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Post-election update for schools

on Tuesday, 09 July 2024.

As anticipated, the Labour party have been elected with a significant majority. Whilst the imposition of VAT on school fees has attracted the most attention, we are likely to see a number of developments which will affect the sector.

In this brief update we have identified the Labour Manifesto pledges which are likely to impact on independent schools. Whilst some of these are specifically focused on the maintained sector there is no doubt that Labour are committed to a change to the educational landscape and many of these pledges will have implications for independent schools.

We will continue to keep you updated as proposals develop most notably after the King's Speech on the 17 July, and following the first bills of the new parliament which will be introduced from 18 July.

 Key education manifesto pledges

  • A commitment to implementing the Protect Duty
  • Update the rules around counter-extremism
  • New legal safeguards around police strip-searching children and young people 
  • Expand childcare and early-years system, drive up standards, modernise the school curriculum, reform assessment, and create higher-quality training and employment paths.
  • Open an additional 3,000 nurseries through upgrading space in primary schools, to deliver the extension of government funded hours
  • Improve data sharing across children's services, with a single unique identifier, to better support children and families
  • Recruit 6,500 new teachers + other reforms to teacher training, recruitment and retention
  • Enhance the inspection regime by replacing a single headline grade with a new report card system telling parents clearly how schools are performing
  • Every child to have a broad curriculum with an excellent foundation in reading, writing and maths, and support to develop essential digital, speaking, and creative skills. Launch an expert-led review of curriculum and assessment, working with school staff, parents and employers to ensure children are not missing out.
  • Bring Multi-Academy Trusts into the inspection system and introduce a new annual review of safeguarding, attendance, and off-rolling
  • Curriculum and assessment review will consider the right balance of assessment methods whilst protecting the important role of examinations
  • Take a community-wide approach, 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 and require all schools to co-operate with their local authority on school admissions, SEND inclusion, and place planning
  • Provide free breakfast clubs in every primary school accessible to all children
  • Bring down the cost of school uniform by limiting number of branded items of uniform and PE kit schools can require
  • Provide access to specialist mental health professionals in every school to give every young person access to early support to address problems before they escalate
  • Establish Young Futures Hubs to ensure every community has an open-access hub for children & young people with drop-in mental health support
  • Bring forward a comprehensive strategy for post-16 education - guarantee training, an apprenticeship or help to find work for all 18-21 year olds
  • Establish Skills England to deliver Labour's Industrial Strategy. This will also work with the Migration Advisory Committee to make sure training in England accounts for the overall needs of the labour market
  • Transform FE colleges into specialist Technical Excellence Colleges to work with businesses, trade unions and local government
  • Act to improve access to universities and raise teaching standards
  • Modernise, simplify, and reform the gender recognition law to a new process; whilst retaining the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a specialist doctor, enabling access to the healthcare pathway
  • Work to implement the expert recommendations of the Cass Review to ensure that young people presenting to the NHS with gender dysphoria are receiving appropriate and high-quality care
  • Build on the Online Safety Act, bringing forward provisions as quickly as possible, and explore further measures to keep everyone safe online, particularly when using social media.

Under the new government, we also anticipate a number of changes to the employment law framework, extending rights and giving greater power to trade unions. We included a run-down of these in our latest Schools law brief. If you would like to know more about these updates in further detail, please do attend our webinar on 17 July 2024.

To discuss the impact of these changes on your school or should you need any further details, please contact Victoria Guest in our Regulatory Compliance team on 07393 148 782, or complete the form below.

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