Government announces drive to boost standards in schools

Measures including changes to Ofsted inspections, support for struggling schools and a dedicated new academy trust in the North ‘to take on the most challenging schools’ have been announced by the Department for Education.

These new plans follow Friday’s announcement for a funding boost for education over three years.

The announcement was focused around ‘driving standards’ and included plans to:

  • Reintroduce regular inspections for ‘Outstanding’ schools
  • Provide support to the most challenging ‘Requires Improvement’ schools by offering help from experienced school leaders and evidence-based support programmes
  • Pilot a new academy trust in the north, to take on the most challenging schools where there is no another academy trust available
  • Building on the existing fund to support successful academy trusts to expand where improvement is most needed
  • Expand the School Resource Management programme
  • Introduce a rating for financial management with Ofsted

The announcement to reintroduce regular inspections for schools that were previously exempt due to an ‘outstanding’ grade, has been welcomed by many, to ensure high standards are maintained. However, as the exemption was written into legislation, it will require a bill to be put forward in Parliament to overturn this, meaning it could be some time before the exemption is lifted.

Any support targeted at schools in challenging circumstances is positive, however it must be recognised that when allocating this support, the experts and academy trusts must be aligned to the social, economic and geographical challenge of areas such as the North East which has high populations of white working class students affected by long term economic deprivation. We hope that the evidence based programmes mentioned are central to this support. This year we have launched an evidence based programme for the North East, Ednorth, in order to change the culture of education to focus on what we know works in the classroom in order to raise standards.

The expansion of the School Resource Management Programme and new plans for a financial rating are more controversial aspects of the proposals, though the DfE is yet to release details of how these plans will be implemented.

Schools North East is committed to supporting schools in the region affected by the impact of these different proposals. We will be putting more plans into place as more information becomes available, so please keep an eye on Schools North East channels.

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