Election 2024

Labour manifesto 2024: All the schools policies

Party wants to 'modernise' curriculum but 'build on' knowledge-rich successes

Party wants to 'modernise' curriculum but 'build on' knowledge-rich successes

Labour has pledged in its manifesto to “modernise the school curriculum”, but wants to “build on” the success of “knowledge-rich syllabuses”.

In what is likely to be seen as a further effort to reassure traditionalists in education, the party also said its curriculum review would consider the “right balance of assessment methods whilst protecting the important role of examinations”.

The manifesto

The manifesto only sets out policies that have already been announced, although some have inevitably evolved or changed slightly since they were announced – some as long ago as 2021.

Further details on what the party has said on its policies before can be found in our policy tracker.

In the document, the party pledged to “drive up standards, modernise the school curriculum, reform assessment, and create higher-quality training and employment paths by empowering communities to develop  the skills people need”.

“Most children attend schools where the Conservatives are failing to provide the support and teaching that they need. Labour will end the VAT exemption and business rates relief for private schools to invest in our state schools.”

The party has also provided updated costings for some of its policies. It said the £315 million cost of breakfast clubs would be met from closing non-dom tax loopholes.

Meanwhile, the party expects to raise £1.5 billion from its plans to apply VAT and business rates to private schools.

This will fund its plan to recruit 6,500 teachers (£450 million), increased teacher and headteacher training (£270 million), work experience and careers advice for all young people (£85 million) and early language interventions (£5 million).

The party said it would also cover its Ofsted reforms (£45 million), opening more than 3,000 new school nurseries (£35 million) and mental health support for every school (£175 million).

Curriculum, assessment and accountability

  • Launch an expert-led review of curriculum and assessment, “working with school staff, parents and employers”.
  • Reforms will “build on the hard work of teachers who have brought their subjects alive with knowledge-rich syllabuses, to deliver a curriculum which is rich and broad, inclusive, and innovative”
  • The review will also “consider the right balance of assessment methods whilst protecting the important role of examinations”
  • Support children to study a creative or vocational subject until they are 16, and “ensure accountability measures reflect this”
  • “Do the same” for numeracy as phonics has for reading
  • Fund “evidence-based” early-language interventions in primary schools
  • Introduce new regional improvement teams to “enhance school-to-school support, and spread best practice”
  • Replace single headline Ofsted grades with a new report card system “telling parents clearly how schools are performing”
  • Bring multi-academy trusts “into the inspection system”
  • Introduce a “new annual review of safeguarding, attendance, and off-rolling”

Recruitment and retention

  • Recruit an additional 6,500 new “expert” teachers into shortage subjects, support “areas that face recruitment challenges”, and tackle retention issues
  • Review the way bursaries are allocated and the “structure of retention payments”
  • Update the early career framework, maintaining “its grounding in evidence”
  • Ensure any new teacher entering the classroom “has, or is working towards”, qualified teacher status
  • Introduce a teacher training entitlement to “ensure teachers stay up to date on best practice with continuing professional development”
  • Reinstate the school support staff negotiating body, which will “help address the acute recruitment and retention crisis in support roles”
  • Create a new excellence in leadership programme, a “mentoring framework that expands the capacity of headteachers and leaders to improve their schools”

SEND, inclusion and mental health

  • Take a “community-wide approach” to SEND, improving “inclusivity and expertise in mainstream schools, as well as ensuring special schools cater to those with the most complex needs”
  • Make sure admissions decisions “account for the needs of communities” 
  • Require all schools to “co-operate with their local authority on school admissions, SEND inclusion, and place planning”
  • Provide access to specialist mental health professionals in every school, so “every young person has access to early support to address problems before they escalate”

Cost of living

  • Fund free breakfast clubs in “every primary school, accessible to all children”
  • Bring down the cost of school by “limiting the number of branded items of uniform and PE kit that schools can require”

Other policies

  • Open an additional 3,000 nurseries through upgrading space in primary schools (the actual figure is 3,334)
  • Guarantee two weeks’ worth of work experience for every young person
  • Improve careers advice in schools and colleges
  • Improve data sharing across services with a single unique identifier for children
  • Bring forward a “comprehensive strategy for post-16 education”
  • Protect time for physical education, and support the “role grassroots clubs play in expanding access to sport”
  • Launch a new national music education network – a “one-stop shop with information on courses and classes for parents, teachers and children”
  • Ensure schools “address misogyny and teach young people about healthy relationships and consent”
  • Introduce a supervised tooth-brushing scheme for 3 to 5-year-olds, targeting the areas of highest need

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