DfE Schools White Paper
The Department for Education has unveiled its vision for schools in England in its white paper, Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child.
Northamptonshire Teaching School Hub welcomes the emphasis on the Golden Thread in supporting schools to deliver ambitious targets and how this places the work of TSH at the centre of school support.
- This government’s Levelling Up mission for schools is that by 2030, 90% of children will leave primary school having achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, up from 65% in 2019. In the worst performing areas, the percentage of children meeting the expected standard will improve by a third. This white paper adds to that goal, seeking to lift the attainment of all secondary pupils by setting an ambition to increase the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in maths from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030. These ambitions will be the measure of this white paper’s success.
- The best schools are realising these standards already, but our aim is to achieve these excellent outcomes for children and young people nationally. We will do this through two key principles: a rigorous commitment to using, building and sharing evidence so that every school knows ‘what works’ for all of their children; and a focus on enabling collaboration between teachers, schools and wider children’s services so that every child is supported to realise their full potential.
- At the heart of these ambitions is the need for an excellent teacher for every child in classrooms across England. Improving the quality of teaching is the single most important in-school factor in improving outcomes for children, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We know that great teachers are made, not born. That is why we are delivering the single biggest programme of teacher development ever undertaken in this country and investing further in the skills and futures of the professionals who are central to our mission. We will deliver:
- 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024, giving all teachers and school leaders access to world-class, evidence-based training and professional development at every stage of their career.
- Specialist training to drive better literacy through a new National Professional Qualification for Leading Literacy; a new National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership; and up to £180m investment in the early years’ workforce, including training for early years practitioners to support literacy and numeracy teaching.
- £30,000 starting salaries to attract and retain the very best teachers – with additional incentives to work in the schools with the most need.
- However, great teaching does not exist in isolation: schools must offer a calm, orderly, safe and supportive environment where children are keen and ready to learn, and where teachers are empowered to focus on delivering the best possible lessons. We will provide free ready-made resources, guidance and lessons, designed in partnership with teachers and experts, which will reduce teachers’ workload and allow them to focus on responding to the needs of their class. We will support schools to secure the fundamentals of behaviour, attendance and wellbeing for all, driving down incidents of poor behaviour and increased absence following the pandemic. We will deliver:
- A new arms-length curriculum body that works with teachers across the country to co-create free, optional, adaptable digital curriculum resources to deliver a rigorous, high-quality curriculum.
- A richer, longer average school week of at least 32.5 hours which makes the most effective use of time in school and ensures children enjoy a rounded education.
- Better behaviour and higher attendance through more effective use of data, including an annual behaviour survey and a national data system to drive up attendance and make it easier for agencies to protect vulnerable children.
- World-class teachers and high standards in curriculum, behaviour and attendance are critical for success but we know – as the best schools and trusts do – that many children need additional, targeted support to help them achieve their potential, and that this must come as quickly as possible. This requires a focus from every teacher, school and trust in the country to identify children at risk of missing out and deliver the right combination of academic, pastoral and specialist support they need to thrive, including wider children’s services where needed. We will secure the game-changing tools and interventions they need to do so. We will deliver:
- A Parent Pledge that your school will provide evidence-based support if your child falls behind in English or maths and tell you about their progress.
- Up to 6 million tutoring courses by 2024 with action to cement one-to-one and small group tuition as a permanent feature of our school system.
- A secure future for the Education Endowment Foundation putting our independent, ‘what works’ centre on a long-term footing and placing the generation and mobilisation of evidence at the heart of our education system.
- Alongside this support, government must also play its part to ensure that the school system as a whole raises standards for children, making sure these improvements are felt fairly across England. That is why we want to spread the benefits of the best multi academy trusts so that every child learns with the benefits of a strong, supportive family of schools. To ensure that is the case, we must create a system with clear roles and accountability. It is only through a collaborative system in which everyone involved in education plays their part that we will achieve our literacy and numeracy mission. We will deliver:
- A fully trust led system with a single regulatory approach, which will drive up standards through the growth of strong trusts and the establishment of new ones, including trusts established by local authorities.
- A clear role for every part of the school system, with local authorities empowered to champion the interests of children and a new collaborative standard requiring trusts to work constructively with all other partners.
- Education Investment Areas to increase funding and support to areas in most need, plus extra funding in priority areas facing the most entrenched challenges.
- Taken together, these steps will support children to achieve their potential wherever they live and whatever their background, following the wider vision of giving everyone the opportunity to flourish which this government set out in the Levelling Up White Paper.