ASCL response to the Conservative Party Manifesto

24/11/2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the education commitments in the Conservative Party Manifesto
 
Commenting on the education commitments in the Conservative Party Manifesto, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“The Conservatives’ headline pledge to spend an extra £14 billion on schools is a little misleading as the plan is actually to increase the schools’ budget by £7.1 billion in three years’ time. It isn’t enough to reverse the cuts and the government has already told us that it expects this extra money to pay for the commitment to raise the starting salaries of teachers to £30,000. This will absorb a significant amount of the additional investment. It is a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other. We do need to improve teacher salaries in general but this needs dedicated funding.
 
“It is interesting to see that the Conservatives intend to offer an ‘arts premium’ to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all pupils. While this is welcome it is slightly galling that it comes after arts subjects have been hammered over the past few years by a combination of cuts to school budgets and school performance measures which prioritise traditional academic over creative subjects. The ‘arts premium’ smacks of a belated and inadequate effort to repair this damage. It is too little too late.
 
“We are pleased to hear that the Conservatives will back heads and teachers on discipline and we look forward to more details on what this commitment actually means in practice. The manifesto also includes commitments to expand alternative provision and deliver more school places for children with complex special educational needs. These are measures which are certainly needed and we look forward to understanding exactly how they will be delivered.”