Crazy UKIP education policies

Nigel Ford's picture
With the EU and the Euro becoming the unrelenting hot political topic, the Conservatives are suffering a backlash from many of their own supporters as well as a section of the eurosceptic public due to their handling of the issue, which Labour, being a party with generally pro European sentiments, unable to capitalise on this fallout. Consequently UKIP have re-emerged as a receptacle for disillusioned votes and their cause has been assisted by the implosion of the other far right party, the BNP, so this disillusioned right wing vote is no longer split. A by-election in Barnsley earlier this year saw UKIP finish in 2nd place to Labour.

I took the opportunity to look at UKIP education policies and 3 things regarding schools struck me.

Firstly they want to extend the concept of "franchising" by advancing more free schools through expanding the backers of these schools to more organisations and generally encouraging schools to opt out of LA control.

Secondly, they propose a universal voucher scheme which parents can use in state, religious and private schools. Whatever the complicated logistics of such a scheme it means that parents who currently elect to have their children educated in the private sector could now enjoy having their fees heavily subsidised. Many of these parents are higher rate taxpayers but under UKIP they could also expect to have their taxes reduced as UKIP intend to promote a flat rate tax scheme across the board.

Thirdly, they mean to create more grammar schools which they will rename professional schools and the 11+ exam will be replaced by the perversely named "comprehensive test." This will "assess merit across a wide range of academic and non-academic abilities including vocational skills, crafts and sport." Whatever the shortcomings of the 11+ (which favour parents that can afford private tuition), you know where the parameters lie. But this comprehensive test is unwieldy, arbitrary, nebulous and totally subjective. Why should sporting ability come into the equation?

This really only scratches the surface of their bewildering ideas. On pensions, they don't appear to have a pledge to pay any state pension to the retired indigenous people of the UK.

The sooner the public find out what a pernicious agenda UKIP advocates and that they're not simply an anti European party who will make everyone financially better off and more autonomous by virtue of leaving the EU, the better.
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Warwick Cairns's picture
Tue, 06/12/2011 - 11:57

I just had a look at the link - some quite interesting policies there. One being replacing student loans with fully-funded student grants, like I had when I went to university in the 1980s. To be funded by scrapping the target of 50% of the population attending 'university' to study things like Golf Management Studies, and focusing instead on those interested in, and capable of, serious, high-level academic study. That makes sense to me.

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