UKIP leader Nigel Farage has pledged to give all secondary schools the opportunity to become grammars in his party’s election manifesto. Launching its list of intentions in Thurrock, Essex, the party promised to give schools the chance to reintroduce selective education. It also pledged to crack down on teachers’ workload, slim down Ofsted and scrap performance-related pay for teachers. But the reintroduction of grammar schools was UKIP’s most eyebrow-raising policy: the party would aim to increase the number of grammars, while giving more young people the opportunity to attend the selective schools. In its manifesto, UKIP states that the “old 11-plus selective system was not perfect, so we will ensure attendance is not based on a one-time fixed test and introduce transfer examinations taken later at ages 12, 13 and 16, to pick up pupils who develop in an academic direction, but at a slightly slower pace”. The party pledges to push for a “range of different types of school, including grammar, vocational, technical and specialist secondary schools within a geographical area”. Teachers’ workload would be tackled through a reduction in the amount of paperwork the profession deals with, such as overly detailed individual lesson plans, data collection and excessive internal assessments. Ofsted would be streamlined, and teachers with at least 15 years of successful classroom experience would be “prioritised” when Ofsted inspectors were recruited. Mr Farage also called for an “Australian-style points system” to reduce immigration into the UK, claiming that it would be an “ethical and fair” policy that worked in the interests of the country. This reform would take the strain off public services and schools, he claimed.
Clegg launches Lib Dem manifesto with school spending pledge – 15 April 2015