Conservative Manifesto 2010 Change Society Raise Standards in Schools
We will improve standards for all pupils and close the attainment gap between the richest and poorest. We will enhance the prestige and quality of the teaching profession, and give heads and teachers tough new powers of discipline. We will restore rigour to the curriculum and exam system and give every parent access to a good school.
improving our school system is the most important thing we can do to make opportunity more equal and address our declining social mobility. but britain is slipping down the world league tables in reading, maths and Science, and violence in the classroom is a serious problem. We are falling behind other countries, and there is a growing gap between the richest and the poorest. We can’t go on like this, for the sake of the next generations.
a Conservative government will give many more children access to the kind of education that is currently only available to the well-off: safe classrooms, talented and specialist teachers, access to the best curriculum and exams, and smaller schools with smaller class sizes with teachers who know the children’s names.
better teachers and tougher discipline the single most important thing for a good education is for every child to have access to a good teacher. We will take steps to enhance the status of the teaching profession and ensure it attracts the best people. Schools – especially struggling ones – must be able to attract the best teachers and subject specialists, so we will give all head teachers the power to pay good teachers more.
We will expand Teach First and introduce two new programmes – teach now, for people looking to change career, and troops to Teachers, for ex-service personnel – to get experienced, high-quality people into the profession.
We will make it easier for teachers to deal with violent incidents and remove disruptive pupils or items from the classroom. We believe heads are best placed to improve behaviour, which is why we will stop them being overruled by bureaucrats on exclusions.
to raise the status of teaching and toughen school discipline further, we will:
• raise the entry requirement for taxpayerfunded primary school teacher training;
• expect new graduates to have at least a 2:2 in their degree in order to qualify for state-funded training;
• pay the student loan repayments for top maths and Science graduates for as long as they remain teachers, by redirecting some of the current teacher training budget;
• give teachers the strongest possible protection from false accusations; and,
• reinforce powers of discipline by strengthening home-school behaviour contracts. a rigorous curriculum and exam system
every child who is capable of reading should be doing so after two years in primary school. to make this happen, we will promote the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics and ensure that teachers are properly trained to teach using this method. to provide parents with the reassurance they need that their child is making progress, we will establish a simple reading test at the age of six.
We will reform the national Curriculum so that it is more challenging and based on evidence about what knowledge can be mastered by children at different ages. We will ensure that the primary curriculum is organised around subjects like maths, Science and history. We will encourage setting so those who are struggling get extra help and the most able are stretched.
Under Labour, the exam system has become devalued. We will ensure that our exam system is measured against the most rigorous systems in the world. We will keep Key Stage 2 tests and league tables. We will reform them to make them more rigorous. We will make other exams more robust by giving universities and academics more say over their form and content. We want to develop proper vocational and technical education that engages young people and meets the needs of modern business. So we will establish technical academies across england, starting in at least twelve cities.
People expect to be able to make choices about the services they use, based on robust information about the quality on offer. So a Conservative government will reform school league tables so that schools can demonstrate they are stretching the most able and raising the attainment of the less able.
to improve school standards further, we will:
• allow all state schools the freedom to offer the same high quality international exams that private schools offer – including giving every pupil the chance to study separate sciences at gCSe;
• create 20,000 additional young apprenticeships;
• allow schools and colleges to offer workplace training;
• publish all performance data currently kept secret by the Department for Children, Schools and families; and,
• establish a free online database of exam papers and marking schemes.
give every parent access to a good school
Drawing on the experience of the Swedish school reforms and the charter school movement in the United States, we will break down barriers to entry so that any good education provider can set up a new academy school. our schools revolution will create a new generation of good small schools with smaller class sizes and high standards of discipline.
our school reform programme is a major part of our anti-poverty strategy, which is why our first task will be to establish new Academy schools in the most deprived areas of the country. They will be beacons of excellence in areas where school standards are unacceptably low.
We want every child to benefit from our reforms. So all existing schools will have the chance to achieve academy status, with ‘outstanding’ schools pre-approved, and we will extend the Academy programme to primary schools.
education’s real power lies in its ability to transform life chances, but we can’t go on giving the poorest children the worst education. that is why we will introduce a pupil premium – extra funding for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
the most vulnerable children deserve the very highest quality of care, so we will call a moratorium on the ideologically-driven closure of special schools. We will end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools.
People have been far too ready to excuse failure in schools. We will ensure that the schools inspectorate ofsted adopts a more rigorous and targeted inspection regime, reporting on performance only in the core areas related to teaching and learning. and any school that is in special measures for more than a year will be taken over immediately by a successful academy provider. to give parents better access to a good school, we will:
• give parents the power to save local schools threatened by closure, allowing communities the chance to take over and run good small schools;
• make sure academies have the freedoms that helped to make them so successful in the first place; and,
• ensure failing schools are inspected more often – with the best schools visited less frequently.
Since the free schools programme was established in Sweden, over 1,000 new schools have opened. they have been founded by foundations, charities and others – and they have attracted pupils by offering better discipline and higher standards. because any parent can take the money the Swedish government spends on their child’s education and choose the school they want, standards have risen across the board as every school does its best to satisfy parents.
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