Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Ed Balls, Secretary of State, today published the 21st Century Schools White Paper...

The White Paper is based on:
  • new guarantees for pupils and parents;

  • a significant devolution of power and responsibility to school leaders, matched by strengthened school accountability;

  • an uncompromising approach to school improvement.

The Pupil Guarantee

  • all young people get a broad and balanced curriculum and high quality qualifications, whether their strengths are practical, academic or both;
  • every secondary pupil has a personal tutor;
  • all pupils get 5 hours of PE and sport every week and access to cultural activities too;
  • gifted and talented pupils get written confirmation of the extra challenge and support they will receive;
  • all pupils with additional needs get extra help, with 4,000 extra dyslexia teachers;
  • all pupils in Years 3 to 6 falling behind in English or maths get one-to-one tuition to help them get back on track;
  • extend the offer of one to one or small group tuition to all pupils at the start of secondary school who were behind at the end of primary school.
  • following the report of the expert group on assessment, introduce a new progress check at the end of Year 7 so parents can be confident their children have made up the lost ground.

Parents Guarantee

  • regular online information about their child’s progress, behaviour and attendance;
  • access to their child’s personal tutor;
  • fair school admissions in line with the Admissions Code;
  • that parents’ views will be listened to and reported on the School Report Card so parents know what other parents think when choosing a school;
  • and where parents are unhappy with the choice of schools on offer to them, based on an annual survey of parents, local authorities will have to listen and respond to their concerns.

Home-School Agreements

  • all pupils and parents will accept the school’s rules when they apply for a school place and expected to sign up to renew their commitment every year;
  • schools will have stronger powers to enforce discipline through intensive support, parenting contracts and parenting orders;
  • parents will have the right to complain and expect action if schools fail to act to enforce the Home School Agreement.

Strong Leadership

  • The National Strategies’ literacy and numeracy hours will continue in all schools, with Ofsted continuing to inspect them as now;
  • Devolve power and funding to school leaders to decide, with ring-fenced funding, what support they need to further drive up standards.
  • Ensure that schools can get the support they need from other services through Children’s Trust Boards and encourage multi-agency teams based in schools.
  • Building on the success of the National Leaders in Education and Academies programmes, the best head teachers will be able to run more than one school – with better pay for Executive Heads.
  • High performing schools, colleges and universities will be accredited to run chains of schools in not-for-profit Accredited Schools Groups – with the first providers up and running by January.

Strengthened Accountability

The new School Report Card will include full information on school attainment, but will go well beyond it. It will set out clearly for parents:

  • how the school is improving standards;
  • how well it is helping those pupils who have fallen behind to catch up, and stretching the most able;
  • it will report on discipline, attendance, sport, healthy eating and partnership working;
  • it will set out what parents and pupils think of the school.
Pilots of the School Report Card will begin this September and will include a single, overall grade.

The Workforce

  • A world-class schools system needs a world-class workforce, we are making teaching a Masters-level profession and a new ‘licence to teach’ will be introduced similar to that used by other high-status professionals like doctors and lawyers and they will be given a new entitlement for continued professional development.
  • Governing bodies will become slimmer, more highly-skilled and all Chairs will be required to undergo specific new training.
We certainly live in interesting times!

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