Greens and UKIP: party conference round-up

With party conference season in full swing, the UK’s smaller political parties have unveiled their education policies.

The Green Party has called for children to begin school a year later in a bid to end to a “sausage machine” school system, while the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has called for a return to “traditional” teaching.

Following the Green Party’s conference in Birmingham at the start of the month, party leader Natalie Bennett told The Guardian newspaper: “We want a different sort of education system that educates children and does not think of them as future workers. We start education too soon.

“We call for formal education to start at least one year later. It is to get away from this idea that we have a sausage machine that we are just shoving children through and turning them into this identikit person.”

She added that schools should no longer be expected to “make-up” for child poverty.

“We have one of the most unequal societies and some of the highest levels of child poverty — the test results just reflect that,” she said.

“Saying to schools that you have got to solve this problem is just unrealistic.”

At UKIP Party conference in Doncaster yesterday, deputy party leader Paul Nuttall, led calls for a single exam board for GCSEs and one for A Levels.

He said: “UKIP would ensure that there is only one exam board for GCSE’s and one for A Levels offering one course for the relevant subject, ending the option for schools to choose the easiest syllabus available.

“Every child is different and one-size fits all does not work. Some are good at academia and some with their hands. UKIP will introduce an Apprenticeship Qualification Option to take the place of four GCSEs and be carried on to A Level.”

He also called for a return to a more “traditional” primary education with ‘the three R’s’ reading, writing and arithmetic.

Mr Nuttall added: “Open door immigration has caused the number of children being taught in classes, to breach the 30 limit.

“This has doubled in five years, and there will soon be two children fighting for every one place at the more popular primary schools.”

Speaking on sex education in primary schools, Mr Nuttall called to scrap the teaching of sex and relationship education to children under the age of 11.

As in prior education discussions, he announced that UKIP would introduce a grammar school in every town. He also stated that the party would reverse the trend to shut Special Schools.