The opportunity to make the most of your life, or to recover from mistakes and misadventures, is dependent on your opportunity to develop and learn – and your desire to grow and contibute.
We all know that education is a fantastic public good when provided for our young children. The same is true when providing the same service to all members of society, at all of our ages and all of our stages. We can provide vocational training, trades-craft and learning facilities to our whole community.
Locally controlled and managed education that is responsive to the community it serves is the key to improving the quality of the education in our society. We need less central control and to trust our educators more.
Using their direct distribution of national Income Taxes through the WellFair Support Grant, local Communities will be able to plan and deliver the primary, secondary and vocational education they need.
LIFE will return local control of education to local democracies. Communities will manage all primary & secondary schools, and Academies and Free Schools will be made accountable to local government, and through that to the local citizens and residents. Divorcing local schools from local control creates unnecessary disruption, wastes money – particularly in funding free schools where there is a surplus of places – and dilutes public accountability.
The UK will maintain a national teaching credential standard, and fund the education of teachers to that standard.
It’s a good idea for Communities to have standards for teachers, and it is their responsibility whether to keep the 5,300 existing teachers who do not have a teaching certification.
There is also a vital role to be played at a national level of collecting and developing best practices for teaching. Supported by national higher learning institutions, the development and dissemination of the most effective teaching methods is an important function that LIFE will support and fund.
Regional & National
Centres of advanced learning, such as the Universities, will be funded by retaining portions of the WellFair Education budget at the national or regional levels (equivalent to “top slice” of current RSG).
We wil review the current higher eductation fee system, with a view to introducing interest-free graduate support and reinstating living expense support.
Skills & Trades
We need to make a massive commitment to maintain and transfer the trade skills needed for vocations. LIFE will support a national effort to ensure that the skills and experience of the generation that grew up in the last age of British manufacturing are transferred to a new generation, and that we establish proper apprenticeship programs with broad general education requirements, that ensure that those skills are maintained for generations into the future.
The makeup and power of Sector Skills Councils need to be reformed along with support services to assist school-leavers with transition into vocational carreers. LIFE’s policies to devolve education budgets to Regional and Community Assemblies will strengthen the strategic capacity of our training programs.
The “training gap”
A requirement to provide training and apprenticeships needs to be built into all pubic service contracts, especially highly sensitive one like nuclear weapons maintenance. It used to be the unions that protected training, but not any more. It used to be that large nationalised industries carried the training load, e.g. BT and National Rail. Small business can’t really afford it. Large business only do CATNAP. A mix of national effort and forced corporate participation is needed.
The more we know, the more we can do for ourselves, the more can we stand on our own, and the stronger we all are.
Build! Repair! Replace! Reuse!