There is a crisis in teacher retention and recruitment in our schools, driven by years of real-terms pay cuts.
The next generation will face a complex, technologically advanced and ever-changing world. England’s education system – from nurseries and schools, to universities and colleges – should be world-class, helping every child to make the most of the opportunities ahead, no matter their ability or background.
"Highly valued, well trained teachers are the most important resource we have in our education system. Liberal Democrats will recruit 20,000 more teachers and give them the pay and support they deserve.
This ambition cannot be achieved with the consistent underfunding of education by government. The shortage of teachers – due to poor pay, crumbling infrastructure and lack of ambition must be urgently addressed.
A recent survey by the National Education Union underscores the deep damage being done to England’s schools.
East Surrey has long been taken for granted by the Tories as an easy seat to retain at Westminster, but giving little back to the community that elected them. The constituency has been hit particularly hard by underfunded education, placing huge pressure on our hard-working educators.
From 2015 to 2020, East Surrey pupil numbers will have increased by 900, totalling 13,000. But funding over that period has gone in the opposite direction, with a drop in funding of £251 per student. This compares to smaller reductions to our neighbours, Croydon South with a drop of £182 per child, Reigate -£153 and Sevenoaks -£66.
Alex Ehmann, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for East Surrey, comments: “Head teachers have done a miraculous job with reduced funding year-on-year. This is unsustainable. They cannot hope to prepare our young people for the future without the proper funding and support.”
A Liberal Democrat government will attract and retain teachers by increasing their starting salaries to £30,000 and guaranteeing all teachers a pay rise of at least 3% a year over the next Parliament. In addition, they will also invest in the fabric of our schools, setting aside £7 billion over five years to build classrooms fit for the future.
Alex Ehmann added: “The Liberal Democrats will also invest an extra £1billion for further education and sixth form colleges, including refunding the VAT they pay. This will help to close the existing £1.1billion gap identified by the National Education Union.
“We still need to fix the gap in sixth-form provision for Horley and surrounding villages. I'll be campaigning to address this issue and to bring East Surrey's education funding up to levels fit to enable our next generation for future success.”
Education in Scotland and Wales is devolved to regional parliaments.