The Next General Election
This summer's snap election surprised everyone so it wouldn't be sensible for me to predict how it will end. The Prime Minister wants a clear mandate for her "plan for Britain". The leader of the Labour Party started the campaign with a challenge to the "rigged system". Education hasn't featured much in national politics in the last few months but there are plenty of reasons why this may change. The Conservatives will need to explain more about their plans for grammar schools and will face questions over the national funding formula. The Green Party's promise to eliminate university tuition fees may put the Labour Party on the spot over their own plans. Is there a clear plan to make up the £8 billion this might cost? So far, the Lib Dems and UKIP don't appear to have updated their policies from the 2015 election. Like just about everyone else in the UK they - and I - guess they assumed there would be a five year Parliament and a 2020 election. We've been putting together a college manifesto in the last few days for speedy consultation with AoC members. We don't expect that further education will feature heavily in the campaign but who knows. Apprenticeships had a surprisingly high role in 2015 which has had far reaching consequences in the two years since that election. Brexit makes these issues even more important. The skills gaps the country faces and the need to find new economic models reinforce the importance of strong colleges at the heart of a sustainable education and training system. AoC has developed ideas on this in recent months which we will continue to develop in partnership with college leaders and anyone else interested in this issue including the MPs and Ministers in place after 8 June.