Following the general election on July 4th, we now have a Labour majority government with 411 of the 650 seats in parliament. Changing from a Conservative government to a Labour government after 14 years naturally brings uncertainty and many potential adjustments.

In this blog, we will examine some of Labour's Manifesto promises and explore the areas that weren’t covered, posing challenges to the sector.

The new Cabinet

With a new government comes a new Cabinet and, of course, a new Prime Minister. 

Bridget Phillipson

Bridget Phillipson has been appointed as Secretary of State for Education. She joined Labour at only 15 and was elected MP for Houghton and Sunderland South in 2010. She was made Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (2020-2021) and Shadow Education Secretary from November 2021 to July 2024.

Phillipson’s key education policies as Shadow Secretary include:

• Funded breakfast clubs for all primary school children in England;

• Reform of Ofsted and moving away from single-word judgements

• VAT on private schools to fund more teachers;

• A full curriculum review and a greater emphasis on speaking and listening skills.

Catherine McKinnell

Catherine McKinnell has been appointed as Minister of State for Schools at the DfE, although her brief is yet to be confirmed. Her parliamentary background includes being elected as Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North in 2010 and first appointed to the Labour frontbench as shadow solicitor general.

In 2011, Catherine McKinnell joined the shadow education team as shadow children’s minister. She has also worked in the shadow cabinet as shadow attorney general and has most recently rejoined the shadow education team as shadow schools minister.

In a recent Tes interview, McKinnell said she wanted to bring the joy of teaching and learning back into schools. She has also highlighted issues such as student mental health and teacher recruitment as priorities for the Labour government.

Labour MPs

What was promised in the manifesto?

In a recent blog, we explored what each party promised in its manifesto. In this one, we highlight only the promises made by labour and explore where further development is possible.


  • Recruit 6,500 new expert teachers in key subjects and review bursaries/retention payments;
  • Teacher Training Entitlement for continuing professional development;
  • Reinstate the School Support Staff Negotiating Body;
  • Specialist mental health professionals in every school;
  • 'Excellence in Leadership Programme', is a mentoring framework that expands leadership capacity to improve schools.


  • Expert-led review of curriculum and assessment;
  • Early-language interventions in primary school;
  • Support children to study a creative or vocational subject until they are 16, ensuring accountability measures reflect it;
  • Protected time for PE;
  • National Music Education Network;
  • Guarantee two weeks of work experience and improve career advice in schools.

Supporting services/other

  • Community-wide approach to SEND to improve inclusivity in mainstream and ensure special schools for most complex needs;
  • 3,000 new primary school-based nurseries through upgrading space in primary schools;
  • Free breakfast clubs in every primary school;
  • Limitation on branded items of uniform and PE kit;
  • A single unique identifier to improve data sharing across services;
  • Strategy to reduce child poverty, working with the voluntary sector, faith organisations, trade unions, businesses, local government and communities;
  • Network of Young Futures Hubs, with youth workers, mental health support workers, and careers advisers to support mental health and avoid young people engaging in knife crime;
  • Youth workers in every PRU.

Commissioning, Accountability and Regulation

  • All schools to cooperate with LAs on admissions, SEND inclusion and place planning;
  • Replace single grade judgements with a report card system, trust-level inspection, and annual review of safeguarding, attendance and off-rolling;
  • Regional Improvement Teams to enhance school-to-school support and spread best practices.

What's missing from the manifesto?

Stone King’s blog by Graham Burns perfectly summarises the differences between the 2019 and 2024 Labour manifestos. It highlights that Labour's manifesto for 2024 is less detailed and shorter than the 2019 one.

The blog also highlights that the 2024 document focuses on continuity and includes specific policies, such as VAT on private school fees. It also emphasises practical policies, such as addressing specialist teacher skill shortages.

Another comparison area is the dual school system of maintained vs. academy schools. The blog points out that this is not addressed in the 2024 manifesto in the same way it was in 2019. Stone King does, however, specify that there are glimpses of future policy on further MAT regulation (such as the introduction of Ofsted inspections for academy trusts) and the reform of Ofsted in the 2024 manifesto.

Furthermore, the blog shows that there appears to be no planned systemic change, and the key issue of school funding levels is not addressed in detail. 

It is also suggested that Labour's manifesto implies a stronger role for local authorities in the school system, particularly for admissions. This may affect the current level of autonomy of academy trusts.

What's next for education under a Labour government?

What are the immediate priorities with the possibility of a Labour-majority government for the next five years?

According to an article recently shared by TES, some time-sensitive/pressing decisions must be made. Here, we highlight some of those and look at the long-term priorities that need to be addressed.

Short-term areas of focus for education

  • A New Education Select Committee is to be formed;
  • School Teacher Pay and Conditions Board recommendations (to be agreed on Nov 24 and backdated from 1st September 24, provisions made in budgets);
  • Support Staff pay recommendations (backdated to 1st April 24);
  • RAAC improvement delays;
  • March awarded CIF bids;
  • Regional Advisory Board decisions on schools joining, leaving and Trusts merging.

Long-term priorities to address

  • Funding - General Annual Grant (GAG) revenue funding- running costs; Capital funding - school estates (80%+ of all school costs are staffing); According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in 2019-20, the UK was the highest spender in the G7 on schools and colleges delivering primary and secondary education as a share of GDP;
  • Recruitment - 6,500 more teachers, address specialist subject gaps, and recruit more support staff;
  • Retention - see our latest report;
  • Attendance - as above;
  • Curriculum - new National Curriculum? Post 16 funding for schools;
  • Behaviour - societal issues causing a continued increase in disruptive behaviour;
  • Qualifications - disparity among awarding boards, vocational courses (T Levels / BTEC / GNVQ);
  • Ofsted - reform called for and promised by this government pre-election;
  • Unions - better relationships needed to avoid strike situations;
  • Support services - CAMHS, Social Services, Policing (inc Prevent, County Lines, CSE), Alternative Provision;
  • Future of structure - MATs / Regional / LAs;
  • Accountability measures - KS2 SATs, KS4 Progress 8 and Attainment 8, KS5 L3VA and Attainment;
  • Nursery provision promised needs scoping for realistic implementation;
  • A single unique identifier to connect public services together needs a plan of what, who, how, and when.

What can schools and trusts do to improve?

With change expected in the sector, it remains as important as ever to listen to your stakeholders, whether it is about new policies, their wellbeing or the operational and cultural experiences of staff. 

With Edurio Unlimited, you can ask what you want whenever you want and keep your finger on the pulse of your school's community members.