A National Education Service
A National Education Service

Key Messages

  • A National Education Service (NES) – When the 1945 Labour government established the NHS, it created one of the central institutions of fairness of the 20th century. The NES will do the same for the 21st, giving people confidence and hope by making education a right, not a privilege, and building bridges where the Conservatives build barriers.
  • Labour’s plans for a NES offers a message of HOPE that we must bring to the doorstep.
  • Labour will create a service that offers 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.

What will Labour do?

  • Overhaul the existing childcare system in which subsidies are given directly to parents who often struggle to use them, and transition to a system of high-quality childcare places in mixed environments with direct government subsidy. Labour will maintain current commitments to free hours and ensure significant capital investment in the first two years to ensure places meet demand
  • Under the Conservative 1,200 Sure Start Centres have been lost. Labour will halt closures and increase money available for Sure Start
  • Schools are chronically underfunded. Class sizes are too big. Labour will reverse Tory cuts and invest the necessary resources to drive up standards across the board, including reducing class sizes to less than 30 for all five-, six-, and seven- year-olds, and seek to extend that as resources allow
  • Free school meals for all primary school children , paid for by removing VAT exemption on private school fees
  • Take steps to resolve teacher recruitment/retention issues, including ending public sector pay cap and giving teachers more involvement in the curriculum and reducing bureaucracy
  • Deliver a strategy for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) based on inclusivity
  • There has been a catastrophic fall in adult education. Labour are seeking to reverse this decline. Labour would introduce free, lifelong education in Further Education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life.
  • Apprenticeships – Employer-led training is the most effective way of meeting our growing skills gap. Labour supports the apprenticeship levy, but will take steps to ensure that every apprenticeship is of a high quality
  • Scrap University tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants. Nobody should be priced out of education.
  • Change the current process to apply for Higher Education. Applications will be made after exam results not before. Predicted grades system disadvantage working class pupils
  • Review key stage 1 and 2 SATs and look at methods of continuous assessment, which avoids ‘teaching for the test’

Key areas of discussion:

  • This is a CLASS issue. Working class children and adults are massively disadvantaged in the current system. Working class kids are in poorly resourced oversized classes. Working class pupils are far more likely to have their A Level grades under predicated, which can then prevent them attending their preferred university. Young working class adults are far more likely to be priced out of university. They are also far less likely to be able to afford to retrain at a later point in life. Labour WILL address all of these issues. No person will miss out because of their class under a Labour Government
  • The importance of childhood. There is too much pressure. Children should be embracing their childhood and enjoying more creative and fun ways of learning, not fretting about tests. Reports of mental health issues/depression in children are disturbing
  • We want learning for enjoyment. Adults should be enabled to learn for personal development and not just for job training
  • Creative subjects are falling by the wayside. These subjects should be funded and encouraged as much as any other. Some children may be more interested and motivated by subjects such as drama, this should be celebrated.
  • Access to adult education is so important, particularly for people from a disadvantaged background who didn’t have a good experience at school. It’s a second chance
  • Technological advances – we live in an ever changing world where advances in technology may free up time as we go on. We should embrace this going forward and continually look for new, creative and positive ways to learn and enjoy leisure time
  • Abolition of private schools. Private school breed arrogance and elitism. The small percentage of privately educated people dominate the tops jobs. These schools are the core of Britain’s inequality problem. Labour Against Private Schools is working towards the full integration of private schools into the education system. A motion is being brought to conference in September to make this official party policy. Let’s look at models like Finland who achieve some of the best educational outcomes across Europe. In Finland private schools were effectively brought into the private education system over the course of a decade


Let’s be confident on the doorstep and present a 1945 style vision that promotes our message of hope and social justice.


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