Ahead of the general election on July 4th political parties are publishing their manifesto. As expected no major party pledges to tackle selection, but here’s what the parties do have to say about our campaign cause.

The Conservative Party

There is a brief mention of grammar schools in the Tory manifesto.  It says, ‘We will protect parents’ choice on where to send their
child to school, including preserving the rights of independent and grammar schools.’ On admissions more generally it states, ‘We will
lift the cap on faith schools, allowing them to offer more places to children based on faith and encouraging them to expand.’

The Labour Party

A short passage in the Labour manifesto suggests the party will reform school admissions. In the ‘breaking down barriers to opportunity’ section it says, ‘Too often our education and care systems do not meet the needs of all children, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Labour will take a community-wide approach, improving inclusivity and expertise in mainstream schools, as well as ensuring special schools cater to those with the most complex needs. We will make sure admissions decisions account for the needs of communities and require all schools to co-operate with their local authority on school admissions, SEND inclusion, and place planning.’ This suggests that schools such as academies, which are their own admission authorities, might have greater accountability with schools cooperating with Local Authorities to meet the needs of SEND pupils and their wider communities. This will go some way to tackling the problems CF outlined in our, ‘Decision Time: A Plan for  Fair Admissions’ policy paper.

The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dem manifesto makes a pledge to, ‘Give local authorities with responsibility for education the powers and resources to act as Strategic Education Authorities for their area, including responsibility for places planning, exclusions, administering admissions including in-year admissions, and SEND functions.’ This is a positive change, and goes a little further than the Labour pledge by promising greater powers for councils and also additional resources.

The Green Party

The Green’s manifesto is the most aligned to CF’s campaign cause. It promises a ‘fairer, greener education system’  with a pledge to ‘end high-stakes testing at primary and secondary schools.’ It should be assumed that this includes ending the 11-plus as the party has a long standing commitment to a fully comprehensive education system. They promise a “fully-inclusive” education system. There is no mention of admissions but a pledge to, ‘move academies and free schools into local authority ‘control.’

Reform UK

The Reform Party calls it’s election document a ‘contract’ rather than a manifesto’ As a party with a reputation for right wing policies we might have expected a pledge to create new grammar schools, however there is no mention of expanding selection. There is a pledge which is far from inclusive, with a plan to increase the number of permanent exclusions for “violent and disruptive students” with a commitment to double the number of pupil referral units so that schools “can function safely”.

Although there is no direct mention of 11-plus selection in any manifesto we urge our supporters to raise this with their local candidates. CF will be keen to lobby the new government to act on this important issue.

Comprehensive Future needs your financial support, please consider donating to help us continue our campaign. DONATE NOW.