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Tory threat to schools - the 'Gove Files' - UCAS stats

February 5, 2015 1:13 PM

Tories tried to cut schools budget

Lib Dem education minister David Laws has revealed the Conservatives wanted to cut the schools budget on entering office in 2010.

However, the proposal was categorically rejected by the Liberal Democrats, and we would do exactly the same in 2015.

David said: "When we came into Coalition Government, tough decisions had to be taken because, as Liam Byrne famously told me: 'there was no money left'.

"The Conservative assumption in 2010 was for a cash freeze in the schools budget - a whopping 10 per cent cut in real terms over the course of the Parliament.

"When they put that to us, the Liberal Democrats insisted on properly protecting the schools budget and getting real terms increases year-on-year.

"They tried to cut the schools budget in 2010 and I fear that history is repeating itself in 2015.

"(The Tories) silence on the protection of the funding for early years, schools and colleges is deafening.

"Just like in 2010, you need the Liberal Democrats in government again after 2015 to protect education and ensure that the next five years remain about building a stronger economy and a fairer society.

"With Labour surprisingly quiet on the issue as well, it is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to protecting education."

The Gove Files

As the Prime Minister outlines the Conservatives' education plans, the Liberal Democrats have lifted the lid on a five-year battle to protect and improve education.

The Lib Dems have published 'The Gove Files', a 13 page dossier demonstrating how the party has fought Michael Gove's ideological agenda inside the department. It shows how the Lib Dems:

Blocked Gove's plan for schools to be run for profit

Blocked Gove's plan for the return of O-Levels and a two-tier education system

Ensured the Pupil Premium was properly funded and introduced free school meals for infants despite Gove's opposition

The Liberal Democrats ensured the schools' budget was protected in real terms in this parliament but the Conservatives are refusing to rule out drastic cuts to education if they win a majority. This means the education budget could be slashed by a quarter by 2020.

Gove's successor Nicky Morgan refused to rule out cuts to education during her appearance on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Liberal Democrats have committed to protecting not just schools' funding but also nursery and college funding in the next parliament.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: "As a party that believes fundamentally in spreading opportunity to everyone, no matter what your background, Liberal Democrats in government have prioritised education.

"We have successfully fought to raise standards by protecting school budgets, expanding early years education and introducing a pupil premium to get more money to the children who need extra help.

"But we have also spent much of the last five years engaged in a behind-the-scenes battle over education with Michael Gove and the Conservatives' ideological agenda.

"However, the fight is far from over.

"Conservative scorched earth plans for much deeper cuts than necessary in the next parliament mean that funding for nurseries, schools and colleges could be slashed by a quarter by 2020."

Cameron on Academies

David Cameron is right to suggest that we need to do more to tackle underperforming schools - but his solution of mass 'academisation' is simplistic and naïve.

It is good leadership and governance that counts - not a nameplate. Indeed, there are already 600 to 700 existing academies which the Department for Education thinks are cause for serious concern because of poor performance, and this number has doubled in the last year. Some sponsors are doing a great job, but some are themselves mediocre at best.

What is needed is more oversight and challenge of the worst local authorities and academy chains; more action to get the best school leaders working to improve the underperforming schools, and a National Leadership Institute to increase the number of top quality head teachers.

UCAS stats

More young people are applying for higher education courses than ever before, including a record number from disadvantaged backgrounds, UCAS figures out today show.

Everyone knows we couldn't deliver the policy we wanted to on fees. But we then worked non-stop to create a whole new system, creating a graduate tax that means graduates only pay later in life, when they can afford it, with the wealthiest paying the most. And it's working.

Facts and figures:

Application rates for young people are at a record level of 35.5 per cent (England).

The rate of disadvantaged students applying to study higher education hits an all time high with 18-year-olds living in the most disadvantaged areas in England 72 per cent more likely to apply to higher education in 2015 than nine years ago.

Acceptance rates:

Total acceptances in higher education (14/15) at their highest ever level.

Entry rate in 2014 for the most disadvantaged has risen to 18.2 per cent, up from 14 per cent in 2010.

Tuition fees: the facts

You pay nothing up front - going to university depends on your ability, not your ability to pay.

You only start to pay back once you earn over £21,000. If you earn less you pay nothing.

Admissions are up with record numbers of 18-year-olds applying last year.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to go to university than ever before.

Lowering the cap from £9,000 to £6,000 would only benefit higher earning graduates. Those graduates on lower incomes would not repay enough to benefit at all. A student earning £24k would have repaid £67.50 a month under the old system; they'd now repay £22.50.