Educating for Life

Education is crucial for everyone to live the best lives they can. Liberal Democrats want a Derby where no-one is enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity, and all can enjoy living in a free, fair and open society that will allow them to be their best selves. Without good education, available to all throughout their lives, this can't be achieved and people won't be able to enjoy their lives to the fullest. If we waste people's talents, we all miss out on what they could offer.

Education shouldn't just be for children and teenagers. With work changing and people having more careers over the working lives than before, education and training opportunities need to be available throughout life.

But right now, Derby's schools are too often not doing well enough for their students or society. Exam results are below where they should be. Staff and pupils are experiencing high levels of stress. The Council still can't solve the Teaching Assistants' dispute and Special Educational Needs are being so badly handled the Council has been taken to tribunals over its conduct.

To build the education system Derby deserves needs changes both locally and nationally. No party could change everything we want from the Council, but as Liberal Democrats we're fighting to serve the people of Derby at all levels and are committed to campaigning for the important changes Derby needs, wherever they need to be made.

We will -

  • Support Derby schools to deliver the best education for all pupils and let teachers focus on teaching and supporting pupils not ticking boxes
  • Promote the reduction of class sizes or increase teacher : pupil ratios as appropriate in the most disadvantaged areas
  • Campaign to scrap the government' per-pupil school funding cuts
  • Conduct a review of demand levels for schooling and investigate the expansion of schools inside the democratic control of the Council, possibly by the building of new school campuses, where the evidence shows they are needed
  • Seek to end the starting of new Free Schools that can presently be started without any assessment of local need and operate outside local democratic control
  • Identify the best ways to reduce stress levels for teachers and pupils and increase support services to help those who are struggling
  • Ensure that all teachers in Derby City Council schools are fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher status, and campaign to end the exemption that allows other state-funded schools to employ unqualified teachers
  • Provide extra help for the recruitment and retention of teachers, especially for more deprived communities, to give children continuity of education
  • Work with schools, unions and staff to find a better solution to the current teaching assistants and support staff dispute
  • Support every Derby school to achieve a rating as excellent by independent assessors
  • Work to provide the option of free school meals for all primary age children, in line with expert research that indicates it improves learning for children
  • Encourage schools to offer meat-free school meal options on all days
  • Seek to provide further support for the Royal Derby Deaf School and aim to make Derby the best place in the UK for deaf education, language and employment
  • Support schools that have a record of high levels of pupil mobility and turnover and/or lower attendance levels to enable them to support their pupils' needs
  • Improve provision and support for pupils newly arriving into the city
  • Campaign to reduce inappropriate academic pressure in the early years of education and increase the use of a play-based learning model that can better suit younger children's needs
  • Work with governors to improve our school buildings to provide well equipped, well maintained, energy efficient buildings where pupils and staff can focus on learning
  • Support an improved Careers Advice service within secondary schools to allow pupils to make the best choices for their future
  • Campaign to restore pay parity for teachers across Derby
  • Increase the availability of adult education to support retraining and career changes
  • Review council-supported work training and support providers to ensure they are offering a high-quality, value-for-money service
  • Seek to increase investment in education at all levels specifically targeting vocational and technical skills to provide local businesses with the talent pool to help them grow
  • Encourage schools to participate in Derby's 'youth mayors' or alternative 'Pupil Council' schemes and support schools teaching pupils about democracy and citizenship to help create engaged, informed citizens
  • Work to ensure sufficient educational challenge is available to allow gifted and talented higher achievers to reach their potential, including specialist provision for gifted autistic pupils
  • Provide a simplified and transparent system for school support and challenge to help schools improve
  • Support schools to tackle bullying in all forms
  • End Labour's diverting of money disproportionately to schools in some areas while starving others of the resources they need to serve their pupils, and ensure that changes are properly analysed for impact before being imposed on schools
  • Oppose the Conservative government's forced academisation of all schools that will give local people less control and divert resources away from schools towards managers and lawyers.