News, Politics

Education becomes third most important election issue for parents

Education has become the third most important issue to parents in the current election campaign, according to new polling.

Deltapoll polled 1,000 parents of school-age pupils on behalf of the National Education Union, and found education came third on a list of priorities, after the NHS and Brexit.

The importance of education is growing in this election

A previous Deltapoll survey for the NEU earlier this month put education in fourth place, after health, Brexit and jobs and the economy.

Education moved to the same position in early June 2017, just days before an election in which it is claimed that as many as 750,000 switched their support because of school funding cuts.

On the issue of funding, the Deltapoll/NEU poll found 54 per cent of parents believe the funding of state schools in their area is insufficient. Thirty-two per cent said it was sufficient and 14 per cent said they didn’t know.

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents said child poverty was a very big or quite big issue in Britain today.

Asked which party’s education policies they had been most impressed with while putting aside their own preference, 26 per cent of respondents said Labour, 16 per cent said Conservative and 10 per cent said Liberal Democrat. Five per cent chose the Brexit Party, despite the fact the party has not released details of its education policies.

Covid spending masks tiktok
Dr Mary Bousted

Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, said the poll demonstrated that the election “is about much more than Brexit”.

“The importance of education is growing in this election. Parents, alongside teachers, head teachers and support staff, know that if you value education then you must vote for education.”

Labour appears to be cutting through most with its education policies. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they had heard the party talking about education, compared with 27 per cent for the Conservatives and 16 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

However the survey was conducted between November 22 and 25. While Labour and the Liberal Democrats had already published their manifestos, the Conservatives only published theirs on November 24.

The poll also shows that education is a much bigger issue in the midlands than it is in London, and more important to parents of nursery and primary school-age pupils than those with children at secondary school.

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Mark Watson

    Whilst education is unsurprisingly important for parents of children currently going to school (actually the most surprising this is it’s not higher), regretfully this is of course not representative of the electorate as a whole.

    YouGov had education as the 7th in the list of most important issue at 14%, with Brexit at 68% (nearly five times bigger)

    Ipsos Mori has education as the 5th most important issue at 18%, with Brexit at 63%.

    It’s also worth putting this into context in terms of who took part in this poll. The precise numbers change on a daily basis, and between pollsters, but there is a very broad consensus that as things stand today polls have the Conservatives holding a strong lead over Labour. According to the BBC’s poll-of-polls today it currently stands at 11% (Conservatives at 41% and Labour at 30%), with Deltapoll’s own survey putting the Conservative lead at 13%

    In this survey, after the respondents were asked who they’d vote for, Labour ended up with a 5% lead over the Conservatives (31% to 26%). That’s quite a difference.

    Whilst these results can be discussed in terms of what parents of school age children think, it has little to no relevance to the broader picture, however much the NEU might wish it did.

    As depressing as it is, this education is undoubtedly going to more influenced by Brexit than any election in recent times has been influenced by a single issue. I think education should be FAR higher up the list of priorities than 14%/18%, as will all readers of this website, but we have to face reality.

      • Mark – it happens to me all the time. It’s the same with clumsy grammar. Some publications have a time-limit edit function but Schools Week doesn’t.

        It could have been worse, though. Your original typo could have just replaced the ‘L’ in ‘election’ with an ‘R’.

        I shall read this very carefully before pressing Submit.