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The Borders Party is committed to working towards the best schools in the country and the best start in life for our young people.

Manifesto for schools and young people.

Education is a top priority for the Borders Party. Our ambition is for the Borders to have the finest local schools in the country. We will work towards excellence throughout the whole school experience from nursery to the end of secondary education.

The quality of teaching is central to a child’s education. We want to ensure that Borders schools attract the best teachers, and that these have the freedom to teach and use their professional expertise to run schools. Currently, Borders schools are hampered by too much bureaucracy and interference from government.

At the same time we believe that schools would benefit from greater engagement with the local communities they serve. We want schools to draw on the experience and enthusiasm of local people, and to be accountable to local people and parents.

We plan seven specific measures to encourage excellence alongside greater freedom and local accountability for schools.

  1. Head teachers would be offered much greater freedom over the running of their schools. Every school should have its own head teacher. They should be free to innovate and use their professional judgement in teaching the curriculum.
  2. Head teachers would have more control over staff recruitment and retention. Heads would be free to take on the very best teachers for Borders schools and, where necessary, get rid of bad ones.
  3. The Council would establish ‘community boards’ of experienced local people, who would advise the Head teacher on administration, finance, and educational matters, and in turn play a role in the oversight and accountability of the school. The work of these boards would complement, not replace, existing Parent Councils.
  4. Schools would be encouraged to co-operate with each other locally, sharing teachers and facilities to ensure the best use of resources and a coherent educational experience for pupils throughout their schooling.
  5. Schools would be offered greater control over their own administration. The Council’s educational budget would largely be devolved to schools, so that Heads can seek better value for money in terms of staffing, equipment and facilities. They would be encouraged to co-operate with local charities and businesses to make the most of the experience and resources around them.
  6. Schools would be encouraged to engage with inspirational figures who live in the area. These ‘Guiding Stars’ would be available to address schoolchildren, telling them their about their experiences and how they have achieved success.
  7. The Council would continue to act as a regulator for schools, providing oversight, insisting on high standards and helping schools to improve. It would publish information on the performance of schools so that parents could make informed school choices on behalf of their children. The Council would provide finance for schools according to pupil numbers and needs, including arranging capital investment in the fabric of schools.

These changes are based on the best evidence on what brings the best out in both teachers and pupils. But change will be evolutionary, and not imposed from above. Moves towards greater budgetary control, accountability to community boards, and independent leadership will only come where schools and local people are ready for it.

Tell us what you think

The Borders Party is fully committed to taking the views of Borderers into account, so please contact us and let us have your thoughts on how we can best serve the Borders.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bordersparty.org.uk/key-issues/education/