General election banner 2017 950x100

Welcome to the ASCL general election noticeboard.

Theresa May says an election is needed to strengthen her position in negotiating the UK's exit from the European but she has also made education a key domestic policy priority for her party. 

Brief summaries of what we currently know about the future education plans of the three main parties are provided below, together with links to other political parties and related information. These columns will be updated regularly as policies become clearer and further announcements are made in the run up to the general election on 8 June 2017.

ASCL is politically neutral. These pages are ASCL’s endeavour to provide objective information to members on each political party’s manifesto commitments, policies and views. In some instances we have summarised longer statements or comments made by party representatives. They are accurate to the best of our knowledge. 

However, this is a changing landscape and there may be further developments not reflected here. Please refer directly to the political parties for clarification and elaboration.

If you believe this information needs further updating, please contact ASCL Parliamentary and Inclusion Specialist Anna Cole. Policies and views expressed on these pages are those of the individual political parties and not representative of ASCL policy.

Key dates

Dissolution of Parliament: Wednesday 3 May

Voter registration deadline: Monday 22 May 

Polling day: Thursday 8 June 2017 

Full election timetable


Make funding fairer over the course of the parliament, and make sure that no school has its budget cut as a result of the new formula.

Increase the overall schools budget by £4bn by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament. 

Schools in England will offer a free school breakfast to every child in every year of primary school, while children from low-income families will continue to receive free school lunches throughout their years in primary and secondary education. The savings made from this change will be added to the core schools budget.

Continue to protect the Pupil Premium to support those who need it.

Introduce new funding arrangements so we can open a specialist maths school in every major city in England.

Invest in FE colleges to make sure they have world-class equipment and facilities.

Launch a major review of funding across tertiary education as a whole, looking at how to ensure that students get access to financial support that offers value for money, is available across different routes and encourages the development of the skills we need.



Introduce a fairer funding formula that leaves no school worse off, while redressing the historical underfunding of certain schools. 

Reverse the cuts and ensure that all schools have the resources they need. 

Put £150 million back into schools by scrapping the requirement on schools to pay the apprenticeship levy.

Correct historic neglect of the FE sector by giving the sector the investment – in teachers and facilities – it deserves to become a world-leading provider of adult and vocational education.

Bring funding for 16 to18 year-olds in line with Key Stage 4 baselines, while ensuring that the budget is distributed fairly between colleges and school sixth forms 

Invest in new school buildings, including the phased removal of asbestos from existing schools. 

Invest in measures to close the attainment gap between children from different backgrounds.

Increase capital investment to equip colleges to deliver T-levels and an official pre-apprenticeship trainee programme.

Provide £90 million per year for schools-based counselling.




Introduce a fairer National Funding System with a protection for all schools, so that no school loses money per pupil in cash terms.

Reverse all cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protecting per pupil funding in real terms.

Protect the Pupil Premium which targets extra help at disadvantaged children. 

Increase Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 per pupil per year.

Over the Parliament, this means an extra £7 billion for school and college budgets.

Ensure that new schools are built in areas where there is a need for new school places.

new generation of grammar schools and selection

Lift the ban on the establishment of selective schools, subject to conditions, such as allowing pupils to join at other ages as well as 11.

Replace inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school.




No plans to extend grammar schools or selection. 


Scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital monies for new school spaces to local authorities.

education system oversight and accountability

Continue programme of free schools, building at least 100 new free schools a year.

Prohibit councils from creating any new places in schools that have been rated either ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.

Conduct a review of school admissions policy. But never introduce a mandatory lottery-based school admissions policy.

Consider how Ofsted can give parents more information on what their children are being taught.

Make it a condition for universities hoping to charge maximum tuition fees to become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools.

Work with the Independent Schools Council to ensure that at least 100 leading independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools in the state system, keeping open the option of changing the tax status of independent schools if progress is not made.



Create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use. 

The NES will be built on the principle that ‘Every Child – and Adult Matters’ and will incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to adult education.

Ensure that all schools are democratically accountable, including appropriate controls to see that they serve the public interest and their local communities.

Require joined-up admissions policies across local schools to enable councils to fulfil their responsibilities on child places, to simplify the admissions process for parents and to ensure that no child slips through the net.



Establishing an independent Education Standards Authority to pilot, phase-in and resource future policy changes in consultation with professionals and experts.

Give local authorities clear responsibility for local school places planning.

Repeal the rule that all new state funded schools must be free schools or academies. 

Encourage local head teachers with a strong record to play a key role in school improvement, working with schools and local authorities.

Support the establishment of a new, independent Foundation for Leadership in Education, working under the umbrella of the Chartered College of Teaching, to promote high-quality, evidence-based leadership and help the best leaders into the most challenging schools.

Reform Ofsted inspections to include a focus on longer-term outcomes and sustainable improvement and teacher workload, sickness and retention.

Allow Ofsted to inspect both local authorities and academy chains.

Rule out state-funded profit-making schools.

Include promoting wellbeing as a statutory duty of a school, to be part of the Ofsted inspection framework.

the profession

Create a single jobs portal, like NHS Jobs, for schools to advertise vacancies

For new teachers - offer ‘forgiveness’ on student loan repayments while they are teaching and bring in dedicated support to help them throughout their careers.

Provide greater support for teachers in the preparation of lessons and marking, including through the use of technology, and we will bear down on unnecessary paperwork and the burden of Ofsted inspections.

Continue to provide bursaries to attract top graduates into teaching.

Create a new national programme to attract experienced industry professionals to work in FE colleges.

Explore teaching apprenticeships sponsored by major companies, especially in STEM subjects.

Ensure teaching assistants can become qualified teachers (healthcare assistants can become nurses) via a degree apprenticeship route, in addition to other routes.


Tackle the teacher recruitment and retention crisis by ending the public-sector pay cap, giving teachers more direct involvement in the curriculum, and tackling rising workloads by reducing monitoring and bureaucracy. 

Reintroduce the Schools Support Staff Negotiating Body and national pay settlements for teachers.

Encourage co-operation and leadership across colleges and sixth forms, improving curriculum breadth and quality.

Set a target, backed up by funding, for all FE teaching staff to have a teaching qualification within five years.

Extend support for training to teachers in the private sector.

Consult on introducing teacher sabbaticals and placements with industry to encourage interaction between education and industry and introduce broad experiences into the classroom.

Drive up standards across the board, learning from examples of best practice, such as London Challenge, to encourage co-operation and strong leadership across schools. 

Trust in teachers and support staff professionalism to refocus their workload on what happens in the classroom.

Embed SEND more substantially into training for teachers and non-teaching staff.


Continue to work with the EFF to establish a comprehensive evidence base on what works in teaching.

End the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises.

Guarantee that all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from January 2019.

Introduce a clear and properly funded entitlement to genuinely high quality professional development for all teachers 25 hours per year by 2020, rising to the OECD average of 50 hours by 2025.

Support proper long-term planning of initial teacher training places, prioritising close partnerships with higher education and specialist routes such as Teach First in order to recruit the highest-quality teachers in shortage areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths.

Aim for every formal early years setting to employ at least one person who holds an Early Years Teacher qualification by 2022.

Ensure all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling.

Ensure collaboration between leading education and family organisations to improve the flow of helpful information between home and school without increasing teacher workload.

curriculum, assessment and skills

75% of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSEs by the end of the next parliament, with 90% by 2025.

Ensure all children have access to an academic, knowledge-rich curriculum. Introduce a curriculum fund to encourage Britain’s leading cultural and scientific institutions, like the British Museum and others to help develop knowledge-rich materials for schools,

Ensure assessments at the end of primary school draw from a rich knowledge base, and reduce teaching to the test.

Strengthen the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years.

Build on the success of the phonics screening test.

Expect every 11 year-old to know their times tables off by heart.

Improve schools’ accountability at Key Stage 3.

Replace 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new T-levels, across 15 routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science. Increase the number of teaching hours by 50% to an average of 900 hours pa. And make sure each student does a 3 month work placement as part of their course. Extend these reforms to the highest levels of technical qualification.

Introduce a UCAS-style portal for technical education. 

Introduce significantly discounted bus and train travel for apprentices

Put employers at the centre of reforms. Deal with local skills shortages and ensure that colleges deliver the skills required by local businesses through Skills Advisory Panels and Local Enterprise Partnerships working at a regional and local level.

Create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020. 

Establish new institutes of technology, backed by leading employers and linked to leading universities, in every major city in England to provide courses at degree level and above, specialising in technical disciplines, STEM, higher-level apprenticeships and bespoke courses for employers.


Abandon plans to reintroduce baseline assessments and launch a commission to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs. The world’s most successful education systems use more continuous assessment, which avoids ‘teaching for the test’.

Deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) based on inclusivity.

Maintain the apprenticeship levy and require the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to report on an annual basis to the Secretary of State on quality outcomes of completed apprenticeships.

Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18 year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds.

Replace Advanced Learner Loans and upfront course fees with direct funding, making FE courses free at the point of use, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.

Abandon Conservative plans to build new technical colleges - redirecting the money to increase teacher numbers in the FE sector.

Agree with broad aims of the Sainsbury Review but would ensure vocational routes incorporate the service sector as well as traditional manufacturing, working in tandem with our broad industrial strategy to deliver for the whole economy.

Devolve responsibility for skills, wherever there is an appetite, to city regions or devolved administrations.

Improve careers advice and open up a range of routes through, and back into, education, striking a balance between classroom and on-the-job training, to ensure students gain both technical and soft skills.

Set a target to double completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3 by 2022.


Introduce a curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national curriculum, taught in all state-funded schools. To include PSHE a ‘curriculum for life’ including financial literacy, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship, and age-appropriate SRE.

Make the curriculum the responsibility of an Educational Standards Authority to pilot, phase-in and resource future changes in consultation with professionals and experts while retaining legitimate democratic accountability.

Include in SRE sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, issues surrounding explicit images and content.

Prioritise primary progress measures instead of floor thresholds and work with the profession to reform tests at 11, preventing curriculum narrowing in upper Key Stage 2.

Protect the availability of arts and creative subjects in the curriculum and act to remove barriers to pupils studying these subjects.

Improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment, and improve careers advice in schools and colleges.

Improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to participate in employment and enterprise schemes that promote regular experiences in business. Seek to inspire more children and young people to follow technical and scientific careers through partnership with relevant businesses.

Challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, work with schools to promote positive body image and break down outdated perceptions of gender.

Develop National Colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors, such as renewable energy, to deliver the high-level vocational skills that businesses need.

Identify and seek to solve skills gaps by expanding higher vocational training.

other policies

Overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics. 

Toughen visa requirements for students, expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, unless they meet new, higher requirements that allow them to work in Britain. 

Establish a Commission for Countering Extremism to identify examples of extremism and expose them.

Introduce new right to request leave for training for all employees and a national retraining scheme.

Allow large firms to pass levy funds to small firms in their supply chain, and work with the business community to develop a new programme to allow larger firms to place apprentices in their supply chains. 

In the next parliament produce the best programme of learning and training for people in work and returning to work in the developed world.

Institutes of technology will have freedoms of universities including eligibility for public funding for productivity and skills research, and access to loans and grants for students. They will be able to gain royal charter status and regius professorships in technical education. 

Institutes of technology will become anchor institutions for local, regional and national industry, providing skills and developing local identities to meet skills needs of local employers.

Introduce a right to lifelong learning in digital skills.


Extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year.

Reduce class sizes to less than 30 for all five, six, and seven year-olds, and extend as resources allow. 

Reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and abolish university tuition fees.

Free school meals for all primary children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees. 

Votes for 16 and 17 year-olds.

Remove international students from the net migration targets.

Halt the closures of Sure Start Centres and increase money available for Sure Start. 

Overhaul existing childcare system - to a system of high-quality childcare places in mixed environments with direct government subsidy.

End childcare subsidies given directly to parents. Maintain current commitments on free hours. Make significant capital investment in first two years to ensure places exist to meet demand.

Phase in subsidised provision on top of free-hour entitlements.

Transition to a qualified, graduate-led childcare workforce.

Extend the 30 free hours to all two- year-olds, and move towards making some childcare available for one year-olds and extending maternity pay to 12 months.

Give employers more flexibility in how the apprenticeship levy is deployed.

Guarantee TU representation in the governance structures of the Institute of Apprenticeships

Introduce free, lifelong education in Further Education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life. 

Protect the £440m funding for apprenticeships for small-and medium-sized employers who don’t pay the levy

Set targets to increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans, and ensure broad representation of women, BAME, LGBT and people with disabilities.

Consult on introducing incentives for large employers to over-train numbers of apprentices to fill skills gaps.

Reverse cuts to Unionlearn.

Set up a commission on Lifelong Learning tasked with integrating further and higher education.


Ensure that identification and support for special educational needs and disabilities takes place as early as possible. All new policies should have an assessment of how they impact pupils who have special educational needs, and ensure they adhere to duties under the Equality Act.

Extend free school meals to all children in primary education and promote school breakfast clubs.

Tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression.

Votes for 16 and 17 year-olds.

Establish a new online Family University, supported by leading organisations such as the BBC and Open University, to provide advice and guidance for learning and parenting.

Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university.

Establish a review of higher education finance in the next Parliament to consider reforms, on access, participation and quality, and make sure there are no more retrospective raising of rates, or selling-off loans to private companies.

Ensure that all universities work to widen participation across the sector, prioritising their work with students in schools and colleges, and require every university to be transparent about selection criteria.

Reverse the damage to universities and academics by changing the country’s course away from a hard Brexit.

Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including extending apprenticeships to new sectors, like creative and digital industries.

Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors, encourage underrepresented groups to apply.

Ensure that all the receipts from the Apprenticeship Levy in England are spent on training, aiming to fund a wider range of types of training.

Aim to meet all basic skills needs including literacy, numeracy and digital skills by 2030.

Create individual accounts for funding mature adult and part-time learning and training, and provide for all adults individual access to all necessary career information, advice and guidance.

Facilitate across the UK an effective and comprehensive system for credit transfer and recognition of prior learning and qualifications.



Justine Greening's speech to Conservative Party Conference, October 2016

Angela Rayner's speech to Labour Party Conference, September 2016

Related Items

ASCL ASCL manifesto

Conservatives Conservative's manifesto

Labour Labour’s manifesto

LibDems Liberal Democrats manifesto

Green-party Green Party manifesto

UKIP UKIP manifesto