ASCL 2017 General Election Manifesto

Based on our groundbreaking Blueprint for a Self-Improving System (February 2015), we call on all political parties to include these commitments in their manifestos:

1. Provide sufficient and fair funding
Schools are being hit by rising costs which amount to an 8% real-terms cut in their budgets by 2020. The situation in post-16 education is even more serious because these pressures come on top of funding cutbacks in the last parliament.

We call for a pledge from all political parties to:

  • ensure per-pupil funding that addresses the immediate and predicted shortfall, which the National Audit Office expects to amount to £3 billion by 2020

  • implement a national fair funding formula which creates equity between schools in different areas, so that no child is disadvantaged because of their postcode

  • address, as a matter of urgency, the severe underfunding of post-16 education

2. Improve teacher recruitment and retention
The continuing difficulties in many schools and colleges in recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers puts the educational achievement of too many young people at risk – often in the most disadvantaged areas.

We call for a pledge from all political parties to:

  • celebrate teaching as a great career and improve incentives to encourage more graduates into the profession

  • implement a strategic recruitment plan that provides more good teachers for schools in shortage areas

  • develop a career strategy for teachers, improve career development support and opportunities, thereby retaining more great teachers in the profession

3. Ensure education policy is based on evidence
For too many years, school and college leaders have felt that ideas emanating from government have been developed without a firm or robust evidence-base. This has led to a scattergun of reforms that cannot be tested in advance against outcomes.

We call for a pledge from all political parties to:

  • develop any new policies in consultation with professional associations

  • provide a clear basis of evidence for any proposals

  • hold transparent consultation before any policy decisions are finalised

  • establish, at the outset, evaluation models that ensure that any proposals will benefit young people from disadvantaged as well as advantaged backgrounds

4. Commit to curriculum stability
The curriculum and qualifications are undergoing a period of unprecedented and excessive reform. This has placed too much pressure on staff and on young people, and we are extremely concerned about the wellbeing of both.

We call for a pledge from all political parties to:

  • implement no further reform to the curriculum or qualification system for the duration of the next parliament beyond existing announcements or consultations

5. Develop a long-term, shared vision for education
Education policy has sometimes felt piecemeal and lacking in coherence, with implementation achieved through compliance rather than agreement. High-performing jurisdictions typically have a long-term, shared vision for education.

We call for a pledge from all political parties to:

  • commit to develop with the profession a long-term, shared vision for education

Download: ASCL 2017 General Election Manifesto