It was a pleasure to have been UKIP's Education and Apprenticeships Spokesman. A large part of this role was policy development. I tried to establish a rolling manifesto in Education and keep this policy section up to date with the latest developments in the field.
I submitted updated policies in Education, Children & Families, and Freedom & Equality to the 2017 manifesto team and they can be viewed below. Small parts are unchanged from the 2015 manifesto, but the bulk of it is new. Although most of this work was not included in the 2017 manifesto or adopted as official party policy, I hope that it will be useful for policy debate, discussion and development in the future.
UKIP’s vision for education is of a world-renowned system; a system designed to allow young people to perform to the best of their ability, regardless of background, sex, race, class or wealth, and where no child is held back.
We believe it is the duty of the state to ensure high quality education is provided for all. To achieve this, we will build our education policy upon three key principles: -
1. Education must be responsive to individual needs
Children have widely different aptitudes and capabilities and, crucially, they develop at different rates. Our school system and our whole approach to education
should be more flexible than it is now.
2. Good teachers are paramount
The quality of education is almost entirely dependent on the quality of teaching. We need the best people to choose to teach and we need to keep them teaching. To
achieve this, we must ensure not only that teachers are well prepared for a teaching career, but also that they have a high status in society and feel valued.
3. Primary education is key
A child’s first experience of education is vitally important, as this is when the pattern for learning is laid down and when literacy and good social skills are established.
UKIP will abolish Key Stage 1 SATs, set at the age of seven, as these tests have destructive, unintended consequences: they encourage ‘teaching to the test,’ they narrow the curriculum and, often, they put pressure on teachers to concentrate disproportionate resources and time on borderline pupils. Worst of all, these tests create anxiety for everyone – children, teachers, parents, school governors
– at exactly the time when children should be learning to learn, to enjoy the experience and to think of school as a fun and rewarding place to be.
There will be a prime focus on learning reading, writing and arithmetic. Phonics will be maintained as the best method of learning reading and writing skills. Children will also be expected to develop mental arithmetic skills and learn times tables.
To increase the uptake of science learning at secondary level, we will require every primary school to nominate (and train, if necessary) a science leader to inspire and equip the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Children learn languages most easily and naturally before they are eight years old. Pupils will be encouraged to take up and learn a foreign language from year 1 of primary school, especially one of the 12 languages which will be most important for trade and business after Brexit: Chinese (Mandarin), German, French, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu), Portugese, Korean, Arabic, Italian, and Polish.
UKIP will push for a range of different types of school, including grammar, vocational, technical, general and specialist secondary schools within a geographical area. This will make our secondary school system more responsive to the differing aptitudes, capabilities and speed of development of our children.
With regard to secondary education, we will also:
Fund all secondary schools according to a single formula, taking into account Special Educational Needs, to ensure underfunding such as that for secondary moderns in the 1950s can never be repeated.
Increase the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) to cover the costs of the apprenticeship levy and the increase in employees’ NI and pension contributions. These are extra costs which have not been funded in the DSG and are causing many schools to cut enrichment activities, support staff and even teachers in some cases.
Allow local businesses to set up and run their own GCSE courses and pre-16 apprenticeships with a focus on developing skills needed for employability.
Include IGCSEs and equivalents in school league tables.
Include Religious Education in the English Baccalaureate.
Make First Aid training a statutory requirement which can be delivered either in Science or PSHE lessons. We will learn from the French system where pupils can obtain a ‘Basic Life-Saving Diploma’ at the end of secondary school. This will include instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for all secondary school pupils.
Ensure that the History syllabus has a particular focus on British history and includes a broad knowledge of times, dates and historical facts.
Re-introduce the intermediate level tier for GCSE Mathematics.
Stop grade inflation by returning GCSEs to the A* - E grading system. The number of A* grades awarded (at GCSE, AS and A level) will be capped at 5%, so it is awarded only for exceptional performance as was originally envisaged.
Abolish the Progress 8 measure of comparing school performance which condemns 50% of schools to a below average rating on subjective criteria.
Many pupils learn best in a rigorous academic environment and the system can improve social mobility for able children from poorer backgrounds. We want to foster academic education among bright poorer students still further, and ultimately, UKIP wants to see a grammar school in every town, city and borough in the country.
In stark contrast to the other main parties, who have persistently campaigned against them, UKIP supports grammar schools. Demand for places far outstrips supply and UKIP will give existing secondary schools the opportunity to become grammar schools.
We recognise that the old 11+ selective system was not perfect, so we will ensure attendance is not based on a one time fixed test and introduce transfer examinations taken later at ages 13 and 16, to pick up pupils who develop in an academic direction, but at a slightly slower pace. Public schools have traditionally set their main entry point at 13, which is a good age for entry into selective academic or technical education.
Pupils in grammar schools will be supported and encouraged to take GCSE and A Level examinations earlier than normal. The UK needs to compete academically with Asian countries, which are far outperforming this country in international PISA tests, which compare national academic attainment.
The last few decades have seen an emphasis on academic education, but technical education has been run down, leaving young people with few options of learning the skills needed to gain employment in many areas such as construction and engineering. Employers have found it easier and cheaper to recruit older, already trained skilled and semi-skilled workers from eastern Europe rather than train up our own young people, which has exacerbated the skills gap in Britain. This has to change. It is vital that school children have the opportunity to learn practical skills, so they are able to benefit from technical employment opportunities in their own country.
As with grammar schools, UKIP would like to see a technical school in every town, city and borough. We will give existing secondary schools the opportunity to become technical schools where there is local demand, which will have a focus on teaching practical and vocational skills. We will also allow LEAs to open new technical schools where non exist, and technical schools can also be founded through the free school route.
We will encourage the expansion of University Technical Colleges (UTCs), particularly in post-industrial areas.
Further, by linking technical schools, UTCs and comprehensive schools with industry, we will introduce an option for students to take an apprenticeship qualification instead of four non-core GCSEs. Students can then continue their apprenticeships past the age of 16, working with certified professionals qualified to grade their progress.
UKIP will continue to develop and implement T levels – technical qualifications which are equivalent to A levels but have a focus on practical skills.
UKIP supports the right of parents to home-school their children, if they choose to do.
Nearly 99% of faith schools and one-third of all state schools in Britain are church schools. UKIP recognises the enormous contribution made by church schools and church organisations in developing education in the UK since the sixth century. Christianity has a unique place in our country, and UKIP will support church schools to continue to play a valuable role in providing education in the decades and centuries to come.
We support and will retain the requirement for schools to provide an act of daily worship which is broadly Christian.
1% of faith schools are of other faiths – Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and Hindu. Other faiths can play a positive role in the country too, but there is currently a specific problem with Islamism, which is a regressive and poisonous ideology. Until there is much greater integration of the entire Muslim community including all those connected with the Wahhabi, Salafist, Deobandi, and other sects which promote Islamism, there should be a moratorium on new Islamic state schools.
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Church schools/Faith schools in England = 6722/6813 *100% = 98.66%
Church schools/Total schools in England = 6722/20265 * 100% = 33.17%
Other faith schools/Total schools in England = 91/6813 *100% = 1.34%
We will continue to support and fund free schools, provided they are open to the whole local community. We will also allow LEAs to open grammar and technical schools and University Technical Colleges in their areas.
There is currently a demographic bulge in children aged 5 – 9. In 2019, this demographic bulge will start to enter secondary schools and the secondary school population will increase for 5 years until 2024. There is a need for at least 500,000 extra secondary places at the peak. This means that an extra 500 – 1000 schools will be needed across England by 2024.
We will commission a national plan for the location of grammar and technical schools so that pupils in all parts of the country have the opportunity of a grammar or technical school education if they are suited to it.
Figure 5 (2014 demographic data)
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS (SEN)
The policy of closing special schools will be reversed. Every child is unique and the needs of each child should come first. Those who learn better in a tailored, non-mainstream environment should have the opportunity to do so.
Religious Education will remain a statutory requirement. It should pay particular regard to Christianity, the teachings of Christ, and the positive impact of Christian values upon society.
Parents should be able to view RE lesson plans and materials before lessons, and continue to have the right to withdraw their children from RE classes.
PHSE will remain non-statutory in both primary and secondary schools.
SEX AND RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION
UKIP believes that the future of our nation depends on strong and stable families as the basic unit of society. Some children are given a good start in life, coming from families where Mum and Dad are always present and correct. Others are not so fortunate, having endured various family failures. We believe that sex education should enable pupils to make their own choices in life, based on an understanding of the moral values and standards that will give them the best chance of stable and successful family life in the future. In support of this, we will implement the following policies:
* There will be no sex education in primary schools. It’s too early for most children. They need to be taught sex education when they are ready. Moreover, UKIP opposes the current government plans to make ‘Relationship Education’ compulsory in primary schools, and the call from some unions to teach sex education to nursery school children.
* If someone appears to be sexually active at primary school, teachers should discuss it with the parents and decide what to do.
* Sex and Relationship Education in secondary schools should follow the advice of the 1996 Education Act and emphasise the importance of marriage and family life, and creating a stable environment for raising children.
* Parents should be encouraged to be involved in the sex education of their children at all levels. All parents must be made fully aware of Sex and Relationship Education lesson plans and teaching materials before their children see it, and we will continue to respect their right to withdraw their children from SRE lessons.
* Sex education, when taught as a science subject, should emphasise that sex is the natural means of maintaining the population, otherwise we would become extinct. When sex is taught in a personal and social context, recreational sex should be discouraged. Sex rewards us with pleasure for the reason defined in the science but if we do it for the wrong reason it soon turns to grief and pain.
* Schools should welcome the involvement of youth groups who emphasise chastity and restraint before marriage, for health and social reasons that do not necessarily have anything to do with religion.
* Guidance will be issued to ensure that children’s normal development into their natural biological identity as boys and girls is not harmed or confused by visiting speakers or rogue teaching materials.
* Safeguarding should be taught to children of all ages, but it should be done separately and not as part of sex education. There is a world of difference between teaching young children about online safety or telling them no one else is allowed to touch the private parts of their body, which is a sensible way to help prevent and encourage reporting of abuse and going into too much detail. The latter risks sexualising childhood, causing confusion and anxiety, and encouraging experimentation.
Citizenship will remain non-statutory in primary schools. The requirement to teach pupils about difference, diversity and multiculturalism will be removed from the Citizenship curricula in primary and secondary schools.
Careers advice has been lacking in many schools for many decades, and there are still areas of the country where careers advice is poor or non-existent. Every secondary school should have a dedicated careers advisor, who will give impartial advice to all pupils based on their individual needs, aptitudes, talents and interests. Pupils should have access to impartial Careers lessons from the age of 13, so that pupils begin to appreciate the range of options available to them at an early age.
Schools should be encouraged to forge links with local businesses and employers so that pupils have a full understanding of the economy and opportunities in their locality before they leave secondary school.
Independent, impartial careers advice and lesson courses for pupils aged 13 – 16 will need extra funding, and should be adequately supported.
CUTTING TEACHERS’ WORKLOAD
Too many teachers are working excessive hours and struggling to find an acceptable work-life balance. We do not want stressed, overworked teachers in our classrooms. Their workloads must be eased.
We will decrease the amount of paperwork teachers deal with, such as overly detailed individual lesson plans, data collection, excessive internal assessments and dialogue based marking schemes. The plethora of centralised targets will be streamlined and lesson observations limited to a maximum of one each term, except when there are concerns about teaching performance that appraisal processes have
been unable to address. Enforcing the current restriction on class sizes to thirty pupils and aiming to reduce this to twenty-five pupils over time, will further ease teacher workloads – not least when it comes to marking - as well as ease parental concerns about large class sizes.
SCHOOL HOLIDAYS AND TERM TIME LEAVE
Family holidays are of immense benefit, but it is increasing expensive for families to afford holidays during official school breaks as prices rise hugely at these times.
Parliament should task the Competition and Markets Authority with conducting a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry into the transparency of the school holiday market to ensure that large holiday companies are not engaging in anti-competitive practices.
Headteachers should be allowed to grant parents ‘occasional’ time off to take a family holiday during term time. ‘Occasional’ is envisaged as once every two to four years for a small number of families.
Ofsted inspections will be streamlined to focus on the quality of teaching, learning and the overall wellbeing of children, rather than paperwork, school policies or tick-box targets. Inspections will be shorter, classroom-orientated, and more transparent. Inspections will be re-framed to be advisory and constructive rather than a potentially devastating
We will re-focus Ofsted so that it classifies schools according to the quality of teaching and ethos of the school, rather than a slavish adherence to the Equality Act 2010. It should continue to monitor British values with a view towards combatting Islamic extremism and radicalisation, rather than criticising widely held Judeo-Christian beliefs. British values will be re-defined with an emphasis on traditional British values rather than politically correct ‘modern British values.’
Teachers with at least fifteen years’ successful classroom experience will be prioritised when Ofsted inspectors are recruited: teachers are right to question whether they should be judged by those who have less classroom experience than themselves. Schools will be subject to additional investigations by Ofsted if 25 per cent of parents or governors present a petition to the Department for Education. An independent body will hear complaints about an Ofsted inspection. We will remove Ofsted’s right to investigate itself.
FUNDAMENTAL BRITISH VALUES
Fundamental British Values (FBV) were introduced as a requirement in 2014 in order to combat Islamic extremism. However the reference to the Equality Act (which promotes special rights rather than equal rights, and conflates respect for people with respect for practices and beliefs) has had the unintended consequence of forcing conformity of thought and speech through fear, rather than encouraging tolerance through mutual respect.
The definition of Fundamental British Values will be changed to ‘courtesy, democracy, diligence, fairness, generosity, industriousness, politeness, temperance, thrift and freedom of belief, conscience, thought and speech.’ Schools will have a duty to promote these values.
The requirement to pay particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equalities Act 2010 will be removed from FBV.
Schools which promote Islamism in any way will be immediately suspended, and any staff connected with a radical mosque, sect or imam will be fired be the school is re-opened under the oversight of the Department for Education.
Apprenticeships serve two distinct purposes which are necessary: they provide a route into work for people who are less suited to the academic route, particularly at levels 1 and 2, and they develop technical and vocational skills particularly at level 3 and upwards, and
UKIP will honour the current commitment to achieve 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Up to 40% of 16 year olds leave schools with poor GCSE results, and very poor numeracy, English and personal, transferable skills, which make them hard to employ or unemployable. A completely different model of education is necessary for these pupils. UKIP will continue to pursue and develop the University Technical College model, which has the potential to come into their own in 2022 when there will be a large increase in the 14 year-old age cohort.
UTC pupils should also be allowed to be released into work placements at the age of 14, and work towards a level 1 apprenticeship by 16 so that they leave school with basic numeracy, literacy, employability and personal skills. The vast majority of this cohort should then move on to level 2 apprenticeships by 18 in order to help break the cycle of low aspiration and welfare dependence in Britain.
Currently 57% of apprenticeship starts are at level 2, and 74% of starting apprentices are aged 19 or over. UKIP will strive to get more school leavers aged 16 to begin level 2 apprenticeships. This will improve social mobility, particularly for young people for whom an academic education is not the best fit. A level 2 apprenticeship start should become the norm for 16 year-olds who are not proceeding further down the route of academic education.
Level 3, 4 & 5 apprenticeships are the major focus of developing skills in high demand, particularly in construction, technology and engineering. These are key to the nation’s Industrial Strategy and future success. UKIP will work with training providers and employers to provide a greater range and number of level 3, 4 and 5 apprenticeships.
Degree apprenticeships at level 6 and 7 must continue to be developed in conjunction with Universities. The quality and quantity of on-going contact and assessment from the training providers needs to be more closely monitored so that it is assured for level 6 and 7 apprentices.
Level 2 starts / Total starts = 291330/509400 = 57.2%
UNIVERSITIES AND HIGHER EDUCATION
Previous government policies of pursuing higher education targets and introducing tuition fees have had a crippling effect on our young people’s finances and job prospects. The average student now leaves university with a debt of £44,000, yet students are less likely to find a graduate-level job than ever before. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 59% of graduates are working in non-graduate jobs. The taxpayer fares little better: 70% of students will not pay off their loans according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
While the expansion in University places was beneficial up to a point, the expansion has continued well beyond what is useful. To combat this growing problem, UKIP will drop the arbitrary 50% target for school leavers going to University. We will reduce the current level of state-funded undergraduate courses until we can be sure that at least two-thirds of British students find skilled graduate level jobs.
We will also encourage students to choose careers that will help fill the current skills gap, which will both benefit the country and set students on the path to a solid, prosperous career.
There should be many more places available for British students to study Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Engineering and other high demand, high value subjects. It is morally wrong that tens of thousands of high quality British students cannot train to become medical professionals or engineers because of lack of places in the UK, and then we steal the most talented and skilled young people from other countries to fill the gap.
Currently, out of 150,000 NHS doctors, over 34,000 are foreign nationals and there are over 6,000 vacancies. The UK should become self-sufficient in medical staff. In 2016, nearly 7,000 out of 15,000 British applicants did not get a place to study Medicine, most of them highly qualified. We will increase the number of places available for British students to study Medicine by 3,000 per year.
149,808 doctors in NHS in 2015 (approx. 150,000)
34,000 foreign born doctors
6,207 doctor vacancies in 69% of NHS trusts.
Medicine 2016: UK failed applicants = UK applicants – UK approvals = 14,820 - 7,985 = 6,835 (approx. 7,000 out of 15,000)
Nursing and policing should not be graduate-only careers. Nurses should once again be able to train on the job as SENs, as was possible before the system was changed.
British students taking approved degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), will not have to repay their tuition fees if they work in their discipline and pay tax in the UK. STEMM students who work in their field in the UK and earn over the student loan repayment threshold (currently £21,000) will have their student loans automatically repaid over the period of their loan. Accordingly, UKIP will adjust the number of STEMM subjects funded to allow for a greater uptake of these subjects.
Plan 2 = £21,000
Nurses, midwives and other medical practitioners (e.g. Art Therapists, Physiotherapists) will have their student loans automatically repaid over the period of the loan if they earn more than the student loan repayment threshold working in their field in the NHS.
Teachers will have their student loans automatically repaid over the period of the loan while they are working as teachers in the UK and earning over the student loan repayment threshold. Recruitment and retention of good teaching staff is crucial for the future quality of education.
Former students who live and work abroad and earn more than the student loan repayment threshold, but avoid repaying their student loans will be arrested at the border if they return to the UK, as is currently the case in New Zealand.
Unpaid student loans are a huge drain on public resources from students who do degrees, which add little value to their earnings prospects. After Brexit, student loans will only be available for British citizens. Higher Education providers will be allowed to charge fees to British students whatever they like up to the set fee cap (currently £9,250) but each course will be assessed for its likely educational value for student loans.
We will hold a wide-ranging and on-going consultation on fee cap levels so that they better reflect the likely educational and financial value of the course. Fee caps for high value courses like Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry may rise, and those for low value courses like Gender and Diversity Studies may fall.
FREE SPEECH AT UNIVERSITY
Guidance will be issued to Universities and other institutes of Higher Education to combat ‘no platforming’ and the need to provide ‘safe spaces’ to grown adults who should be more robust of character. Speakers should not be prevented from speaking unless they are promoting, encouraging or inciting violence.
Students should have the opportunity to hear a wide range of opinions even if they find those opinions offensive. Anyone attending a University should be mature enough to hear ideas and opinions which they may disagree with without breaking down and needing to run to their safe space.
After Brexit, EU/EEA students will be treated as international students in the same way as non-EU/EEA students and will need to arrange to pay their fees up front to their University. They will not be eligible for home level fees or tuition fee loans, but will of course be welcome to apply for places at UK universities as self-supporting international students.
International students must leave the United Kingdom at the end of their courses of study. They may apply for a job in the United Kingdom at the end of their course, but British citizens must be given priority over foreign students where candidates have similar qualifications and suitability.
International students wishing to work in the United Kingdom after a course of study must return home and apply for a work visa in the same way as other foreign nationals who are not recent graduates.
UKIP will continue to take action to close down sham colleges, which only act as a front for illegal immigration.
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES POLICY
UKIP believes supporting children and families is a pre-requisite for a strong and healthy society. Families are important and we want to help create a society in which they thrive and where all parents have the choice of good childcare or support if one parent wants to stay at home and bring up their children themselves.
UKIP recognizes that the traditional family of a married father and mother bringing up children in a stable relationship provides the best start in life for children and children who are brought up in traditional families have the best life outcomes. (1) Traditional families should be supported and encouraged.
The tax system currently penalizes married couples and provides a disincentive to being a stay at home mum. UKIP will change the married couples’ tax allowance, to enable them to share their allowances if they so choose if they have children under 5 years old.
Currently a non-earning partner can transfer 10% of their unused personal tax allowance to a higher earning partner. UKIP will allow a non-earning partner with children under 5 years old to transfer all 100% of their unused personal tax allowance to the main breadwinner, which will provide an annual boost of up to £2,070 at current tax rates. (2)
This change will allow one parent to stay at home and look after their own children more easily in the most formative years of their children’s lives, while the main breadwinner can use the tax allowance of both parents to bring home a higher net income.
UKIP believes in providing real choice for parents with children which will enable parents to choose either stay at home after childbirth or return to work either full or part time.
If parents’ choose to return to work after childbirth rather than staying at home, good childcare is essential whether it is provided formally or informally. UKIP’s vision for childcare is a system where parents, teachers, schools, nurseries, children’s centres, local authorities, childcare providers and businesses all work together to make formal childcare provision as affordable, flexible, available and as high-quality as possible, while allowing parents to club together to make informal arrangements which are mutually beneficial if they so choose.
The policies of current and previous governments have been counter- productive in many ways: over-regulation has helped create an acute shortage of places and voucher systems have contributed to pushing up the cost of childcare.
UK childcare costs are now the most expensive in Europe, and among the highest in the world. Costs can be crippling for ordinary families. What is the point of having a childcare system that is so expensive it does not pay to work?
Children from socially deprived backgrounds are adversely affected because their applications for places are most likely to be turned down, especially if parents are unable to pay for ‘top-ups’ such as meals, nappies and so on.
Childcare provision is also complex and fragmented. Several government departments oversee different schemes providing help with childcare costs. Parents may struggle to work out which type of childcare funding system will work best for them. Those on modest incomes who work hard may find they ‘fall through the gaps.’ Parents who are self-employed, agency workers, those on zero-hours contracts or commission are most likely to be affected, as any rise in income may prove punitive, depending on which childcare support scheme has been chosen.
A simpler system, more responsive to families’ changing needs and with integrated sources of funding, must be initiated at the earliest opportunity, alongside proposals to reduce the cost of childcare and increase the number of childcare places, while giving parents more choice.
We will initiate a full review of childcare provision.
EARLY YEARS CHILDCARE
UKIP will continue to fund the current childcare offer of thirty hours a week of free childcare at a nursery, pre- school, or for a childminder, for all three to four year olds, and for all two-year olds whose parent are on certain benefits. We will also continue to fund the new tax-free childcare scheme, worth up to £2,000 for children under twelve. (3)
Our commitment to allowing married couples to pool their tax allowances if they have children under 5 years old, will also provide a boost to the net incomes of married parents with young children so they can better afford childcare provision.
However, we will amend the voucher scheme in order to address the shortage of places and cut the cost to both parents and the state, by de-regulating childcare provision.
At the moment, if parents want to claim their free childcare entitlement, they must place their child with an Ofsted-registered childminder. UKIP will remove this requirement and allow parents to use any third-party, non-related child carer they feel comfortable placing their child with, provided the care provided can be proven to be genuine. This is intended to encourage experienced parents whose own children have grown up, for instance, or who would like to combine looking after other people’s children alongside their own, to offer childcare. Our plans will also make it cost-effective for parents to hire a nanny if they have more than one young child, or enable parents to club together to hire a nanny.
While parents should of course make their own enquiries as to the suitability of informal providers, in the same way they would check out a babysitter, we will require informal child carers to satisfy the following criteria to benefit from the voucher scheme: -
They must pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
They must hold relevant household and public liability insurance
They must be either a native English speaker or be able to speak very good English (TEFL level C1 equivalent or above)
They must not look after more than six children up to the age of eight (including any of their own children), of which a maximum of three can be under fives
A single childminder may only care for one child under one year oldThe building from which they operate (unless it is the child’s own home) must be notified to the local authority and be subject to spot checks. This combination of de-regulation, practical solutions and incentives will reduce childcare costs, increase childcare availability and make it easier for parents to find flexible childcare that works around their working hours and lifestyle.
STAY AT HOME MUMS
UKIP recognizes that being a stay at home mother (or father) is a valuable role and has great benefits for children especially in the first 5 years of life. Parents will also be able to use childcare vouchers to help facilitate the choice to look after their own children at home rather than returning to work immediately and having to place their children in childcare, which is a very bad financial choice for many parents on low incomes, and often causes stress for both mothers and children.
Our commitment to allowing married couples to pool their tax allowances if they have children under 5 years old will enable choice for married parents so that one parent can stay at home more easily if they choose this option.
CREATING MORE NURSERY PLACES
UKIP will make consideration of the necessity to include nursery or creche provision an essential part of the planning process for large developments.
We will also amend planning legislation to ensure planning applications for family housing developments of forty homes or more, without dedicated garden space for each unit, will be required to include a communal play area in each scheme.
Planning applications for family housing developments of forty homes or more, without dedicated garden space for each unit, will also be required to include a communal play area in each scheme. We will also allow office space to be converted to nursery facilities under permitted development rights. We will also ask employers to pool nursery provisions for all families within the local community, wherever possible. Tackling excessive regulation without compromising child safety is a priority. Nurseries are often small businesses and we would prefer owners to be focused on childcare, rather than drowning in paperwork.
We will also review the planning process for large developments to ensure that community centres and halls are provided as a family-friendly civic space which will help integration in new areas of housing.
CHILDCARE FOR SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN
For parents of school-age children, extending the school day by offering wrap-around childcare will offer enormous benefits to working parents, for whom it is likely to be by far the most sensible and convenient childcare option.
We will place a statutory duty on all primary schools to offer before and after-school care from 7am to 7pm during term time, with the option to extend this to all-day provision throughout the school holidays.
Wrap around childcare in schools will provide additional opportunities for enrichment activities.
Sessions will include breakfast and healthy snacks. Sadly, anecdotal evidence suggests significant numbers of teachers are seeing pupils arrive at school hungry.
Schools can choose how they facilitate before and after-school care. They can provide it themselves; partner with external childcare providers; or allow parents to club together.
There will be no cost to the school, as parents will pay for the cost of childcare themselves or use the voucher scheme.
Child benefit top-up payments will be made to parents of primary school children on free school meals during school holidays, in order to pay for meals without which they may go hungry.
Local authorities will be required to keep a register ofchild care providers willing to offer emergency childcare cover at short notice, during atypical hours, overnight, or at weekends.
This will help families who need to access high quality care during unsocial hours, in an emergency, when they are called to a job interview at short notice, or when they are working away from home, for example.
THE CARE SYSTEM
UKIP will reform the care system so the 70,500 children in care in the UK (including 3,600 under the age of one) can find stability through fostering and adoption in a faster, more efficient way. We will extend the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, which gives children in care the choice to stay with their foster families until they turn 21, to children in homes, so they too have the same opportunity.
FATHERS AND FAMILIES
UKIP wants fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives.
To help prevent thousands of fathers losing contact with their children each year when couples break up, UKIP will legislate for an initial presumption of 50-50 shared parenting in child residency matters.
Grandparents will also be given visiting rights, unless it can be shown to the satisfaction of the Family Court that there is a good reason to withhold such rights.
We will also review the Family Court system, with the intention ofimplementing independent lay oversight of Family Courts, to ensure that necessary confidentiality does not prevent proper scrutiny in this and all areasof Family Law.
A FAR-REACHING CHILD CARE REVIEW
A misplaced sensitivity to issues of race and religion, combined with fear, has been shown to have stopped many investigations into the abuse of children. There is also concern among the public at rising levels of ‘forced’ adoptions. Some of those charged with protecting children in care are letting serious cases of abuse and maltreatment slip through the net. Our children’s wellbeing lags behind many of our European neighbours and we are seeing alarming rates of self-harm and poor mental health.
UKIP is committed to bringing forward a full, open review of all childcare and child protection services in Britain, with a view to initiating wholesale reform of a system that is clearly failing.
Our children deserve better and UKIP will investigate failings without fear or favour to deliver a safer, brighter, fairer future for our children.
20% * (11,500 – 1,150) = 2,070
FREEDOM AND EQUALITY POLICY
UKIP believes in allowing all people their fundamental rights of freedom of conscience, religion and belief. There should be maximum room for freedom of speech and expression, except in the case of incitement to violence.
There should be equal rights and opportunities for all, but not special rights for certain protected groups.
Equality Under the Law
UKIP believes in equality for all. British law provides this. Parallel and alien systems of law which deny fundamental rights and freedoms to certain groups must be prohibited.
Sharia law treats women, Christians, Jews, ex-Muslims, other non-Muslim unbelievers (known as kaffir) and homosexuals as second class citizens or worse. Sharia law has no place in the United Kingdom.
UKIP will ban Muslim Arbitration Tribunals which use Sharia law to make decisions and judgments.
Reforming the Equality Act
On the other hand, the law should not provide special rights for certain groups, or be used to curtail freedom of speech.
We will undertake targeted reform of the Equality Act 2010, replacing the divisive either/or approach to discrimination with an inclusive both/and approach to create a public square that recognises freedom of expression and values diversity of peaceful, lawful opinion.
Moreover, we will change the Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149 of the Equalities Act) and its associated guidance to ensure that public bodies must have ‘particular regard’ to freedom of expression and diversity of lawful opinion so that it delivers equal opportunity for all, regardless of characteristics or creed.
UKIP will repeal clauses on affirmative action for minorities and protected groups. There should be equal rights but not special rights for minority groups. Affirmative action is positive discrimination, which undermines the centuries old principle that ‘all are equal under the law.’
There should be no requirement for employers to reflect the demographic make up of the community – the only requirement for employment opportunities is a genuinely open and fair process where individuals are assessed by merit.
However, discrimination on the basis on British citizenship will be allowed. British citizens should have precedence over non-citizens for employment in the case of a number of candidates being equally qualified and suitable.
Equalities and Human Rights Commission
We will abolish the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. It is time to return the responsibility for guidance on equality and human rights to MPs and government ministers who are accountable to the electorate.
This EHRC has done its job, and has now become a divisive body which propagates corrosive ideology. It is wrong to allow an unaccountable, unelected quango to continue to have a far-reaching and damaging impact on national life and culture through issuing guidance which often institutionalises special privileges and treatment of people with protected characteristics, rather than equal treatment for all regardless of characteristics.
UKIP will change laws and guidance to allow ‘reasonable accommodation’ for employees and service providers so that they are not compelled to behave in ways which contradict their conscience or sincerely held religious beliefs if there are alternative employees or service providers which are easily accessible.
As such, given the compelling need of young people for a loving home, we will amend the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that faith based adoption agencies are allowed to utilise their expertise in the placement of young people in line with their doctrinal beliefs, providing a referral to other agencies where appropriate. Catholic adoption agencies would be able to re-open and continue their excellent work in placing some of the nation’s most troubled children.
Reasonable accommodation would allow, for example, a Christian bakery or Muslim printer to decline to draw a picture or write a message against their conscience when there are other providers of the same service in the same locality. Pharmacists would also be allowed to decline to dispense contraceptive pills if there is another pharmacist in the same shop or locality who does not have a conscientious objection. Midwives and nurses will not be compelled to assist in abortions.
Freedom of Speech and Hate Speech
Freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are fundamental rights and must be defended if our society is to remain at liberty. People should have full freedom of speech and expression provided what is said does not amount to incitement to violence.
These fundamental rights have been eroded over recent decades by the burgeoning concept of hate speech. The definition of hate speech has been so widened in recent years that it is now possible to be prosecuted for incidents that are quite obviously nothing to do with hate. Anybody can report any incident as a hate crime or hate speech if they feel offended, or feel that there is perceived hostility to anyone, anywhere. New guidance to the police services and the Crown Prosecution Service encourages the pursuit of individuals for hate crimes and hate speech simply for having an opinion which is not politically correct.
People should be allowed to debate and criticise differing beliefs and ideas, tell jokes and engage in banter without being afraid of being reported, suspended from their work for incidents happening outside the workplace, dragged through the courts or receiving a criminal record.
UKIP will remove ‘hate speech’ from the political vocabulary and instead refer only to ‘incitement to violence’. This will be an offence if it is proven that the incitement was motivated by bias against another individual or group based on race, religion or belief, biological sex, sexual orientation or disability.
Guidance will be changed so that reports of ‘hate speech’ or ‘hate incidents’ which do not have any evidence and are purely subjective and superficial will not be pursued. People who make large numbers of spurious accusations of hate speech against people with whom they have had no contact will be investigated and prosecuted for wasting police time.