CREDIT: This story was first seen in TES
National Education Union calls for proposal to champion ‘well-trained and qualified professionals’, TES reports.
Labour has signalled plans for democratic oversight of schools and emotional support for staff as part of a 10-point charter for a National Education Service.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner outlined (Sept 26) more details of the proposed cradle-to-grave education service, which has been a flagship policy of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The proposed charter says schools “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”.
It added that “the appropriate democratic authority will set, monitor and allocate resources, ensuring that they meet the rights, roles, and responsibilities of individuals and institutions”.
On education staff, it says the service’s “policies and practices, particularly regarding workload, assessment, and inspection, will support the emotional, social and physical well-being of students and staff”.
Ms Rayner this afternoon told the party’s conference in Brighton: “Our national education service will be lifelong, providing for people at every stage of their life.
“That is our national education service. Not just another structure. Not another new sign on the school gate.”
She criticised the government’s national funding formula for schools, and told delegates “they still won’t meet their promise that funding will go up in real terms over five years”.
She added: “A Labour government would meet that promise instead: a fairer funding formula, but genuinely fair and properly funded.”
Ms Rayner repeated Labour’s pledges to remove the public sector pay cap, invest £8 billion in new school buildings “where they are needed” and commit £13bn to repair the school estate.
She also said that, if she became education secretary, she would allocate £10m “to end the scandal of period poverty in our schools”.
The proposals were welcomed by Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU).
He said: “This charter is a ray of light, illuminating the possibilities for a new education system, after years in which schools and colleges have experienced a narrow curriculum, a punitive system of accountability and a lowering of educational horizons.
“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.”
He added that, in the consultation on Labour’s plans, the union would emphasise “the importance of well-trained and qualified professionals, with time and space for continuing their professional development throughout their careers as a key principle, on which NEU would build its vision for education”.