People should be encouraged to develop their strengths and aim for careers which they will find rewarding.
The social norm today is that you get a job you don't like doing, just to get money, because "that's life". While it is unrealistic to expect everyone to get fulfilling careers, more people could get into work they find rewarding if they were open to the idea that it was actually possible.
We need schools to be less exclusively academically focused, which is good for academics but bad for those whose primary strengths lie elsewhere. At A-level standard people should have wider scope to branch out into more vocational subjects. We need a retraction, not expansion, of vocational degrees at universities, as these tend to represent inefficient use of resources. Universities should go back to being primarily academic institutions aimed at academic work and research.
Examinations should be fewer, and should focus specifically on testing ability.
All too often these days, pupils learn how to pass the exam, rather than how to understand the subject (this is true of many examinations). Exams should be revamped to make them test the subject area thoroughly and not simply encourage rote learning and zero understanding. They should also refrain from including trick questions to try to catch the proficient students out. Exams should not always be given the benefit of the doubt (e.g. when pupils say "the exam wasn't fair" and the response is "if you fail you fail, it means you weren't good enough, end of story"). Sometimes exams are unfair and the aim should be to make them fairer.
By "examinations should be fewer" I mean pupils should be examined at GCSE and A-level, and arguably have one SATS exam in Year 6, but too many exams causes pupils to be subjected to too much stress from an early age and it is doubtful whether excessive examination actually improves academic performance.
I suggest also that exam grades should be fixed such that a certain percentage get A*s, As, Bs etc. True, this will prevent grades from going up reflecting improvements in schooling. But it will also prevent grade inflation, and devaluing of qualifications which in turn requires people to seek more and more layers of qualifications.
Homework should be judged on how effective it is at helping pupils understand a subject- NOT on the number of hours that they spend on it.
This is related to the problem with conventional "9 till 5" working practices. All too often, the extent to which a school is giving good homework is measured in terms of the number of hours pupils spend on it. This is of no use if they are just spending hours doing work for the sake of spending X hours on it, without actually learning anything.
Discipline in schools should teach pupils to learn to be responsible.
Discipline in schools today teaches pupils to accept that the minority have to spoil it for everyone else, and discourages them from learning how to be responsible. Why be responsible when you could end up suspended because a few idiots abuse your responsible activity, it gets banned and you get lumped together with the idiots, or kept behind after school because one other member of the class misbehaved, while if you misbehave you know that everyone else will be punished as well as you? The compensation culture assists this as it makes schools feel duty-bound to legislate for idiots or else be sued for failing to do so.
We need this nonsense to stop. Pupils should be encouraged to learn to be responsible and rules should be brought into force that are such that the responsible majority obey them voluntarily and enforcement can be directed against the minority of offenders.
Bullying should be tackled by encouraging pupils to value each other as individuals.
The same policy as under discrimination, essentially. School bullying results from two main factors: one being when an insecure person decides to seek prey, and the other being when pupils are picked on for being different. In the latter case, teachers often support it and say "it's their fault for being different" and even "that's life". Encouraging pupils to respect each other as individuals will help to reduce incidence of both of those issues and especially the latter.