ASCL comment on Labour education plans

11/11/2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on Labour’s plans for lifelong learning and National Education Service.
 
Commenting on Labour’s plans for lifelong learning and National Education Service, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“These proposals are ambitious and involve a significant increase in spending. Given the scale of what Labour is proposing, it is unlikely that it would be able to achieve all these objectives immediately, and it needs to be clear about its priorities. Our view is that it should target this spending first of all on helping those who most need help.
 
“We therefore strongly back the provision of 30 hours of free childcare for all 2 to 4 year-olds, and opening 1,000 new Sure Start centres. The evidence is clear that educational gaps between children begin at an early stage, and this extra level of investment would be money well spent in improving outcomes for the most vulnerable young people in society. And we also strongly support the restoration of university maintenance grants and the educational maintenance allowance for sixth form students because these measures are pivotal in improving access to education for young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Another priority should be the establishment of a national careers advice service because high-quality, independent guidance particularly benefits those who face the greatest challenges.
 
“The vision of lifelong learning described by Labour is laudable, and in keeping with a society in which we must be able to adapt our skills to the fast-changing demands of the digital age. It would clearly require a great deal of planning and resourcing to ensure that there is sufficient capacity but we are in a strong position to deliver this ambition building on the existing expertise in our colleges and universities.”