Commission makes six key recommendations to tackle educational inequality

Recommendations from the Commission on Educational Inequality, led by Nick Clegg, include housing subsidies for teachers working in deprived areas.

The commission was set up by the Social Market Foundation and is chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He is joined by Dr Becky Allen from Education Datalab, Sam Freedman from Teach First, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock and Conservative MP Suella Fernandes.

Their report, released today, makes the following six key recommendations:

1. Reduce housing costs for teachers in disadvantaged areas

“Schools in disadvantaged areas should have access to a fund for providing incentives to teachers that make housing more affordable. This should be run as a trial and the findings used to inform whether such schemes can be expanded in the future.”

2. Introduce leadership in low-income area schools as a condition for headship

“It should become a condition of gaining the headship qualification that a teacher has been in middle leadership in a school in a disadvantaged area. This would encourage experienced and aspiring teachers and school leaders to spend time in disadvantaged schools.”

3. Make schools publish training provision and turnover rates

“The Government should compel schools to publish data on training provision and turnover rates for early-career teachers in different schools and across multi-academy trusts. This should be produced in a standardised form so as to promote comparability and shine a light on retention and development problems.”

4. Launch “family literacy” classes in primary schools

“The Government should plan and launch a programme of after-school “family literacy” classes in primary schools with above-average proportions of children eligible for Free School Meals. Funding for these classes should be ring-fenced within the Skills Funding Agency budget.”

5. Take a new approach to the relationship between parents and schools

“Schools should take a new approach to contracts between teachers and parents, which should be signed by both parties as equals who both have responsibilities. Teachers should commit to setting high quality homework that demonstrably improves the child’s educational development and to supporting parents in helping their children; parents should commit to ensuring that this homework is completed and given due care, and to having regular contact with the school to discuss progress. Contracts should be signed in the early weeks of first attending school and renewed annually with each year’s teachers as the child progresses through the school.”

6. Implement new benchmarks for independent schools to meet

“New benchmarks for independent schools to meet in order to retain their charitable status should include their provision of out-of-school activities to the children of parents who live locally. In addition, independent schools that are registered as charities should publish information on the value of any support (‘public benefit’) they provide to the local community, whether this takes the form of teaching support, making sports facilities available or running extracurricular activities for children from the state-maintained sector in the local area. This should
be published alongside an estimate of the monetary value of the tax reliefs that the school enjoys due to charitable status.”

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