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- Move the school starting age from 5 to 6:
- Free school meals to all state school (primary/secondary) under-privileged children (parents must be in receipt of welfare.)
- Replace GCSEs/A-Levels to a Baccalaureate style qualification:
- This would reform GCSEs/A-Levels, so they are; less stressful, include non-exam essays that account for 50% of the course and focus more on critical thinking.
- Triple the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1000 to give extra help to disadvantaged children who are at risk of falling behind from the very beginning of their education.
- Reversing cuts to school funding, employing an extra 20,000 schoolteachers:
- Raise the starting salary for teachers to £30,000 and increase all teachers’ pay by at least five per cent per year throughout the parliament.
- Scrap mandatory SATs, and replace existing government performance tables (‘league tables’) of schools with a broader set of indicators.
- OFSTED Inspections should take place every year and should consider a broader range of factors including the mental, social and emotional development of pupils as well as the wellbeing of staff:
- Independent schools should be subject to the same inspection regime.
- Ensure that all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling.
- Give parents the option of a voucher-like bursary so they can send their children to an independent school if they wish:
- The voucher would only be up to the equivalent fee for the respective state school.
- A Community Comprehensive School system – there must be more involvement of teaching staff, governors, parents and the local community in the planning and delivery of a curriculum which is relevant to the needs of the children, and in the actual management of schools:
- Academies, Foundation and Free-Schools will only be allowed to exist as long as non-profit organisations and groups are involved in the running of the schools.
- Give Local Government more power over existing Academies/Foundation/Free Schools/Academy Trusts/Secondary Moderns
- All new state schools should either be Community Comprehensive Schools, Faith Schools therefore Academies/Foundation/Free-Schools/Academy Trusts/Secondary Moderns will eventually be replaced.
- All state schools must follow The National Curriculum; however, the party would allow greater autonomy within local government in respect to how it is implemented:
1) The National Curriculum would also include Personal, Social and Health Education, financial literacy, environmental awareness, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).
2) Teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content will also be included in RSE.
3) Teach the core skills required for children to flourish in the modern world, including critical thinking, verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning.
- We support the right of communities to create schools where there is sufficient parental support.
- Maintain Independent Schools’; however, remove charitable status (vis-a-vis OFSTED Inspections) unless an Independent School’ can concretely show its benefiting the entire community in the same sense that a charity might.
- An online education system:
- To ensure everyone can access education easily we want to create a new government website that will allow people to access all courses offered by schools and universities to students. This should include video tutorials, interactive lessons and an effort to make as many peer reviewed papers open to all as possible. This program should first be tested in a small number of regions to ensure it works before it is rolled out to the rest of the UK.
- Replace Student Tuition Fees with a Graduate Tax and create a Living Wage maintenance grant which reflects the area the student is studying in Manchester, Durham, London etc:
- University Tuition fees will be capped at £5000 per annum.
- Tuition fees would only be payable after a graduate is earning £25,000 (per annum) or above.
- Help children from poorer families to remain in education and training beyond the age of 16 by introducing a ‘Young Leavers Premium’. This would be based on the same eligibility criteria as the Pupil Premium, but a portion of it (50%) would be paid directly to the young person aged 16-18.
- Publicly funded Vocational Training/Technical Colleges in every county council in order to increase the proportion of vocational training relative to university education:
- Universal Technical Colleges will be replaced and a pupil will only be able to attend a Vocational/Technical College from the age of 16 onwards.
- Scrap the learning tax, by refunding the VAT colleges pay and giving them money to afford a pay rise for college lecturers.
- Improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment, and improve careers advice and links between employers and colleges.
- Education grant upto 10k across an individual’s lifetime:
- That’ll be divided into £3,500 at 25 years old, £3,000 at 35 and another £3,500 at 50.
- Individuals, employers and local governments will also be able to pay into the wallets and thus potentially increase the grant amount.
- Individuals will get to choose how and when to spend the money – as long as it’s a course from an approved provider.
- Establish a review of higher education finance in the next parliament to consider any necessary reforms in the light of the latest evidence of the impact of the existing financing system on access, participation and quality, and make sure there are no more retrospective raising of rates or selling-off of loans to private companies.
- Ensure that all universities work to widen participation by disadvantaged and underrepresented groups across the sector, prioritising their work with students in schools and colleges, and require every university to be transparent about selection criteria.
- Support two-year degree schemes (similar to Masters degrees, it would consist of summer semesters).
- A single degree qualification exam board:
- Just as we support a single government exam board for GCSEs and A-levels, there should be a single body to mark degree level exams and coursework. This would help to reduce biases that may affect the marks of individual students and will also help to standardise the marks of students in different universities