We asked the candidates ...

Education

Our children are our future. They are not currently being served well enough on the island as recent figures illustrate. What plans have you got to ensure that access, quality and results all improve if you get elected?

Asked on:
May 26, 2024
Published on:
June 5, 2024

They answered ...

Emily Brothers : Labour Party
Referred to website post

I want to break down barriers to opportunity at every stage, for every child, by reforming the childcare and education systems; raising standards and preparing young people for work and life.

Labour has a long-term plan for educational reform. We will:

  • Build a modern childcare system from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school with free breakfast clubs for every primary school in England, for every child, to help tackle child poverty.
  • Deliver a broad education and the highest standards by recruiting 6,500 new teachers in key subjects across the country, ensuring all children, especially those with Special Educational Needs, have access to a broad and enriching curriculum;
  • Make sure young people leave education ready for work and life by training over 1,000 new careers advisors and bringing back compulsory two weeks work experience with the offer of a T Level qualification;
  • Create new training opportunities in every community by turning the apprenticeships levy into a Growth and Skills Levy, providing more flexible courses for young people and adults wanting to learn new skills and progress at work.

Fourteen years of Conservative failure, cuts and paperwork inhibit teachers from delivering excellence. In Isle of Wight, the proportion of qualified teachers to secondary school students has changed by -13% since 2010, negatively impacting access, quality and results.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-school-workforce

The Tories have built a school system where inspection is dreaded and ineffective. The challenges and pressures felt by schools are often highlighted in Ofsted reports, but, with persistent under-funding, schools are unable to implement improvements. This leads to undue pressure on staff and low information for parents. Labour will replace headline Ofsted grades with a new system of school report cards that tell parents clearly how well their children’s school is performing.

Vix Lowthion : Green Party
Direct answer

Access, quality and results are really important so that our young people can thrive as adults. But mental health, opportunities and resilience are also vital – and sadly they are not measured in school data and OFSTED reports.

I’ve been a secondary teacher for 25 years, a parent for nearly 18 years, and the Green Party’s national spokesperson for Education for the last 8 years. In this role I travel the country, giving speeches and meeting educators and telling them all about the fantastic Green Party education policies. They include: scrapping high stakes tests at primary school, abolishing OFSTED and reforming the curriculum to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

On the island we have too many spare places in our primary schools, and too few places which are suitable for our SEND students. This is linked to cuts to funding which have been catastrophic for SEND provision and to support small, local schools. And it’s part of a wider, demographic trend which we must tackle – that we must do more to encourage families and young people to make their homes here.

Recruitment and retention of good teachers - who are happy in their jobs and can raise standards – requires extra funding and modernisation of working practices. I would like to see every island teenager entitled to fully funded trips to the mainland, to help widen horizons. Plus lifelong learning supported to ensure that adult islanders can receive help with skills in literacy and numeracy. Not forgetting that the wider issue of economic deprivation, low paid work, ill health and quality of housing has an impact on educations standards: we have to tackle these wider social issues to raise standards in our schools.

(I could talk about education issues for hours)

Michael Lilley : Liberal Democrats
General website referral

I agree that our young Islanders are the future and without investment in them, giving them a vision of a prosperous future here on the Island, we risk losing them as they feel forced to leave for better opportunities on the mainland.

I believe that the partnership with Conservative-controlled Hampshire CC was detrimental to Education and Children Services on the Island. IW Council taking back full control has been a positive move, enabling residents, schools, parents and children to engage more at local level. I was involved in the appointment of the new Director, and as your MP I would continue to support a new child needs focused localised approach to education delivery.

Our children need support beyond school and I have strongly encouraged the re-establishment of active youth services in the Isle of Wight for many years. When the Conservative Administration cut all of the funding for youth services in 2017, I spearheaded Ryde Town Council’s move to establish the award-winning Network Ryde Youth Service. This included making sure all children had free access to Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Mirroring the successful repurposing of St Thomas’ Church Ryde as the new Youth Centre, I would continue to support IW Community Action, of which I am a Trustee, in their proposal to convert Sandown Town Hall into an innovative new Youth Centre in the Bay area.

Further Education: As Mayor of Ryde I successfully oversaw the establishment of an agreement between Ryde Town Council and University of Portsmouth which is now cascading across the Isle of Wight East Constituency. My vision is to see a university campus on the Island alongside a children’s science museum that links Dinosaur World, the Wight Aviation Museum, the Biosphere and Marine Life that enables green and innovative jobs to be created for Islanders.

Answers to this question will be shown on the "Published on" date above.

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