Liberal Democrats have always put education at the heart of our agenda. Education opens the mind, it fosters understanding and tolerance, and it empowers our children and our communities. We believe our children deserve a great start in life, so they are equipped to shape their own future. We will fight for an education system which finds and nurtures the best in everyone. This is essential in order to break down the unfair divisions in our society, to ensure a productive, competitive economy and to overcome intolerance.
The education and welfare of children in the Borough will always be a priority for Liberal Democrats. Far too many children are denied access to their local, first-choice school and are forced to travel long distances to another school or to pay for private tuition. We also want to encourage lifelong learning and a thriving teaching profession in the Borough.
Successive governments in Westminster have ruthlessly cut down the involvement of local education authorities in education. The scope for increasing (or reducing) funding for education is closely circumscribed by Whitehall. However, within these constraints, there is much that Liberal Democrat councillors can seek to achieve.
We need to grow the country’s skills base, especially in the technologies and industries that are most important to Britain’s economic future. As our economy rapidly changes, the need for people to retrain and reskill has never been more important. It is no longer the case that the skills learned at 18 or 21 will last throughout a career. The ability to learn new skills or change careers is also vital in creating opportunity for people to succeed no matter their stage in life.
The Liberal Democrats would
- Seek innovative ways to reduce the central educational bureaucracy and give schools more freedom through the joint provision of educational services with neighbouring boroughs.
- Co-ordinate the chaotic pattern of school places across borough boundaries and get London’s councils to work together to deliver more choice for parents.
- Ensure SEN (Special Educational Needs) assessments are done in a timely manner, bringing together expertise and resources from across west London to deliver a better service.
- Continue to support the cross-party Fairer Funding for Schools Campaign.
- Work with the Borough's education partners to optimise use of existing community centres in the Borough as well as school facilities for adult education.
- Work with schools to ensure that technology is seen as part of everyday life and that young learners are encouraged in its use both at home and in school.