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Introduction    

At next year’s election, the British people face a choice on education. A choice between the Tories,
who are damaging standards in schools and colleges, with unqualified teachers, failing Free
Schools and fewer opportunities for young people, and Labour, who will drive up standards with
an education system that works for all children and young people.

Michael Gove may have moved on but nothing has changed. The Tory policies of failing Free
Schools and unqualified teachers are still harming school standards. The Tories are allowing
schools to employ unqualified teachers permanently, threatening standards in our schools and
colleges. Hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent on Free Schools in areas that already
have enough school places, instead of focusing on the need for more primary school places. That
means rising class sizes and parents struggling to find a place at a local school. Alongside this,
under this Tory-­‐led Government there is a dangerous lack of local oversight in our schools system,
leaving schools too open to the risk of falling standards.

The Tories are limiting opportunities for young people. At a time when over 750,000 young people
are still unemployed, they have neglected vocational education and have no plan for the forgotten
50 per cent of young people not choosing university.

Another five years of the Tories would mean five more years of harming standards, the wrong
priorities and declining opportunities for our young people. It risks record levels of unqualified
teachers in schools, and even more money diverted from areas facing a shortage of school places
to fund future Free Schools, deepening the crisis in primary school places with more infants
crammed into large classes. We face a threat of more dangerous reform of school structures, with
providers being allowed to make a profit out of schools and our children’s education.

Five more years of the Tories also risks further skills shortages that ruin our ability to compete in a
21st Century economy and fewer young people starting apprenticeships.

Labour will drive up standards with an education system that works for all children and young
people. We will end the culture that says that vocational education is second class, instead
prioritising the forgotten 50 per cent of young people not choosing university, with rigorous
vocational qualifications, as well as insisting on English and maths to age 18 for everyone.

A Labour government will put teaching standards first, with a world-­‐class teacher in every
classroom, ensuring that all teachers become properly qualified and continue to build their skills.
We will reject the Tories’ obsession with trying to run all schools from Whitehall and introduce
robust local oversight of all schools to raise standards and intervene where necessary. We will give
a greater say to parents and local communities in the school systems that serve them.

Next May, on education, the British people will decide between the Tory threat or the Labour
future: that’s the choice.

The Tory record

The Tories are damaging standards, with unqualified teachers, failing Free Schools and a crisis
in primary school places, leading to more and more infants crammed into large classes.

They are taking our education system backwards. There is no rigorous local oversight to spot
and challenge underperformance in failing schools, the gap in attainment between the poorest
pupils and their peers is widening and there are fewer opportunities for young people.

Failure on teacher quality

Under Labour all permanently employed teachers had to be qualified. This Government has
changed the rules and scrapped that requirement, allowing schools to employ unqualified
teachers permanently, threatening standards.

This means that under the Tories teachers don’t need to be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge and understanding of how to teach;
  • that they know how to manage pupil behaviour and control a class;
  • regard for the need to safeguard pupils and observe proper boundaries with pupils.

This decision has seen a 16 per cent rise in unqualified teachers in our classrooms in the last
year across all state-­‐funded schools. Academies and Free Schools alone have seen a 50 per
cent increase.

We have already seen standards affected in schools by unqualified teachers. In its report on
the “inadequate” Al-­‐Madinah Free School, Ofsted found that “…unqualified staff desperately
need better support and training”.

Failure on teacher supply

The Government has missed its own target for trainee teachers by 2,000 trainees this year –
making this the second year in a row targets have been missed.

The target for maths and Computer Science trainee teachers has been missed every year
under David Cameron, despite being exceeded and higher under Labour – since 2010 the
number of ICT trainee teachers has fallen by 70 per cent.

Experts are warning of a “serious problem” with teacher numbers. Professor Chris Husbands,
Director of the Institute of Education, told the Education Select Committee that the system
could only sustain a one-­‐year hit.

“I think we already have a serious problem. Ten out of 13 secondary subject lines are failing to meet the
allocations this year. A shortfall in mathematics and physics, I think, is a very serious problem. Biology has
failed to recruit to its allocation, and that has not happened for several years. This is serious. As a system, you
can take a one-­‐year hit, but if we are in the same place next year, we are in a bad place.”
Professor Chris Husbands, 11 September 2013,.

The shortage is widely blamed on the Government’s flagship teacher training programme
School Direct, which only filled 68 per cent of its allocated places this year.

“…the new figures show School Direct recruited just 68% of its allocation of 9,586 -­‐ representing 20% of the
whole pool of teacher trainees in England -­‐ rather than its 25% allocation.
Whereas universities filled all but 255 of the 26,785 training places they were allocated.”
BBC News, 27 November 2013,.

The Government has missed its own target for trainee teachers by 2,000 trainees this year –
making this the second year in a row targets have been missed.

The target for maths and Computer Science trainee teachers has been missed every year
under David Cameron, despite being exceeded and higher under Labour – since 2010 the
number of ICT trainee teachers has fallen by 70 per cent.

Experts are warning of a “serious problem” with teacher numbers. Professor Chris Husbands,
Director of the Institute of Education, told the Education Select Committee that the system
could only sustain a one-­‐year hit.

“I think we already have a serious problem. Ten out of 13 secondary subject lines are failing to meet the
allocations this year. A shortfall in mathematics and physics, I think, is a very serious problem. Biology has
failed to recruit to its allocation, and that has not happened for several years. This is serious. As a system, you
can take a one-­‐year hit, but if we are in the same place next year, we are in a bad place.”
Professor Chris Husbands, 11 September 2013.

The shortage is widely blamed on the Government’s flagship teacher training programme
School Direct, which only filled 68 per cent of its allocated places this year.

“…the new figures show School Direct recruited just 68% of its allocation of 9,586 -­‐ representing 20% of the
whole pool of teacher trainees in England -­‐ rather than its 25% allocation.

Whereas universities filled all but 255 of the 26,785 training places they were allocated.”
BBC News, 27 November 2013.
Experts are warning that universities had to step in at the last minute to “paper over the
cracks” created by School Direct. Sir David Bell, former Permanent Secretary at the
Department for Education and now vice-­‐chancellor of the University of Reading, warned of the
risk of more School Direct shortages next year.

“The cracks have been papered over thanks to universities stepping in at the last minute to take on unfilled
places.
We’ve got to ask some serious questions about schools’ capacity to take on even more trainees next year,
when they fell short this year.”
Sir David Bell, vice-­‐chancellor of the University of Reading, BBC News, 27 November 2013.
Despite unfilled places on School Direct this year, the Government have increased the
allocation of School Direct places for trainees in 2014/15.4

Failure of Free Schools

David Cameron said that Free Schools would “drive up standards”.

“Those who support free schools are on the side of parents, charities and committed teachers who are trying

to make things better on the side of the choice, freedom and competition that will really drive up standards.”
David Cameron, 9 September 2011.

However, too many Free Schools are failing – one third of those inspected so far are rated
“inadequate” or “requires improvement” by Ofsted, which is worse than official figures for all
state-­‐funded schools. Three times as many Free Schools are “inadequate” as a proportion of
the total number of Free Schools, when compared to the proportion of all state-­‐funded
schools that are rated “inadequate”.

 

In Yorkshire and the Humber, half of all the Free Schools in the region are rated less than good
by Ofsted.

“Ofsted rates half of the free schools in the region as less than good”
Yorkshire Post, 29 July 2014.

DfE, Initial teacher training allocations 2014/15, 21 November 2013.

Natalie Evans, Director of the New Schools Network, a body that receives a government grant
to support the setting up of Free Schools, has said that given the programme was supposed to
drive up standards this is “not acceptable”.

“A small number of free schools have – as has been very well documented – been judged to be “inadequate”.
For a programme that was designed to drive up standards, this is not acceptable.”
Natalie Evans, TES, 9 May 2014.

Failure on school places

Under this Government, decisions about new schools are taken by the Secretary of State for
Education alone, resulting in political considerations being put above the needs of pupils,
parents and local communities.

This has led to enormous waste in the commissioning of new school places, creating a crisis in
primary school places, and has contributed to larger class sizes and shut out local communities
from decisions affecting schools in their area.

Hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent on Free Schools in areas that already have
enough school places, instead of focusing on the need for more primary school places.5

In their 2010 manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to create “small schools with smaller
class sizes”.

“A Conservative government will give many more children access to the kind of education that is currently
only available to the well-­‐off: safe classrooms, talented and specialist teachers, access to the best curriculum
and exams, and smaller schools with smaller class sizes with teachers who know the children’s names.”
Conservative Party Manifesto 2010, p. 51

But since 2010 the number of infants taught in classes of over 30 has soared to 93,665 – up by
200 per cent – and there are five times the number of “titan” primary schools – schools with
more than 800 pupils – than in 2010.

Poor standards going unchallenged

The Government’s changes to the school system mean that nearly 4,000 schools – over half of
secondary schools – are being run directly from Whitehall. This centralisation of power means
there is a dangerous lack of local oversight in our schools system that is allowing
underperformance to go unchecked and leaving schools too open to the risk of falling
standards.

Trying to oversee thousands of schools from a desk in Whitehall does not work. The
Government are unable to pick up on failing schools quickly enough. There are an increasing
number of examples where the Department for Education has failed to spot and challenge
failure in Free Schools early on.

  • Last year, Ofsted labelled the Al-­‐Madinah Free School in Derby “chaotic” and
    “dysfunctional”, grading it inadequate in every category.   Al-­‐Madinah was only brought
    to the Government’s attention by a whistleblower – the school had been providing an
    “inadequate” education for a full year before the Department investigated.
  • Kings Science Academy Free School in Bradford faces a police investigation into
    financial irregularities amidst allegations of serious fraud, in which the headteacher was
    recently arrested. A whistleblower raised concerns at the school in 2012, prompting an
    internal investigation by the Department of Education. Yet the Department sat on the
    report for over five months, only publishing a redacted copy when BBC Newsnight
    obtained a leaked copy, nearly a year after concerns were raised.  Ofsted’s latest
    monitoring inspection found that the school is “not taking effective action” to
    improve.
  • Discovery New School, which is now closed, was not investigated for financial
    irregularities at the school until two years after opening.
  • At the IES Breckland Free School in Suffolk, which Ofsted rated “inadequate” in March
    this year, teaching was so poor that some pupils’ performance in English actually
    declined after joining the school.

These are emblematic of the Department for Education’s failure to provide the rigorous
oversight needed to monitor the schools that are directly accountable to it.

Last year the National Audit Office reported that the Government’s monitoring of Free
Schools is informed by “whistleblowers” and relies entirely on “timely compliance” by
schools.

Whilst 1.5 million children are being taught in schools that “require improvement” and
nearly a quarter of a million pupils are languishing in “inadequate” schools, just 47 of the
4,000 plus academies overseen by the Government have received notices to improve.

Recent events in Birmingham have highlighted the damaging lack of local oversight in
our school system. Although the Government was warned four years ago about radical
hardliners taking control of our schools, they failed to act.

Failure to narrow the attainment gap

The last Labour Government lifted over a million children out of poverty and made progress on
narrowing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. This progress is now being
undermined, with child poverty forecast to rise, not fall, and the gap in attainment between
disadvantaged pupils and their peers now widening.

In 2013, only just over a third of pupils from low income backgrounds left school with five good
GCSEs (five GCSEs at A* to C including English and maths).  Not only is this damaging social
justice and social mobility, it is also harming our economic competitiveness.

Failure on opportunities for young people

At a time when over 750,000 young people are still unemployed, the Government has
neglected vocational education and has no plan for the forgotten 50 per cent of young people
not choosing university. Yet whilst the Tories are content with the status quo:

    • There is a lack of high quality vocational training in schools to support young people
      into good jobs or further training.
    • A quarter of learners are in Further Education (FE) provision that has been judged less
      than good by Ofsted, and under this Government FE lecturers are no longer required to
      hold a teaching qualification.
    • Fewer than one in ten employers in England offer apprenticeships.

Nearly a third of employers are dissatisfied with school leavers’ basic literacy and
numeracy and many are struggling to find the skills they need for their business to
succeed.

Apprenticeships under this Government aren’t benefitting young people. The number of young
people starting apprenticeships is falling21, and of the increase in apprenticeships since 2010,
79 per cent have gone to people aged over 25, and 94 per cent of these are not new job
entrants but existing employees.

The quality of apprenticeships has been downgraded under this Government, with low quality
courses that all too often last only for short durations and provide no training at all.23 Nearly
two-­‐thirds of all apprenticeships created since 2010 are at level 2 – a level that would not be
recognised as apprenticeships in other countries.

The Tory threat

Michael Gove may have moved on, but the Tories are continuing to press ahead with their
flawed agenda of Free Schools, lowering the bar on teacher quality, and failing to deliver for all
children and young people.

Another five years of the Tories would mean five more years of harming standards with the
wrong priorities for schools, forcing more infants into larger classes, even more unqualified
teachers in our classrooms, declining opportunities for young people and allowing providers to
make a profit out of our children’s education.

A deeper crisis in primary school places and large class sizes

Whilst the Government is committed to diverting even more money away from areas facing a
shortage of school places to fund future Free Schools, the crisis in primary school places is
getting deeper and standards are being damaged with more and more infants crammed into
large classes.

The number of infants taught in classes of over 30 has soared by 30 per cent in the last year. If
this continues at this rate, then over 450,000 infants will be taught in large classes by 2020.

Based on the Government’s current forecasting, there will be 1,970,897 infants in state-­‐funded
schools by 2020. This means that if the increase in large classes continues at the current rate,
around one in four infants could be in large classes of over 30 by 2020.

Analysis of Department for Education figures reveals that in January 2014, there were 40,000
primary pupils being taught in very large classes of over 36. Over a third of these pupils were in
classes of over 40, and nearly half of those in classes of over 50. These figures also show 446
pupils being taught in classes of 70+.

*Where data has been recorded for more than one large class, an average has been assumed. For example, if
the data recorded a school as having two classes of 36 or more pupils, with 80 pupils across these classes,
then 80 has been added to the 40+ class size group.
Source:DfE, Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2014, 12 June 2014.

Another five years of this Government will see even more pressure on primary schools and
their classes, with the Tories continuing to make the wrong choices on planning for school
places and spending millions opening Free Schools where there is no shortage of school places.

Record levels of unqualified teachers in schools, damaging standards

There has been a 16 per cent rise in unqualified teachers in our classrooms in the last year
across all state-­‐funded schools. If the number of unqualified teachers continues to rise at this
rate, by 2020 there will be nearly 50,000 unqualified teachers working across state-­‐funded
schools.

This represents one in ten of the current teaching workforce and would mean an average of
two unqualified teachers in every state-­‐funded school.

With the target for trainee teachers being missed two years in a row and experts warning of a
“serious problem” with teacher numbers there is a real risk that unqualified staff will be used
to plug gaps in teacher numbers -­‐ this will damage standards in schools.

Unqualified teachers’ salaries are £6,000 cheaper per year than qualified staff.26 At a time
when resources are tight and school budgets strained, unqualified teachers are likely to be
hired as teachers “on the cheap” at the expense of high standards for children – something
even the Tory Party vice-­‐chairman has admitted he is worried about.

A senior figure in the Conservative party has admitted his “worry” that Michael Gove’s decision to allow
schools to hire unqualified teachers could be used by some heads as an excuse to “hire on the cheap”.
In a letter seen by TES, Tory vice-­‐chairman Richard Harrington warns the education secretary about concerns
raised by teachers in his Watford constituency over the controversial policy, and concedes that they “have a
valid point”.

Tory vice-­‐chairman worried Gove’s unqualified teachers policy will let schools ‘hire on the
cheap’, 26 March 2014.

The threat of profit-­‐making schools

Five more years of the Tories would see more dangerous reform of school structures, with
providers being allowed to make a profit out of schools and our children’s education.

The Swedish architect of the Free Schools programme has said that a key aspect of the success
of Free Schools is that they “must be allowed to make a profit”.

“For us Swedes, it is gratifying to see David Cameron put our free schools model at the heart of his reform
agenda. He has chosen well. In a few short years, the voucher system has transformed education in Sweden
and led to the creation of almost a thousand new schools. But the Conservative leader has failed to grasp a
key aspect of their success. To flourish, these schools must be allowed to make a profit.”
Anders Hultin, architect of the Swedish Free Schools programme, The Spectator, 30 September 2009.

Former Education Secretary Michael Gove has often cited Sweden as the inspiration behind his
education reforms. The country has since fallen down the international league table
rankings.

“One of the countries that we have drawn inspiration from is Sweden. Not the sort of country that Tories
naturally think is great. But in Sweden it changed the education system (inaudible) to allow exciting new
people in who raised the standard of state education and it happened pretty quickly and the guy who
introduced that when he was education minister in the 1990s is now the PM of Sweden.”
Michael Gove, The Telegraph TV, 8 May 2008

Michael Gove has already said that under a second term Tory government Free Schools could
move to the situation where they were able to make profits.

Q. According to a piece in the Guardian on 3 September 2011, under tab 28: “State sources close to [you]
admitted last night that the education secretary had been hoping to allow free schools, which are set up by
local people but still funded by the state, to make profits in the second term of a Tory-­‐led government.” Is
that an accurate statement of your aspiration?
MG: “It’s my belief that we could move to that situation but at the moment it’s important to recognise that
the free schools movement is succeeding without that element and I think we should cross that bridge when
we come to it.”
Michael Gove, speaking to the Leveson Inquiry, 29 May 2012.

Tory MP and Chair of the Education Select Committee Graham Stuart has said that Free
Schools will remain “statistically minor” if they are not allowed to make a profit.

The Government must allow for-­‐profit companies to run free schools if it wants to avoid them becoming
“statistically minor”, the chair of the influential Commons education select committee has said.
Graham Stuart, a Conservative, has dismissed the chances of free schools having a significant impact unless
Michael Gove embraces profit-­‐making businesses as the key to making the policy a success.
In an interview with The TES, Mr Stuart said: “Free schools, especially without allowing profit-­‐ making
companies to come in and do it and thus raise capital, will remain statistically minor in the overall scheme of
things.”
Future reform of school structures would come at the expense of focusing on what matters
most in our schools; driving up standards with a relentless focus on the quality of teaching.

Poor standards in vocational education

Our education system needs to change if we are to set all young people up for the future and if
we are to build the high skill, high wage economy we need to succeed as a country.

But the Tories have neglected vocational education, viewing it as the second class option for
young people, and have no plan for the forgotten 50 per cent not choosing university. At the
same time, the skills gap keeps on growing.

  • The Royal Academy of Engineering forecasts that the UK needs an extra 50,000 STEM
    technicians and 90,000 STEM professionals every year just to replace people retiring
    from the workforce.
  • Firms have warned that skills gaps could lead to vital infrastructure projects such as
    HS2, Crossrail and Thames Tideway being “hundreds or thousands” down on the
    engineers they need.
  • More than a third of fms in the high-­‐tech/IT and science and construction industries
    expect to have difficulties recruiting STEM technicians in the next three years.
  • The number of people starting an ICT apprenticeship is falling (by 24 per cent in the last
    year)31, despite ICT being one of our fastest growing sectors with more than 120,000
    new entrants needed every year into specialist roles.
  • The nuclear sector needs about 1,000 new recruits a year to meet demand and replace
    its ageing workforce, significantly more than the 240 graduates and 500 apprentices a
    year it currently recruits.

Whilst there are over 750,000 young people still unemployed, the proportion of young people
starting apprenticeships is falling. If it continues at the current rate, fewer than half of all those

Another five years of the Tories would mean the continuation of an education system that
does not deliver for all young people, more young people with limited options and their talents going to waste and Britain continuing to fall behind other OECD countries in terms of technical skills.

No change of direction from Michael Gove’s reforms under Nicky Morgan

David Cameron moved Michael Gove in the reshuffle, hoping to neutralise the political salience
of education in the run up to the next General Election.

But whilst Michael Gove may have moved on, it is clear that under Nicky Morgan there will be
no change in course from his damaging reforms.

“I very much want to continue in the direction set out by Michael Gove.”
Nicky Morgan, Leicester Mercury, 8 August 2014.

Michael Gove’s policy of allowing unqualified teachers to be permanently employed in schools
is continuing under Nicky Morgan.

“We need to continue the focus, which Michael set out, on teacher quality,” she said. “If [heads] say that the
best person to teach economics is somebody who has worked in a bank in the City of London, then fine.”
Nicky Morgan, The Sunday Times, 20 July 2014.

The Tories’ flawed Free Schools programme, where situations of inadequate teaching,
allegations of discrimination, and financial mismanagement have gone unnoticed and
unchallenged for too long, is being continued by Nicky Morgan.

“My commitment to free schools is absolutely undimmed. I look forward to working with my hon. Friend and
Members from all parts of the House to get more free schools up and running.”
Nicky Morgan, Hansard, 21 July 2014, Column 1148.

The Tories’ poor planning for school places remains under Nicky Morgan.

On the central plank of his reforms, she supports Gove’s view that new free schools should be allowed to
open where there is demand, even if there is no shortage of places. “If there is parental demand for free
schools, that’s where they should go,” she said.

There will be no change of course in response to the dangerous lack of local oversight in our
schools system, which has left schools too open to the influence of hard-­‐line agendas in
schools, under Nicky Morgan.

“Today there are more than 4,000 academies and free schools serving pupils and parents up and down the
country. They are helping thousands of young people, regardless of their background, to unlock their
potential and become valuable and rounded members of society. The expansion of the academy programme
has been one of the great success stories of this Government, and the actions of a small number of
individuals will not divert us from that path. The programme of reform goes on, and I commend this
statement to the House.”

THE LABOUR FUTURE

Labour will drive up standards with an education system that works for all children and young
people.

Labour will put teaching standards first

Labour will ensure that all teachers in all state schools become qualified, ending David
Cameron’s policy of allowing unqualified teachers to be permanently employed in schools.

Under Labour there will be a world-­‐class teacher in every classroom. We will provide teachers
with more opportunities to undertake ongoing, high-­‐quality continued professional
development and get revalidated on a rolling basis so their skills are up-­‐to-­‐date.

We will create new career pathways for teachers, with routes for specialism in subject
knowledge and teaching skills. Those that excel in their training and develop the best skills will
have the opportunity to become Master Teachers.

Labour will end the culture that says vocational education is second class

Labour will end the culture that says the academic route is always best and vocational skills are
second best, with radical reforms to our education and skills system to create a clear route for
the forgotten 50 per cent of young people that do not currently go to university.

We will introduce a new gold standard Technical Baccalaureate for 16 to 19-­‐year-­‐olds with
rigorous level 3 (A-­‐level standard) vocational qualifications, accredited by employers, a high
quality work placement and English and maths to 18.

We will transform our highest performing FE colleges into new “Institutes of Technical
Education”, with a core mission to provide high quality delivery of Labour’s Tech Bacc.

Labour will introduce new Technical Degrees as the pinnacle of this new gold standard
vocational route, ensuring that young people that excel in vocational skills have opportunities
to progress to high level training that sets them up for a career.

Labour will introduce robust local oversight of schools

Labour will introduce new Directors of School Standards in every local area, to provide robust
local oversight of all schools to raise standards and intervene in underperforming schools. We will give the Directors of School Standards the powers to commission new schools
transparently and fairly, ensuring proper planning for new school places where they are
needed and ending this Government’s bias towards academies and Free Schools.

Labour will empower local communities to have a greater say about education in their area,
rather than continue the top-­‐down control approach to schools demonstrated by the current
Government.