With the General Election only a week away, here's all you need to know about the different party's thoughts on education, skills and training:
University Tuition Fees
It’s Labour who have hit the headlines in this arena with their pledge to abolish tuition fees altogether. The Greens in fact have an even more ambitious pledge, wanting to scrap tuition fees, fund full student grants and get rid of current student debt.
However, the Lib Dems, who’s main pledge in 2010 was abolish tuition fees, has taken a pared-back approach, committing to the reintroduction of maintenance grants for the poorest students and the reinstating of NHS bursaries for student nurses.
UKIP holds similar views to both the above, calling for the abolition of tuition fees for science, technology, engineering and maths undergraduates and an ultimate aim of scrapping all tuition fees. They’ll also restore maintenance grants.
The Conservatives has less to say on the issue of tuition fees, and makes no significant regulatory changes to the sector.
The Conservatives are still going along with their plan to reduce immigration and overseas students are part of this number. They’ll toughen requirements for student visas and rules allowing them to stay and work.
In contrast, both the Lib Dems and Labour recognise that international students are temporary visitors to the UK and want to keep the UK an attractive place for young people to study.
The Lib Dems will also reinstate post-study work visas for STEM graduates, and allow the devolved administrations to sponsor additional visas, which is what Plaid Cymru in particular are looking to introduce.
The Lib Dems and Labour have pledged to secure the rights of EU nationals working in universities at the earliest opportunity, whilst the Conservatives say they will make this commitment when the rights to UK citizens in other EU member states has been secured.
Lib Dem and Labour also want to retain access to Horizon 2020 and future EU framework and prioritise the Erasmus+ programme, which offers UK students the opportunity to study in EU universities, and vice versa.
Technical and Further Education
The Conservatives have pledged to introduce T-levels and new Institutes for Technology, putting vocational education on par with academic education, whilst Labour wants to introduce a unified national education service that is free at the point of use.
The Conservatives are sticking to their plan to re-introduce grammar schools along with ending the ban on new selective schools. UKIP also want to grammar schools, with one in every town.
Lib Dem are looking to abolish grammar schools, whilst they alongside the Green Party want to bring schools back under local authority control.
There is also a call to scrap SATs tests, from UKIP and Green.
Thankfully, all major parties recognise the importance of improving mental health services in the UK. The Conservatives specifically identify issues with support for young people with mental health problems, and have committed to publishing a green paper on the subject by the end of 2017.