Labour today launched its education manifesto.
Today’s emphasis was on careers’ advice and the pathway to work plan. But this is only part of a joined up programme to provide the best for our children and young people from nursery through to work.
The key points of Labour’s plan are
1) To protect the entire education budget
We must invest in education if all young people are to have the chance to succeed. We’ll ensure the whole budget – including early years, schools and post-16 education and skills – is protected.
2) To restore the role of Sure Start
There are now 763 fewer Sure Start centres than when David Cameron took office. We’ll put Sure Start Centres back at the centre of communities and obliged them to provide childcare.
3) To deliver smaller class sizes
The Tories have spent millions on their wasteful Free Schools programme. We’ll put that money to better use to deliver smaller class sizes for five, six and seven-year olds to give children the best start.
4) To tackle failing schools
The standard of education a child gets still depends on where they live. We’ll change that. We’ll create new Directors of School Standards to support local schools to improve and respond to the concerns of parents.
5) To make sure our children are taught by qualified teachers
David Cameron scrapped the requirement for teachers to be qualified. That can’t be right. We’ll require all teachers to get qualified and build their skills throughout their careers.
6) To build a gold-standard vocational route through education
For decades, governments have ignored the 50 per cent of young people not going to university. We’ll change that with a gold-standard Technical Baccalaureate and an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.
7) To guarantee all young people face-to-face careers advice Young people who haven’t got the connections or the guidance to make the right choices are missing out. We’ll guarantee all young people face-to-face careers advice and support young people from school to work.
These last two were the focus of today’s announcements.
Central to their success is the reform and revitalisation of careers advice, which is currently said by the Confederation of British Industry to be on ‘life support’ after years of neglect and reductions in support under David Cameron and the Tories. Four out of five schools are now offering inadequate careers advice, often just pointing pupils towards online information.
Under Labour’s pathway to work plan:
· All secondary school and college pupils will get guaranteed face-to-face advice from trained careers advisers, beginning at the age of 11.
· Integrated advice will ensure teenagers learn about high quality apprenticeships and technical degrees as well as traditional academic routes into universities. Schools will be held to account for the programmes they offer.
· Labour will reverse the Tory-led government’s decision to scrap compulsory work experience for 14 to 16-year-olds.
The new proposals, to cost approximately £50 million and to be funded and supported through a partnership between universities, schools, colleges, and employers, form a key plank of Labour’s education manifesto.
These proposals build on Labour’s plans for a gold-standard vocational route through education and into the workplace with a Technical Baccalaureate, compulsory English and Maths to 18 and an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.
Labour’s better plan will protect the entire education budget in real terms, including early years, schools, post-16 education and skills funding.
– In contrast, the Tories have a plan for reckless and extreme cuts and more of the same failed policies which will put our children’s education at risk.
Labour’s plan will also:
· restore the role of Sure Start as family hubs in communities
· deliver smaller class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds, paid for by ending the wasteful Free Schools programme.
· tackle underachievement with new Directors of School Standards to support local schools
· ensure all teachers become qualified and introduce new Master Teachers who are subject experts and specialists in classroom discipline
· guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.
Ed Miliband said:
“The biggest challenge Britain faces is preparing our young people today for the economy of tomorrow.
“Labour believes a world-class education is not a luxury, but a necessity.
“Young people must be equipped with the right skills, the right knowledge and the right advice they need to succeed.
“Failure to do this will not only cheat our young people of a decent future, it will cheat our country too.
“But that is what the Tories offer; a recipe for national decline. A backward-looking, narrow and centralising plan obsessed with structures.
“Labour has a better plan; equipping all our children with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed with excellence from the first steps a child takes to the day they prepare to stride into the adult world; a broad curriculum offering the best in both vocational and academic skills; a focus on the highest standards in every classroom; a pathway into work.”
Tristram Hunt, Shadow Education Secretary, said:
” Too many young people are having opportunities closed off to them – whether that be accessing our leading universities or high quality apprenticeships.
“If you are a young person, whether you want to pursue gold standard vocational education or a high class academic pathway into work, Labour will make sure that you have the face-to-face guidance early on, so that doors are not closed off to you. Only Labour will give this support to all young people, that is currently the preserve of only a privileged few.”
Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Secretary, said:
“All young people should have the opportunity to succeed and progress to a skilled, secure career.
“But under the Tories pathways to the workplace have been taken away and too many have been left without the support they need, stuck in low-paid, insecure work. And – as the CBI has highlighted – for Britain’s future prosperity employers need a pipeline of skilled employees ready for the world of work.
“That’s why Labour will ensure all young people can access face-to-face careers advice, with schools working in partnership with businesses, colleges and universities.”
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