NCAFC welcomes the education policies set out by Jeremy Corbyn in his ‘A Better Future for Young People’ announcement and elsewhere. Policies such as abolishingfurther and higher education fees; reinstating grants, Education Maintenance Allowance and Disabled Students’ Allowance; universal free childcare; putting free schools and academies back under local democratic control; and a decently-funded lifelong learning National Education Service would all be significant gains.
We believe that we can and must go further. The following policies would build on what Corbyn has already announced, and we call on him to adopt these too:
Free Education for International Students
Include international students in free education policy, regardless of nationality or migrant status. Reverse all attacks on international students and repeal the attacks on student visas since 2010.
Cops Off Campus
Abolish ‘Prevent’ and obtain a legal ban on police entering college and university campuses without the permission of workers’ and students’ unions.
A Diverse and Free Curriculum
Ensure a broader, more diverse curriculum by enabling full academic freedom in educational institutions. Repeal the consumerist measures of performance in education, such as the Research Excellence Framework and the National Student Survey. Review assessment in education; stop the use of examinations, which are burdensome and narrowly focussed and which drill and divisively rank students. Instead, move towards an education system focussed on exploration and development.
Universal Living Grants
Abolish means-tested grants. Provide grants that are enough to live on to all students, regardless of background, paid for through taxing the rich.
Democratic Education and Limiting Pay Inequality
Implement a 5:1 pay ratio across the whole education sector. Enable decisions in Further Education and Higher Education institutions to be made by democratically elected representatives of workers and students. In students’ unions, this would partly mean leaving behind the charity status framework and the 1994 Education Act. Instead, create a settlement for students’ unions which lifts existing barriers to democratic practice and guarantees political autonomy.