Education and skills are undeniably two key battlegrounds in this General Election.
Promises and pledges about schools and FE policy have been raining down from the highest party political echelons since well before the short campaign started, and in less than a fortnight it will all come to a head with what many are predicting will be one of the closest elections in living memory.
I have spent the last few months following the party leaders to manifesto launches, party conferences, school visits and press conferences.
The resulting 20-page supplement in front of you offers an in-depth look at the policies pitched by the five main parties contesting seats in England, along with in-depth reaction from unions, sector organisations and, as usual, enlightening analysis from a host of experts from both the schools and FE & skills sectors.
For each of the three main parties, we have four pages of content, including news, exclusive comments from party leaders and senior figures and the full list of their policies relating to education and skills. These are presented in the order in which the manifestos were launched.
We also looked at the Green Party and Ukip’s offerings on education and skills, and our pages on those parties can be found further back in this supplement.
It is often said that in modern politics, you can’t tell the difference between the main parties. But as far as education and skills policy goes, that could not be more wrong.
That is why we felt it was important to present information and analysis on the manifestos of all five parties in one supplement for the readerships of both Schools Week and FE Week.
And if that wasn’t a good enough reason for this first collaborative supplement, with large structural shake-ups proposed by many of the parties, schools and FE policy and decision-making could become even more intertwined after May 7, and we should all be ready.