The results of the 2010 UK general election are in and a winning party could not be declared. Neither of the two major parties, Conservatives and Labour, won enough seats to govern in their own right. 326 seats are needed to achieve outright control in the 650-seat House of Commons.

In the 2010 election the Conservative party won 306 seats, Labour secured 258 whilst the Liberal Democrats won 57. The remaining 28 seats were won by minor parties. This result is referred to as a hung parliament, a situation which last occurred in Britain in 1974.

The hung parliament meant the three parties had to confer and reach an agreement about who would form a coalition with whom. In the end, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined forces and plans to change politics in Britain have begun in earnest.

As the Liberal Democrats have struck a partnership with the Conservative party, rather than Labour, concessions have been gained on their tax plans and visions for dealing with the national deficit have been enhanced.

When it comes to education, the Conservative party has adopted the Liberal Democrat’s stance on attracting a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Liberal Democrats believe that a pupil premium should be introduced to tackle social deprivation. Under the proposed scheme, payment is made directly to state schools for each pupil admitted from a disadvantaged background.

As outlined in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, the cost of implementing pupil premiums rests at around £2.5 billion but many believe that under a Conservative led government it is likely the premium will be met by reshuffling existing resources rather than having to produce completely new funds.

The Liberal Democrats are firm believers that reform should be promoted in schools so that new education providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand. There will also be an emphasis on giving schools greater freedom over curriculum.

The Conservative policy for Swedish style “free” schools will remain. Under this policy, groups, including parents, can set up their own institutions if they are unhappy with the standards of local schools.

In terms of higher education there are proposals to ensure an adequately funded university sector prevails and student debt is another area to be tackled.

In the Liberal Democrats original manifesto there were plans to find an alternative to higher education fees. The agreement drawn up between the two parties vows to look at the initial proposals to review higher education funding and the results are due to be reported in the autumn of 2010.

The coalition agreement stipulates that all schools must be held fully accountable for results and although the Liberal Democrats agree with the need for external accountability, they place greater emphasis on teacher assessment.

In all areas and levels of education, the new coalition wants to improve the quality of teaching whether that is through increased funding, pupil premiums, increased accountability or greater provision of free teaching resources.

Janine Barclay writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

 

Janine Barclay writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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