Sunday, 28 November 2010

Review of the Schools White Paper

I am still re-reading the Schools White Paper to understand the full picture.

A colleague in Surrey's education world described the white paper this week as "an interesting collection of ideas which weren't necessarily joined up" I would agree with this sentiment. We will have to wait for further legalisation to work out how many of these ideas could be implemented.

A Summary from the NGA can be found below:


The National College to offer high quality training to chairs of governors.
Legislation will be passed to relax the requirements on size and proportionality of governing bodies, allowing schools to alter the constitution if they wish from early 2012 (there will be a requirement of a minimum of two parent governors, and in governing bodies where a foundation body appoints the majority of the governors it will continue to do so).

Governors will be given easier access to data in order to determine how their schools compared with others.The requirement for every school to have a school improvement partner will be removed. The recently introduced option for parents to refer to complaints to the Ombudsman will be repealed and a yet to be announced ‘route to complain in the most cost effective way’ will be introduced

Performance tables:

The current contextual value added (CVA) measure will be abolished. More emphasis will be placed on progress.

Will report specifically on pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium in the Performance Tables.

Review performance measures for Special Schools

The ‘floor standards’ of acceptable performance for schools is to be raised:
Secondary schools - if fewer than 35% of pupils achieve 5 A*-Cs including English and Maths (and going forwards in Science) and fewer pupils make good progress between key stage two and key stage four.

Primary schools – if fewer than 60% of pupils achieve level four in English and Maths and fewer pupils than average make the expected levels of progress between Key Stage 1 & 2.

Teaching and Leadership – the Government will:

Cease to fund initial teacher training for graduates who do not have at least a 2:2 degree
Will expand Teach First and offer financial incentives to attract the best candidates into shortage subjects

Create a network of Teaching Schools – on the model of teaching hospitals – to give outstanding schools the role of leading the training of teachers

Increase the number of Local and National Leaders of Education

End centralised (including Local Authority) target setting for schools


independent appeals panel to be retained, but without the power to require a pupil’s

Curriculum, Assessment and Qualifications.

Introduce the English Baccalaureate – (students who achieve A*-C I/GCSEs in English, maths, the sciences, a modern or ancient foreign language and a humanity such as history or geography will receive a certificate)

Once the Professor Alison Wolf has reported on vocational qualifications, make any necessary reforms

The new National Curriculum will be ‘slim, clear and authoritative’

A levels – Ofqual to be asked to change the rules on resits of modules to prevent students from re-sitting large numbers of units.

GCSEs – to reverse the trend towards modular courses, Ofqual to be asked to review GCSEs with a view to reverting to end of course exams

Ofqual have been asked to revisit marking schemes with a view to re-introducing separate assessment of spelling, punctuation and grammar into all GCSE’s.

On the issue of grammar, perhaps the DfE could also do with a little lesson – the NGA is name checked in paragraph 6.29; unfortunately someone failed to notice that Governors’ should have an apostrophe.

New Schools System

This covers the expansion of the Academies programme and the presumption that all new schools will be Academies

School Improvement

Makes clear that schools –‘governors, head teachers and teachers’ have responsibility for improvement. If schools are providing a good education they will be free to set their own targets and improvement priorities.

Schools below the floor standard and which are not progressing, or are judged inadequate will be subject to intervention with the presumption they will be converting into Academy Status.

If Academies or Free Schools fail to meet the floor standards they will also be subject to floor standards they will also be subject to intervention.

School Funding

A national funding formula is to be introduced, but local authorities would still be responsible
for distributing funding to maintained schools.

The YPLA will be abolished, but replaced by the Education Funding Agency

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