Liberal Democrats launch schools reform package

The Liberal Democrats have launched a package of education reforms that would inject greater parental and teacher trust in the English schools system. 

These reforms will go before the party’s Spring Conference in Southport this weekend and comes shortly after the Lib Dems’ health report, which recommended an earmarked tax for the NHS and care. 

The education reforms proposed include:

  • replacing Ofsted with a reformed independent schools inspectorate system that assesses teacher and pupil well-being, as well as results, and a focus on whether school leaders can deliver future improvement 
  • Replacing league tables with a broader set of indicators, including qualitative data on pupil well-being 
  • Qualitative information would come from getting pupil and parent feedback on how well a school is doing, as well as looking at indicators such as what happens to a pupil when they’ve left a school, like attaining university places 
  • Scrapping mandatory Sats for years two and six and replacing with moderated teacher assessment and lighter-touch testing 
  • A ‘curriculum for life’ that includes relationships and sex education, financial literacy and first aid 
  • Establishing a specific individual responsible for mental health in schools to help children 
  • An end to Conservative cuts to education, such as protecting per-pupil spending in real terms, including in further education

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:
“Children must have a well-rounded education and our systems should not just be tick-box exercises. The Gove revolution has produced a Dickensian approach to education. We need to take account of information from teachers, parents and children views as part of improved qualitative and quantitative assessments of our schools.”
Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:
“The over-emphasis on high stakes testing has meant the system has overlooked so many other elements of the development of the child. Parents want to know there children’s well-being is looked after and that they are taught lessons for life, such as first aid and financial literacy, and have the prospects to succeed. 

“We need inspectorate and league table systems that recognise these values, in addition to looking at exam and test marks in maths and English.” 

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