Education policies 2019Date: 05.12.2019
Our education policies poll received over 1200 responses overnight last week (3 Dec). We asked teachers and HE lecturers which policies they would vote for without identifying which party the polices came from. Policies were presented in groups roughly corresponding to sections in the report below and within each section the policies were presented in random order. Respondents were told that they would see the results of voting for each policy, along with its originating party, at the end of the survey.
Meanwhile the EPI have published a report, General election 2019: An analysis of manifesto plans for education which assesses each party’s education policies, considering the extent to which they are based on research evidence and whether and how they are likely to impact on overall attainment and the gaps between more vulnerable children and the rest.
Although all parties have made bold pledges about reducing opportunity gaps and raising educational attainment, the policies in their manifestos are unlikely to deliver on these aspirations.
Despite a large proportion of the attainment gap between poor children and the rest emerging before entry to school, party policies seem to focus on improving childcare for employment and cost of living reasons, rather than focusing on high quality early years education.
All major parties are pledging additional funding for schools, colleges and special needs education – with Labour and the Greens committing to the biggest increases. But under Conservative policies, there will be a relative shift in funding away from schools with higher levels of disadvantage – and this attempt to “level up funding” could widen the disadvantage gaps in attainment.
Labour and Liberal Democrat plans to scrap primary tests and move to lower stakes inspection could damage attainment, and might particularly pose a risk to improving outcomes for the most vulnerable learners.
Party policies on post 18 education are particularly disappointing. Labour proposes that its most expensive education policy should be allocating around £7bn to scrap university tuition fees, even though this may not improve participation, or the access of vulnerable groups. The Conservatives offer few policies on higher education. While all parties are committed to additional education funding over the years ahead, there is a high level of uncertainty about the revenues which have been earmarked for such funding