Election season is upon us!

James Williams

The upcoming UK General Election has significant implications for the education sector. Key policy changes and funding allocations proposed by major political parties could bring notable changes to schools across the country. In addition, the Election has the potential to significantly impact upon our people practices, with proposed changes in employment law and workplace regulations.
Some policies and decisions will be delayed, as parliament dissolves on 30th May, marking the start of Purdah. During this pre-election period the government cannot make any decisions or publish any changes. This means decisions on issues such as Teachers’ pay will be delayed, and some plans may be scrapped completely.

But what of policy pledges?
Labour have pledged a number of education initiatives, including:

  • Reform of Ofsted
  • Ending tax breaks for private schools
  • Making funding available for the recruitment of 6500 more teachers
  • “National Excellence Programme” for school improvement, affording teachers the right to CPD
  • A review of curriculum and assessment
  • Access to counsellors for all pupils
  • Free Primary breakfast clubs
  • Introduction of £2400 retention payments for teachers who successfully complete the early career framework

The Conservatives, meanwhile, oppose Labours’ view on tax breaks for private schools and have pledged to launch a refresh of the recruitment and retention strategy, including:

  • Replacing A-Levels and T-Levels with a new Advanced British Baccalaureate
  • Boosting international recruitment of Teachers
  • Continuing to promote Teaching Degree Apprenticeships

Whilst the Liberal Democrats are yet to release their manifesto, it is thought they are likely to pledge a number of education initiatives, including an increase in school and college funding above the rate of inflation, investment in new school buildings, reversing the cuts to the Pupil Premium and free school meals, and addressing the underfunding of children’s mental health services.

In addition to the impact on education as a sector, the General Election has the potential to significantly impact on our people practices. Depending on the election outcome, there may be reforms to employment laws affecting contracts, working hours and employment rights. Proposals to enhance worker protections, including measures to prevent unfair dismissal and improve job security may require HR teams to review and possibly revise their existing policies.

2024 has already seen the introduction of several new employment laws and, moving forward, key battlegrounds are likely to include:

  • Neonatal care leave
  • Reform of industrial action laws
  • Qualifying periods for sick pay and Paternity leave – could these become a day one right?
  • Changes to the National Living Wage and the minimum wage
  • Zero hours contracts

The outcome of the General Election will shape the future of education in many ways, depending on which party comes into power. For more details and information on each party’s policies, please refer to their official manifestos.

James Williams – Solicitor

James Williams

I am a qualified Employment Law and HR Solicitor. I specialise in acting for schools and advise on all aspects of employment law and HR including attending employee meetings, advising senior leaders, conducting redundancy consultations, drafting contracts of employment, advising on policies and procedures and negotiating settlement agreements.