Labour pledges to protect education

A Successful Education – Make Every School a Good School

Our schools are facing a cash crisis. Under Tory education proposals per pupil funding to schools in East Durham will be cut by an average of £319. The Tory chaotic education policy is failing to deliver school places where they are need. Millions have been wasted on Free Schools which have gone bust or closed after failing to meet basic educational standards. The Tories introduced then withdrew plans to turn all schools into academies and now they want a return to devise grammar schools.

Universal free school meals in Primary schools at the cost of 700 million pounds to 900 million pounds a year- depending on uptake. We will pay this by a levy VAT on private school fees to raise between 1.3 billion and 1.5 billion pounds a year depending on costing. It’s an absolute disgrace that often due to circumstances out of their control, parents do not have enough money to feed their children.

Labour’s policy will benefit the educational attainment and health of all children while ending a subsidy to the privileged few.

Research confirmed by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown offering universal access to free school meals improves educational attainment through improvements in pupils’ productivity, enabling primary school pupils to advance by around two months on average.

The provision of free school meals also has been proven to improve the health of pupils through better nutrition – with over 90 percent of pupils eating a school lunch consuming food or drink containing vegetables or fruit (including fruit juice) compared with only 58 percent of pupils who eat packed lunches.

A Labour Government will ensure that the children you teach never go hungry.

Re-instating Student Maintenance Grants and Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) at the cost of 1.7 billion and 700 million pounds respectively. Our young people deserve a decent education without financial blocks.

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank suggested the EMA, which was worth £30 a week, helped to boost participation among 16-18 year olds. But it was abolished in England in 2011 as part of the coalition government’s efforts to reduce the deficit and replaced with a much less generous bursary system, following claims it did not represent good value for money.

While the Tories continue to burden our young people with debt, the Labour party is committed to investing in them. It is only by investing in education that we can ensure that all of our young people, whatever their background, are able to succeed in whatever they aspire to do.

When we can help improve the education of over a million young people with a small increase in corporation tax, it is an investment we would be foolish not to make.

Cuts to school budgets need to be stopped. It is an insult to the great work teachers do by slashing their budgets, meaning they struggle to pay for essential equipment and retain staff.

School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. The government’s £3 billion real terms cut to education funding must be reversed or we will see education and care suffer dreadfully.

In Durham alone we will lose just under 25 million in the budget for schools which will cause a average loss of 405 pounds per pupil, losing around 670 teachers. Its an absolute disgrace.

The unfair and divisive funding formula is an attack on our education system. Increasing the headline rate of corporation tax gradually from 19% at present to 26% by 2020-2021. This still will remain the lowest corporation tax in the G7.

This increase in corporation tax will also be used to pay for free life long education. This is absolutely fundamental in improving the current workforce and giving people from working class backgrounds the opportunity to succeed. I completely reject the Tory rhetoric that tuition fees have little to no influence when making the decision to venture into further education. A lifetime saddled with debt, with Tory cuts ensuing there are no jobs, is completely disheartening, and is creating a generation of apathetic voters who see the education system as having failed them. In reality, this was a political decision to undermine working class voters who quite simply cannot face 9 thousand pounds worth of debt per year. This is why Labour will change this.

Labour has always prioritised education. Education is our route to success, providing skills for our children to grasp opportunities and lead successful lives. A Labour Government delivered Building Schools for the Future, which led to our schools being transformed, such as the Academy at Shotton Hall and Easington Academy.

The next Labour Government will build on our past success

Just as Labour established the NHS, it will set up a National Education Service to offer everyone the chance to study for “cradle to grave.”

-All primary school children in England will get free school meals paid for by removing tax breaks for private schools.

-There will be a properly funded system of free childcare which will eventually extended to all two-year-olds and, in some cases, to one-year-olds.

-The cap on teachers’ pay will be lifted and teachers will have more control of the national curriculum.

-Labour will also abolish university tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants for students.

-We will stop Tory education cuts and fund our school to cut class sizes.

Through high quality teaching, smaller class sizes and adequate funding Labour will make every school a good school.