Education experts reveal the policies they would pick from the next education secretary
There's less than a week to go until the election and, whichever way the result goes, there are bound to be changes ahead for education in the UK. But what should it look like? We spoke to education experts to hear their dream policies (with the proviso that they couldn't answer "more funding").
'A fee-free route to QTS for teaching assistants'
Recruitment and retention are a major headache for school leaders, and we need to encourage different routes into teaching. Many teaching assistants (TAs) are graduates and many are highly skilled, with a wealth of experience and a desire to gain QTS. However, the current system is both financially prohibitive and unattractive because they most likely have to leave their current schools to qualify. The government should create a fee-free route for graduate TAs to gain QTS in their current schools. These colleagues are already committed to the profession and will bring with them many skills that I certainly did not have as a student teacher, especially in the area of SEN.
Jarlath O'Brien, headteacher of Carwarden House Community School and author of the book Don't Send Him in Tomorrow
'A complete overhaul of the curriculum'
We need a complete overhaul of the curriculum, with only three areas remaining: basic literacy, numeracy and computing. There will be no explicit subjects, but children will be able to explore areas of interest by researching and producing work linked to questions they wish to answer.
National tests will be scrapped and schools will not be allowed to group children according to ability. All children will have a weekly nature walk. Public schools will be abolished, as will the marketisation of schools. Parents will send their children to their nearest school.
John Socha is a primary school educator in Yorkshire and the creator of loveteachingltd.co.uk
'More public engagement and volunteering in schools'
My wish is for a nationwide PR campaign to build a collaborative spirit and capitalise on the deep desire of the public to unite positively and support each other. We need more volunteers and people in our communities to support our schools and young people. We need to get more people running after-school activities, sports and clubs. If we can get more people involved in education, they can experience how rewarding it is to see young people grow and develop, and this will free up teachers to get on with what they do best. This would mean that schools could be open for longer, with children fully involved in activities that help to build their confidence and self-esteem.
Nicola McEwan, director of teacher training, University of Buckingham
'Teachers should only teach 33% of the time'
Teachers in Singapore – one of the most successful education systems in the world – have a 30% teaching commitment with the remaining time used for co-planning and research. We need a policy that recognises that great lessons are the product of realistic designated time for detailed co-planning and active research. We need to create the 33% policy to achieve success (and the remaining 1% to recognise it).
John Winwood, assistant headteacher, Turves Green Boys School
'Mandatory training for governors'
Every child deserves to study in a good school, and good governance is important if we are to have good schools. There are various elements to good governance; skills, commitment and time being some of them. The most important element, however, is the understanding of what governance is and what it entails.
It is for this reason that my dream policy would be to make induction training mandatory. The training would help ensure that governors understand their role and the challenges faced by their school, learn how to make effective use of their skills, and how to provide challenge and support to school leaders.
Naureen Khalid, school governor and co-founder of UKGovChat
'A focus on diverse recruiting'
My dream policy would be a commitment to the development of fair and unbiased recruitment and progression practices. This would challenge initial teacher training providers to change the strategies used to market the profession, so that recruitment is encouraged from underrepresented groups. It would challenge schools and governors to address bias in their systems by having fair, open recruitment to senior posts. It would challenge MATs and organisations like the Department for Education and Ofsted to improve the diversity of their teams so that a variety of voices are able to become decision-makers in education, leading to a reduction in the structural and institutional biases.
Allana Gay, deputy headteacher of Lea Valley Primary School and co-founder of BAMEed
We'd also love to hear your dream policies – let us know what they are in the comments below, or by tweeting @EdCentral