Two A-level politics students were asked for their views on the future of the school system by Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran on a visit to St Albans.
“Arts education helps develop the whole person, both personal and social. School needs to be about more than just linear exam learning,” Jack told Layla Moran, who visited Sandringham School in Marshalswick, St Albans, with Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.
The sixth-formers’ point was supported by Sandringham head teacher Alan Gray, who is head of Hertfordshire Schools Forum. In his view, excessive testing of schools had become a barrier to providing arts courses. He was also concerned about the difficulty schools are finding in recruiting and retaining teachers.
Free high-quality childcare for every child
Layla Moran, a former teacher herself, also visited the Albany Montessori Nursery in Westminster Lodge, St Albans, where she met parents and teachers ahead of the launch of the party’s new policy to offer free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to four, for 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year.
Parents with children from 9 to 24 months old will also qualify if they are working.
Daisy Cooper commented on Layla Moran’s visit:
“We are fortunate here in St Albans to have a well-run school such as Sandringham that offers a choice of 25 A-levels, but like all schools they have to work hard to deliver against a backdrop of financial cuts and excessive testing.
“Liberal Democrats demand better for our children’s futures. We will restore school budgets to 2015 levels as demanded by the National Education Union, scrap tests and league tables, and replace Ofsted with a new schools’ watchdog.
“We think our schools and colleges should be world-class, helping every child, no matter their ability or background.”
Lottie Martin-Smith, aged 16, and Jack Peacock, aged 17, both agreed that more funding to support arts subjects was needed to redress the shift to science-based studies.
Schools debate: (l to r) Pupils Jack Peacock and Lottie Martin-Smith, head teacher Alan Gray, Layla Moran and Daisy Cooper