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Early Years, Education and Skills:

Towards a National Education

The Labour Party

Thank you for taking part in the Labour Party’s 2018 National Policy Forum
Consultation, the Party’s process for getting input from our members,
supporters and stakeholders on how we shape our policies.

This booklet is one of eight policy documents published by the Labour Party
as part of our consultation this year.

Each document contains sets of questions for you to answer. You do not
need to answer every question, nor is there any specific way to answer them.
We suggest picking the questions most important to you and using them as
a guide to write a few lines or paragraphs on what you think about the issues
in this area.

At the end of the document you can find a guide on how to send in
your ideas to us and other ways to get involved in the consultation.

There are seven other documents that might interest you covering different
areas of the Party’s policies, you can find them in the consultation pack or
online. If you have an idea or issue you would like to talk about that is not
covered in this year’s consultation, you can submit these to us too via

Whether you’re a Labour Party member or not, we want to hear your ideas
on how the next Labour government should tackle the challenges our
country faces, and build a more equal Britain for the many, not the few.

Want to know more about how Labour makes policy?

You can learn more about how Labour makes policy, further details about
the 2018 Consultation and find policy events in your area on our website

The Labour Party is an inclusive member-based organisation that
prides itself on being accessible to all who share its values. If you
would like an accessible version of these documents please email us at
policydevelopment@labour.org.uk to discuss how we can best accommodate
your requirements.

NATIONAL POLICY FORUM CONSULTATION 2018 Early Years, Education and Skills

Early Years, Education and Skills:

Towards a National Education Service

Labour’s vision
The principle of a National Education Service (NES) was not only a key element of our 2017
manifesto, but is central to the Party’s policies and wider vision. From our investment in
early intervention and Sure Start Centres, to the establishment of the comprehensive school
system and the Open University, we have demonstrated our commitment to progressive
reform in education. We want to build on this proud legacy. Our ambition is of a National
Education Service providing an excellent education for all those who need it, available from
cradle to grave.

The values that will underpin the NES were outlined at Labour Party Conference last year
by Angela Rayner MP, the Shadow Education Secretary. These principles will now form the
basis of a wider consultation, within and beyond the Labour Party, on how this policy will be

The Conservatives have created an education system that is increasingly fragmented and,

Early Years, Education and Skills

for too many, inaccessible. The drive towards academisation since 2010; an early years and
childcare system divided into a complex series of both demand and supply side entitlements
and subsidies; and a system of both higher and adult education that is increasingly reliant on
personal debt, has made it harder for learners and their families to navigate the system and
to access it whenever they need to.

The Labour Party

The development of the NES is the key focus for Labour in developing education policy
before the next General Election. The development of the NES will underpin all other policies
and reforms. This means that getting the framework right is crucial.

The NES is important in addressing both the social and economic challenges that Britain
faces in the years ahead. It has always been one of Labour’s central beliefs that everyone,
whatever their background, should be given the opportunity to reach their potential, to
succeed not just in the world of work but in their own development. The NES seeks to extend
this opportunity to everyone, at any time in their life, regardless of their circumstances or

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, and undergoes wider economic changes
as new industries emerge and the world of work changes, equipping people with new skills
throughout their lives will be imperative; from young people passing through school needing
to develop skills that will respond to the economy of the future, to those currently in work
who will seek to retrain and advance in their current professions or move to new industries.
The NES will underpin Labour’s plans to transform our economy, and to ensure that
prosperity it shared by the many, and not simply held by the few.

Labour’s Policy in the 2017 manifesto

In our 2017 General Election manifesto, we outlined a series of policies that were the first
steps towards the NES, beginning in the early years and continuing through the adult
learning. These policies included:

• Expanding early years education to 30 hours a week for all 2-4 year olds, as well as moving
towards a system of supply-side funding, with additional subsidised provision over and
above the 30 hours, and a move towards a graduate-led workforce to improve the standard
of education within settings.

• Investing in schools, and protecting budgets in real terms over the course of a Parliament,
as well as introducing a genuinely fair National Funding Formula in which no school
loses out.

• Making further education free at the point of use, for all those who need it at any stage of
their lives, making lifelong learning for all a reality.

• Scrapping university tuition fees.

• Bringing back both the Education Maintenance Allowance and university maintenance
grants to ensure that money is never a barrier to remaining in education for students of
any background.

NATIONAL POLICY FORUM CONSULTATION 2018 Early Years, Education and Skills

What next?

The policies in our manifesto were followed by the publication of a draft charter for the
National Education Service, announced by the Shadow Education Secretary at Labour
Party Annual Conference in 2017. The next stage in developing the NES is to consult on
and develop this charter, to ensure that we are working from the correct principles, and
to identify the policy questions we will need to answer in taking the vision of a National
Education Service forward.

Part of this process will be a wide-ranging consultation on the principles that are outlined in
the draft charter. Some of the pertinent questions are outlined below.

Have your say – give us your thoughts on the questions below:

 hat should a National Education Service be for and what values should it and the draft
charter embody?

 hat amendments, if any, should be made to the principles outlined in the draft charter
for the National Education Service?

 hat additional principles should be considered for the charter of the NES?

 hat barriers currently exist to cooperation between education institutions, and what
steps can be taken to remove them and ensure that cooperation is a central principle of
our education system?

 hrough which channels and mechanisms should the public be able to hold educational
institutions to account, and how should this vary across different educational bodies?

 hat can we do to reduce the fragmentation of the education system, and to move

Early Years, Education and Skills

towards an approach that is integrated and promotes lifelong learning?

 ow do we improve the quality of early years education, in particular with relation to
qualifications and staffing levels?

 ow do we achieve genuine parity of esteem between academic and vocational/technical
education? How do we improve outcomes for those young people who do not choose to
follow what is seen as the traditional academic route?

 hat can be done to ensure that the NES has the staff it needs, in particular with
reference to the ongoing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention?

 hat steps can be taken, at both the training stage and during continuing professional
development (CPD), to ensure that teachers and support staff have the knowledge and
resources they need to teach the whole curriculum? For instance, with reference to
mandatory, age-appropriate relationships and sex education (RSE) and personal, social
and health education (PSHE).

The Labour Party

As Labour continues to build on its General Election manifesto in anticipation of entering

Government, the draft charter sets out the principles that will structure and guide the
National Education Service.

Labour will consult on these principles across the education sector and beyond, building
a wide consensus on the fundamentals of a cradle-to-grave education system which will
support everyone throughout their lives.

The key principles are:

1. E
 ducation has intrinsic value in giving all people access to the common body of knowledge
we share, and practical value in allowing all to participate fully in our society. These
principles shall guide the National Education Service.

2. T
 he National Education Service shall provide education that is free at the point of use,
available universally and throughout life.

3. T
 he National Education Service provides education for the public good and all providers
within the National Education Service shall be bound by the principles of this charter.

4. H
 igh quality education is essential to a strong and inclusive society and economy, so the
National Education Service shall work alongside the health, sustainability, and industrial
policies set by democratically elected government.

5. E
 very child, and adult, matters, so the National Education Service will be committed to
tackling all barriers to learning, and providing high-quality education for all.

6. A
 ll areas of skill and learning deserve respect; the National Education Service will provide
all forms of education, integrating academic, technical and other forms of learning within
and outside of educational institutions, and treating all with equal respect.

7. E
 ducational excellence is best achieved through collaboration and the National Education
Service will be structured to encourage and enhance cooperation across boundaries and

8. T
 he National Education Service shall be accountable to the public, communities, and
parents and children that it serves. Schools, colleges, and other public institutions within
the National Education Service should be rooted in their communities, with parents and
communities empowered, via appropriate democratic means, to influence change where
it is needed and ensure that the education system meets their needs. The appropriate
democratic authority will set, monitor and allocate resources, ensuring that they meet the
rights, roles, and responsibilities of individuals and institutions.

NATIONAL POLICY FORUM CONSULTATION 2018 Early Years, Education and Skills

9. T
 he National Education Service aspires to the highest standards of excellence and
professionalism. Educators and all other staff will be valued as highly-skilled professionals,
and appropriate accountability will be balanced against giving genuine freedom of
judgement and innovation. The National Education Service shall draw on evidence and
international best practice, and provide appropriate professional development and

10. T
 he National Education Service must have the utmost regard to the well-being of
learners and educators, and its policies and practices, particularly regarding workload,
assessment, and inspection, will support the emotional, social and physical well-being of
students and staff.

Early Years, Education and Skills

Thank you for taking the time to read our consultation document.
We want to harness the views, experience and expertise of our members,
stakeholders and the wider public. If you would like to respond to any of the
issues in this document, there are a number of ways you can get involved:

1. Online: The best and easiest way to send in your ideas and join the
discussion is via our online home of policy making:
2. By post: If you have written down your ideas, you can post these to us at:
The Labour Party,
Policy Unit,
105 Victoria Street,
London, SW1E 6QT
3. At your local party: You may want to discuss your ideas with other
members of your CLP or local branch. You can suggest to your CLP
Secretary that a policy discussion is held at a future meeting.
4. Regional Policy Forums: Look out for events hosted by your regional
office, local parties and National Policy Forum Representatives.

You can find out more about the 2018 consultation, upcoming events
and more details on how Labour makes its policy at

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates during the consultation


Please send your ideas before the consultation

period ends, it runs until Sunday 24 June 2018.

10688_18 Reproduced from electronic media, promoted by Iain McNicol, General Secretary, the Labour Party,
on behalf of the Labour Party, both at, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT.