A NEW VOICE FOR EDUCATION
Labour has failed pupils, parents and teachers in Wales. Education standards here are the lowest of any UK nation. We are also slipping further behind our international competitors. No nation can expect to achieve prosperity without excellent, confident school leavers and graduates. Failure cannot be tolerated if we are to drive up standards, and schools need more freedom to manage their budgets efficiently. Wales needs to match or exceed the highest international standards. Once, Wales had a highly education–friendly culture. It must be restored quickly. Greater ambition is necessary for Higher Education too. None of our universities ranks in the top 100 in the world.
A NEW VOICE
A Welsh Conservative Assembly Government will be a new voice for pupils, parents and teachers. We will improve GCSE and A level results so that they become the best in Britain, and then among the best in the world. Modern school buildings can play a vital part in driving up standards and we will develop a made–in–Wales PPP funding scheme to build new schools. Teachers are key to achieving higher attainment in schools and we will invest in their continuing professional development. We will fund schools directly from WAG and so give headteachers the powers to boost educational attainment.
A WELSH CONSERVATIVE ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT WILL:
Raise Standards in Schools
Improve GCSE and A level results to the best in Britain, and then aim to be among the best in the world.
Focus on educational attainment including targeted strategies for looked after children and other vulnerable groups.
Review the National Curriculum and ensure that time is protected for sport, home economics and life skills.
Introduce ‘Teach Wales’, a two year programme encouraging highly talented people into STEM subject teaching.
Comparable schemes in England and America are resulting in improved attainment.
Create a new made–in–Wales PPP scheme, Building Together, to fund a major school building programme.
Fund schools directly from WAG to give headteachers the powers to boost educational attainment.
Encourage the development of specialist schools, and support faith schools.
Introduce targeted support for schools with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds including a pupil premium.
Develop a ‘middle phase’ (8 – 13 year olds) to integrate the school system and bridge the gap between the Foundation Phase and 14–19 Learning Pathways.
Retain the Wales and England-wide pay structure for teachers.
Require all secondary schools to set-up a social enterprise to be managed and run by pupils. This will promote entrepreneurial spirit and equip our young people with life skills.
Improve Higher and Further Education
Establish world class Higher Education institutions in Wales. Cardiff University to be a world top 50 university by 2020, and the majority of other HE institutions to attain a top 200 ranking.
Implement a fair and sustainable fees system for Higher Education in Wales. Universities will be permitted to raise fees to a maximum of £9,000 subject to WAG approval.
Establish a hardship fund, to help the most disadvantaged students.
Bursaries will be linked to basic entrepreneurship training to cultivate an enterprising mind–set in our students.
In both higher and further education, increase the emphasis and value placed on part-time, modular and distance learning and vocational courses to provide education in a flexible and responsive manner.
Encourage collaboration to make the best use of resources, but not compel mergers.
Preserve the corporate status of Further Education institutions.
Encourage the growth of the Research and Development sector, including HE–private sector partnerships.