A modern secular state

Religion does not need the special status it currently enjoys within the British state. Quite rightly, we have laws that ban discrimination on the basis of religion or faith. That is sufficient. We have already abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales, which were long recognised as an anachronism. We should now go further and end the formal establishment of the Anglican Church as the state religion of Britain.

No one should occupy a place in Britain’s legislature on the basis of religious office. There is no objection to holders of religious office being members of either house of Parliament or any other part of government, but they should only win such status through the same democratic processes as everyone else.

We must also repeal or rewrite the laws that require schools to impose a daily act of collective worship upon pupils and we must remove the special privilege given to Christianity within religious education (I understand this to be in the Education Act 1944 as amended by the Education Reform Act 1988 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998). The removal of anachronistic religious requirements in our education system is a matter of prudent use of funding as well as basic freedoms.
 

Why is this idea important?

Religion does not need the special status it currently enjoys within the British state. Quite rightly, we have laws that ban discrimination on the basis of religion or faith. That is sufficient. We have already abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales, which were long recognised as an anachronism. We should now go further and end the formal establishment of the Anglican Church as the state religion of Britain.

No one should occupy a place in Britain’s legislature on the basis of religious office. There is no objection to holders of religious office being members of either house of Parliament or any other part of government, but they should only win such status through the same democratic processes as everyone else.

We must also repeal or rewrite the laws that require schools to impose a daily act of collective worship upon pupils and we must remove the special privilege given to Christianity within religious education (I understand this to be in the Education Act 1944 as amended by the Education Reform Act 1988 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998). The removal of anachronistic religious requirements in our education system is a matter of prudent use of funding as well as basic freedoms.
 

Let schools amalgamate when it maes sense

Our neighbourhood has an Infant school abd a Junior school either side of one same road. They bear the same name, the same colours, andchildren from the Infant School invaraibly progress to the Junior School. However they are 2 disctinct schools eahc with their budget.

The head teacher in the Infant School is about to retire and we've been told that the schools are going to federate: they'll share a head and a governing body, however they'll remain 2 distinct schools.

Parents involved in the consultation asked why they couldn't just become one school. If the naswers they got are to be believed this is only because the process of merging the 2 schools would involve closing them and re-opening a new school to which all staff should reapply in order to get (or not) their job back.

If this is true I understand why nobody's willing to make that jump yet; but then, why has it got to be so? It makes so much sense that these 2 schools should be one, why should it be so complicated to achieve?

Why is this idea important?

Our neighbourhood has an Infant school abd a Junior school either side of one same road. They bear the same name, the same colours, andchildren from the Infant School invaraibly progress to the Junior School. However they are 2 disctinct schools eahc with their budget.

The head teacher in the Infant School is about to retire and we've been told that the schools are going to federate: they'll share a head and a governing body, however they'll remain 2 distinct schools.

Parents involved in the consultation asked why they couldn't just become one school. If the naswers they got are to be believed this is only because the process of merging the 2 schools would involve closing them and re-opening a new school to which all staff should reapply in order to get (or not) their job back.

If this is true I understand why nobody's willing to make that jump yet; but then, why has it got to be so? It makes so much sense that these 2 schools should be one, why should it be so complicated to achieve?

Remove many “continuous competence” requirements for managers

There is an increasing tendancy for government agencies to demand "continuous competance" or "deemed competence" qualifications for managers/employees in small business, even when this need is not apparent. 

Grandfather's rights are being rescinded, and existing qualifications are being ignored .  This is invariably followed by the provision of private training schemes accredited by government departments, costing a small fortune.  Often, the very people demanding and inspecting these continuous requirements are not subject to competence demands themselves.

I suspect that these demands are being made simply to make the inspections by authorities easier to perform, from a "tick box" point of view.

Why is this idea important?

There is an increasing tendancy for government agencies to demand "continuous competance" or "deemed competence" qualifications for managers/employees in small business, even when this need is not apparent. 

Grandfather's rights are being rescinded, and existing qualifications are being ignored .  This is invariably followed by the provision of private training schemes accredited by government departments, costing a small fortune.  Often, the very people demanding and inspecting these continuous requirements are not subject to competence demands themselves.

I suspect that these demands are being made simply to make the inspections by authorities easier to perform, from a "tick box" point of view.

Withdraw restrictions regarding school holidays

Allow parents to take children out of school when they wish for holidays. In other words return to how the system used to be and stop telling parents what to do.

Why is this idea important?

Allow parents to take children out of school when they wish for holidays. In other words return to how the system used to be and stop telling parents what to do.

Scrap unnecessary checks on university students

Scrap bureaucratic antiterrorism checks on student attendance.

The last government had plans to introduce checks on university students attendance in September as an antiterrorism measure. This was going to be a monthly formal requirement during termtime. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings would result in a report being make to the Home Office of suspicious behaviour.

Firstly attendance (or lack of) should already be known by universities. If some universities have contact with students less often they probably shouldn't have the right to issue qualifications because they cannot prove students are actually studying anything.

Secondly this does not work for students who may have long research projects with overseas fieldwork (e.g. 5 month stint in Australia recording birdsong) when attending a meeting at university is not possible.

Why is this idea important?

Scrap bureaucratic antiterrorism checks on student attendance.

The last government had plans to introduce checks on university students attendance in September as an antiterrorism measure. This was going to be a monthly formal requirement during termtime. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings would result in a report being make to the Home Office of suspicious behaviour.

Firstly attendance (or lack of) should already be known by universities. If some universities have contact with students less often they probably shouldn't have the right to issue qualifications because they cannot prove students are actually studying anything.

Secondly this does not work for students who may have long research projects with overseas fieldwork (e.g. 5 month stint in Australia recording birdsong) when attending a meeting at university is not possible.

Abolition of the Institute for Learning (IFL)

The above organisation should be abolished for the following reasons:

1. The annual fee, although currently met by Government for those employed full time in the F.E. sector, is a waste of resources and would be better spent on front line delivery.

2. Should the Government at any time withdraw the indirect funding for IFL, then in effect qualified lecturers would be required to pay an "employment tax". This would not be equitable, nor would it enhance the Government's reputation with those working in the sector.

3.It achieves little or nothing that can be in anyway measured in terms of improving the outcomes for students. It appears largely to be more "political correctness" ( a New Labour legacy), rather than a constructive use of both time and resources. The opportunity cost has also not been figured in, i.e. time taken to complete a rather over complex and over subjective, inward looking contemplation.

4. Just as the Government is set to abolish the General Teaching Council,in being consistent, the IFL should also be abolished.There is no substantial evidence that the IFL, or any other similar organisation, has produced a substantive improvement in Education and standards.

Why is this idea important?

The above organisation should be abolished for the following reasons:

1. The annual fee, although currently met by Government for those employed full time in the F.E. sector, is a waste of resources and would be better spent on front line delivery.

2. Should the Government at any time withdraw the indirect funding for IFL, then in effect qualified lecturers would be required to pay an "employment tax". This would not be equitable, nor would it enhance the Government's reputation with those working in the sector.

3.It achieves little or nothing that can be in anyway measured in terms of improving the outcomes for students. It appears largely to be more "political correctness" ( a New Labour legacy), rather than a constructive use of both time and resources. The opportunity cost has also not been figured in, i.e. time taken to complete a rather over complex and over subjective, inward looking contemplation.

4. Just as the Government is set to abolish the General Teaching Council,in being consistent, the IFL should also be abolished.There is no substantial evidence that the IFL, or any other similar organisation, has produced a substantive improvement in Education and standards.

Is OLASS a waste of money

Hi everyone

I work for a College of further education who are contracted to teach inmates at a local prison.

When a student attends a College in the local community, his or her course is administered by the College, funded by the learning skills council and exams are dealt with directly by awarding bodies such as OCR or City and Guilds. (All in place and the system works fine)

When working for the prison service however we are governed by OLASS. Why?

OLASS appear to do nothing more than generate tons of paperwork to be filled in on a daily basis, change their mind every five minutes and send a new version of the paperwork, (slightly different of course) just to make any software that you have written to ease your paperwork trail inoperable and make life very difficult.

When a prisoner attends a course in the education department his training, results and exams taken are treated by the college in the normal way so it begs the question – Why have all of this duplication and endless extra reporting that I'm sure no one has the time or the will to read in their already overburdened lives.

Kindest Regards

A George

Why is this idea important?

Hi everyone

I work for a College of further education who are contracted to teach inmates at a local prison.

When a student attends a College in the local community, his or her course is administered by the College, funded by the learning skills council and exams are dealt with directly by awarding bodies such as OCR or City and Guilds. (All in place and the system works fine)

When working for the prison service however we are governed by OLASS. Why?

OLASS appear to do nothing more than generate tons of paperwork to be filled in on a daily basis, change their mind every five minutes and send a new version of the paperwork, (slightly different of course) just to make any software that you have written to ease your paperwork trail inoperable and make life very difficult.

When a prisoner attends a course in the education department his training, results and exams taken are treated by the college in the normal way so it begs the question – Why have all of this duplication and endless extra reporting that I'm sure no one has the time or the will to read in their already overburdened lives.

Kindest Regards

A George

Repeal the Regulation that Ofsted supervises childminding.

Go back to the previous situation where the county council social services carried out an annual check or inspection of childminders. This worked very well all the time it was in operation.

Why is this idea important?

Go back to the previous situation where the county council social services carried out an annual check or inspection of childminders. This worked very well all the time it was in operation.

Abolish classifying returnee UK citizens as overseas students

Currently if you live abroad and you want to return to the UK and study at university (in my case a Masters Course) you will be charged overeas student rates.

The course I want to do costs UK citizens five thousand pounds but if I returned to the UK it would cost me fifteen thousand pounds since I am classed as an overseas student even though I am a British citizen.

This doesn't seem right to me. I could afford to do the course now, be finished in a year and start earning and paying tax on my income. Being penalised for living away means I will have to stay away longer to save and the only beneficiary is the foreign government to whom I pay taxes.

Why is this idea important?

Currently if you live abroad and you want to return to the UK and study at university (in my case a Masters Course) you will be charged overeas student rates.

The course I want to do costs UK citizens five thousand pounds but if I returned to the UK it would cost me fifteen thousand pounds since I am classed as an overseas student even though I am a British citizen.

This doesn't seem right to me. I could afford to do the course now, be finished in a year and start earning and paying tax on my income. Being penalised for living away means I will have to stay away longer to save and the only beneficiary is the foreign government to whom I pay taxes.

16 month rule for supply teaching

I would like to see the abolishment of the 16 month limit for non-inductible supply teaching. The current rule means that newly qualified teachers may only work for 16 months as a supply teacher before they must take up an induction post of at least 1 school term.

Unfortunately there are not enough jobs for the number of teachers looking to secure an induction post. Many teachers who have gained lots of invaluable experience as supply teachers following their qualification are forced to leave the profession because of this ridiculous ruling. Many of these teachers have received grants in order to complete the training and some will have received additional funding to help with living expenses. What a waste of taxpayers' money if they have to give up their dream!

There is no justification for this 16 month ruling particularly as teachers can complete their training, go and do a completely different job for several years and still be allowed to teach. Where is the logic in that?

Why is this idea important?

I would like to see the abolishment of the 16 month limit for non-inductible supply teaching. The current rule means that newly qualified teachers may only work for 16 months as a supply teacher before they must take up an induction post of at least 1 school term.

Unfortunately there are not enough jobs for the number of teachers looking to secure an induction post. Many teachers who have gained lots of invaluable experience as supply teachers following their qualification are forced to leave the profession because of this ridiculous ruling. Many of these teachers have received grants in order to complete the training and some will have received additional funding to help with living expenses. What a waste of taxpayers' money if they have to give up their dream!

There is no justification for this 16 month ruling particularly as teachers can complete their training, go and do a completely different job for several years and still be allowed to teach. Where is the logic in that?

Education Quangos

I would abolish the General Teaching Council and the Institute for Learning (IfL) both of which  which present themsleves as organsations that are there to help and support teacher prefessionalism but in actual fact simply add to the individual teacher's workload and, in the case of the IfL, seem to exist solely to monitor teachers activities. There are, in short, unneccessary and are a prime example of bloated government and waste in the public sector.

There are many other education Quangos which could be dismantled saving money and reducing unnecessary administration for all those who work in schools, colleges, universities and training poroviders and I'm glad to see that some of these are already being looked at.

Moreover, the practice of bringing in consultants and ring fencing school budgets which, in effect, cause schools and LEAs to waste millions each year employing these largely pointless educational consultants should cease. In this time of austerity we need to target as much money to the front line – teachers and teaching – and forget about forcing schools and colleges to waste money on things they don't need

Why is this idea important?

I would abolish the General Teaching Council and the Institute for Learning (IfL) both of which  which present themsleves as organsations that are there to help and support teacher prefessionalism but in actual fact simply add to the individual teacher's workload and, in the case of the IfL, seem to exist solely to monitor teachers activities. There are, in short, unneccessary and are a prime example of bloated government and waste in the public sector.

There are many other education Quangos which could be dismantled saving money and reducing unnecessary administration for all those who work in schools, colleges, universities and training poroviders and I'm glad to see that some of these are already being looked at.

Moreover, the practice of bringing in consultants and ring fencing school budgets which, in effect, cause schools and LEAs to waste millions each year employing these largely pointless educational consultants should cease. In this time of austerity we need to target as much money to the front line – teachers and teaching – and forget about forcing schools and colleges to waste money on things they don't need

Abolish EYFS

The Early Years Foundation Stage was the ultimate socialist act of social engineering in the early years sector, The use of public money to regulate pre school years care was unbelievable. The attempt to place childminders, nursery schools and schools on an equal footing is absurd. Childminders are small businesses who trade from their homes and yet they have been asked to be like schools who have resources way beyond any childminder. The whole EYFS process needed to be implemented, trained, monitored and audited which all costs money. Yet there is less money available to the child. Scrap EYFS with immediate effect and use some of the money saved to fund free childcare in a variety of settings. EYFS has been a bandwagon for insecure women to jump onto in order to raise their status and worth. We all now a good mum when we see one. Furthermore, a series of other regulations somehow followed ie food hygiene, hire cars, HSW, etc etc

Why is this idea important?

The Early Years Foundation Stage was the ultimate socialist act of social engineering in the early years sector, The use of public money to regulate pre school years care was unbelievable. The attempt to place childminders, nursery schools and schools on an equal footing is absurd. Childminders are small businesses who trade from their homes and yet they have been asked to be like schools who have resources way beyond any childminder. The whole EYFS process needed to be implemented, trained, monitored and audited which all costs money. Yet there is less money available to the child. Scrap EYFS with immediate effect and use some of the money saved to fund free childcare in a variety of settings. EYFS has been a bandwagon for insecure women to jump onto in order to raise their status and worth. We all now a good mum when we see one. Furthermore, a series of other regulations somehow followed ie food hygiene, hire cars, HSW, etc etc