ASCL response to Labour Party manifesto

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the education policies in the Labour Party manifesto for the 2024 General Election.
“There are a lot of welcome policies contained within this manifesto. Tackling child poverty must be a priority for any incoming government and it’s important that Labour has recognised this. Free breakfast clubs in every primary school, alongside a renewed focus on early-years education, are important steps towards tackling the disadvantage gap.
“Reforming Ofsted by scrapping single-phrase judgements and moving to a report card system is especially encouraging as Labour has responded to the profession’s concerns with a sensible plan that will make inspection work better for school and college leaders and parents alike.
“The plan to recruit 6,500 more teachers is an important recognition of the major staff shortages faced by schools and colleges, but we need to see more detail on how this is going to be achieved. Labour must be willing to address longstanding concerns around pay and conditions for this policy to be a success.
“The policy of charging VAT on private schools is something Labour needs to consider very carefully to fully understand all the possible implications. In any case, this is not going to be enough on its own to solve the funding crisis in the education system and there remains a big question over how Labour is going to address this.  
“Labour’s manifesto is centered around economic growth, but this can only be achieved with appropriate investment at every level of education to ensure that young people are given the knowledge and skills they need to thrive when moving into the workplace. Ensuring schools and colleges having sufficient funding to continue delivering a high standard of education must be an integral part of any new government’s economic plan.”