How Will Labour Change Adult Education? - UK Election 2024

Keir Starmer is officially the new Prime Minister after Labour won by a landslide on the 4th of July’s general election. Labour campaigned for change after 14 years of Conservative government, but how will they change adult education in the UK?

6,500 New Teachers 

One of the biggest pledges made in Labours manifesto is the promise to recruit 6,500 new teachers, something that Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson has started to work on after just days in office. 

The scheme is a big priority for Labour, and as such Ms Philipson will write to “all education workforces” on Monday in order to reset the relationship with the sector. She will also be meeting with union bosses and education leaders in the coming days, according to the Department for Education. 

To reach their goal, the government will resume and expand the recruitment campaign ‘Every Lesson Shapes a Life’, which directs potential teaching candidates to the website Get Into Teaching where they’re able to find support and advice from teaching training advisors, a contact center, as well as a programme of national events. 

Find out more about Labour’s plan for 6,500 new teachers in our blog, including how they’re planning to fund this. 

Post-16 Education 

Labour promised a reform of apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy in a comprehensive strategy for post-16 education. It’s a goal of the government to reduce unemployment among those who are aged 18-21, and to do this they plan on guaranteeing that everyone in this age bracket has access to an apprenticeship, training, or support in finding work. 

Labour proposes to establish ‘Skills England’ to achieve this goal, which will bring together businesses, training providers, unions, and national and local government to ensure a highly trained workforce. The proposed ‘Skills England’ would work together with the Migration Advisory Committee, which is an independent public body advising on migration issues to make sure that training meets the needs of the labour market. 

It’s also in Labour’s plan to reform the Apprenticeship Levy, replacing it with a new Growth and Skills Levy. The Labour Government sees the current Levy as “broken” with “rigid rules” which ignores vital skills and training needed to access apprenticeships. The new Levy aims to provide businesses with increased flexibility, making funds available for a wider range of training courses and not just apprenticeship schemes. 

Nick Kane 8e2ct1xnej4 Unsplash 1

More Power for Local Authorities 

Labour plans to increase the number of devolved areas across the country, promising that local areas will “gain new powers” over adult education, skills, and employment support.  

In their manifesto, they confirm that they will deepen devolution settlements for existing Combined Authorities and will widen devolution to more areas in order to encourage local authorities to “come together and take on new powers”. 

This could allow local authorities to respond to the needs of their area, developing specific education and skills programmes that align with skills gaps and shortages that need to be addressed in the local area. 

What does it mean? 

Labour’s comprehensive plans for adult education mark a significant shift towards a more responsive and locally driven approach. By recruiting 6,500 new teachers, reforming post-16 education, increasing the power of local authorities, Labour aims to create a flexible, inclusive, and forward-looking adult education system. Their focus on empowering local authorities ensures that adults across the UK will have the opportunities and resources they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving job market. 

It remains to be seen how quickly the changes will be implemented, and if they will have a positive impact overall, but we do know that the work has already begun just days after Labour took office. 

Not sure where to get started?
Let us help!