British teenagers are among the least literate in the developed world. There are an estimated nine million working-aged adults in England (more than a quarter of adults aged 16-65) with low literacy or numeracy skills or both. Many struggle with basic quantitative reasoning or have difficulty with simple written information.
More than 25,000 children were excluded from school last year. 63% of prisoners in the UK have been temporarily excluded and 43% permanently excluded from school.
We have failed our children and we continue to do so. Fundamentally, this is a failure of politics.
Our children are the seedcorn of our future. Failure to invest in their talents, to deny them the chance of achieving their dreams and aspirations is unacceptable. Of all the investments a nation makes, education is surely the most important. For too long we have invested too little in education. Education reform must be a top priority and we must strive to ensure British children get the very best start in life.
Our ‘one size fits all’ education system does not serve our children well: it totally ignores the fact that each child has different strengths and intelligences which need to be identified and developed. Not only does the present system squander the talents of our young by concentrating solely on academic ability, it also destroys children's creativity.
We need to develop a new education formula which recognises the talents and meets the needs and aspirations of every child.
Skills colleges will be introduced and run by the regions. They will provide degree equivalent courses in the widest possible range of skills.
Children of all faiths should be educated together. Separating children by faith works against integration and the development of a cohesive society. Faith schools should be phased out.
University tuition fees should be scrapped.
Education Maintenance Allowance would be reintroduced.
For Public schools to have charity status is unacceptable. Public schools need to be integrated into one education system. Until this happens, public schools should be required to set aside a quarter of available places to non fee-paying students, or pay a levy of 25% of the total amount of fees charged.