Congress notes that education is in crisis. Educators, learners and society are losing out.
Congress demands change. Congress welcomes Labour’s pledge to create a national education service. This must cover all education provision (from early years to adults, through schools, alternative provision, post-16 and HE), all education workers, and all learners – whatever their needs, means or age.
The education system requires better funding and the recruitment and retention of sufficient staff. Any national education service must end and then reverse privatisation of education. It should be democratically accountable, locally and nationally, with rigorous financial oversight, providing national pay and conditions for all.
Congress calls on government and all political parties to create the social and economic conditions for young people to succeed, establish consensus for a long-term approach to education, and institute an inspirational, aspirational and principled national education service, delivered locally, and accessible universally:
- enabling learners to understand and contribute to wider society and the world in which they live and to change it for the better
- ensuring parents are a valued part of the education community, including through school/college governance arrangements
- recognising that every member of staff has a role to play in creating a supportive and stimulating environment in which learners can flourish and achieve their full potential
- seeing education professionals as trusted partners and ethical leaders – redefining their professional identity to guarantee a confident, informed profession of choice with agency and moral purpose, supported throughout their careers and whose work, based on educational research, is valued by society
- fostering collaboration, not competition, between education establishments to provide the highest quality education for all, recognising the capacity to learn has no limits.
Congress notes the Fabian Society’s “Life Lessons: A national education service that leaves no adult behind”. This publication sets out how a Labour government should deliver on its promise to create a free, universal ‘cradle to grave’ education system.
Congress endorses the publication’s proposals:
- accountable – democratically accountable and open at every level
- devolved – with local decision-making that delivers coherent, integrated local provision, albeit within a national framework
- empowering – ensuring that learners, employees and institutions are all enabled and respected
- genuinely lifelong – with opportunities for retraining and chances to re-engage at every stage, and parity for part-time and digital distance learning
- coordinated – flexible pathways for learners between providers and strong partnerships involving providers, employers, unions and technology platforms
- outcome-focused – designed to meet social and economic needs, with far more adults receiving productivity-enhancing education but also recognising that learning brings wider benefits.
Congress urges all political parties to work towards the principles of a national education service with a clear commitment to support a professional workforce.
Congress also welcomes campaigns to liberate the life choices of students by moving to a system where students apply to university after they receive their results, as happens in other countries.
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for a system that:
- rejects marketisation of education
- makes teaching an attractive career choice
- ends the use of casualised contracts
- invests in quality professional development
- increases engagement with staff and respects their professional
Mover: National Education Union
Seconder: University and College Union