Zacís Questions, Debates and EDMs
The Constant Economy
Where do I Stand?
††††Communications Data Bill
††††NHS / Health
††††Foreign affairs & Defence
††††The Planning System
††††Waste and Plastic Bags
††††Guardian policies Q&A
Where do I Stand? :: Education
The foundation of every successful school is good discipline. Unless you have proper behaviour in school, proper respect for authority, proper respect for other pupils, then teachers cannot teach and students cannot learn.
We have to ensure that Heads have the power to exclude disruptive students without being second-guessed by someone outside the school. And we need to shift the balance of power within the classroom back in favour of the teacher.
We need also to remember that the point of education is not to prepare children for exams, but to prepare them for life. The curriculum must reflect that. Children should have access to playing fields, and be encouraged to take part in team sports. Cooking food and growing food should be re-introduced back into the curriculum.
For older pupils, we need to find innovative ways to encourage businesses to take on apprentices. For many young people, a chance to experience real work in a dynamic environment is the best possible preparation.
Good quality schools which inspire local parents to send their children there shouldn’t be seen as a luxury. They are absolutely key for every community. But our system is not working. Tens of thousands of children drop out of school without a single qualification. Hundreds of thousands graduate from primary school unable to read or write properly. Youth unemployment is at a record high.
The key for all schools is parent control. Head teachers should answer to parents, not to remote education authorities. The school ethos should be set to reflect local demand, not abstract national criteria. And the key for communities is choice. The question is how can you deliver that choice?
Both Richmond and Kingston have had ongoing problems with schools. In Richmond, Shene school has become the Richmond Park Academy, and I am working with local Councillors, parent groups and the school to ensure that it delivers what the community wants.