Yesterday we had the Social Justice Policy Group’s proposals on debt. Tomorrow the focus will shift to drug and alcohol addiction before culminating at the start of next week with policy ideas for the voluntary sector and for the family.
At the heart of the SJPG’s educational recommendations is the idea that "parents are primarily responsible for ensuring their children work hard, behave well and attend school." A YouGov poll for the SJPG finds that 79% of Britons are in agreement with that contention.
With this idea at its core the SJPG recommends:
- A new wave of ‘Pioneer Schools’ set up and run by parents and charities but funded by the taxpayer at £5,500 per pupil, per year. The idea is inspired by the US charter schools movement – a model of supply-side revolution that the party leadership has already indicated it is interested in embracing. Pioneer schools would be free of local authority control and enjoy charitable status. They would have freedom to set their own pay rates and should, the report says, be helped in this freedom by receiving premium rate funding from a special fund earmarked for attracting quality teachers to disadvantaged communities. There would be minimum bureaucracy associated with ‘Pioneer Schools’ – in contrast, the report argues, with the Government’s City Academies process.
- A system of compulsory home-school charters would underline parental responsibilities and there would be Be A Credit To Your Child courses to help parents understand how they can help their child succeed at school.
- New tax breaks to encourage businesses to invest in schools.