‘Schools that work for everyone’ consultation overview

Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, addressed the House of Commons on Monday with plans for new grammar schools, detailed in the Schools that work for everyone green paper.

A consultation on the proposals was launched and SCHOOLS NorthEast will submit a response on behalf of Head Teachers in the region.

We kindly ask that, as with all other parliamentary consultations we have participated in, you help us formulate a thorough response to the plans, so our involvement can represent the whole of the education sector in the North East. It is vital that our region’s voice is heard and we welcome your interest in shaping the debate.

Please send your opinion via email to Director Mike Parker as soon as possible. The consultation closes on the 12th of December. Thank you in advance, we greatly appreciate your involvement.

OVERVIEW:

Consultation open: 12 September 2016
Consultation closes: 12 December 2016, 11:45pm

The proposals in this consultation are framed as creating “an education system that extends opportunity to everyone, not just the privileged few”.

The consultation is structured around four types of institutions which the Government says are “either not incentivised or [are] actively prohibited by current regulations” from creating new school places or improving existing schools:

  1. Independent schools
  2. Universities
  3. Selective schools
  4. Faith schools

Proposals for independent schools

Independent schools that have “the capacity and capability” will have to meet one of two expectations “in recognition of the benefits of their charitable status”:

  • They will sponsor academies or set up a new free school in the state sector.
  • They will offer a certain proportion of places as fully funded bursaries to those who are insufficiently wealthy to pay fees.

This would not necessarily mean that independent schools would have to put any additional funding into these schools; the funding would come from central government.

Smaller independent schools would be expected to do one or more of the following:

  • Provide direct school-to-school support with state schools;
  • Support teaching in minority subjects, such as further maths, coding, Mandarin, Russian and classics;
  • Ensure their senior leaders become directors of multi-academy trusts;
  • Provide greater expertise and access to facilities;
  • Provide sixth-form scholarships to a proportion of pupils in each year 11 at a local school;

The Government will introduce new benchmarks for independent schools to meet. If schools do not meet these benchmarks then the Government will consider legislation to ensure that these schools “cannot enjoy the benefits associated with charitable status”.

Proposals for universities

In order for universities to charge higher fees, they will have to either:

  • Establish a new school in the state system (capital and revenue costs met by government);
  • Sponsor an academy in the state system;

The government will also encourage universities to:

  • Support schools through being a member of the governing body or academy trust board;
  • Educational support, such as assisting with curriculum design and mentoring of pupils;
  • Human resources support; e.g. providing teaching for A-Level STEM subjects;

Proposals for selective schools

The Government wants “to retain and increase the academic success of selective education”. To do this it proposes to:

  • Support existing grammar schools to expand, by making dedicated funding of up to £50m a year available to them as well as funding expansion of places upfront on the basis of estimates, not retrospectively;
  • Permit the establishment of new selective schools, both wholly-selective and partially-selective. These would be established as free schools set up in response to local demand;
  • Permit existing non-selective schools to become selective – this would be in response to local demand and the Government “will consider measures to preserve school diversity in areas where schools choose to convert in this way”;

They propose the following “menu of option to ensure that new or expanding selective schools contribute in a meaningful way to improving outcomes for all pupils”:

  • Take a proportion of pupils from lower income households;
  • Establish a new non-selective secondary school;
  • Establish a primary feeder in an area with higher density of lower income households to widen access;
  • Partner with an existing non-selective school within a multi-academy trust or sponsor a currently underperforming and non-selective academy;
  • Ensure that there are opportunities to join the selective school at different ages such as 14 and 16, as well as 11;

The following sanctions would apply where selective schools failed to meet these expectations:

  • Removal of access to any additional funding streams;
  • Removal of the right to select by ability (either temporarily or permanently);
  • Restriction of access to future expansion;

For new and expanding selective schools and existing non-selective schools becoming selective, the Government proposes to do the following:

  • Encourage multi-academy trusts to select within their trust;
  • Require existing selective schools to engage in outreach activity;
  • Fair admissions and access; prioritising the admission of, or setting aside a number of specific places for, pupils of lower household income;

Proposals for faith schools

The Government proposes to scrap the 50% rule for faith schools, instead proposing the following requirements for new faith Free Schools:

  • Prove that there is demand for school places from parents of other faiths;
  • Establish twinning arrangements with other schools not of their faith;
  • Consider setting up mixed-faith multi-academy trusts, including becoming a sponsor for underperforming non-faith schools;
  • Consider placing an independent member or director who is of a different faith or no faith at all on the governing body of new faith free schools;

Families who are just about managing

The Government also intends to develop a way to identify children from “families who are just about managing” – i.e. families who are struggling, but are not picked up in pupil premium and/or free school meals measures.

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