As we prepare for a new Parliament and a new Government to be formed, it would appear that the Tories need to radically change their policies when it comes to School provision and that they along with Labour and the Liberal Democrats need to review their plans for Higher Education provision. This assessment was disclosed by a report which was published by the Nuffield Foundation based on analysis provided by the Education Policy Institute that according to this article disclosed that the Conservative manifesto contains some key policies that could support improved school based education standards but that there are a number of areas where the proposed policy agenda is “unlikely to support the very boldly stated aspirations which the Conservative government has set out for raising attainment and ensuring greater equality of opportunity” and that it will do little to address the existing disadvantage gap or provide necessary funding increases to improve support for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), an analysis of the leading parties’ manifestos concludes.
The focus on Higher Education was covered by this article which refers to the Conservative’s plans as “surprisingly vague [especially] given that a comprehensive review has just been completed for the government by Philip Augar”. The review said that the Tories’ “only clear indication of direction” is to reduce interest rates on student loans which of course would be of benefit to students who are emerging from their courses but it is a very small area of improvement. The report suggests that the Labour proposal to abolish tuition fees offers no evidence that it would improve educational outcomes, access or participation. It also warned greater reliance on taxpayer funding could lead to reduced overall spending on HE. The EPI also said the Liberal Democrat’s proposed “skills wallet” for further and higher education lacks policy detail and does not clearly offer good value for money. In contrast to Labour, the Liberal Democrats were proposing to spend relatively little on higher education and instead “review funding in this area, despite an independent review having only just taken place”. Like the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats’ “plans in relation to HE are scant on detail”, the review concluded.