All posts by ukipstocksbr

UKIP and Sex Education

We support age-appropriate sex and relationship education at secondary level, but not for primary school children.

There is a world of difference between teaching young children about online safety or telling them no one else is allowed to touch the private parts of their body, which is a sensible way to help prevent and encourage reporting of abuse and going into too much detail. The latter risks sexualising childhood, causing confusion and anxiety, and encouraging experimentation.

We will also rule that all parents must be made fully aware of the sex education teaching materials being used, before their children see it, and we will continue to respect their right to withdraw children from sex-education classes if they wish.

UKIP and Primary Education

We believe it is the duty of the state to ensure high quality education is provided for all. To achieve this, we will build our education policy upon three key principles: –

1. Education must be responsive to individual needs

Children have widely different aptitudes and capabilities and, crucially, they develop at different rates. Our school system and our whole approach to education should be more flexible than it is now.

2. Good teachers are paramount

The quality of education is almost entirely dependent on the quality of teaching. We need the best people to choose to teach and we need to keep them teaching. To achieve this, we must ensure not only that teachers are well-prepared for a teaching career, but also that they have a high status in society and feel valued.

3. The importance of primary education

A child’s first experience of education is vitally important, as this is when the pattern for learning is laid down and when literacy and good social skills are established.

CUTTING TEACHERS’ WORKLOAD

Too many teachers are working excessive hours and struggling to find an acceptable work-life balance. We do not want stressed, overworked teachers in our classrooms. Their workloads must be eased.

We will decrease the amount of paperwork teachers deal with, such as overly detailed individual lesson plans, data collection, excessive internal assessments and dialoguebased marking schemes. The plethora of centralised targets will be streamlined and lesson observations limited to a maximum of one each term, except when there are concerns about teaching performance that appraisal processes have been unable to address. Enforcing the current restriction on class sizes to thirty pupils and aiming to reduce this to twenty-five pupils over time, will further ease teacher workloads – not least when it comes to marking – as well as ease parental concerns about large class sizes.

We will scrap teachers’ performance-related pay, which the NUT describes as having ‘increased bureaucracy and working hours’ and does not adequately reflect teaching ability.

PRIMARY EDUCATION

UKIP will abolish Key Stage 1 SATs, set at the age of seven, as these tests have destructive, unintended consequences: they encourage ‘teaching to the test,’ they narrow the curriculum and, often, they put pressure on teachers to concentrate disproportionate resources and time on borderline pupils. Worst of all, these tests create anxiety for everyone – children, teachers, parents, school governors – at exactly the time when children should be learning to learn, to enjoy the experience and to think of school as a fun and rewarding place to be.

To increase the uptake of science learning at secondary level, we will follow the recommendations of the Campaign for Science and Engineering and require every primary school to nominate (and train, if necessary) a science leader to inspire and equip the next generation. This role will also help to address the gender imbalance in the scientific subjects.

Fathers and Families

UKIP wants fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives. To help prevent thousands of fathers losing contact with their children each year when couples break up, UKIP will legislate for an initial presumption of 50-50 shared parenting in child residency matters.

Grandparents will also be given visiting rights, unless it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Family Court that there is a good reason to withhold such rights. We will also review the Family Court system, with the intention of implementing independent lay oversight of Family Courts, to ensure that necessary confidentiality does not prevent proper scrutiny in this and all areas of Family Law.

Childcare for school-age children

For parents of school-age children, extending the school day by offering wrap-around childcare will offer enormous benefits to working parents, for whom it is likely to be by far the most sensible and convenient childcare option.

We will place a statutory duty on all primary schools to offer before and after-school care from 8am to 6pm during term time, with the option to extend this to all-day provision throughout the school holidays.

Sessions will include breakfast and healthy snacks. Sadly, anecdotal evidence suggests significant numbers of teachers are seeing pupils arrive at school hungry.

Schools can choose how they facilitate before and afterschool care. They can provide it themselves; partner with external childcare providers; or allow parents to club together. There will be no cost to the school, as parents will pay for the cost of childcare themselves or use the voucher scheme.

UKIP’s plan for early years childcare

EARLY YEARS CHILDCARE

UKIP will continue to fund the current childcare offer of fifteen hours a week of free childcare at a nursery, preschool, or for a childminder, for all three to four year olds, and for all two-year olds whose parent are on certain benefits. We will also honour the current Government’s commitment to providing a new tax-free childcare scheme, worth up to £2,000 for children under twelve.

However, we will amend the voucher scheme in order to address the shortage of places and cut the cost to both parents and the state, by de-regulating childcare provision.

At the moment, if parents want to claim their free childcare entitlement, they must place their child with an Ofsted-registered childminder. UKIP will remove this requirement and allow parents to use any third-party, non-related child carer they feel comfortable placing their child with, provided the care provided can be proven to be genuine. This is intended to encourage experienced parents whose own children have grown up, for instance, or who would like to combine looking after other people’s children alongside their own, to offer childcare. Our plans will also make it cost-effective for parents to hire a nanny if they have more than one young child, or enable parents to club together to hire a nanny.

While parents should of course make their own enquiries as to the suitability of informal providers, in the same way they would check out a babysitter, we will require informal child carers to satisfy the following criteria to benefit from the voucher scheme: –

• They must pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

• They must hold relevant household and public liability insurance

• They must not look after more than six children up to the age of eight (including any of their own children), of which a maximum of three can be under fives

• A single childminder may only care for one child under one year old The building from which they operate (unless it is the child’s own home) must be notified to the local authority and be subject to spot checks.

This combination of de-regulation, practical solutions and incentives will reduce childcare costs, increase childcare availability and make it easier for parents to find flexible childcare that works around their working hours and lifestyle.

CREATING MORE NURSERY PLACES

UKIP will make consideration of the necessity to include nursery or creche provision an essential part of the planning process for large developments.

We will also amend planning legislation to ensure planning applications for family housing developments of forty homes or more, without dedicated garden space for each unit, will be required to include a communal play area in each scheme.

Planning applications for family housing developments of forty homes or more, without dedicated garden space for each unit, will also be required to include a communal play area in each scheme.

We will also allow office space to be converted to nursery facilities under permitted development rights. We will also ask employers to pool nursery provisions for all families within the local community, where ever possible. T

ackling excessive regulation without compromising child safety is a priority. Nurseries are often small businesses and we would prefer owners to be focused on childcare, rather than drowning in paperwork.

UKIP and childcare

Good childcare benefits parents, helps child development and supports our economy. UKIP’s vision for childcare is a system where parents, teachers, schools, nurseries, children’s centres, local authorities, childcare providers and businesses all work together to make provision as affordable, flexible, available and as high-quality as possible.

The policies of current and previous governments have been counterproductive in many ways: over-regulation has helped create an acute shortage of places and voucher systems have contributed to pushing up the cost of childcare.

UK childcare costs are now the most expensive in Europe, and among the highest in the world. Costs can be crippling for ordinary families. What is the point of having a childcare system that is so expensive it does not pay to work?

Children from socially deprived backgrounds are adversely affected because their applications for places are most likely to be turned down, especially if parents are unable to pay for ‘top-ups’ such as meals, nappies and so on.

Childcare provision is also complex and fragmented. Several government departments oversee different schemes providing help with childcare costs. Parents may struggle to work out which type of childcare funding system will work best for them. Those on modest incomes who work hard may find they ‘fall through the gaps.’ Parents who are self-employed, agency workers, those on zero-hours contracts or commission are most likely to be affected, as any rise in income may prove punitive, depending on which childcare support scheme has been chosen.

A simpler system, more responsive to families’ changing needs and with integrated sources of funding, must be initiated at the earliest opportunity, alongside proposals to reduce the cost of childcare and increase the number of childcare places, while giving parents more choice.

We will initiate a full review of childcare provision.

Investing in Foodbanks

It is deeply regrettable that there is increasing demand for foodbanks in 21st century Britain. If those who attend foodbanks are in such dire straits that they need food handouts, there is a high likelihood that they will also need additional support to deal with issues such as debt, family breakdown, addiction and poor physical or mental health. Many will need employment or legal advice.

We want to see a welfare system that is fairer, simpler and less open to abuse. Our approach is one that firmly opposes the ‘benefits lifestyle’ but also addresses the current welfare regime, which has produced unjust outcomes.

We will therefore contribute to the important work done by foodbanks and develop them into community advice centres for those most in need.

UKIP will train and fund the cost of 800 advisers to work in 800 foodbanks, so the poorest in our society have free and easy access to timely help in their hour of need.

We will also exempt foodbanks and charity shops from charges imposed by local authorities to dispose of unwanted food waste and other goods. They are not ‘businesses’ in the sense most of us understand the term and therefore should not be expected to pay fees for waste disposal

UKIP will support carers

Millions give up work, or work reduced hours, to care for elderly or disabled relatives. In doing so, they make a huge contribution to society, although often at great personal and financial cost.

We will:

• Increase Carers’ Allowance from £62.10 per week to match the higher level of Job Seekers Allowance, currently £73.10 per week, an extra £572 per year

• Improve carers’ access to support by sharing information on benefit and social care entitlements and support groups across all public services.

Disability Benefits

DISABILITY BENEFITS

UKIP is fully committed to protecting the rights of disabled people, as set out in Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We wholly endorse the right of the disabled to access inhome, residential and community support services and we support their inclusion in our communities. We also recognise that there will always be disabled people who are unable to work and we are committed to supporting them through a fair and fit-for-purpose welfare system.

We will end unfair ATOS-style Work Capability Assessments and return assessments to GPs or appropriate specialist consultants, who have full access to patients’ medical records and are likely to know the patient. We believe this makes them the best person to undertake assessments and we will ensure they are adequately funded and resourced to take on this task.

We will also:

• Require GPs/specialists to notify the Department for Work and Pensions when they believe a patient is well enough to return to work, by issuing a ‘fit note’

• Remove ‘tick-box’ and quota arrangements from sickness and disability assessments, thereby streamlining and speeding up the assessment processes and continually respecting claimants throughout the process

Housing Benefits

HOUSING BENEFITS

The ‘bedroom tax’ is clearly unfair and is not working. Changes to the way housing benefit is paid are leading some tenants to fall into debt. The Conservative threat to withdraw Housing Benefit from the under-25s may cause even more suffering.

UKIP will:

• Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’

• Continue to pay Housing Benefit to young people under the age of 25

• Give tenants the right to request Housing Benefit is paid direct to their landlords, whatever benefit scheme they are on.