Coalition partners moot education policy ideas for General Election manifestos

This week the majority of schools in England and Wales will return from recess, while MPs will also return to Westminster to get in stuck into a Parliamentary cycle that will be dominated by the looming General Election. So naturally ideas to fill the respective Parties General Election manifestos have been floated around…

The Liberal Democrats took the lead by announcing they will be releasing a form of pre-manifesto to assure the public they are actually relevant.  On education the Liberal Democrats emphasised much of what they have already been saying for the past few years: more investment in early years education, including more free childcare, the trebling of the early years pupil premium and more free school meals for primary school children.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats’ Coalition partners has spent the week gently stirring or strongly dismissing policy ideas mooted for inclusion in the Conservative manifesto. The new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan dismissed claims that the government is planning to oblige secondary schools to divide pupils into ability groups. The Guardian reported Education Secretary Nicky Morgan would call for secondary schools in England to be required to teach pupils in different classes depending on their ability.

The Sunday Telegraph meanwhile featured an interview with Nicky Morgan, who said she would make the English Baccalaureate compulsory if the Conservatives win the next election. Her predecessor Michael Gove had wanted to make it compulsory but following criticism that curriculum changes were being introduced too quickly, the Department for Education has instead been using changes to the schools accountability system – which are being introduced in September 2015 – to encourage the take-up of the “E-Bacc”. Morgan also toned down the zealous support of academisation held by her predecessor, saying that she would like to see more academies but said that there are a lot of maintained schools that need just as much support.

And in a web-chat with TES, Nicky Morgan has refused to rule out the introduction of for-profit schools.  The Education Secretary said allowing schools to be set up by profit-making companies would need to be considered “very carefully”.  

Labour has been quiet, having spent the summer announcing policy ideas that didn’t make much of a splash. See the General Election category for details…