Tory plan to expand free schools and ’alternative provision’ is WORST election policy, say teachers

More than a third of teachers have said they strongly oppose the Conservatives election pledge to build more free schools and expand provision for children who have been excluded, according to our latest survey.

There were mixed responses to the proposed education policies of Labour and the Lib Dems, too. Around 1 in 10 teachers surveyed opposed Labour's proposed teacher supply service, and a similar number were against the Liberal Democrats' 'curriculum for life'.

Rating the three main parties' education policies overall, teachers favoured the Labour and Lib Dem packages; more than half of those surveyed rated each party's plans as 'excellent'. In contrast, more than half of teachers rated the Conservatives education plans as 'poor'.

We asked 160 primary teachers what they thought about the education policy pledges of the three main parties, as described in their manifestos. As well as sharing their thoughts about these election promises, they also shared their own education policy ideas. We've summarised their feedback below these interactive results:

 

General Election 12 December 2019: Primary Teachers Survey

(Hover over the graphs for more detail.)

 

What teachers say about the Liberal Democrats' education pledges

 

The Lib Dem pledge to reverse cuts to school funding was the most popular policy of all three parties, with 36.3 per cent in support of it.

 

 

What teachers say about the Conservatives' education pledges

 

Overall, the Conservatives' education policy package was the least popular. 65.4 per cent chose at least one Tory policy they opposed (the rest chose 'no preference').

 

 

What teachers say about Labour's education pledges

 

Overall, Labour's education policy package was the most popular. Only 53.9 per cent selected a Labour policy they opposed (the rest chose 'no preference').

 

 

If you could add a single policy pledge to a manifesto, what would it be?

 

Teachers responded with a broad range of ideas, many of which fell under the same broad categories. Most related to reducing teacher workload, respecting the expertise of teachers and getting rid of unnecessary testing. One teacher wrote:

 

Restore trust in formative assessment by teachers and remove meaningless data-driven tasks. Be clear that children are individuals – not numbers to be moved around on a spreadsheet.

 

It was clear that teachers want schools and local authorities to have greater autonomy. Many respondents' pledges related to this, like this one:

 

Have teachers make decisions about how schools are run and not members of parliament who have no educational background!

 

In line with our finding that most teachers supported party policies relating to SEN funding, many of teachers' own pledges related to increasing provision for special needs:

 

Sufficient funding to allow all SEND pupils to access mainstream education with the appropriate support in class (effectively means more staff).

 


Education is believed to be one of the top five priority issues for voters in this election. The Labour party are consistently seen as being 'best on education' by Britons, and our findings reflect this. However, other issues are higher priorities for voters, so whether or not the majority of teachers will get what they want on 12th December remains to be seen.

 

For comment on these findings, or access to the survey data, contact oli@planbee.com.

 

Oli RyanOli Ryan

@planbeeoli

Hi! I'm a former primary school teacher, now a writer and resource creator at PlanBee. I write about all things education, but I'm particularly interested in education technology, teacher and pupil wellbeing, and government education policy. Read more


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