ASCL comment on EPI general election analysis

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to analysis from the Education Policy Institute (EPI), which looks at the plans for education set out in the manifestos of the main political parties in England.
“As this comprehensive analysis makes clear, while there are some good education policies contained within these manifestos that can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people, there remain some big unanswered questions as well. There is no bigger question mark than on school and college funding, and the lack of commitment to improving this by Labour and the Conservatives is very disappointing. Maintaining the status quo, with so many schools and colleges having to run in-year deficit budgets, is just not acceptable.
“It is always the most vulnerable pupils that suffer most through lack of funding for education. No progress is being made on closing the disadvantage gap, while the SEND system is in crisis with schools and colleges struggling to afford the cost of support and local authorities running up huge deficits. Improved funding is urgently needed to ease the immediate pressures together with a greater focus on developing more specialist support for early intervention.

“The next government has the opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past and ensure that schools and colleges have adequate resources to recruit the staff they need, maintain their buildings, and continue providing the best possible support to all their pupils. But school and college leaders are clear that, as a result of insufficient funding, they currently face being forced to increase class sizes and make cuts to staffing and their curriculum offer.
“Strengthening the economy is an aim shared by all political parties, but this can only happen with an education system that is appropriately resourced. Our hope is that whoever forms the next government recognises the need to invest in education for the benefit of the whole country.”