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Government White Paper Sets Out Future Vision For England’s Schools

  • Government White Paper Sets Out Future Vision For England’s Schools
  • Government White Paper Sets Out Future Vision For England’s Schools

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New White Paper proposes scrapping of QTS accreditation, league tables for academy chains and an end to LEAs – plus numerous other reforms to what will be an all-academy English education system…

As promised in yesterday’s Budget speech, today sees the publication of a new White Paper by the DfE, titled ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’, which sets out the government’s vision for England’s education system over the next five years.

You can download the full 126-page document here. Below is a condensed run-down of the changes and announcements that have caught our eye…

TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT

No more QTS
The National College for Teaching and Leadership will be reformed, and the ‘Qualified Teacher Status’ accreditation replaced with ‘A more challenging accreditation based on a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom, as judged by great schools’.

Headteachers will be able to accredit those entering teaching for the first time; schools will be encouraged to bring in professionals from other fields and set them on the path to full teacher accreditation.

Teacher training allocated according to need
Universities will still play a role in delivering Initial Teacher Training (ITT), though the proportion of training delivered by school-led providers will continue to grow. Trainees will be taken on where they’re most needed, in areas where vacancies are most likely to be filled. There’ll also be an increased reliance on research into learning, so that discredited ideas unsupported by firm evidence will not be promoted to new teachers.

Measures to improve CPD
A new ‘Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development’ will be introduced to improve the quality and availability of CPD. The government will also look at whether schools could be incentivised to publish research and CPD materials on what’s described as an ‘open source’ basis.

Free job adverts for schools
Schools will be receive help when recruiting staff, in the form of web tools that will let schools advertise vacancies for free. There will be a new national teacher vacancy website, designed to serve aspiring and current teachers.

Support for an independent College of Teaching
The government is backing the creation of a College of Teaching, which will act as a professional body in a similar way to those serving the law and medical professions. Fully independent from the government, it will be teacher-run and promote best practice and evidence sharing. The government has also expressed support for the launch of a peer-reviewed British education journal, which will be to education professionals what the British Medical Journal is to medical practitioners.

LEADERSHIP

Say hello to NPQs
Headteachers, CEOs and multi-academy trusts (MATs) will draw up a set of new voluntary National Professional Qualifications for each leadership level. These won’t be mandatory, but will act as a ‘gold standard’ for other leadership programme providers to aim for.

Roll-out of the National Teaching Service
The National Teaching Service first announced last year will be used to place 1500 high performing middle leaders in the country’s most challenging areas by 2020.

Leaders where they’re needed
A new ‘Excellence in Leadership Fund’ will help MATs and other providers deliver training and development, aimed at addressing issues with regional demand and representation when it comes to leadership roles.

Governing boards
Accountability of governing boards will be tightened up; MAT boards will need to clearly set out their governance structures, and the power to bar ‘unsuitable individuals’ from becoming governors will be extended to maintained schools. Another notable change is that academy trusts will no longer need to reserve places for elected parents on their governing boards.

The ‘vast majority’ of school governors positions will continue to be unpaid. However, the White Paper acknowledges that with larger MATs able to request payment authorisation from the Charity Commission, it’s possible that certain positions, such as chair of the board, could become paid ones.

A SYSTEM OF ACADEMIES

All schools to become academies, or be in process of becoming one, by 2020
As announced in yesterday’s Budget speech, the government aims to complete the process of comprehenesive academisation in England by 2022 (when last remaining schools will have completed the conversion process).

Transferral of land
To speed up the conversion process, land held by LAs for community schools will transfer to the Secretary of State when the school converts – the Secretary of State will then grant a lease to the new academy trust. The government will not assume ownership of land owned by schools or community trusts, but maintained schools will no longer be able to convert to foundation status.

More MATs
Most schools will be expected to form or join an existing MAT (the country’s smallest schools will be required to, barring exceptional circumstances), though some larger schools may be able to operate as Single Academy Trusts, based on their track record.

More guidance for parents and communities
A ‘Parent Portal’ website will be launched with information for parents on how the school system works. Guidance on how complaints should be handled will be issued to all MATs and schools, and the process of escalating complaints beyond governing boards to the DfE will be simplified.

Local authorities to focus on three core areas
As schools become academies, LAs’ responsibilities will cover three core areas: ensuring there are sufficient school places for all children; that vulnerable pupils’ needs are met (including overseeing SEN provision and playing a lead role in safeguarding); and acting as champions for parents and families.

The latter will include supporting parents as they navigate the school system and make SEND arrangements, encouraging education providers to offer school places, and if necessary, calling on RSCs to take action on underperforming providers.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

More alliances
Government will designate teaching school alliances to foster intra-school networking and innovation, alongside the appointment of more National Leaders of Education (NLEs) co-ordinate school improvement support.

Targeted support
Responsibility for school improvement will be transferred from LAs to teaching schools, NLEs and other ‘system leaders’; school improvement funding will be targeted at areas exhibiting persistent underperformance.

THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM

A new benchmark
The National Curriculum will serve as a benchmark that academies will be able to drawn from and improve upon; efforts will be made to ensure the vast majority of pupils will study the English Baccalaureate.

Greater emphasis on character and resilience
Schools will receive support for expanding character-building opportunities; a quarter of secondaries will get to extend their school days in order to provide extra-curricular activities in areas such as sport, the arts and debating.

PSHE
Headteachers and practitioners will collaborate on an action plan for improving PSHE provision.

ACCOUNTABILITY REFORMS

Expansion of progress measures
Further qualifications will be considered for inclusion in the Attainment 8 and Progress 8 measures.

Inspection changes
Ofsted inspections will no longer include separate graded judgements on the quality of teaching – though inspectors will continue to report on the impact of teaching, learning and assessment through other graded judgements.

Ofsted will also introduce ‘improvement periods’ – in cases where a school has been judged to require improvement and a new head has been appointed to deliver on this, the school will not undergo re-inspection for period of around 30 months, unless the headteacher specifically requests one before then.

MAT league tables
Inspection and performance data concerning individual schools will continue to be published, but will be accompanied by the publication of new performance tables for MATs that will highlight how well they are leading their schools.

Direct Ministerial interventions
In extreme cases where an MAT ceases running an academy at short notice and no alternative provider is immediately available, the Secretary of State will assume responsibility for running the school until a long-term solution can be found – or else direct a local body to do so on his or her behalf.

FUNDING

A national funding formula
Resources will be allocated to areas of greatest need according to a new national funding formula that will take account of local costs and circumstances and the level of challenge, rather than historical precedent. From 2019, individual school budgets will be set according to said national formula, rather than 152 local formulae used at present.

Four funding factors
The new formula will be composed of four elements – a per-pupil formula weighted by age, funding for additional pupil needs; a lump sum payment (with additional funding for schools in sparsely populated areas); and a reflection of schools’ geographical location, particularly in and around London.

LAs to oversee SEND provision
LAs will be responsible for assessing SEND needs in their local area and securing high needs provision where needed; schools and colleges will continue to receive funding to support pupils with ‘less expensive’ needs.

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