THERE is a general acceptance by the main parties that more money needs to be allocated to education and Britain’s classrooms.
Yet, as voters struggle to keep up with the volume, viability and veracity of the spending pledges, there’s still insufficient evidence to suggest that these extra financial resources will be spent effectively.
Yes, more teachers, and small class sizes, will make a difference after it emerged that there is a 15 per cent shortfall in the number of recruits who are beginning training for secondary schools, but so, too, will teachers having the freedom – where appropriate – to innovate and inspire rather than having their hands tied by officialdom.
And that it the key lesson as the much-respected Education Policy Institute, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, critiques the policy prospectuses put forward by the major political parties in England cast doubt on the quality of evidence underpinning the proposals and whether they have been subjected to sufficient pre-election scrutiny.
This isn’t a time for experiment or whims. The issue at stake here is the education of the next generation of young people – a generation who, it is hoped, will become the future go-getters, strivers and achievers driving forward technological advances in an increasingly competitive global economy which places a premium on new skills.
It is even more reason, therefore, for policies to be road-tested – and evaluated – before they’re fully implemented to ensure that every reform, from early years learning to post-16 skills training, is helping, rather than hindering, the future prospects of children across Britain.
Furthermore, this is a test that any Minister or aspiring Minister will be happy to take – they do not, as recent elections show, have a monopoly on the best ideas. And the sooner they realise this, the better.