into it, but like Maryann says, sometimes they can be hopeless too.
Like · Reply · 15 mins

Daphne Clemmitt are right, Kaz. Only join a union that you feel will represent your feelings. Maybe advice from others?? I'll keep fighting for us all best I can xxxxx
Like · Reply · 2 · 12 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Annette I know what you mean.. I did an Access course, but never made it to Uni, just couldn't afford it. I have lots of office qualifications and initial teacher training and started Assessor training when it was piloted but never completed it basica...See More
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 11 mins

Maryann Williamson All education should be free to British residents end of story xx
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 11 mins

Maryann Williamson A need to get to bed ladies sorry xx
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 9 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Totally agree hun! Plus.. I want to move to Scotland.. I can see that wall being built up higher now! lol xx
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 9 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Night night ..sleep tight xx
Like · Reply · 1 · 9 mins

Maryann Williamson I'll always have a wee hole in the wall ya can sneak in
Like · Reply · 1 · 8 mins

Daphne Clemmitt OMG. This is awful. I was so lucky to train on a grant from EU...I hadn't realised. How dare they overlook us all. Children + no income does NOT = stupid and low paid. I've been saying this for so many years. Clearly even voting labour does no good. What shall we do, ladies????
Like · Reply · 2 · 7 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Thanks hun heheh xx
Like · Reply · 7 mins

Maryann Williamson Make them hear us daphne make them change it xx
Like · Reply · 1 · 6 mins

Daphne Clemmitt One little voice :<......but if I don't use it, I've wasted it. Will do my best xxx
Like · Reply · 2 · 4 mins

Maryann Williamson Write to night nicola sturgeon daphne xx
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 3 mins

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Failing that.. chain yourself to the ralings! xx
Like · Reply · 3 mins

Maryann Williamson But we are all one wee voice but together we are A MEGAPHONE BOOM BOOM xx
Unlike · Reply · 3 · 2 mins

Annette Walker I CAN SHOUT!!!
Unlike · Reply · 3 · 1 min

Maryann Williamson Right need to get to bed speak soon lassies xx
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 1 min

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Lol..night night hun xx
Like · Reply · 1 · Just now

Annette Walker NIGHT XXX
Like · Reply · Just now

Annette Walker oppps didnt meant to shout then!!
Like · Reply · Just now

Daphne Clemmitt Shouting's only any good if someone hears/listens. Let's use this anger to make something happen. Letters to MP's/ union leaders/anyone. Night, lovely ladies xx
Like · Reply · 3 · Just now

Maryann Williamson Lol xx
Like · Reply · Just now

Karen Kaz Goddard Punchard Good night lovely union lass xx
Like · Reply · Just now
Daphne Clemmitt

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