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.
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.