What are your hopes for education under a new Government?

Funding is going to be a recurrent problem for education ministers including staffing, buildings, equipment and innovation.

We asked our panel about what stance the new Government should take and what they would like to see as their priorities, if any, for education.

The future belongs to those who are educated for it! This has been the watch word for all at Childwall Sports College and it has served us well over the past few years to remind us that there is nothing more important for the future success of our country, than for all our youngsters to be educated in readiness for what continues to be a rapidly changing society. Our politicians must commit themselves to providing opportunities for Lifelong Learning for all our citizens to ensure that everybody plays a full and valuable part in the life in each and every community. There are still too many youngsters who do not have the opportunity to learn from opportunities provided outside the main stream curriculum. Politicians must continue to invest in and must ensure that there are appropriate pathways for all our students especially in the run up to the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA) which will affect the current year 8 students at all our secondary schools.

Dewi Phillips, Head Teacher Childwall Sports College

Given all the uncertainties we face from the creation of this coalition and where budget cuts have to be made to tackle the massive deficit, we are fortunate that a clear commitment has already been made to invest an EXTRA £2.5bn in the education of over one million children who currently face the greatest challenges in their backgrounds. This will, we hope, cut class sizes, offer more one to one tuition and provide ‘catch up’ lessons so that the gap between the quality of education for rich and poor children is narrowed.

Julia Shaw, School Governor The Blue Coat School, Liverpool

Having had the mantra of Education, Education, Education lead to the introduction of academies without any accountability to the community they serve one of the hopes for education under the new government must be that they leave education alone as it seemed an impossible hope that they will be returned to the integrated comprehensive education system we need.  Hopefully the policies can be implemented on funding schools to support disadvantaged pupils, slim down the curriculum testing and reform Ofsted.

Avis Gilmore, Regional Secretary, North West Region NUT

My first hope would be that the incoming government sustains and develops what has been achieved in the past decade.  According to OfSTED, the current generation of teachers are the best-trained ever, school buildings have improved and, however intractable it may appear, there have been advances in pupil attainment.  In higher education, more and better qualified students are obtaining places at university and, in time, they will help improve the competitiveness of the UK in the global market. But the banking crisis has already seen threats to, and cuts in, investment in education.  My hope is that the new government continues to value the importance of education to the long-term future of our economy and society, at a time when unemployment is rising.

Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor Edge Hill University

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