Education available for all from age 5 to age 16, but not compulsory in government-provided educational establishments. We must acknowledge that not all children are academically gifted or capable. Compulsory state schooling attempts to create a one size fits all educational system, which for many children is not appropriate. The whole system is deeply flawed as we remove children at earlier and earlier ages from their parents and siblings and force them into spending time only with others of their own age. Although mixing with others of their own age is beneficial in many ways, it should not be the only source of social interaction.
Scrap the policy of excessive homework, six hours a day for 5 days a week should be enough time to educate children. Allow a fixed number of maths and English assignments per term and a science project per school year. Encourage pupils to request homework and provide out of hours facilities for those wanting extra tuition.
Scrap national curriculum and change emphasis to the old 3 R’s, no child should leave primary school and not be numerate and literate to a reasonable minimum standard (unless identified learning difficulties). Apart from English language and mathematics no subject should be compulsory; children should be encouraged to study a wide range of subjects and their strengths and weaknesses identified early.
Primary schools should identify gifted children before secondary school and discuss with parents entry into schools of excellence, either academically, sporting, artistic or other. In the same way those who struggle should be moved to specialist schools able to best deal with their requirements.
Schools should take a certain number (say 25%) of pupils based on local geography, but beyond that they should be able to choose on whatever criteria they decide (governors and heads).
Schools of last resort should receive increased funding and support to give the best possible education for their pupils.
Grammar schools should be re-introduced and greatly increased in number. Initially a figure of something like 200 new Grammar schools spread evenly across the country. Allow an 11+ type entry exam for the academically gifted. Entry should be available to all subject to passing entry requirements, plan is not to be elitist in that not only children of wealthy parents will get in.
Sixth form education should be available to all pupils who meet a specific grade of O levels, or whatever system is in place.
Emphasis in teaching should move away from learning facts by rote and towards creative thinking, practical experience and questioning actively promoted. This country does not want an army of obedient robots it wants highly intelligent, highly educated people in all fields, encouraged to achieve their maximum potential in whatever field they wish. Activities such as scientific experiments with participation, and field trips and activity holidays should be encouraged and incentivised. Make learning fun and engaging.
Look at promoting summer schools.
Subjects such as monetary systems, economics, money management, financial planning and many others relevant to life after schools (getting a job, having a family, further education) should be taught in a practical and relevant manner. Pupils leaving school should understand how to write a CV, apply for a job, open a bank account, create a home budget, deal with suppliers, deal with issues and above all know right from wrong.
Not all pupils want to learn, so they need to be helped and encouraged to find something they do like and can become involved with.
Stop the politicising of subjects, it should be up to parents if they want to have their children watch a film like An Inconvenient Truth and be taught sex education before secondary school. They should be well informed and be exposed to balanced arguments and encouraged to debate, not be indoctrinated .
The subject of History may need to be completely addressed, if as expected the history we think we know proves to be completely wrong and false.