Conservative views on education
Why should I, a teacher, vote Tory? I see absolutely no reason to.
Ben Pritchard, assistant head for inclusion, Montem primary school, London
We believe schools succeed when teachers are free to teach. That’s why setting schools and teachers free has been central to our plan, and why we’re going to do more. Just recently in response to the Workload Challenge I outlined an action plan that will give teachers more time to focus on teaching and strip away a lot of the additional burdens that mean England’s teachers work some of the longest hours in Europe.
After a huge number of essential changes in recent years, we now need a period of stability to allow the changes to bed in and spread throughout the system. The last thing we need is to throw everything up in the air and create more turbulence when the reforms of this last parliament are clearly delivering results.
We will also ensure schools continue to receive the investment they need. Our plan means we will spend more on schools in the next parliament than any other party has promised.
Related: Labour’s education policies: you ask the questions
What are you going to do about the fact that 40% of teachers leave the profession within five years?
Craig Parr, secondary school teacher, London
I think this is partly about ensuring teachers have the freedom to get on with the job. It’s about tackling unnecessary workload, which I’ve already talked about and is something I’m committed to doing, and ensuring the profession is valued and recognised. It’s important to note though that the latest figures show the teacher vacancy rate has been around 1% or below since 2000, while the number of new entrants has risen to 53, 000 with more top graduates joining the profession than ever before.
My home city will soon no longer have a secondary school under local authority control. What do you recommend for parents, such as myself, who reject the academy model?
Lynsey White, further education teacher, Norwich
I’m curious about your nervousness. I think what matters is what a young person sees as they walk out of the school gate, not the name they see on the way in. If they see a bright future then that’s far more important than whether they went to an academy, maintained school or anything else.
The academy programme was the product of the pioneering work of the Labour peer Lord Adonis, who understood the potential. The reason we have dramatically grown his programme from the 200 academies Labour left behind is because the evidence from at home and abroad is that the twin principles of freedom and accountability work to drive up standards.
That’s what’s really at the heart of the programme, freedom for schools to do things their way and for teachers to teach, combined with a strong set of performance measures that mean they are held to account. This is why academies are outperforming the old council-run schools. What matters is what works, and academies are helping to drive up standards for all.