They may be among the political parties teachers are least likely to vote for come the general election, but Ukip has backed what would be a hugely popular policy among the workforce – capping teachers’ working hours.
The anti-European Union party made the endorsement in the latest issue of Leadership Focus, the NAHT headteachers’ union’s magazine, which posed questions to each of the main parties, including the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
Ukip’s education spokesperson and deputy leader Paul Nuttall was asked in the article which of the NAHT’s manifesto pledges he felt had the most traction.
“There are many that appeal to us: an independent complaints procedure for Ofsted is overdue, capping the number of hours teachers should work during term-time (although in our view, that would be a function of reducing paperwork) and giving parents the opportunity to demand a place at a special school where appropriate,” Mr Nuttall said.
And in line with many of the other parties, Mr Nuttall gave his backing to plans for a College of Teaching.
“While the balance needs to be more in-school training than university, a specialist College of Teaching might help to improve standards of those coming in to the profession and also assist with professional development,” he added.
When asked what would be his party’s main priorities for education in the first six months of office, Mr Nuttall responded with another popular policy among teachers – cutting back Ofsted.
“In terms of areas where visible progress could be made within six months, streamlining the school inspection process to ensure that short, frequent inspections are focused more on what is going on in the classroom than on the paperwork,” he said.
Elsewhere, Mr Nuttall hinted towards his party’s policy of reintroducing selection by academic ability by stating that Ukip wanted “more children from working-class backgrounds (who have the academic ability to do so) to be able to access the top universities”.
Politicians don’t pay attention to young people, teachers say – 1 March, 2015
Scrap Ofsted and the national curriculum, says Green Party – 16 February 2015