Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on Labour’s plan to ‘shatter the class ceiling’ and undertake radical reform of the education system.
“There has long been a clear link between poverty and educational attainment that is evident from an early age and continues throughout a child’s life and into adulthood. It’s simply not right that family background plays such a huge role in dictating the opportunities available to young people. A coherent government strategy and significant investment is required to solve this problem, but this has been sorely lacking.
“It’s also important to regularly review what and how pupils are taught and in particular consider how a balance of academic and vocational subjects might best equip young people with the skills that employers are looking for. The current examination system, based primarily on memorising large amounts of information, looks increasingly antiquated.
“Education has been on the fringes of policy-making for too long and it is encouraging that Labour appears to recognise how central it should be. We look forward to examining their plans in more detail. One thing is for sure, unless the issues of pay erosion, inadequate funding and unmanageable workloads are addressed then there are not going to be enough teachers and leaders working in schools and colleges to enact the positive changes we all want to see.”