Nothing matters more to the future of our country and our economy than education. Children need a proper chance to learn. But under Labour many things are going badly wrong in our schools.
Almost half of ll year olds leave school unable to read, write or add up properly. The UK is failing down international league tables of educational performance.
Conservatives want schools where pupils turn up and the head teacher knows their names, schools where there is proper discipline, schools where they use tried and tested teaching methods, schools where churches, voluntary bodies, and local businesses are encouraged to get involved.
We will work to make our exam system rigorous and believable for the long term by bringing in business, universities and other organisations with an interest in restoring the credibility of our exams.
But It is not just at school that we have to get the environment right; children need support at home and at play. We all know that the best organisation for bringing up children, giving us the right values, helping us get on with life, looking after us if we are sick or disabled, and caring for the elderly, is the family.
In Britain today one in four children is brought up with an absent father – the highest rate of family breakdown in Europe. Children from broken homes have more chance of failing at school, getting into debt and being unemployed. Many people pretend to live apart because the benefits system pays them more to do so.
Conservatives will end the couple penalty in the benefit system. Instead we will reward couples and recognise marriage in the tax system as well. In order to make it easier for families to spend time together, all employees with children should have the right to ask for flexible working from their employer.
We must also address the rise in crime traffic and bullying, which has caused both parents and children to retreat from public playgrounds and open spaces.
Children really benefit from the exercise in play, from learning in an outdoor environment, and from mixing with children of different ages and from different backgrounds. We will make outdoor spaces cleaner and more protected for children to play in, and we will improve access to sport and leisure activities for children to get involved with.
Conservatives want to support children at school, at home and at play to secure a bright future for our country and to make Britain the most family friendly country in Europe.