The Devil has done an excellent piece on the Tories' plan for Swedish style voucher education so go and read it and come back here.
I was talking to people last night about education - not so much the National Curriculum but what is education for and how should it be implemented.
First up - this idiocy of keeping kidults in education to 18. Now this is ridiculous and a blatent attempt to massage the NEETs figures. If a 16-year-old does not want to be in education then what do you think the effect will be on those that do want further education? Bored, angry pupils disrupting lessons, knowing that there is nothing the teacher will actually do is the probably result.
So scrap this ridiculous law.
Second - Higher education. Why should there be universal higher education. That's not what the real world is about. The net result is a funding crisis and non-courses so that the new universities can survive.
Why should it take three years to do a Hairdressing degree?
What should happen is the re-installing of Higher Education colleges, polytechnics and "proper" universities - each catering for the needs of the pupil - so you have practical, mixed and academic courses. Some people are academically minded, some are practical and some are mixed ability. Aim to get the best out of those students.
Third up was education in general. At the moment you have a centrally controlled rigid structure run on ideological grounds rather than on what is best for the pupil. There should only be two compulsory subjects post-14: English Language and Maths. That's all. people need to read, write and count if they are going to succeed in whatever course their lives take them.
Other courses should be based on ability. So, taking my older brother for an example - he was a shocking academic (we actually suspect he may have been dyslexic) but give him an engine, art pad or piece of wood and he could create like you wouldn't believe. So should he been forced to do all those academic subjects when more practical ones may have suited him more?
Pre-14, there should be compulsory maths, english, history and a.n.other. My preference would be art or a language. There should also also be intelligent streaming. I.E. Put children of the same ability in the same group. But with constant monitoring. Some kids will move on in a subject faster and earlier than others. Streaming allows tailored education to suit each group.
For instance if i was teaching a difficult maths group then once a week or so we could play darts or snooker with two of the kids as designated scorers. They would have to add and subtract without calculators. I know people who would have improved significantly if they had been taught in a more practical manner.
But this could also challenged by the child. Say he believes that he should stay in a group, he can have a month or so in the new year to prove himself capable. Give a child a challenge, a competition, most will go for it.
In my perfect world, each child would have a full basic education and then skills. whether academic or practical, would be layered on top.
But that's a perfect world, I'm interested in seeing the praticalities of a Tory government.