The current education system is broken. The Green Party is committed to ensuring that all schools in the city provide an outstanding standard of education, which all children and young people have equal access to. We aim to deliver equal, sustainable education for all children that utilises their individual strengths. We will cut down in variance between schools by supporting less successful institutions so the quality of education is not a postcode lottery. Education is about more than the academic and we will strive to prepare our young people for life in the real world through a varied curriculum.
We believe that the education of our children and young people provides the most fundamental foundation upon which a sustainable, innovative and cohesive future can be realised. The Green Party is committed to the equality of opportunity in all facets of life and particularly within education. We believe that it is every child’s right to have access to outstanding educational provision, no matter their background or where they live within the city.
Schools should be at the heart of local communities. The coalition’s drive towards creating more academies and free schools is slowly eroding this through taking institutions out of local authority control. This results in them not being democratically accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve.
A number of schools in Southampton are operated by Academy Trusts that are not even based in the city which leads them to make decisions directly opposed to local interests. We will campaign against any new academy conversions in the area and work towards handing back control to the local community.
We believe that education is most effective when pupils are placed at the centre of their learning experience. The one size fits all approach of the present curriculum is failing many of our pupils and we will rectify this by placing pupils in the driving seat of their own personalised learning journey. We understand that each child is an individual; has different goals and aspirations; and a particular learning style. As such, we are committed to creating an education system that broadens the range of subjects on offer, as well as the modes in which they are taught. This will include improved PSHE with a focus on healthy relationships, personal finance, and other crucial life skills that currently are not taught to our young people.
We will encourage all schools to create an education offer that enables pupils to ‘learn how to learn’, rather than simply passively receiving instructions and information from their teachers. In addition, we will encourage schools within the city to work together to develop a Southampton Prospectus, that enables pupils to select the courses and routes to success that best suit their needs and aspirations, irrespective of which school they are registered with.
We believe the schooling system should be cohesive. More autonomous schools fragment the school system by encouraging schools to compete against each other instead of working towards the common interest. There must be a more rigorous focus on, and targeted financial support for, schools in areas of the city that are underperforming, relative to others. This variance in school performance also has knock-on effects. We are committed to establishing a city wide Teaching & Learning Excellence Group which would work towards improvements in standards of all local schools. It is our goal to make Southampton schools a national beacon of excellence and something to be aspired to.
As pupil numbers grow within the city we will implement innovative, integrated models of education. We will campaign for the creation of the city’s first all-through school, incorporating all of the primary, secondary and post16 education phases. Such schools embody a greater sense of connection between the school, its pupils and the local community; creating a wider sense of identity and civic purpose. We believe that Southampton should establish itself as a regional leader in this respect.
● Ensure that control of schools is handed back to local communities and campaigns are organised against any new academy conversions.
● Support the national Green Party in its campaign to slow, or stop entirely, the proliferation of such institutions.
● Create a more collaborative schooling system.
● Campaign for the establishment of a citywide Teaching & Learning Excellence Group.
● Ensure that innovative, integrated models of education are implemented in the city including the city’s first all-through school.
● Put a greater focus on group work within schools, as well as instilling our children and young people with the skills required to direct their own learning and ‘learn how to learn’.
● Encourage schools to work together to develop a Southampton Prospectus.
● Target financial support for schools in areas of the city that are underperforming.
● Develop Green Travel Plans that encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transport for getting to and from school.
● Implement a citywide programme of solar installations at school sites.
● Launch a campaign to encourage all schools in the city to work towards the achievement of an Ecoschools status of Silver Award or above.