Cllr Peter Philip Smith, UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford considers how the current education system is letting down too many pupils. And, what to do about it.
Mainstream education in England has become a ‘one size fits all’ solution which is failing the needs of pupils up and down our country. Students and parents should have a choice of not only where their students are educated but in which path they can follow. Every pupil is unique and the current system only gives them the academic choice which means students who are not academic have to wait until they leave school to take professional vocational qualifications.
Three path system
I believe a three path education system of Grammar schools, mainstream schools and vocational schools would allow students to be educated for their future and that of the country.
Vocational schools would offer the three core subjects as normal; however the main focus would be on more hands on subjects. This would allow for the next generation of plumbers, electricians and other skilled professionals to come through the system and fill those much needed jobs.
Grammar schools would be selective based on the student’s academic levels and would be open to student from all backgrounds. No student should be robbed of a higher level of education.
Every child is unique and deserves the opportunity to become the best they can be. We should not be letting them down by carrying on the same ‘one size fits all’ system.
Retaining our teachers
There is a national teaching crisis with teachers sadly leaving the profession every year. Many reasons can be sighted for this; for example, the constant struggling for providing outstanding teaching with only short breaks in between.
To attract more teachers into the profession and hopefully some back, we could change the school year by reducing the summer holidays down from 6 weeks to 4 weeks, which would allow for a two week holiday in October and May as the Autumn and Summer terms are traditionally longer terms.
This would break up the year and give teachers and students that much needed break whilst still offering a 4 week holiday period during the summer holidays.
The teaching profession can be attractive to some because of the 13 weeks per year holiday, although the majority of teaching staff often have to take work home to cope with the ever increasing work load.
During school holidays, holiday prices often double overnight and this is greatly unfair to teachers and parents alike.
I would suggest we offer 1 week statutory paid holiday for teaching staff during term time if they have worked in education for 5 years or more and have a 95% work attendance record over the last 12 months. This rewards teachers for their time during the school holidays when they take work home for the benefit of the students. This cost should be minimal due to teacher’s lessons being covered internally within schools. Each school will be responsible of managing their teaching staff holiday to suit their bespoke requirements.
Reversing Conservative and Labour school privatisation by ending the Academy program and bringing schools back under Local Authority control.