Education Policy

What Labour’s victory could mean for education policy

PAG Staff2024, Article, Case Studies, free schools, Government reporting, Policy, Schools, SEND

What Labour's victory could mean for education policy

With the projected Labour victory seemingly all but confirmed after yesterday's General Election, a new government means a shift towards new policies. Below we take a look at the education policy Labour laid out while on the campaign trail; from the controversial plan to tax independent schools to delivering free breakfast clubs for all primary school children, the new education secretary Bridget Phillipson will have a lot on her desk from day one.

Funding and Resources

  1. End VAT and Business Rates Exemption for Private Schools: A flagship promise of their education policy, Labour plans to end tax exemptions for private schools, projected to raise between £1.3 billion to £1.7 billion. These funds will be redirected to state schools, helping to address teacher shortages, improve infrastructure, and provide necessary resources​. (Source; source)
  2. Free Breakfast Clubs: Labour commits to funding free breakfast clubs for all primary school children. This initiative, estimated to cost £315 million, aims to ensure no child starts the school day hungry and to support working parents by providing a safe place for children before school starts​. (Source; source)

Curriculum and Assessment

  1. Comprehensive Curriculum Review: A huge part of Labour's education policy begins with an expert-led review of the curriculum and assessment methods. The goal is to ensure the curriculum is broad, inclusive, and innovative, balancing traditional exams with other assessment forms. This review will particularly focus on making subjects engaging and knowledge-rich, while also promoting creative and vocational subjects until the age of 16​. (Source; source)
  2. National Excellence Programme: This programme will target school improvement, focusing on pupils who leave school without level 3 qualifications. It includes reforms to the Ofsted inspection system, replacing single headline grades with a more detailed report card system that provides a clearer picture of school performance. (Source)
  3. Digital Skills and Lifelong Learning: Labour plans to integrate mandatory digital skills across the curriculum, making digital literacy a core component alongside reading, writing, and maths. This initiative aims to prepare students for the digital economy and ensure they have essential skills for the future job market. (Source)

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Inclusion

  1. Community-wide Approach to SEND: Labour will enhance inclusivity and expertise in mainstream schools for SEND students and ensure special schools are equipped for complex needs. Schools will be required to cooperate with local authorities on admissions and SEND inclusion. (Source; source)
  2. Mental Health Support: Labour proposes providing access to specialist mental health professionals in every school, ensuring early support for young people. This initiative includes funding for mental health hubs in communities to offer comprehensive support services. (Source; source)

Further and Higher Education

  1. Integration of Further and Higher Education: Labour education policy aims to better integrate further and higher education through a new body, Skills England. This organization will coordinate with businesses, training providers, and regional governments to create a highly trained workforce. This approach seeks to streamline education pathways and ensure students can easily transition between different education levels and career training. (Source)
  2. Apprenticeships and Technical Education: The party will reform the apprenticeship levy, making it more flexible and allowing employers to fund a variety of eligible training courses. Labour also plans to establish specialist technical excellence colleges to address skills shortages and improve technical education. (Source)
  3. Work Experience and Careers Advice: Labour guarantees two weeks of work experience for every young person, backed by £85 million from the funds raised by ending private school tax exemptions. This initiative aims to provide practical experience and better career guidance to students, preparing them for the workforce. (Source)

Additional Education Policy

  1. Enhanced Safeguarding: Annual safeguarding checks will be introduced for schools to monitor issues such as absenteeism and off-rolling. These checks will be part of a broader strategy to ensure student welfare and improve school accountability​. (Source)
  2. Uniform and Cost Reduction: Labour will limit the number of branded uniform items schools can require, reducing the financial burden on families. This policy aims to make schooling more affordable and accessible for all students​. (Source)
  3. Cultural and Extracurricular Opportunities: The '10 by 10' pledge will ensure that children have access to ten enriching experiences, such as learning a musical instrument or visiting cultural sites, by the age of ten. This initiative aims to provide a well-rounded education and broaden students' horizons. (Source)