More room to specialise

18th April 1997 at 01:00
(Photograph) - DAVID HARGREAVES (pictured right)

Professor of Education, University of Cambridge

A seven-point manifesto for education:

* I would reduce the percentage of the national curriculum occupying key stage 4 still further to allow much more specialisation by student choice and introduce more vocational education for the disaffected;

* I would phase in a sabbatical term for teachers for every five years of service, starting with all those who have already done 20 years without a break;

* Office for Standards in Education teams who say a school is significantly below average would stay with the school for eight weeks to help get it up to scratch;

* if we really believe in diversity we must allow more types of school. I would follow the Danish system where if 30 parents want to start a school of their own preferred style, the state would give them 85 per cent of the building or renting costs and treat it as voluntary-aided;

* we spend Pounds 70m a year on educational research. I would immediately assign Pounds 20m of that to teachers in school to work (in partnership with higher education) on what works in the classroom. We need much more hard evidence;

* I would establish a national commission to promote new ideas on linking further and adult education to work-based education and training. We are entering a learning society but don't know enough about the kind of education and training people need beyond school-leaving age;

* I would require all universities to reserve 20 per cent of places to people over 27. Far too many young people go straight to university on a kind of escalator while older people who would make much better use of it find it harder to get in. In a learning society we must change that balance.

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