David gave high praise to John Dunford in his role as Pupil Premium Champion
Liberal democrats are proud of the protection of school budgets, pupil premium, universal free school meals, progress 8 etc.
Still the biggest challenge is breaking link between attainment and disadvantaged background
The attainment gap in English and Maths is narrowing
Two thirds of disadvantaged children are still failing to achieve the benchmarks
5 key priorities for the liberal democrats are:
- Money – we will protect the education budget. The 16-19 cuts have hit schools so we will extend 16-19 budgets and protect them. They also promise to deliver the fair funding formula.
- Investment in the Early Years – Extend early years to 2 year olds as they have started. They will triple the pupil premium in Early years. Extend QTS to early years.
- Teachers – Develop, reward and attract high quality teachers. Reduce workload of teachers. For example supporting the development of a Royal College of Teaching.
- Develop a school led system – We believe it is the best way to improve outcomes. We need a middle tier to support and challenge schools. Many LA’s don’t have the skills to do this. We would give Ofsted the power to inspect academy chains. The school led system must work in every area of the country and this is a struggle in the areas that most need it. They propose to develop a national level of leadership to develop system leadership everywhere.
- Getting politics out of education – It will always have a role however David said that his experience of government is that too much change effects schools and students. Politically driven change should be underpinned with research not on the whim of a politician.