The Labour Party policy consultation on education has now closed, and we hope that educators, parents and Labour party members took time to contribute to the important proposals for a National Education Service.
The notion of a National Education Service is long overdue. The fact that 70 years after the introduction of a National Health Service we still haven’t got a cohesive organisation overseeing education is regrettable. It’s incredible that government after government hasn’t even considered this seemingly obvious move.
It really is time for change and we thoroughly commend the Labour Party for proposing an innovative and necessary National Education Service.
Here is our contribution – Part One is a commentary on the 10 Key Principles of a National Education Service. In Part Two, we will publish our response to the questions posed by the Labour Party.
The key principles are:
- Education 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.
- The National Education Service shall provide education that is free at the point of use, available universally and throughout life.
- The 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.
- High 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.
- Every 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.
- All 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.
- Educational excellence is best achieved through collaboration and the National Education Service will be structured to encourage and enhance cooperation across boundaries and sectors.
- The 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.
- The 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 training.
- The 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.