National Education Service announced at Labour Party conference

27/09/17

Speaking at the annual Labour Party conference taking place in Brighton this week, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has outlined plans for education under a Labour government.

Her speech outlined a ten point charter that would be behind a National Education Service.

What would this mean for parents?

In her speech, Rayner said:

"Today, we outline the principles of that National Education Service in a draft charter, starting a conversation on how we continue to build it moving forward. And I look forward to that conversation, to visiting schools, colleges, and universities, to talking to pupils, parents, teachers, and businesses, so we can truly build a National Education Service for the many, and not just the few."

Several aspects of the National Education Service relate closely to PTA UK’s aim of promoting the role of parents as partners in education, especially the eighth point on accountability that would see "parents and communities empowered". We hope to work with the Shadow Education Secretary to ensure that parents are part of the dialogue in developing the following charter points:

1. Be guided by the principle that 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”.
Our comment: A key part of this success happens when parents are actively engaged in their child's education and recognised as stakeholders and consulted on policy. It has been shown that even having a parent talking positively about education in the household benefits a child's outcomes. 

2. Provide education that is “free at the point of use, available universally and throughout life”.
Our comment: Parents are lifelong learners too, and the more engaged parents are in education, the better the outcomes for them as well as their children.

5. Commit to “tackling all barriers to learning”, and providing high-quality education for all.
Our comment: There are also barriers to parents being engaged in education, which as part of our strategy, we are working towards removing so as to create a culture of positive home/school partnerships. 

9. Aspire 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”.
Our comment: We'd like the opportunity to be part of the conversation in finessing the details for this point, ensuring that the value of parental involvement in schools is considered.

We welcome the Shadow Education Secretary's commitment to viewing parents as partners in education. PTA UK will continue to work with all political parties and educators to ensure that parent voice is considered in the development of education policy.

You can see the full proposed charter for the National Education Service on Schools Week, as well as Angela Rayner's speech in full.

Image credit: Chris McAndrew