The Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has outlined plans for the education service under a 10-point charter, calling for a democratic oversight of schools and emotional support for staff.
Speaking to the party at its annual Brighton conference, Rayner said that under Labour education would be “lifelong” and “will support the emotional, social and physical well-being of students and staff”.
Criticising the Conservative’s national funding formula for schools, Rayner said: “They still won’t meet their promise that funding will go up in real terms over five years.”
“A Labour government would meet that promise instead: a fairer funding formula, but genuinely fair and properly funded.”
Rayner pledged that Labour would invest £8 billion in new school buildings, with £13 billion to repair schools across the country. Labour would also remove the public sector pay cap.
The principles under the 10 point charter are:
1) Education has intrinsic value in giving all people access to the common body of knowledge we share, and practical value in allowing all to participate fully in our society. These principles shall guide the National Education Service.
2) The National Education Service shall provide education that is free at the point of use, available universally and throughout life.
3) The National Education Service provides education for the public good and all providers within the National Education Service shall be bound by the principles of this charter.
4) High-quality education is essential to a strong and inclusive society and economy, so the National Education Service shall work alongside the health, sustainability, and industrial policies set by a democratically elected government.
5) Every child, and adult, matters, so the National Education Service will be committed to tackling all barriers to learning and providing high-quality education for all.
6) All areas of skill and learning deserve respect. The National Education Service will provide all forms of education, integrating academic, technical and other forms of learning within and outside of educational institutions, and treating all with equal respect.
7) Educational excellence is best-achieved through collaboration. The National Education Service will be structured to encourage and enhance cooperation across boundaries and sectors.
8) The National Education Service shall be accountable to the public, communities, and parents and children that it serves. Schools, colleges, and other public institutions within the National Education Service should be rooted in their communities, with parents and communities empowered, via appropriate democratic means, to influence change where it is needed and ensure that the education system meets their needs. The appropriate democratic authority will set, monitor and allocate resources, ensuring that they meet the rights, roles, and responsibilities of individuals and institutions.
9) The National Education Service aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism. Educators and all other staff will be valued as highly-skilled professionals, and appropriate accountability will be balanced against giving genuine freedom of judgement and innovation. The National Education Service shall draw on evidence and international best practice, and provide appropriate professional development and training.
10) The National Education Service must have the utmost regard for the wellbeing of learners and educators. Its policies and practices – particularly regarding workload, assessment and inspection – will support the emotional, social and physical wellbeing of students and staff.
Discussing the charter, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) said it was a “ray of light, illuminating the possibilities for a new education system”.
“It recognises professionalism. It avoids the language of blame. It commits to the wellbeing of education workers and learners. It pledges to integrate education with social and economic policy, so that schools and colleges are no longer expected to carry most of the burden of transforming lives. It envisages a system restored to democratic control. These principles could fundamentally change for the better our educational system,” added Courtney.