Youth & Education
The Green Party recognises the many challenges and stresses that parenting can bring and will support and encourage a wide range of community and self help services for children and their carers e.g. Homestart, family centres, adopt-a- grandparent schemes. Working grandparents will be given the same right to request flexi-work as parents if caring for grandchildren. We will provide free universal early education and childcare from age 1 up to age 6 (5 while that remains the age of formal education starting), with parental participation strongly encouraged for younger children. Nurseries and children’s centres will be monitored for quality of care and the information made readily available. Special attention will be given to ratios of adult carers to children. Nursery staff will be given adequate training, including training in nutrition. Children’s centres will engage in active outreach work to make contact with socially excluded families to ensure that their children's development is not endangered and to encourage the parents and carers to access free local activities for children.
Education is a right and an entitlement and should be free at the point of delivery to people of all ages. Education is social rather than market provision and we oppose any attempt to privatise state-funded schools or to enable them to become profit-making. We would protect the funding of the UK Youth Parliament and facilitate a yearly debate in the House of Commons chamber, to encourage participation in democracy from a young age.
Improving the Educational Model
The educational model in this country has become an exam factory built on a constrained curriculum. It does not teach the children the important lessons in life and whilst most parents are fantastic role models, not all children are so lucky to have this influence in their lives. Therefore, in order to break this cycle, our schools need to be help teach our children about being a citizen through Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education.
Caroline Lucas has presented a PSHE Bill to Parliament, but it has not received the required support from other parties.
Abolish fees in Further Education and all courses in FE would be provided for free at the point of use.
Write off all outstanding debt and resulting interest related to 24+ advanced learning loans provided by the student loans company to fund tuition for level 3 and 4 courses.
Increase the funding per student in Further Education to match that in schools.
Initiate a swift transition from the current start stop funding arrangements to a long term funding process for Further Education provision over a 10 year period.
Place all funding bodies back under the democratic control of local authorities/regional bodies.
As part of the transition to the citizens income, reintroduce an Education Maintenance Allowance at a level which would be effective in supporting disadvantaged students, and through a system which was clear and transparent, and not open to inconsistency in application.
Protect and improve the current support provision for disabled students.