Education is at the heart of what Liberal Democrats stand for. It is the key to freedom and opportunity, and a vital part of creating the fairer society our Party seeks to build.
We believe in a society where every young person, no matter what their background or circumstance, can grow up to achieve anything they set their mind to.
At the 2017 General Election the Conservatives proposed cuts to school budgets that would have hit every school in Bournemouth. These could have led to losses totaling £5.3 million across Bournemouth - the equivalent of 142 full-time teachers, or nearly £300 per pupil.
The Liberal Democrats fought these proposals and the Conservatives were forced to rethink their plans. Sadly, the cuts they now have in mind would still see most of Bournemouth's schools suffer badly but we will continue to stand up for our local schools.
It is a tragedy that in 21st Century Britain, the wealth of a child’s parents and where they are born are still indicators of how well they will do at school. In addition, it's a scandal that Bournemouth is close to the bottom of the league when it comes to Social Mobility.
We know that the key to social mobility is access to a great education where all children are challenged whilst receiveing the support they need when appropriate. It's clear that in order to ensure every child gets the support they need, our education system must be properly funded. We were proud to introduce the Pupil Premium – additional money to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – when we were in Government. It is our policy to protect school funding in real terms, from the early years right through to college.
Our vision for education is about more than just passing exams.
We should give children confidence, creativity and practical skills too. We are deeply concerned that children are increasingly missing out on subjects like art, music and sport.
We want to see a broad, balanced curriculum in our schools which includes financial literacy, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, citizenship, and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.
Access to education and new opportunities should not end at 18. We introduced a record number of apprenticeships in the last Parliament, to support people to gain new skills or change career at any age and we want to see greater investment in adult skills training and further education colleges.
Fundamentally, we also know that a demoralised and undervalued teaching workforce cannot deliver the best education for all so we are committed to working with education professionals to tackle the workload and recruitment challenges they face.