White paper unveils details of major shake-up in education

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan today laid out plans for an overhaul of the sector which will see significant changes to structure, training, support and development over the course of this Parliament.

Here’s a precis of the 128-page White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere, published today. A number of the headings, and significant chunks of content, look remarkably like the key drivers set out by SCHOOLS NorthEast and partners for the last six years to create a regional schools strategy to drive up education standards in the North East (with the exception of the Government’s plans such as mandatory academisation for all).

The White Paper sets out seven elements the Government believes will deliver education excellence across England:

  1. Great teachers – everywhere they are needed
    • Recruitment – reform of the National College for Teaching and Leadership to ensure “we are better able to design and deliver well-targeted incentives, teacher recruitment campaigns and opportunities that attract sufficient, high quality new entrants to the profession; creation of a national recruitment site (NOTE: the DfE has shown great interest in Jobs in Schools|North East)
    • ITT delivery – reform of allocation of teacher training places so that ITT is delivered by the best Higher Education Institutions and school-led providers (NOTE: this is a tacit admission of the mess that was made with recruitment this year that has seen notable training providers with significant under allocation of places)
    • ITT content – focus on improving content, embedding subject knowledge, practical behaviour management skills, understanding of SEN and greater understanding of most up-to-date research on how pupils learn; myth-busting discredited ideas
    • Accrediting new teachers – replace the current QTS with a stronger, more challenging accreditation based on a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom, judged by schools
    • Deployment – ensuring the best teachers and middle leaders work in the most challenging areas (via the new National Teaching Service)
    • CPD and teaching materials – greater access to teaching materials & the introduction of a new Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development; examine the feasibility of incentivising teaching schools to publish their research and CPD materials on an ‘open-source’ basis
    • Strong, evidence-informed profession – addressing the issues that are causing teachers to leave the profession, including bureaucracy; supporting the creation of a new College of Teaching along the lines of the Royal Medical Colleges; expand the role of the EEF


  1. Great leaders running our schools and at the heart of our system
    • Building infrastructure – growth of MATs to expand the reach and influence of successful leaders
    • Designing new, world-leading National Professional Qualifications – getting leaders to design new voluntary NPQs for each level of leadership
    • Incentivising leaders to work in challenging areas – re-balance incentives to get the best leaders to work in the most challenging schools; focus on progress that pupils make with an ‘improvement period’ during which schools won’t be inspected by Ofsted
    • Supporting top middle leaders to relocate to challenging areas – via the new National Teaching Service
    • Launching a new Excellence in Leadership Fund – to encourage MATs and other providers to develop innovative ways of boosting leadership in areas where it is most needed
    • High quality governance – ensuring governing boards are skills-based and focused on the strategic functions of setting a vision and holding school leaders to account educationally and financially


  1. A school-led system with every school and academy
    • New powers of conversion – As outlined in the Budget, a move to make all schools academies or in the process of conversion by 2020. The White Paper includes plans to force schools to become academies in local authority areas that are underperforming or where the LA no longer has capacity to maintain its schools.
    • MATs and SATs – There is a continued push to get schools coalescing in multi-academy trusts; however, successful, sustainable schools will still able to continue as Single Academy Trusts.
    • Empowering pupils, parents and local communities – by setting up a new online Parent Portal containing information about the school system and how to support their child; guidance for parents and pupils on complaints, making it simpler to escalate complaints beyond the governing board to the DfE, and up to a public service ombudsman
    • Admissions – consultation on making the school admissions system simpler and clearer including requiring LAs to co-ordinate in-year admissions and handling the administration of an independent admission appeals function
    • Parental satisfaction – exploring opportunities for parents to petition Regional Schools Commissioners for their school to move to a different MAT
    • A clearly defined role for LAs – three core functions 1) ensuring every child has a school place 2) ensuring the needs of vulnerable pupils are met 3) acting as champions for all parents and families


  1. Preventing underperformance and helping schools from good to great

Beyond MATs, the Government will designate teaching school alliances to develop networks that promote effective school-to-school support and local innovation:

  • Shifting responsibility for school improvement – increased focus on teaching schools, NLEs and other system leaders to spread expertise and best practice. Commissioned by good performing schools as and when required, and directed by RSCs in the case of underperforming schools
  • Full national coverage and increased impact of system leaders – Plans to create 300 more teaching schools and 800 more NLEs
  • Better brokerage of school improvement support – new means to broker support
  • More sponsors – a promise to create sufficient academy sponsors from business, charitable organisations and existing schools (NOTE: this is one of the most pressing capacity issues in the North East)
  • Creation of Achieving Excellence Areas – a focus on areas of chronic and persistent underperformance via building teaching and leadership capacity as well as additional school improvement funding and sponsorship


  1. World-leading curriculum for all

The Government plans to embed changes in assessment and has made a pledge on the curriculum to create “as much curriculum stability as possible” after this reform process (NOTE: everyone wait with bated breath)

  • Character and resilience – plans to expand the National Citizen Service so every pupil has the opportunity to take part; create an action plan to improve PHSE provision
  • Meeting the needs of neglected groups of children – focus on boosting attainment of four groups of children: ensuring schools stretch the lowest-attaining and most academically able pupils, better support children with special education needs and disability, and reforming the alternative provision (AP) system so that schools remain accountable for the education of children in AP and are responsible for commissioning provision


  1. Fair, stretching accountability, ambitious for every child
    • Embedding more effective and fairer accountability measures –Emphasis on progress and destination. Consideration will be given for a larger group of qualifications in Attainment 8 and Progress 8 measures
    • Fair and focused school inspection – Ofsted to consult on removing separate graded judgments on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment to focus inspections on outcomes and to reduce the burdens on schools and teachers
    • Launching new accountability measures for MATs – new performance tables for MATs
    • Accountability to parents and governors – providing the right information to give a clear picture of how schools are performing and where improvements can be made
    • Checks and balances by the best Head Teachers – RSC Head Teacher Boards to provide checks and balances to allow academy leaders to scrutinise and challenge the decisions of RSCs


  1. The right resources in the right hands: investing every penny where it can do the most good
    • National funding formulae – reform of funding to schools as announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement
    • Pupil premium – this will continue with a focus on schools adopting evidence-based strategies, drawing on evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation
    • School estate – continued investment in school infrastructure

One thought on “White paper unveils details of major shake-up in education

  1. Pingback: The White Paper and academisation: implications and options event – SCHOOLS NorthEast Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s