Revise the rules for term time holidays

Currently a school which has attendance below a set percentage will automatically fail OFSTED. This is fine except that it disadvantages very small schools where one irresponsible parent can have a much greater effect than they would in a larger school. One student away for 10 days in a school of 300 has a much smaller perecntage effect than in a school of 55

OFSTED should thus revise their  regulation onto a sliding scale related to the roll of the school

Why is this idea important?

Currently a school which has attendance below a set percentage will automatically fail OFSTED. This is fine except that it disadvantages very small schools where one irresponsible parent can have a much greater effect than they would in a larger school. One student away for 10 days in a school of 300 has a much smaller perecntage effect than in a school of 55

OFSTED should thus revise their  regulation onto a sliding scale related to the roll of the school

Scrap the Institute for Learning (IFL)

This body is similar to the teaching sector General Teaching Council which was recently scrapped, I am unsure why this one has not been scrapped.

My subscription and all my collegues is paid for by the tax payer, I see no benefit to being a member of the IFL. Similar to the GTC the IFL does little to improve teaching but generates unnecessary bureaucracy and wastes teachers' and tax payers hard-earned cash.

Therefore I propose that the Government save the money and use it to surport more worthy causes.

Why is this idea important?

This body is similar to the teaching sector General Teaching Council which was recently scrapped, I am unsure why this one has not been scrapped.

My subscription and all my collegues is paid for by the tax payer, I see no benefit to being a member of the IFL. Similar to the GTC the IFL does little to improve teaching but generates unnecessary bureaucracy and wastes teachers' and tax payers hard-earned cash.

Therefore I propose that the Government save the money and use it to surport more worthy causes.

restructure comprehensive schools

When comprehensives were coming in the then government promised that nothing would be lost; comprehensives would contain their grammar, technical and modern streams and children could move within them. The schools should be reorganised to deliver on that promise. I'm sure the results would be better.

Why is this idea important?

When comprehensives were coming in the then government promised that nothing would be lost; comprehensives would contain their grammar, technical and modern streams and children could move within them. The schools should be reorganised to deliver on that promise. I'm sure the results would be better.

OFSTED – Replace with cheaper, simpler, more effective!

I have been in education since 1984 when I qualified as a teacher and now I am coming up to 11 years as a headteacher in Derby.

I have experienced first hand 3 inspections (2 as head 1 as acting) and have knowledge of many more.  All of the inspections regarding my schools (Arboretum Primary, Lakeside Community Primary x2 both in Derby) have had positive outcomes in terms of the report findings so I am not 'OFSTED bashing' because I've had bad inspections.

My real issue is that the whole process brings unecessary pressure and in some cases unwaranted but real fear, to all school staff and governors which at best ensures paperwork is up to date but at worst reduces effectiveness of the whole school community and causes illnesses which some very good staff never recover from. I am yet to experience an inspection that either tells me something I didn't know (and incidently had already widely published to parent/carers, staff and governors) or leaves the school in a better place to move forward than it already was!  If this is the case what are we paying out millions for?

I am not anti-accountability, far from it, schools should be subject to a regime of checks although SATs and league tables seem a long way from producing this.  Many years ago HMI inspected schols but rather than just agreeing with judgements already made by the school there was also a joint responsibility for improving the provision which surely is the point of any inspection process.  They gave advice! 

It seems that anyone with any knowledge of education can come into a school find a number of key issues, tell the school to sort them out and then go away (an over simplification but my point is clear).  The caveat being that if you're not deemed good enough we'll come back soon to see what you've done and put more excessive and undue pressure on all involved.

So what would be better and cheaper?  If the school is not good enough, close it! Don't just rename it, put a couple of new leaders in without the power to dismiss ineffective staff and throw some money at it. That said most primary schools are places that children, Parent/Carers, staff and governors are proud of and are happy places of learning.  We know where our areas for development are but if these areas still exist in our schools then what we need is not reinforcement of failings but assistance from experienced educationalists to develop new ways of moving the school forward in partnership that are different to those we have tried. If we knew what would make things better we would have already done it!!   This would involve maybe in a school of my size (420 pupils including FS1) one inspector for a week who would assist in planning etc and take a professional interest in the schools achievements and also be able to signpost to other experts as required. They would return at a later date not to re inspect but to check on progress and give aditional advice, (SIPs maybe?).  If all had been tried but still no real difference on say numeracy results was found, then there should be a way of noting that rather than failing the school isdoing all it possibly can. Alternatively employ serving heads to perform this role in areas away from their 'home' to avoid people becoming too subjective in their approach. 

It is also important that we look at why the link is so strong between deprivation and school performance, I cannot believe taht all the 'bad' teachers and leaders work in these areas!  My feeling is that some of our best leaders work in some of the toughest schools but our current OFSTED inspection process seems to faill these schools rather than recognise the remarkable achievements that are being made.

I look forward to being able to take this discussion further and would welcome the opportunity of working with the Government to make a real difference in schools and not just see another round of a government putting in reforms for political rather than educational reasons.

Regards Simon Emsley

Why is this idea important?

I have been in education since 1984 when I qualified as a teacher and now I am coming up to 11 years as a headteacher in Derby.

I have experienced first hand 3 inspections (2 as head 1 as acting) and have knowledge of many more.  All of the inspections regarding my schools (Arboretum Primary, Lakeside Community Primary x2 both in Derby) have had positive outcomes in terms of the report findings so I am not 'OFSTED bashing' because I've had bad inspections.

My real issue is that the whole process brings unecessary pressure and in some cases unwaranted but real fear, to all school staff and governors which at best ensures paperwork is up to date but at worst reduces effectiveness of the whole school community and causes illnesses which some very good staff never recover from. I am yet to experience an inspection that either tells me something I didn't know (and incidently had already widely published to parent/carers, staff and governors) or leaves the school in a better place to move forward than it already was!  If this is the case what are we paying out millions for?

I am not anti-accountability, far from it, schools should be subject to a regime of checks although SATs and league tables seem a long way from producing this.  Many years ago HMI inspected schols but rather than just agreeing with judgements already made by the school there was also a joint responsibility for improving the provision which surely is the point of any inspection process.  They gave advice! 

It seems that anyone with any knowledge of education can come into a school find a number of key issues, tell the school to sort them out and then go away (an over simplification but my point is clear).  The caveat being that if you're not deemed good enough we'll come back soon to see what you've done and put more excessive and undue pressure on all involved.

So what would be better and cheaper?  If the school is not good enough, close it! Don't just rename it, put a couple of new leaders in without the power to dismiss ineffective staff and throw some money at it. That said most primary schools are places that children, Parent/Carers, staff and governors are proud of and are happy places of learning.  We know where our areas for development are but if these areas still exist in our schools then what we need is not reinforcement of failings but assistance from experienced educationalists to develop new ways of moving the school forward in partnership that are different to those we have tried. If we knew what would make things better we would have already done it!!   This would involve maybe in a school of my size (420 pupils including FS1) one inspector for a week who would assist in planning etc and take a professional interest in the schools achievements and also be able to signpost to other experts as required. They would return at a later date not to re inspect but to check on progress and give aditional advice, (SIPs maybe?).  If all had been tried but still no real difference on say numeracy results was found, then there should be a way of noting that rather than failing the school isdoing all it possibly can. Alternatively employ serving heads to perform this role in areas away from their 'home' to avoid people becoming too subjective in their approach. 

It is also important that we look at why the link is so strong between deprivation and school performance, I cannot believe taht all the 'bad' teachers and leaders work in these areas!  My feeling is that some of our best leaders work in some of the toughest schools but our current OFSTED inspection process seems to faill these schools rather than recognise the remarkable achievements that are being made.

I look forward to being able to take this discussion further and would welcome the opportunity of working with the Government to make a real difference in schools and not just see another round of a government putting in reforms for political rather than educational reasons.

Regards Simon Emsley

Is PPA the best way to raise standards.

Cutting PPA time.  .  It would be better if children went home an hour possibly two a week earlier and PPA time was used in a focused way e.g. to focus on 'stuck' children/raising standards.  Heads need some freedom to say how the time is used and be accountable to the governors for how it is raising standards.  Schools could provide after school care, sports coaching or enrichment activities for parents who need childcare.  However, that still leads the question does PPA actually raise standards…the jury is out with this I think! 

Why is this idea important?

Cutting PPA time.  .  It would be better if children went home an hour possibly two a week earlier and PPA time was used in a focused way e.g. to focus on 'stuck' children/raising standards.  Heads need some freedom to say how the time is used and be accountable to the governors for how it is raising standards.  Schools could provide after school care, sports coaching or enrichment activities for parents who need childcare.  However, that still leads the question does PPA actually raise standards…the jury is out with this I think! 

Scrap awards

Having seen a number of schools bend over backwards producing endless reams of paperwork and spending countless hours filling in boxes to receive Artsmark, Investors in People and all the other marks you can get, I feel this madness has to stop. Visits are often nothing more than a chat with the head and a tour of the school.  They do nothing to secure the progress of children and do much to massage peoples egos and to fill the accounts of former heads, teachers and inspectors.

Why is this idea important?

Having seen a number of schools bend over backwards producing endless reams of paperwork and spending countless hours filling in boxes to receive Artsmark, Investors in People and all the other marks you can get, I feel this madness has to stop. Visits are often nothing more than a chat with the head and a tour of the school.  They do nothing to secure the progress of children and do much to massage peoples egos and to fill the accounts of former heads, teachers and inspectors.

Allow nurseries and after schools in private sector to use16 seat mini buses

Private sector nurseries and afterschool/holiday clubs have been forced by DVLA to remove 8 seats from their 16 seat minibuses due to complaints from bus companies who want the trade.

DVLA claim that nurseries and afterschools use the buses for'hire and reward' and so need to change their licences to drive the bus. In most cases these are used as part of the service to the children and are not charged. The outcome is that children in our rural areas are unable to go out of the limited environment surrounding them.

The afterschool children who are picked up from school are not charged any more for this service than those who come without being picked up by the bus.

The only people to suffer in this are the children.

If we made ourselves a 'charitable' organisation or 'voluntary ' organisation we would be able to use our buses with the 16 seats in it and with the same drivers driving with their current licence!! Insanity!

Local Authority nurseries can use the buses with 16 seats and no special licence or conditions.

Hopefully this government will stand for common sense and fairness. I am not hlding my breath but would be happy to be proved wrong!!!!

Why is this idea important?

Private sector nurseries and afterschool/holiday clubs have been forced by DVLA to remove 8 seats from their 16 seat minibuses due to complaints from bus companies who want the trade.

DVLA claim that nurseries and afterschools use the buses for'hire and reward' and so need to change their licences to drive the bus. In most cases these are used as part of the service to the children and are not charged. The outcome is that children in our rural areas are unable to go out of the limited environment surrounding them.

The afterschool children who are picked up from school are not charged any more for this service than those who come without being picked up by the bus.

The only people to suffer in this are the children.

If we made ourselves a 'charitable' organisation or 'voluntary ' organisation we would be able to use our buses with the 16 seats in it and with the same drivers driving with their current licence!! Insanity!

Local Authority nurseries can use the buses with 16 seats and no special licence or conditions.

Hopefully this government will stand for common sense and fairness. I am not hlding my breath but would be happy to be proved wrong!!!!

Punish truants not parents

Punish children who truant from school and not the parents, many parents are unaware when their children truant and should not be punished when they send their children out the door at a decent time and have no control over what their children do once they have set of for school or are at school

A sufficient punishment would have to be used, but punishing the parents is wrong when it is not their fault and they are trying to stop their child doing this

Why is this idea important?

Punish children who truant from school and not the parents, many parents are unaware when their children truant and should not be punished when they send their children out the door at a decent time and have no control over what their children do once they have set of for school or are at school

A sufficient punishment would have to be used, but punishing the parents is wrong when it is not their fault and they are trying to stop their child doing this

Make it easier to sack public workers for poor work or absence.

My children have both had part of their education damaged because their school would not sack a teacher, who was both poor and always absent through stress.  Consequently they had a succession of substitute teachers in that particular subject.  Despite complaints from many parents the school seemed powerless to do anything.

Why is this idea important?

My children have both had part of their education damaged because their school would not sack a teacher, who was both poor and always absent through stress.  Consequently they had a succession of substitute teachers in that particular subject.  Despite complaints from many parents the school seemed powerless to do anything.

Childcare Payments

Currently payments for childcare are made to the parent(s), the level of which is determined after considering the income and dependents.

However, if it is decided that the level should be set at £400 p/m for example, it is up to the parent to use that payment for childcare as required, and whether or not the whole amount is required for childcare the whole amount is paid out. The problem with this is that some people aren't able to claim larger amounts and have to find the shortfall themselves, whilst unnessasary cash is paid to some and not used for the sole purpose. It also allows people to take their children out of care on certain days to save the money for other uses which ofcourse costs the childcare provider as they don't get paid as expected and money is not going to where it should.

It seems to me and many others that it would make more sense for childcare payments to be made directly to the provider, be that nursery fees or childminder, and would allow the provider to be certain of payments on time and only money used for childcare given could be claimed by the provider, which should also save a lot of money being paid out where not needed or used properly, which is obviously important in the current climate of cutbacks and government savings.

Why is this idea important?

Currently payments for childcare are made to the parent(s), the level of which is determined after considering the income and dependents.

However, if it is decided that the level should be set at £400 p/m for example, it is up to the parent to use that payment for childcare as required, and whether or not the whole amount is required for childcare the whole amount is paid out. The problem with this is that some people aren't able to claim larger amounts and have to find the shortfall themselves, whilst unnessasary cash is paid to some and not used for the sole purpose. It also allows people to take their children out of care on certain days to save the money for other uses which ofcourse costs the childcare provider as they don't get paid as expected and money is not going to where it should.

It seems to me and many others that it would make more sense for childcare payments to be made directly to the provider, be that nursery fees or childminder, and would allow the provider to be certain of payments on time and only money used for childcare given could be claimed by the provider, which should also save a lot of money being paid out where not needed or used properly, which is obviously important in the current climate of cutbacks and government savings.

Remove requirement for childcare workers to be educated to degree level

 The Government's 10-year childcare strategy aims to ensure degree-qualified staff lead every full-time daycare setting.

 

The former chief economic adviser to the Treasury, Ed Balls told the Daycare Trust's Annual Childcare Lecture in January: "Our goals should be that the early years workers of the future are well-educated and trained with the financial rewards to go with that status," and talked of a "parity of esteem" between early years workers and primary school teachers.

 

This may sound progressive and in the best interests of children and their carers. But is a degree level qualification really necessary to provide good care for under fives? Many preschools will be plunged into financial difficulty, forced to fund a worker (who may, due to family or other constraints, not have the time to take on a degree course part time anyway) for an expensive degree course which is not necessary.

Or, if they cannot find anyone within their own staff willing to train, they will be forced to hire someone else who has a degree level qualification already, whether or not they need the extra pair of hands.

 

This really seems like a very unhelpful way forward.

Why is this idea important?

 The Government's 10-year childcare strategy aims to ensure degree-qualified staff lead every full-time daycare setting.

 

The former chief economic adviser to the Treasury, Ed Balls told the Daycare Trust's Annual Childcare Lecture in January: "Our goals should be that the early years workers of the future are well-educated and trained with the financial rewards to go with that status," and talked of a "parity of esteem" between early years workers and primary school teachers.

 

This may sound progressive and in the best interests of children and their carers. But is a degree level qualification really necessary to provide good care for under fives? Many preschools will be plunged into financial difficulty, forced to fund a worker (who may, due to family or other constraints, not have the time to take on a degree course part time anyway) for an expensive degree course which is not necessary.

Or, if they cannot find anyone within their own staff willing to train, they will be forced to hire someone else who has a degree level qualification already, whether or not they need the extra pair of hands.

 

This really seems like a very unhelpful way forward.

Stop Schools confiscating children’s packed lunched

Some schools confiscate a child's packed lunch if it is deemed to contain more than one unhealthy item.  This is a blatant infringement upon civil liberties.  Yes healthy eating is important and is to be encouraged but a school should not have the right to search children's lunch boxes and confiscate them if a parent has decided to give their child 2 biscuits instead of one.   People should be allowed to make their own informed decisions.  

Why is this idea important?

Some schools confiscate a child's packed lunch if it is deemed to contain more than one unhealthy item.  This is a blatant infringement upon civil liberties.  Yes healthy eating is important and is to be encouraged but a school should not have the right to search children's lunch boxes and confiscate them if a parent has decided to give their child 2 biscuits instead of one.   People should be allowed to make their own informed decisions.  

form filling for schools & brownies

My children are at primary school and we are forever having to sign  pieces of paper to give permission for lots of things. E.G Going to local swimming pool for lessions in school time

I totally trust the school to do whatever is required and feel I do not need to give permission all the time.

 

A similar thing happens at Brownies. If for example the kids are going out to play in the park instead of all meeting at the church hall, a permission form needs to be signed.

Why is this idea important?

My children are at primary school and we are forever having to sign  pieces of paper to give permission for lots of things. E.G Going to local swimming pool for lessions in school time

I totally trust the school to do whatever is required and feel I do not need to give permission all the time.

 

A similar thing happens at Brownies. If for example the kids are going out to play in the park instead of all meeting at the church hall, a permission form needs to be signed.

Change the Ofsted regime

 

I am advocating a change to the current Ofsted inspection regime because I believe that it is unnecessarily stressful and unhelpful.

 

The main source of stress comes from not knowing when an Ofsted inspection is going to happen. (My last school was inspected in January 2007 and as a result were expecting to be inspected in January 2010. Staff were under stress from September 2009, but when the inspectors did not arrive in January, the stress did not go away, it just built up; expecting the ‘call’ each day. Even now at the end of the year they are still stressed and will not be able to relax fully over the summer break in anticipation of an inspection next year!)

 

My suggestion is that inspections should become annual events along the lines of the professional review process which most teachers have embraced and find useful. If inspection were a regular, annual event, there would be no stress about expecting the ‘call’. Everybody could focus on the job of teaching, knowing that the inspectors would be in during July (or whenever).

 

The inspections should at least be lead by the same inspector from year to year (This would avoid the situation at my last school of the team not knowing that it is a ‘split site’ school, separated by 4.6 miles of rolling Essex countryside!). More importantly it would enable a real dialogue to be entered into. Currently there is insufficient time for inspectors to watch whole lessons or to give appropriate and useful feedback to teachers. If the same inspector came back regularly they would know what had been missed last time and what needs to be seen this time; to check on the progress of a new initiative or to revisit a teacher who was struggling last time etc.. It would also further the spread of good practice as Ofsted inspectors cover the whole of the country, unlike SIPs who tend to be more local. Imagine a useful conversation between an inspector and a head of curriculum trying to innovate; ‘I was in ? a few weeks ago. They were introducing something similar. Would you like me to share their contact details with you?’ In this way the best ideas would spread quickly throughout the country.

 

 My background is that I am an ‘ex’ vice principal of a large and successful Technology College. I took early retirement at 56 two years ago because I could not face the introduction of another ill thought out initiative (Curriculum 2008 and Diplomas). I took a term to recover from 34 years of teaching and am now working for my LA as a School Attendance Improvement Officer. A useful and meaningful job, but not really what I was trained for, nor what I was good at. If there had been opportunities for secondments or sabbaticals available at the time, I would have returned refreshed and ready for my last 9 years in teaching. Perhaps such initiatives as sabbaticals should be reintroduced in order to keep experienced and senior staff in schools, particularly in the face of expected shortages in the next few years.

Why is this idea important?

 

I am advocating a change to the current Ofsted inspection regime because I believe that it is unnecessarily stressful and unhelpful.

 

The main source of stress comes from not knowing when an Ofsted inspection is going to happen. (My last school was inspected in January 2007 and as a result were expecting to be inspected in January 2010. Staff were under stress from September 2009, but when the inspectors did not arrive in January, the stress did not go away, it just built up; expecting the ‘call’ each day. Even now at the end of the year they are still stressed and will not be able to relax fully over the summer break in anticipation of an inspection next year!)

 

My suggestion is that inspections should become annual events along the lines of the professional review process which most teachers have embraced and find useful. If inspection were a regular, annual event, there would be no stress about expecting the ‘call’. Everybody could focus on the job of teaching, knowing that the inspectors would be in during July (or whenever).

 

The inspections should at least be lead by the same inspector from year to year (This would avoid the situation at my last school of the team not knowing that it is a ‘split site’ school, separated by 4.6 miles of rolling Essex countryside!). More importantly it would enable a real dialogue to be entered into. Currently there is insufficient time for inspectors to watch whole lessons or to give appropriate and useful feedback to teachers. If the same inspector came back regularly they would know what had been missed last time and what needs to be seen this time; to check on the progress of a new initiative or to revisit a teacher who was struggling last time etc.. It would also further the spread of good practice as Ofsted inspectors cover the whole of the country, unlike SIPs who tend to be more local. Imagine a useful conversation between an inspector and a head of curriculum trying to innovate; ‘I was in ? a few weeks ago. They were introducing something similar. Would you like me to share their contact details with you?’ In this way the best ideas would spread quickly throughout the country.

 

 My background is that I am an ‘ex’ vice principal of a large and successful Technology College. I took early retirement at 56 two years ago because I could not face the introduction of another ill thought out initiative (Curriculum 2008 and Diplomas). I took a term to recover from 34 years of teaching and am now working for my LA as a School Attendance Improvement Officer. A useful and meaningful job, but not really what I was trained for, nor what I was good at. If there had been opportunities for secondments or sabbaticals available at the time, I would have returned refreshed and ready for my last 9 years in teaching. Perhaps such initiatives as sabbaticals should be reintroduced in order to keep experienced and senior staff in schools, particularly in the face of expected shortages in the next few years.

Increase the ratios allowed for childminders

At the moment, childminders are allowed to care for 6 children under the age of 8, 3 of whom may be under 5 and 1 of whom may be under 1. This is the basic legal ratio allowed for childminders.

It does not take into account the childminder's experience, how long the childminder has been minding, or his or her Ofsted grade. It takes no notice of whether a childminder works alone or with another childminder.

There is a great shortage of childcare in my area and I am having to turn business away because I am not allowed to care for extra children without OFSTED's express and very specific permission, granted only in exceptional circumstances. This not only restricts my business, it also restricts parental choice.

I would like to see the Government allow experienced childminders with Good or Outstanding grades to increase their ratio by law, without having to request a variation from OFSTED. .

Why is this idea important?

At the moment, childminders are allowed to care for 6 children under the age of 8, 3 of whom may be under 5 and 1 of whom may be under 1. This is the basic legal ratio allowed for childminders.

It does not take into account the childminder's experience, how long the childminder has been minding, or his or her Ofsted grade. It takes no notice of whether a childminder works alone or with another childminder.

There is a great shortage of childcare in my area and I am having to turn business away because I am not allowed to care for extra children without OFSTED's express and very specific permission, granted only in exceptional circumstances. This not only restricts my business, it also restricts parental choice.

I would like to see the Government allow experienced childminders with Good or Outstanding grades to increase their ratio by law, without having to request a variation from OFSTED. .

Remove the link between SEN diagnosis and funding.

The system for the provision of support to pupils with specific personalised learning needs is grotesquely expensive and inefficient. The problem with the whole system is that 'statementing' has funding attached, and therefore becomes bureaucratic on both a clinical and a financial level.

It would be so much simpler (and cheaper!) to simply dedicate a proportion of every school's budget to the provision of special educational needs. That money must be spent on support for individuals, but not assigned to specific individuals. Then the professionals within that school (possibly but not necessarily including educational psychologists) would be able to allocate resources to their students in a way that meets their needs.

It is of course important that children are properly diagnosed, but this should be a purely medical/clinical concern. The relationship with funding means that money is constantly being wasted on appeals and such.

Schools should use professional diagnosis to justify their allocation of the fixed pot of funds that they have been given as a school. If parents cannot agree with the provision that a school allocates their child then they should be allowed to look for another school.

The current problems all come from an overly litigious approach that favours bureaucrats and only benefits the children of parents that have enough time on ther hands to pursue their claims through the many conflicting agencies and organisations.

Why is this idea important?

The system for the provision of support to pupils with specific personalised learning needs is grotesquely expensive and inefficient. The problem with the whole system is that 'statementing' has funding attached, and therefore becomes bureaucratic on both a clinical and a financial level.

It would be so much simpler (and cheaper!) to simply dedicate a proportion of every school's budget to the provision of special educational needs. That money must be spent on support for individuals, but not assigned to specific individuals. Then the professionals within that school (possibly but not necessarily including educational psychologists) would be able to allocate resources to their students in a way that meets their needs.

It is of course important that children are properly diagnosed, but this should be a purely medical/clinical concern. The relationship with funding means that money is constantly being wasted on appeals and such.

Schools should use professional diagnosis to justify their allocation of the fixed pot of funds that they have been given as a school. If parents cannot agree with the provision that a school allocates their child then they should be allowed to look for another school.

The current problems all come from an overly litigious approach that favours bureaucrats and only benefits the children of parents that have enough time on ther hands to pursue their claims through the many conflicting agencies and organisations.

Prosecute The Parents, Not The Child.

Instead of blaming the child and following the, frankly, abusive and immoral policy of child criminal responsibility, perhaps societies attention should be more drawn to the adult parent(s). A child who comits any crime could not possibly have understood, grasped or been influenced by the law due to their age and mental ability.

A child's upbringing is absolutely dependant on their parenting. It defies logic that a child could possibly be guilty of a crime. If a child commits an act of crime it is solely the responsibility of the parent for not bringing them up properly. If the argument is that the parent could not control the child then the adult(s) concerned should not be permitted to keep their children as they are unable to parent properly.

Parenting is the single largest responsibility of life and should be met as such by responsible adults.

In addition, the government must repeal the madness of legislation that utterly prevents them dispensing appropriate and responsible discipline. A child cannot be brought up correctly in society if they have no limitations set before them by their parents and influential adults.

There is no excuse for bad parenting, ever. A child can barely understand the concept of the self much before their teenage years let alone criminal responsibility. It is simply unjust to accuse children of crimes that they cannot even attempt to understand.

the criminal age of responsibility should be 18 and not a moment sooner. Until then the child should be the 100% responsibility of the adult parent(s).

Why is this idea important?

Instead of blaming the child and following the, frankly, abusive and immoral policy of child criminal responsibility, perhaps societies attention should be more drawn to the adult parent(s). A child who comits any crime could not possibly have understood, grasped or been influenced by the law due to their age and mental ability.

A child's upbringing is absolutely dependant on their parenting. It defies logic that a child could possibly be guilty of a crime. If a child commits an act of crime it is solely the responsibility of the parent for not bringing them up properly. If the argument is that the parent could not control the child then the adult(s) concerned should not be permitted to keep their children as they are unable to parent properly.

Parenting is the single largest responsibility of life and should be met as such by responsible adults.

In addition, the government must repeal the madness of legislation that utterly prevents them dispensing appropriate and responsible discipline. A child cannot be brought up correctly in society if they have no limitations set before them by their parents and influential adults.

There is no excuse for bad parenting, ever. A child can barely understand the concept of the self much before their teenage years let alone criminal responsibility. It is simply unjust to accuse children of crimes that they cannot even attempt to understand.

the criminal age of responsibility should be 18 and not a moment sooner. Until then the child should be the 100% responsibility of the adult parent(s).

Protect school playing fields

School playing fields are essential for school children and the wider local community, which has paid for them through its taxes: they affect their rights to a full education and to the peaceful enjoyment of their family life.  But controls over the disposal of playing fields as development land are not working.

The Government should amend the School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998 to ensure that all consents granted so far for the disposal of school playing fields, and all future consents, should lapse five years after they have been granted, as is the case with planning permission; and should strengthen the presumptions (i) that open-air playing fields should be retained unless there is genuinely no further need for them, and (ii) that the full proceeds of any disposals that are so justified should be returned to public funds at local or national government level. 

It should declare as its policy that the expansion of the academies programme to which it is committed will not in any way prejudice the need to retain playing fields in the public interest, or the way in which the necessary controls over disposals of playing fields are exercised. 

Why is this idea important?

School playing fields are essential for school children and the wider local community, which has paid for them through its taxes: they affect their rights to a full education and to the peaceful enjoyment of their family life.  But controls over the disposal of playing fields as development land are not working.

The Government should amend the School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998 to ensure that all consents granted so far for the disposal of school playing fields, and all future consents, should lapse five years after they have been granted, as is the case with planning permission; and should strengthen the presumptions (i) that open-air playing fields should be retained unless there is genuinely no further need for them, and (ii) that the full proceeds of any disposals that are so justified should be returned to public funds at local or national government level. 

It should declare as its policy that the expansion of the academies programme to which it is committed will not in any way prejudice the need to retain playing fields in the public interest, or the way in which the necessary controls over disposals of playing fields are exercised. 

Educational quangos; repeal regulation and close IFL

The Institute for Learning is an intrusive and ineffective body. The idear that standards in further educatuion should be raised is fine but this body is failing to achieve anything. By removing the regulation that all teachers in further education must be registered the body will wither and die. No one, heads students and the vast majoority of teachers have a good word to say for the organisation. They themselves publish achievments the best of which has been that teaches feel their self esteem has been raised. Stop this nonsence and remove the restrictive legislation.

Why is this idea important?

The Institute for Learning is an intrusive and ineffective body. The idear that standards in further educatuion should be raised is fine but this body is failing to achieve anything. By removing the regulation that all teachers in further education must be registered the body will wither and die. No one, heads students and the vast majoority of teachers have a good word to say for the organisation. They themselves publish achievments the best of which has been that teaches feel their self esteem has been raised. Stop this nonsence and remove the restrictive legislation.

Remove the charitable status of fee-paying schools and use the tax raised to invest in state education

Currently private or public schools can avoid paying tax by showing that education is a 'charitable activity'.  To do so, they must show how their work benefits the wider community.  In many cases, it is clear that this community commitment is either superficial or miniscule.

So, to make these institutions benefit the wider community in a more objective way, remove the tax relief, and ringfence taxation on school fees etc into the state schools budget, or schools building budget that has just been slashed.

Why is this idea important?

Currently private or public schools can avoid paying tax by showing that education is a 'charitable activity'.  To do so, they must show how their work benefits the wider community.  In many cases, it is clear that this community commitment is either superficial or miniscule.

So, to make these institutions benefit the wider community in a more objective way, remove the tax relief, and ringfence taxation on school fees etc into the state schools budget, or schools building budget that has just been slashed.

Child Tax Credit vs Food

If the government thought that child tax credit was costing too much, why not consider the following:

Remove child tax credits for families earning over the average.

For those families who would benefit from receiving the benefit, why not reduce the amount of money given to them and instead offer free breakfast and lunches at school for those children. This would reduce the tax burden to the country and enable those families that need the benefit to have some money towards the care of the children but more importantly, it would enable those children from those families to have a healthy meal twice a day for most of the week.  

Why is this idea important?

If the government thought that child tax credit was costing too much, why not consider the following:

Remove child tax credits for families earning over the average.

For those families who would benefit from receiving the benefit, why not reduce the amount of money given to them and instead offer free breakfast and lunches at school for those children. This would reduce the tax burden to the country and enable those families that need the benefit to have some money towards the care of the children but more importantly, it would enable those children from those families to have a healthy meal twice a day for most of the week.