From education to employment

The Conservatives are avoiding addressing their own record on education

Responding to a Conservative education announcement, Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said

“This document is a combination of outright lies, irresponsible scaremongering, and misleading figures. This is a transparent attempt from the Conservatives to avoid addressing their own record on education

“The Tories suggesting that children will lose opportunities will be a bitter irony to a generation of parents who have seen their children go through schools as budgets have been slashed, the curriculum has been narrowed, and the life chances of their children have been directly harmed by a senseless programme of austerity.

“Labour will give our schools the investment and support they need to make an excellent education the right of every child.”

The Conservatives have claimed that children would not have independent checks on their safety. This is a lie. Labour’s reformed system of inspection would apply to all areas that Ofsted currently inspects. All children’s services will be subject to a regular health check that is not carried out by the local authority providing the services, and an additional, independent, expert inspection where necessary.

The Conservatives have said that schools would go without an inspection. This is not accurate. Labour’s system will retain an independent inspectorate, led by experts and specialists, as well as the local health check. This will give schools and parents more, not less, information about their performance.

The Conservatives mention that Ofsted has uncovered more than 500 unregistered education settings, but Labour is the only party that is actually taking action to address this. Labour will introduce a new, legal definition of a school that avoids the loopholes in the current system, giving the new inspectorate the powers they need to inspect them.

Schools are under strain because the Conservatives have slashed school budgets for the first time in a generation and have missed their own teacher recruitment targets in seven consecutive years.

The funding announced by the Conservatives will not even fully reverse their own cuts.

The Conservatives’ claim that there would be 100,000 more children in state schools as a result of Labour’s plans to end the unjustifiable tax loopholes enjoyed by private schools is nonsense. There is no methodology provided, and this represents around one in six privately educated children.

Labour’s fully costed manifesto includes additional funding to support schools with an increase in student numbers coming from private schools as a result of our plans to end tax exemptions for private schools. This is based on a working paper from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, which suggests that the movement in pupil numbers would be closer to 5%.

Labour would end the existing academies and free schools programme, but we would not close any good schools as a result of this. We will implement consistent regulation across schools to ensure that high standards are guaranteed in all schools.

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