2.6 Education

2.6.1 As in other public services, there is a need to constantly improve standards. The quality of education should be equal throughout England.
2.6.2 England’s prosperity is not based on natural resources but on the skills and enterprise of her people. Our well-being is bound up with the quality of education and training. Education is an expensive investment but ignorance is even more costly, in personal, economic and social terms. A substantial proportion of the funds released to England from the ending of the Barnett formula should be used to reduce class sizes, increase teachers pay, and improve buildings and equipment.
2.6.3 We recognise that for social and economic reasons, some sections of the English population do not appreciate the importance of providing their children with a positive attitude to education. This lapse has contributed to the emergence of an anti-authority youth-culture which sees education and the discipline needed for successful learning as a form of repression to be rebelled against. This is part of a wider social and cultural problem that cannot be tackled by teachers and funding alone.
There is much evidence to suggest that properly socialised into their history and culture young people, and especially children, take a generally positive view of their society and this helps them to have a positive view about themselves. Children who are culturally well integrated into their society are more likely to be good citizens, less likely to commit crime and more likely to participate in the community. The English Democrats will ensure that the school curriculum promotes the teaching of English history and culture in which English children can take pride.
2.6.4 The English Democrats would encourage positive attitudes to education as part of a wider programme forpromoting communal values. When education is widely seen as an aid to greater freedom, happiness and prosperity, schools will become more pleasant places for pupils and teachers, and educational standards will rise.
2.6.5 Primary & Secondary Education- The English Democrats support parental choice. Where there is a demand for it, schools should be able to free them-selves from local education authority control and be run independently in a way that suits local needs. The English Democrats support the continued work of the Schools Inspectorate in the provision of independent information on the quality of education in schools.
2.6.6 Higher and Continuing Education- The English Democrats would provide greater resources for continuing lifetime education and thereby enhance the opportunities open to all citizens. An Inspectorate similar to that of the Schools Inspectorate should monitor and report on the education and effectiveness of all continuing education establishments in England.
2.6.7 Balance in Education- The English Democrats advocate a rebalancing of education so that craft & vocational options are given equal emphasis to academic options. Our non-academic people must be valued and praised. We oppose the lowering of academic standards in order to increase graduate headcount statistics. Academic examination standards should be restored to a pre-1985 level.