Party policies in brief

11th May 2001 at 01:00

* Free every school from council control - with schools able to set their own policies on admissions, discipline, uniform, opening hours and term-times.

* Give schools all of their budget direct, effectively abolishing education authorities.

* Scrap rules that stop heads from expelling pupils and give heads the power to stop disruptive behaviour.

* Send excluded pupils to be educated full-time in separate centres.

* Give teachers who have been accused of abuse by pupils anonymity in the media until the point where the police decide to press charges.

* Reform teacher training. Trainee teachers to spend 80 per cent of their time in schools and only 20 per cent in colleges.

* Match the funds that Labour has pledged to spend on schools.

* Help children from less well-off families to go to independent schools where that is right for them, along the lines of the old Assisted Places Scheme.

* Endow universities with a fund of money from the government. Allow universities to determine their own salary structures for staff and the numbers of students they admit.


* Cut class size to an average of 25 for all five to 11 year-olds.

* Guarantee a classroom assistant in every infant class.

* Introduce paid preparation hours for primary teachers.

* Fund 5,000 extra secondary teachers.

* Pay trainee teachers a full pro-rata training salary (with benefits) * Increase funding for books, equipment and information and communications technology. Provide more information communications technology support for teachers.

* Replace he national curriculum with a less prescriptive minimum curriculum.

* Scrap key stage 1 tests.

* Reform the inspection system to require the Office for Standards in Education to offer advice on improvement, rather than merely criticism.

* Replace performance-related pay with pay increases linked to professional development.

The Liberal Democrats say that their proposals for education will cost around pound;3bn extra per year. To fund this extra investment the party is prepared to put a penny on to the basic rate of income tax.


* Continue to raise the proportion of national income spent on education. By 200304 spending will have increased in real terms by an average of pound;700 per pupil since 199798 * Give every three-year-old, whose parents want one, a free nursery place by September 2004.

* Raise government investment in school buildings to pound;3 billion per year by 200304. Between 200102 and 200304 spend a total of pound;7.8bn on school buildings.

* Transform secondary school education, with expansion of Excellence in Cities programme for urban areas, new targets and resources to improve standards for 11 to 14-year-olds and further diversity through the expansion of specialist and beacon schools.

* Give pupils better choices at 14, with strong new vocational pathways including vocational GCSEs and other work-related qualifications.

* Expand foundation degree places at universities and colleges so that one in two young people can benefit from higher education by the age of 30. Widen access to higher education through a new "Excellence Challenge" programme.

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