Friday, 16 April 2010

1. Students (& Youth)

The BBC have some excellent summaries of the policies of the parties in each area: economy, crime, health, etc, but I think it would be useful for people to be able to consult something that outlines policies that could affect them directly. Therefore, I've started off this series of articles to compare the party policies in different areas.

You'll likely find yourself falling into at least one of the categories used throughout this series of articles, which will be continued throughout the run-up to the election as time permits.

Here's the first, which is a summary of policies which would affect students and youth in general, including everything from nursery to university and adult education.

- Ringfence schools budget.- Allow failing schools to be taken over by federations of successful ones.- All young people offered a place in higher education or training when leaving school.

- 75% of school leavers going to University or advanced apprenticeship by age 30.

- Raise free nursery education to 15 hours per week

- Expansion of Teach First to attract more highly qualified graduates from University.

- Golden hellos - £10,000 - for teachers going to work in tough schools.

- Introduce more subjects in primary school, such as the opportunity for all pupils to learn an instrument.

- All primary schools to teach a foreign language, with emphasis on Mandarin.

- Power for parents to demand a ballot to remove the headteacher and employ new management.

- Report Cards for schools to allow parents to assess the performance of schools.

- Guarantee to parents that primary school pupils who fall behind will receive one-to-one or small group tuition.
- Freedom for parents and teachers to set up their own schools by converting buildings. They would receive state support. Intended to raise standards by having schools compete with each other, give parents/pupils more choice, and reduce class sizes.- Less paperwork and interference in teaching.- More rigorous exams achieved by letting universities and academics have more power in creating them.

- Free online database of past exam papers.

- Ensure better teachers by raising the bar of qualification to become a teacher, and allow headteachers to pay good teachers more.

- Attract more science and maths teachers by offering payments on student loans.

- Prevent government overruling headteachers on expulsion.

- More hands-on teacher training to ensure teachers are experienced. Expanding Troops to Teachers to get former soldiers into teaching.

- For those aged 16, voluntary National Citizen Service - mixing with people and helping community.

- The creation of additional apprenticeships and allowing schools to offer work-based learning.
- Abolition of university tuition fees over a six year  period. Scrap the target of 50% going to University.- Altering the national curriculum to vastly reduce its size and make it less restrictive.

- Pupil premiums to give schools with challenged pupils more funding. This should be used to hire more teachers and support staff to help pupils.

- Reduce class sizes by having schools use their additional funding to schools to hire more teachers. Aiming for maximum of 20 in primary school classes.

- Reducing testing, and replacing with 'Diagnostic testing' to pick up early on weaknesses of children, and ensure they get help with their weaknesses.

- Create a General Diploma. This is a mix of GCSEs, A-Levels, and vocational courses to allow students to pick a mixture.

- Make academy schools accountable to local authorities, not Government.

- More funding for adult education.

- Young, petty criminals asked to confront victims and work off their damage instead of being given ASBOs.

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