THE COALITION: OUR PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT
UNIVERSITIES AND FURTHER EDUCATION
The Government believes that our universities are essential for building a strong and innovative economy. We will take action to create more college and university places, as well as help to foster stronger links between universities, colleges and industries.
We will seek ways to support the creation of apprenticeships, internships, work pairings, and college and workplace training places as part of our wider programme to get Britain working.
We will set colleges free from direct state control and abolish many of the further education quangos. Public funding should be fair and follow the choices of students.
We will await Lord Browne’s final report into higher education funding, and will judge its proposals against the need to:
– increase social mobility;
– take into account the impact on student debt;
– ensure a properly funded university sector;
– improve the quality of teaching;
– advance scholarship; and
– attract a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
If the response of the Government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.
We will review support for part-time students in terms of loans and fees.
We will publish more information about the costs, graduate earnings and student satisfaction of different university courses.
We will ensure that public funding mechanisms for university research safeguard its academic integrity.
The Government believes that we need to reform our school system to tackle educational inequality, which has widened in recent years, and to give greater powers to parents and pupils to choose a good school. We want to ensure high standards of discipline in the classroom, robust standards and the highest quality teaching. We also believe that the state should help parents, community groups and others come together to improve the education system by starting new schools.
We will promote the reform of schools in order to ensure that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand; that all schools have greater freedom over the curriculum; and that all schools are held properly to account.
We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.
We will give parents, teachers, charities and local communities the chance to set up new
schools, as part of our plans to allow new providers to enter the state school system in response to parental demand.
We will support Teach First, create Teach Now to build on the Graduate Teacher Programme, and seek other ways to improve the quality of the teaching profession.
We will reform the existing rigid national pay and conditions rules to give schools greater freedoms to pay good teachers more and deal with poor performance.
We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic bullying.
We will simplify the regulation of standards in education and target inspection on areas of failure.
We will give anonymity to teachers accused by pupils and take other measures to protect against false accusations.
We will seek to attract more top science and maths graduates to be teachers.
We will publish performance data on educational providers, as well as past exam papers.
We will create more flexibility in the exams systems so that state schools can offer qualifications like the IGCSE.
We will reform league tables so that schools are able to focus on, and demonstrate, the progress of children of all abilities.
We will give heads and teachers the powers they need to ensure discipline in the classroom and promote good behaviour.
We believe the most vulnerable children deserve the very highest quality of care. We will improve diagnostic assessment for schoolchildren, prevent the unnecessary closure of special schools, and remove the bias towards inclusion.
We will improve the quality of vocational education, including increasing flexibility for 14–19 year olds and creating new Technical Academies as part of our plans to diversify schools provision.
We will keep external assessment, but will review how Key Stage 2 tests operate in future.
We will ensure that all new Academies follow an inclusive admissions policy. We will work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as possible.
FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
The Government believes that strong and stable families of all kinds are the bedrock of a strong and stable society. That is why we need to make our society more family friendly, and to take action to protect children from excessive commercialisation and premature sexualisation.
We will maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.
We will reform the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and overpayments.
We will bring forward plans to reduce the couple penalty in the tax credit system as we make savings from our welfare reform plans.
We support the provision of free nursery care for pre-school children, and we want that support to be provided by a diverse range of providers, with a greater gender balance in the early years workforce.
We will take Sure Start back to its original purpose of early intervention, increase its focus on the neediest families, and better involve organisations with a track record of supporting families. We will investigate ways of ensuring that providers are paid in part by the results they achieve.
We will refocus funding from Sure Start peripatetic outreach services, and from the Department of Health budget, to pay for 4,200 extra Sure Start health visitors.
We will investigate a new approach to helping families with multiple problems.
We will publish serious case reviews, with identifying details removed.
We will review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime and scale it back to common sense levels.
We will crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing, especially to children. We will also take steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.
We will put funding for relationship support on a stable, long-term footing, and make sure that couples are given greater encouragement to use existing relationship support.
We will conduct a comprehensive review of family law in order to increase the use of mediation when couples do break up, and to look at how best to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.