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Manifesto Roundup: Education, Schools and Universities

In the final buildup to the General Election, the Boar has looked at what the major party manifestos have to say on a number of issues. Here is a summary for issues regarding education, universities, schools and research.

The Conservative Party
• Lift ban on new grammar schools, replace inclusivity rules that prevent establishment of new Roman Catholic schools and open specialist maths schools in every major city in England.
• Involve universities in opening free schools and academy sponsorship, as well as supporting local state schools.
• Introduce a US-style investment fund system for universities and review tertiary education funding.
• Increase overall school budget to £4 billion by 2022.
• Ensure “knowledge-rich” curriculum.
• Scrap free school lunches for those in first three years of school, but retain them for those from low-income families and introduce free school breakfasts for all primary school children.
• “Forgiveness” on student loans for teachers while they are teaching.
• New integration strategy to help schools with students predominantly from one religious, cultural or ethnic background to learn about pluralistic “British values” and different ways of life.
• Invest in Further Education colleges, introduce new technical institutes and replace 13,000 technical qualifications with new ‘T-levels’.
• Meet the OECD average of investing 2.4% into research and development in the next ten years, plus long-term goal of reaching 3% of GDP target.

The Labour Party
• Abolish tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants for university students.
• Create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England, which will incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to further education.
• Oppose return of opening grammar schools.
• Reduce class sizes to less than 30 pupils for all five to seven year olds.
• Introduce free school meals for all primary school children by removing VAT exemptions on private schools.
• Extend school-based counselling to every school in the country.
• Introduce a new strategy for children with special needs and learning disabilities.
• Reintroduce the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18 year olds from low to middle income backgrounds.
• Place £150 million back into the school budget from the apprenticeship levy.
• Meet OECD target of 3% of GDP spent on research and development by 2030.

The Liberal Democrats
• Invest nearly £7 billion extra in education.
• Oppose the opening of new grammar schools.
• Triple Early Years Pupil Premium (additional funding to raise the attainment of students from disadvantaged backgrounds) to £1000.
• Introduce a “slimmed-down” core curriculum to be taught in all state-funded schools including financial literacy, mental health education, first aid and age-appropriate sex education.
• Ensure all teachers have training to identify mental health issues and include student wellbeing in Ofsted inspection framework.
• Extend free school meals to all children in primary education.
• Reinstate maintenance grants for poorest university students.
• Promote international collaboration for universities and prevent effects of a ‘hard Brexit’ on them.
• Fight to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Marie Skłowdoska-Curie Actions funding from the EU for researchers.
• Double the number of businesses which hire apprentices and increase the amount of apprentices from BAME backgrounds.

The Green Party
• Abolish university tuition fees.
• Restore Education Maintenance Allowance and fund full student grants.
• Ensure apprenticeships are available to all qualified 16 to 25 year olds.
• Free universal early education and childcare.
• Move the age at which formal education starts to 7 years old.
• Abolish Ofsted.
• Introduce non-biased political education for school children.
• Guarantee the freedom of students to study in the EU through the Erasmus scheme.
• Reject the Prevent strategy, and focus on community-led approaches to tackle extremism instead.

The UK Independence Party
• Abolish tuition fees for courses in mathematics, science, technology and engineering and cover costs for courses in medicine.
• Restore maintenance grants and abolish tuition fees for all courses when economic conditions allow it.
• Abolish KEY Stage 1 SATs and end sexual education in primary schools.
• Introduce emotional health and wellbeing into Ofsted Inspection framework.
• Open a grammar school in every town.
• Specialist counselling services in all secondary schools.
• Immediately put all schools found to be ‘exposing children to Islamism’ into special measures.
• Introducing ‘science leaders’ at primary schools to inspire children.
• Introduce Dual Vocational Training schemes where students attend school and receive ‘on-the-job’ training and link schools with local businesses.
• Given disabled learners the right to attend either mainstream or tailored education.


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