We believe that teachers should regain control of their schools, both for teaching and discipline. At present, there are so many targets and so much paperwork that the teachers are not allowed to teach to the best of their individual abilities. These targets are set by government officials who have little or no experience of teaching and are used, mainly for the benefit of the government.
Too often, when a pupil is excluded from school or college, the exclusion is overturned just in order to make the school look better but to the detriment of the other pupils. If a pupil is excluded they should remain excluded. If the school decides to exclude the pupil for a period of time then that is how it will be. If it is a permanent exclusion then that is also how it will be.
We would make sure that the exams are set by the teaching profession in order to examine the knowledge learned not just to satisfy some spurious target. Spelling, grammar, punctuation are important as it basic maths. We would ban the use of calculators in exams until pupils are in Year 7. They would, of course be taught how to use them but would NOT be able to use them in exams.
A new qualification is due to be given to teenagers who spend two weeks working at McDonalds. This is a Level 2 BTEC in work skills, which is, unbelievably, held to be an equivalent of a Grade B at GCSE. This is NOT an academic qualification but is valuable work experience and should be recognised as such. This is not fair to those pupils who have studied to gain a GCSE in, for example, a foreign language.
We would dispense with the exams by module system, where a pupil can keep re-taking a module until they pass it. It is not fair on students for them to think that they have achieved a high standard of education when, in the real world no employer believes it. (When teachers complain about lack of books and other funding does anyone really think that year on year the results have improved over the last 20-25 years) We would re-introduce end of year exams in order to monitor clearly what a pupil has learned and retained. The grading system would revert to a percentage system where the top 3% get awarded an A, the next 10% would be awarded a B, the next 10 % would be awarded a C, the next 20% would be awarded a D, the next 20% would be awarded an E and any others would fail the exam. It would not then matter if one year the exam was easier than any other, the highest achievers would still be recognised.
It is not every student’s given right to attend University. Only those that are academically suited should attend. At the moment many start at university but drop out before the end, wasting huge amounts of time and money. We would provide more practical based training, day release courses and apprenticeships for those not suited to university.
At present there are 5 ‘inset’ or ‘teacher training’ days every year. These days are scheduled during term time, resulting in parents having to find and fund an extra 50 days of childcare over only ten years of education. We would make sure that these training days were scheduled during the school holidays, after all this is only 5 days per year out of the average ‘holiday’ of 8 weeks for teachers.