Education is at the heart of what Liberal Democrats stand for. It is the key to freedom and opportunity, and a vital part of creating the fairer society our party seeks to build.
We believe in a society where every young person, no matter what their background or circumstance, can grow up to achieve anything they set their mind to.
We strongly oppose the Government’s plans to open divisive new grammar schools which will disproportionately benefit children from wealthier backgrounds.
We know that to ensure every child gets the support they need, our education system must be properly funded. We were proud to introduce the Pupil Premium – additional money to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – when we were in Government. School funding is set to be cut by 8% in real terms. On top of this, every school in Newham is set to lose money as a result of the new funding formula if it goes ahead; a study by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) showed that spending per pupil will drop from £6,047 to £5,890. It is our policy to protect school funding in real terms, from the early years right through to college.
Our vision for education is about more than just passing exams.
We should give children confidence, creativity and practical skills too. We are deeply concerned that children are increasingly missing out on subjects like art, music and sport.
We want to see a broad, balanced curriculum in our schools which includes financial literacy, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, citizenship, and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.
Access to education and new opportunities should not end at 18. We introduced a record number of apprenticeships in the last Parliament, to support people to gain new skills or change career at any age and we want to see greater investment in adult skills training and further education colleges.
Fundamentally, we also know that we cannot deliver the best education for all when our teaching workforce is demoralised and undervalued; so we are committed to working with education professionals to tackle the workload and recruitment challenges they face.