UnitedFuture believes parents are the drivers of their children’s education, implicitly and explicitly and we want to support them in this role, by giving them the skills to be their child’s first teacher, so that every child is raised in an environment which values education and supports educational aspirations. It also means we will allow parents, and not the government, to choose the most appropriate provider of pre-school education for their child.
Males make up fewer than one percent of early childhood teachers, so it is perhaps not surprising that male students are falling behind in what is essentially now a female dominated environment. Boys make up close to three-quarters of referrals for literacy help, speech/language therapy and behavioural difficulties.
It is UnitedFuture policy to:
- Encourage more men to join the teaching profession at all levels.
- Address the growing achievement gap between male and female students.
- Support the concept of parents as first teachers and encourage the expansion of programmes like PAFT and HIPPY to families other than those deemed to be at-risk.
- Endorse the role of parent-led early childhood education centres to empower parents to lead their children’s education and encourage the parent-child bond.
- Support the idea that 3 and 4 year olds should have 20 hours (or part thereof) early childhood education per week heavily subsidised, where it will make early childhood education and care more affordable for families and/or improves children’s learning.
- Promote an increase of funding for early identification of children with special needs and disabilities with targeted systematic, intensive and high quality interventions.
- Ensure that government funding of early childhood centres is reflected in the fees passed on to parents by requiring them to disclose what proportion of fees, are taxpayer-funded.
- Pilot the use of early childhood education centres as contact points for family support services, such as parenting courses, budget advice, health and counselling services.
- Prioritise staff-to-child ratios for each age group as a condition of funding for early childhood education centres where applicable.
- Simplify with a view to reducing the quantity and complexity of compliance requirements that early childhood education and care providers must fulfil.