Labour Party’s key education announcements – Friday 28 September 2018

This week I report on the Labour Party’s education announcements at its annual conference, the release of the draft 2018/19 Pay policy and Sport England’s announcement of a £13.5m scheme to train 17,000 teachers in delivering PE and sport in secondary schools.

Labour Party’s Education announcements
This week the Labour Party convened in Liverpool for its annual conference. The Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner’s education policy announcements included:

  • Tighter controls on academies and expanded powers for local authorities
  • The right of councils to create new schools would be re-established.
  • Councils would again become the admissions authorities for all schools, including academies.
  • End the requirement for local authority schools to convert to academies if they are rated “inadequate” following inspection.
  • Local authorities would be able to take back academies that are being re-brokered.
  • Local authorities will be able to force academies to expand to meet demand for school places.
  • “National pay rules” would be imposed across all schools, including a 20:1 ratio for CEO pay, meaning academy chiefs could only earn 20 times the salary of the lowest paid employees.
  • Encouragement of ‘community-run schools’, a now obscure type of school promoted under the Blair Government that allows parents and teachers to get involved in running schools.

The Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn also made some announcements on early years, indicating that Labour would extend the 30 hours of free childcare programme to the parents of all three and four year olds with no means testing; establish a national pay scale to raise standards of care by creating a graduate-led workforce, increase average early years funding rates to help the childcare providers that are struggling as a result of the 30-hour policy and launch a national childcare online access portal, which would replace the existing mix of vouchers and credits.

2018/19 Pay policy
Earlier this week schools in North Tyneside received information from the LA’s HR Team advising that the DfE had only published the 2018 school teachers pay and conditions document on Friday 14th September, when it was laid before Parliament. Therefore, HR was only now in a position to issue the proposed guidance pay policy for 2018.

There were various increases in teachers pay across the pay ranges for this year and a significant increase in employer pension contributions (rising from 16.47% to 23.6%) from September 2019.

Whilst it is not practical for some school governing bodies to review their existing pay policy, undertake consultation with their employees on changes and adopt a Schools Pay Policy for 2018/19 by 31 October 2018. It’s been suggested that at our governing body meetings we formally minute that its our intention to put a Pay policy in place using the LA’s HR guidance, that we have instructed the Headteacher and the relevant committee (e.g. Finance and Staffing or Resources) to review and bring the proposed policy to our next full Governing body meeting. Any pay increases will be appropriately back dated.

Sport England launches £13.5m drive to boost secondary school PE
Sport England is launching a £13.5m scheme to train 17,000 teachers in delivering PE and sport in school, after research found that almost 20% of secondary students hated PE lessons. The scheme will run through the national network of teaching school alliances, training teachers in new activities from zumba to volleyball and encouraging school leaders to value PE.

Last year the government doubled the funding for PE in primary schools to £320m a year, and 1 million primary school children are now taking part in the Daily Mile running programme, but secondary schools have been without any financial investment or national schemes in the subject for the last decade.