Liberal Democrats have today announced that the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to a “parental guarantee” – so that every parent can be confident that their child will be taught a core curriculum by a properly qualified teacher.
Our policy, first passed by our federal conference in March 2013, would change legislation so that, by September 2016, all schools will have the same requirement to employ qualified teachers. We have also planned for every state school to deliver a minimum curriculum entitlement, setting out the basic skills and knowledge that every child needs.
These plans have been strongly supported by both the National Association for Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association for School and College Leaders (ASCL) – who between them represent the overwhelming majority of head teachers in this country.
In 2012, Michael Gove announced he would remove the requirement for academies to employ qualified teachers. As well as this, academies and free schools are exempt from teaching the National Curriculum. This has meant that some schools have abused their freedom over the curriculum, excluding vital subjects.
The Liberal Democrats want to provide greater clarity to all schools on what should be taught. We believe that our children should have the chance to study content that is as engaging and stretching as in the best performing countries.
Nick Clegg said:
“Liberal Democrats want more teachers and schools to enjoy freedom from Whitehall diktats.
“Under the Liberal Democrats there will be no return to the bad old days of Labour where teachers received a constant barrage of emails, regulations and guidance telling them how to run their school.
“But that does not mean parents and children should not have some basic safeguards.
“There is no reason why a child attending an academy or free school should not enjoy the same basic right to be taught by a qualified teacher or to follow a core curriculum as any other child.
“These changes will guarantee parents that, whichever school their child attends; they will enjoy a world class education that will help them fulfil their potential.”
Liberal Democrats are supporters of freedom, diversity and choice. That’s why, in government, we have supported measures allowing schools and academies to extend their autonomy.
We have given all schools the freedom to attract, retain and reward the best teachers. We have shortened the national curriculum so there is less direction on how to teach. The Pupil Premium is given to schools without strings attached because teachers know better than politicians how best to spend that money.