Lord Blunkett’s education plan for Labor unveiled

Sabbaticals for teachers, a “creative” curriculum and long-term tutoring are among the recommendations made by for former Education Secretary Lord Blunkett for a Labor government.

137 pages of Lord Blunkett Learning and Skills Report was commissioned by Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer last autumn and sets out the priorities the party will need to address in the education sector if it comes to power.

Lord Blunkett – David Blunkett, who served in Sir Tony Blair’s cabinet during the ‘education, education, education’ era – said he hoped education would return to top priority of the central government.

He said Your“It has been heartbreaking that from being a predominant aspect of the politics of both major political parties, it has literally slipped away to barely be mentioned at all.

“It is a failure on the part of those in power to understand the incredible economic and social, as well as educational, importance of equipping the nation for the world of tomorrow.”

Lord Blunkett added: “Education is not a must have, it is an absolutely essential feature of the current recovery and the survival of the UK economy. OWe just have to keep hammering the agenda over and over again.

He wrote the report as part of a Council of Skills Advisers, which includes Kevin Rowan, Head of Organisation, Services and Skills at TUC, entrepreneur Praful Nargund and Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Registrar at the University of Warwick.

Lord Blunkett’s recommendations: curriculum reform

Among the report’s recommendations is the creation of a reformed curriculum that builds on “a body of knowledge developed over many years” while “embracing today’s reality and the demands of the coming “.

The report states:The national curriculum is now highly prescriptive and supports a traditional notion of education that focuses on subject-specific, knowledge-rich learning delivered in a very passive way.

Lord Blunkett says Labor should “design an inclusive, inspiring, creative and forward-looking program that will unleash talent, foster the inquisitive mind in every young person and prepare young adults for an ever-changing world, designed to ensure that no child is left behind”.

The emphasis of the program follows shadow speech by Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson at the Labor Party Conference last month, in which she called for a curriculum that “values ​​and nurtures creativity alongside academic achievement”.

Report by Lord Blunkett also defends topics that have “taken a hit” in recent years, such as art, music and theater.

Importance of vocabulary

He also suggests giving additional importance to orality and to a “renewed emphasis on vocabulary, especially in the early years and Key Stage 1”.

Sabbaticals for teachers

The report recommends sabbaticals for teachers every five years as a recruitment and retention measure.

It states: “A sabbatical of up to one academic term should be offered after every five years of service in order to connect teachers with the possibility of other internships, research opportunities or exchange programs abroad – a times that workforce planning allows for sufficient capacity within the school. and the college system.

It would start with those teaching Key Stage 4 and above, then expand “as needed,” and funding would be offered for travel and temporary accommodation.

Lord Blunkett said Your“If we could attract people and keep them in the profession, we would save a lot of money and a lot of time, but we would also reduce the pressure on existing teachers.

Teacher pay rises and wider political costs were not set out in the document but would be addressed by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Shadow Education Secretary Ms Phillipson in the future, Lord Blunkett said.


The report also discusses the national tutoring program, which it says should be reformed and “integrated as a permanent feature” to “enable all young people to access private tutoring services on equal terms.” “.

Digital skills

Lord Blunkett’s plan also emphasizes children’s digital literacy and calls on primary school pupils to learn about “authentic programming, whether it’s simplistic CSS/Html coding or even more advanced languages ​​such as Python”.


Assessment of the new curriculum would be “multimodal”, the report says, “so that young people’s progress is no longer only measured by written exams”.

Labor said all schools should offer ‘breakfast clubs’, funded by the scrapping of the homeless tax rate.

Today’s policy paper builds on this and proposes the return of New Labour’s core Sure Start aims, of which Lord Blunkett was the architect.

National Oak Academy

A Labor government ‘should support the continued expansion of resource platforms such as Oak [National] Academy,” the report states, “as a means of enabling more students to access quality lessons, with the added benefit of reducing pressure on staff.”

This recommendation comes despite criticism of Oak by some education figures and labor leaders.

Schools Bill

Asked if a Labor government should continue the policies of this year’s Schools Bill, Lord Blunkett said academisation would not be abandoned and he stressed the importance of working with the government local.

ofsted reforms

The report says Labor should launch a national inspection review “to ensure that the inspection and accountability regime makes the most positive and constructive contribution possible to the education system as a whole”.

Expanding on this, Lord Blunkett said Your that Ofsted and its leaders were “steeped in the distant past” and held out hope that the organization would become more of a help than a threat.

‘Ofsted should be designed to be genuinely helpful rather than just critical,’ he said.

“Survival-oriented” schools

Asked what schools should be focusing on for change in their day-to-day operations in order to help achieve the goals set out in the report, Lord Blunkett said: “Survival is probably the top priority for leaders’ programs right now. establishment, so I would be very reluctant to criticize them. But for the future, with much more flexibility and support, understanding the changing world of work would be my recommendation.

“I think a lot of them are just looking to survive in terms of the financial outlook, with the energy crisis, the wage issue and the likely outcome of the new round of austerity next Monday’s autumn statement. “

Sam D. Gomez