Our Manifesto

It’s time for a new vision for education fit for the 21st Century

Young people in 21st Century Britain need the skills to ensure they can thrive in an increasingly automated world. We need an education system that encourages them to think creatively, critically and confidently,  and nurtures a more cohesive society. Rescue Our Schools believes we must overturn many of the education strategies successive governments have adopted.

Here is our Six Point Plan for a 21st Century Education System:

  1. INVEST IN ALL OUR FUTURES
  2. PROVIDE INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR ALL
  3. PROMOTE EDUCATION OVER EXAM FACTORIES
  4. DEVELOP CREATIVITY IN ALL ITS FORMS
  5. LET EXPERT EVIDENCE INFORM POLICY
  6. ENSURE LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ALL SCHOOLS

1 . INVEST IN ALL OUR FUTURES

  • All children have the right to the best possible education we can provide. A successful education system should reduce inequalities and promote fulfilment. Better educated, more fulfilled children become better educated, more fulfilled adults. This benefits the individual, society and the economy in the long term.
  • There must be enough money in the new funding formula so no school or child loses out.
  • Teachers and school leaders must be valued as highly skilled professionals. Their workload should ensure a healthy work-life balance. A well-motivated workforce benefits everyone.
  • Schools should be encouraged to collaborate and share resources in order to work in the best interests of pupils and the local community. Making schools compete in an artificial market creates winners and losers. No child benefits from being in a losing school.
  • Local Authorities must have sufficient funding to retain expertise and provide schools with the support and challenge they need to thrive.
  • Learning isn’t limited to school. Our vision is for an education system that provides free, universal access to learning from early years onwards.
  1. PROVIDE INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR ALL
  • Parents and carers want good schools for everyone, not just some. The world’s most successful education systems have no selection and there’s no evidence it improves standards or life chances.
  • Children with special education needs deserve the same opportunities as other children. Specialist SEN provision should match local need, taking into account the views of parents and professionals. Children with disabilities or difficulties in mainstream schooling have a right to additional support in the classroom and their funding for this must be ring-fenced.
  • Good early years support narrows the educational equality gap; it should be properly funded and supported, and available to all.
  1. PROMOTE EDUCATION OVER EXAM FACTORIES
  • Pupil assessments must be for their benefit. Linking assessment to school accountability puts inappropriate pressure on staff – which in turn can be passed on to parents and pupils. League tables based on SATS and GCSE results say nothing more than how good schools are at getting children to pass exams.
  • We need a truly independent review of primary assessment and its purpose in our children’s education. SATs are damaging primary school children and teachers, narrowing the curriculum and forcing schools to teach to the test. The government’s proposal for “baseline” tests on four year olds will be a judgement on parenting, without reducing inequality.
  • We need a secondary level assessment system that allows students to demonstrate all their talents, not just academic. A General Certificate of Secondary Education should be a general assessment of what a pupil has achieved during their time in education. Other more successful education systems do this; so should we.
  • School Inspections should consider the quality and breadth of students’ understanding across many areas, how well schools support emotional and physical wellbeing, and staff retention. Judging schools only on test results is harmful for everyone involved.
  1. DEVELOP CREATIVITY IN ALL ITS FORMS
  • Children need time to learn how to learn. Evidence shows that effective, play-based, early years education helps children acquire vital life skills such as how to communicate and work in groups.
  • Children need a broad ranging, engaging and balanced curriculum. Make space for creative and vocational subjects as well as sport. Research shows these help children’s wellbeing and learning across all subjects. High-stakes testing is pushing out music, art, drama, sport and more creative approaches to learning. Let’s give schools genuine freedom to innovate.
  1. LET EXPERT EVIDENCE INFORM POLICY
  • 21st Century education policy-making must be evidence-based, not dominated by the ideology or school experiences of government ministers.
  • Rescue Our Schools is calling for an independent, expert-led review of all education provision from early childhood to early adulthood. Its goal would be to recommend the best possible curriculum, assessment and structures for the 21st
  • Education and mental health experts should join forces with regular national surveys to find out what is causing the rapid rise in wellbeing issues among children and young people, including the possible impact of high stakes testing and ‘boot camp’ schooling.
  1. ENSURE LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SCHOOLS
  • Parents and carers need to know who to turn to when things aren’t right. Lines of accountability within schools must be clearly set out.
  • Schools should be rooted in their communities. Parents and communities should be empowered, through governing bodies, to influence change when it is needed.
  • There is no evidence that the academy structure improves educational or financial performance. Government should stop wasting millions handing over schools to multi-academy trusts which are not accountable to families or local communities.
  • Local Authorities should be given back the ability to plan school places, opening and maintaining new schools when and where they are required. The Free Schools programme should be abolished.

Pledge your support for our manifesto here