Our schools and colleges should help every child, no matter what their ability or background, to make the most of the challenges ahead. Instead, our schools are trailing behind. Schools are being forced to let teaching assistants go. Cash-strapped councils are struggling to support children with complex needs. Too many schools are unable to keep their doors open for a full five-day week.
As a school governor, I can see first hand how badly the Conservatives are failing our children. They have cruelly cut school budgets to the bone. The extra money they promised for the next 3 years won’t even reverse the cuts they’ve inflicted since 2015.
The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and invest part of the £50bn Remain Bonus in schools to build a brighter future for our children. We will reverse school cuts with an emergency cash injection so that pupils have the resources they need to learn. We will give a £4.6 billion cash boost for schools next year, rising to £10.6 billion a year by the end of the Parliament. This will:
- return spending to 2015-16 real-terms per pupil levels next year;
- keep spending rising in line with costs and pupil numbers every year;
- pay for increasing teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000; and
- give at least a 3% pay rise for all other teachers.
We will increase teacher numbers by 20,000 and let them get on with the job, rather than having to worry about budgeting for the basics. We will value teachers better and make teaching a more attractive profession by raising their pay and properly funding 50 hours a year of high-quality professional development.
We will end political meddling with the curriculum by establishing an independent body of education experts to oversee any future curriculum changes, taking decisions from politicians’ hands and putting an end to unnecessary and politically-motivated changes. And we will end ‘teaching to the test’ by scrapping existing mandatory SATs, thereby reducing unnecessary stress on pupils and teachers.