Green Party launch education manifesto plans on Isle of Wight (updated)

Green Party pledges to scrap SATs and ditch academies and promises to plug £7billion funding gap facing education. Vix Lowthion says, “We need to put the enjoyment, creativity, and inspiration back into school.”

vix lowthion green education launch outside SBA

The Green Party have chosen the Isle of Wight a second time (last week NHS plans) to launch their education plans, which takes place at 10am outside Sandown Bay Academy. Ed


The Green Party has promised to abolish SATs test, end the academies programme as it announces its plans for an inspiring education system.

Vix Lowthion, Green Party education spokesperson and secondary school teacher, will pledge to end the practice of testing children from the age of seven-years-old through SATs, freeing teacher and pupils from “pointless, pressured testing”.

The Green Party believes parents and teachers should control children’s education – not businesses – and Ms Lowthion will put forward plans to end the academies programme and bring existing academies back under local authority control

Ms Lowthion will also promise to invest £7billion in the education system to fill the funding gap created by years of underinvestment and cuts. Figures show that by 2020, 99% of schools will have been hit by a funding cut – the average primary school will have lost £103,000, and the average secondary school will have lost £470,000.

An inspiring education system to transforms lives
Vix Lowthion, Green Party education spokesperson and secondary school teacher, is expected to say:

“We want to create an inspiring education system that transforms lives and transforms Britain – but that can’t happen without the very basic foundations being in place and this government has been removing them brick by brick.

“How are schools meant to prepare children for life when 99% will suffer from funding cuts and children and teachers are subjected to pointless, pressurised testing?

“We need to make up for the enormous shortfall, the massive neglect, in our education system by plugging the £7billion spending deficit. At the same time as schools are getting less resources, more is being asked of teachers and pupils. Getting rid of SATs tests would be one big step towards putting the fun, creativity, and inspiration can be put back into school and teachers are free to teach.”

The launch of the Green Party’s education policy will be held at Sandown Bay Academy in the Isle of Wight, which is facing closure after claims the school is not bringing in enough money.

Lowthion is expected to add:

“The academies programme has taken schools out of the hands of local authorities and parents and given them over to private businesses.

“That means that if a school isn’t performing a commercial interest, it can be shut down at will by the owners, leaving pupils without a school to go to.

“We would bring existing academies back under local authority control so that our children’s education is in the hands of teachers and parents, not businesses.”


Below is the speech given by Vix Lowthion this morning. Ed

Good morning and welcome to the Isle of Wight – home for sailing, the pop festival, and the sunniest place in Britain! It’s also for far too long languished at the bottom of the so-called Education league tables when it comes to exam results, culminating in the headlines in August last year as the then chairman of OFSTED David Hoare referred to us as the ‘ghetto’, and was surprised at both our extremes of deprivation and of affluence.

We on the island are not surprised. Those of us who live here know that over a quarter of our children are living in poverty. We are typical of coastal communities and market town areas across England and Wales where for far too long there has been a lack of investment in our hospitals, our council services, and our schools. Today the Green Party of England and Wales launch our Education manifesto here on the Isle of Wight. And there is no better place to announce our Green pledges to scrap SATS, to ditch academies, and to properly fund our schools to ensure our young people are fully equipped for the challenges of the 21st century. Decades of Conservative and Labour governments have resulted in over tested, unhappy and below average attainment for our children. It is time to put the enjoyment, creativity and inspiration back into our schools!

As a local teacher and a parent, I see daily the consequences of an education system which relies heavily on high stake, high pressured tests from a very young age. My 5 yr old is tested on reading ‘alien’ words. My 8yr old was tested in a series of SATs last year, where many parents boycotted our schools in support of ‘letting kids be kids’. My 10 year old spent a whole week last week doing a series of formal Year 6 testing, which had dominated his timetable for months and he is now free of – until he starts high school on the island in September. Let’s be frank – testing in our schools is not a simple process of accountability, tagged onto the end of the school year. Pupils are constantly judged, ordered to jump through specific hoops regardless of their developmental age, and subject to labelling as success or failures from the early days of primary school. Not only that, but our teachers, governors and even parents worry about the results from these tests, as schools are judged harshly or well on the results – which typically vary from year to year, depending entirely on the children put in front of you.

The Green Party pledge to end this practice of testing children from the age of seven-years-old through SATs. We would free teacher and pupils from this pointless, high stakes, pressured testing – replacing with teacher-led assessment – trusting our professionals to get on with more exciting lessons and the real task facing our schools – to inspire the next generation to learn for themselves.

Our second pledge today, as we stand in Sandown near the Bay Academy, is to ditch the academy and free school model for any new schools, and to take these establishments back into the care of local authorities who are accountable to parents, communities and the voters.

The brainchild of the last Labour government, and expanded by the coalition since 2010, the academies programme has increasingly taken schools out of the hands of local councils and parents and given them over to private businesses. Big, Multi Academy Trusts take tax payers’ money from the government to run our schools. They have the powers to follow a different curriculum, to change the school day and to employ staff under different working conditions. As we have seen in Sandown in the last week, Academy Trusts can also decide completely independently whether to close a school – without any vote, any educational reason or any reasonable length of warning. That means that if a school isn’t performing a commercial interest, it can be shut down at will by the owners, leaving pupils and a whole community without a school to go to. This is frankly a scandal.

The Green Party pledge to work across the country to bring existing academies back under local authority control – so that our children’s education is in the hands of teachers and parents and the communities in which we serve – not distant private businesses.

Our third pledge is one of funding. As she travels around the country, fighting this General Election, Theresa May claims that ‘the level of funding going into schools is at record levels’. What a surprise. This is not the full truth. What she fails to acknowledge, is that the costs in our schools have increased, that our numbers are rising, and that our schools are facing the biggest real-term fall in spending per pupil for 30 years. By 2020, 99% of schools in England and Wales will have been hit by a funding cut. Here on the Isle of Wight, according to schoolcuts.org , the impact by 2020 will be a loss in funding over £6 million – which equates to 176 teachers!

The Green Party pledge to invest £7billion in the education system to fill the funding gap created by years of underinvestment and cuts. We want to create an inspiring education system that transforms lives and transforms Britain – but that can’t happen without the very basic foundations being in place – and this government has been removing them brick by brick. How are schools meant to prepare children for life when 99% will suffer from funding cuts and children and teachers are subjected to pointless, pressurised testing?

We need to make up for the enormous shortfall, the massive neglect, in our education system by plugging the £7billion spending deficit, funded by a fair tax on corporations- who take advantage of the UK’s highly-educated workforce. We need to ensure all our schools – particularly our academies, free schools and studio schools – are fully accountable to the communities in which they serve and are back under local authority control. And we need to get rid of high stake SATs tests in our primaries – freeing up teachers to put the enjoyment, creativity, and inspiration back into our schools.

For the Green Party believe we need to nurture a desire to learn throughout life. That can come from the school system, or through support for home education, outdoor learning and special educational needs. Our parents, our teachers and our students need the space, the funding and the high expectations to thrive and to reach our maximum potential. We need an education system fit not for exam league tables, to fund the heads of multi-academy trusts and to provide tax cuts for the richest. We need an education system fit for the 21st century! We need more Green MPs at Westminster, and with your support on June 8th we will!

Article edit
13.24 – Speech added and image updated

Monday, 15th May, 2017 7:15am

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Filed under: Education, Election, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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6 Comments on "Green Party launch education manifesto plans on Isle of Wight (updated)"

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tr2015

you might as well make the pledge £70 billion Vix – you know you’re never going to have to make good on it…

Caconym
Don’t be so sure. A couple of days ago I would have agreed, but there have been a few things that suggest the tide may be turning against the Tories. One is the Tory election pledge that people can take a year’s unpaid leave to look after relatives. They are trying to push this as a policy that is comping on Labour’s lawn, but it has *hugely*… Read more »
Steve Goodman
? Somebody certainly needs to make good on halting and reversing the damage to our essential services, education included, which now all seem to be positioned somewhere between being in difficulty and being in crisis. Cuts and privatisations, which, contrary to the promises, generally seem to have increased our costs and lowered standards, do not seem to be helping. Wild exaggeration will not help either. Improved policies… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

National press footage on this event and the situation at Sandown Bay Academy http://schoolsweek.co.uk/greens-pick-troubled-isle-of-wight-academy-for-education-policy-launch/

Mark L Francis

Are the Geens still opposed to state schools being run by religious cults?

Caconym

The Green Party Election Broadcast is actually both funny and clever.

https://youtu.be/QPXtN1QW9uY