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The loonies' promises

Promising to reduce class sizes seems an unusually sane pledge for the Monster Raving Loony Party, writes Michael Shaw.

But it is the only party that plans to achieve this goal by making all pupils sit closer together and by issuing them with smaller desks.

The party has produced a range of typically eccentric education policies in its manifesto, which include banning the number 13 from schools.

Under its plans brighter students would be fitted with dimmer switches to stop them distracting their classmates.

Like the Liberal Democrats, the Loony party would abolish key stage tests at seven and 11. Except it would replace them with Gordon-Ramsey-style cookery lessons and Rolf Harris art classes. The party's most practical education policy is to punish MPs in constituencies where playing fields have been sold by making them give up their back gardens to local schools.

Any child who is cleverer than their teacher would be asked to take over lessons while the teacher sits at the back wearing a dunce's hat. "The teacher will then be on half pay until he or she has learnt enough to regain the upper ground," the manifesto states. "This is our policy for child empowerment."

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