Monday, 19 July 2010

The Schools System: Draft Structural Reform Plan

I expect like me you will have read the new Government's reform plans for education...

It's an impressive document and contains some great ideas and some radical thinking which we must use to challenge our thinking and look carefully at what we are doing. We must use it as a framework and continue to build on our school improvement policy and the strong and highly effective relationships we have established here in Leeds. In case you have missed it the key elements are as follows:

"Greater autonomy for schools
In many of the most successful education systems in the world, individual schools are given a high level of autonomy. It is head teachers and teachers, not bureaucrats and politicians, who inspire pupils and drive school improvement. We will invite all schools to apply for the kind of autonomy that has served schools in America, Canada, Sweden and Finland so well.

Improved parental choice
As well as improving standards in all schools, we will also capitalise on the passion of parents, teachers and charities who want to make a difference by making it easier for them to set up and run their own schools and create a new generation of great state schools with small class sizes, high quality teaching and strong discipline.
More support for the poorest
At the heart of our Coalition’s programme for government is a commitment to spend more on the education of the poorest children. Our pupil premium is designed to tackle deep-rooted disadvantage by taking additional money from outside the schools budget to ensure those teaching the poorest children get the resources they need to deliver smaller class sizes, more one-to-one or small group tuition, longer school days and more extra-curricular activities.
Whole system improvement
We will attract more great teachers into the classroom by expanding Teach First and further enhancing the prestige and esteem of the teaching profession. We will focus relentlessly on improving behaviour by ensuring that parents accept their responsibilities, teachers have the discretion they need to get on with the job, and pupils respect adult authority at all times. We will also provide sharper, more intelligent accountability that focuses on underperformance by reforming Ofsted. We will introduce simpler revenue and capital funding systems to give better value for money and to tackle disadvantage and raise standards. Finally, we will reform the curriculum so that it reflects the best collective wisdom we have about how children learn, what they should know and how quickly they can grow in knowledge. "

The Schools System Structural Reform Plan is the first part of a comprehensive plan for supporting children and young people that will be published by the Department for Education. The Department are also carrying out reviews of the primary curriculum, special needs and early years. In the coming months the Government will also set out how they will ensure all children have the fairest start in life, working closely alongside the Ministerial Taskforce on Childhood and Families.

Interesting times!

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