'Championing the rights of children'

The Education White Paper – Summary

The White Paper covers seven areas:

  • Teaching and Leadership
  • Behaviour
  • Curriculum, Assessment and Qualifications
  • New schools System
  • Accountability
  • School Improvement
  • School Funding

Teaching and Leadership

  • Graduates who do not have at least a 2:2 degree will no longer receive DfE funding for initial teacher training (ITT);
  • Teach First will be expanded, including into the North East, and will cover Primary Schools for the first time. Teach First will also develop Teach Next – an employment-based route to attract  high fliers from other professions into teaching;
  • Financial incentives will be offered to attract more of the best graduates in shortage subjects into teaching;
  • ITT will be reformed so that more training is done on the job, and focuses on key skills including teaching early reading and Maths, managing behaviour and responding to Special Educational Needs;
  • A network of Teaching Schools will be established (similar to Teaching Hospitals), giving outstanding schools the role of leading the training and professional developments of teachers and Head Teachers;
  • Schools will be given more freedoms to reward good performance, and it will be easier to tackle poor performance;
  • The number of National Leaders of Education will be doubled;
  • Beauracracy will be ‘dramatically reduced’.


  • Teachers will be given greater authority to discipline pupils, including and expansion of search powers, a removal of the need to give 24 hours notice of detentions and clearer instructions on the use of force;
  • Teachers will be granted anonymity when they are accused by pupils;
  • Head Teachers will be given new powers to maintain discipline beyond the school gates, including improving the exclusion process;
  • Head Teachers will be expected to take a strong stand against bullying, particularly prejudiced-based racist, sexist and homophobic bullying;
  • Ofsted inspections will focus more heavily on behaviour and safety, including bullying;
  • The system of independent appeals panels for exclusions will be changed so they take less time, and pupils who commit serious offences cannot be re-instated;
  • All children educated in alternative provision will be guaranteed a full-time education, and the quality of alternative provision will be improved by giving existing providers more autonomy and encouraging new providers, including Free Schools;
  • A new approach to permanent exclusions will be piloted, giving schools the power, money and responsibility to secure alternative provision for excluded pupils.

Curriculum, Assessment and Qualifications

  • The National Curriculum will be reviewed and reformed, with an emphasis on ensuring pupils gain the knowledge and concepts they need ‘to take their place as educated members of society’;
  • To ensure children begin to read early, the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics will be supported, and a new reading test for all six-year-olds will be introduced;
  • An independent review of assessment at the end of Primary School will be held to ensure schools are “properly accountable without feeling they must drill children for tests, seeking to retain a strong basis for accountability while alleviating the damaging effects of over-rehearsal of tests;
  • Pupils will be assessed at each transitional stage, the aforementioned reading test at age 6, then at 11 as they complete Primary education and again at 16 as they finish compulsory education;
  • Schools will be encouraged to offer a broad set of academic subjects up to age 16 by the introduction of the new English Baccalaureate;
  • Following the Wolfe Review, vocational education will be reformed so that vocational qualifications support progression to further and higher education and employment;
  • Ofqual will be asked to measure qualifications against ‘the best in the world’, so that students aged 16 and beyond can choose from a range of qualifications respected by universities and employers;
  • By 2013 the age to which young people will be expected to participate in education will rise to 17, and by 2015 it will rise again to 18.

New Schools System

  • All Academies will have all of their original freedoms restored, while continuing to ensure a level playing field on admissions, particularly in relation to pupils with Special Educational Needs;
  • The Academies programme will be ‘dramatically extended’ giving all schools the opportunity to take on Academy status;
  • Support will be introduced  to increase school to school collaboration through Academy chains and multi-school trusts and federations;
  • The lowest performing schools, attaining poorly and in an Ofsted category of not improving, will be considered for conversion to Academies in an effort to ‘effect educational transformation’;
  • Groups who express an interest in opening a Free School will be supported, especially in areas of deprivation where there is ‘significant dissatisfaction with the choices available’;
  • Local Authorities will be given a new role as ‘champions of choice’, securing a wide range of education options for parents and enduring there are sufficient high-quality school places.


  • Parents, governors and the public will have access to much more information about every school and how they perform;
  • Attainment and progress measures will be used to create a more sophisticated minimum expectation for all schools;
  • Information on expenditure, including the amount allocated per pupil, will be made available online;
  • Performance tables will be reformed to set out the Government’s expectations that every pupil should have a broad education (the English Baccalaureate), a firm grip of ‘the basics’ and be making process;
  • Ofsted will refocus inspection on schools’ core educational purpose, and all outstanding schools will be released from routine inspections. Inspectors will spend more time in the classroom and focus on key issues of educational effectiveness;
  • Instead of the current 27 headings schools are inspected against, Ofsted will consult on a framework focusing on four areas: pupil achievement, the quality of teaching, leadership and management and the behaviour and safety of pupils;
  • A new ‘floor standard’ will be introduced for Primary and Secondary Schools, setting an escalating minimum expectation for attainment;
  • Governing bodies will be supported to use the skills of their local communities to hold schools to account.

School Improvement

  • Schools will be responsible for their own improvement, with an emphasis on school to school improvement rather than controlled improvement from the centre. The requirement for every school to have a Local Authority SIP will be brought to an end, as will the current centralised target-setting process;
  • Every school will have the opportunity to access National and Local Leaders of Education, Teaching Schools, and will be supported to work in partnership with a higher achieving school;
  • Local Authorities will be free to provide whatever forms of improvement support they choose;
  • Families of Schools data will be published for every part of the country encouraging schools to learn from one another;
  • Local Authorities and schools will be encouraged to bring forward applications to the new Education Endowment Fund;
  • Schools will have access to evidence of best practice, high-quality materials and improvement services;
  • Underperforming schools such as those below the new floor standards will be supported, and those schools who are seriously failing or are unable to improve their results will be converted to Academy status;
  • A collaboration incentive will be established, financially rewarding schools who effectively support weaker schools and demonstrably improve their performance.

School Funding

  • The Pupil Premium will be introduced, injecting £2.5billion annually into the schools budget in order to target resources at deprived pupils over the next four years;
  • A new national funding formula will be first consulted on and then developed based on the needs of pupils, designed to work alongside the Pupil Premium;
  • The current funding system will be made more transparent, showing how much money schools receive on a school-by-school basis and how they spend those funds;
  • The disparity in funding for 16 to 18-year-olds will be brought to an end, so that schools and colleges are funded at the same levels as one another;
  • The maximum funding for schools will be devolved, making information and tools available to Governors and Head Teachers.

Reaction to the White Paper

The Prime Minister David Cameron said: “These radical proposals will give teachers both the freedom and the authority in the classroom that's needed if we are to realise our ambition to drive up standards, improve discipline and behaviour and deliver the world class education that our children deserve.”

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said: “Teachers will be doing today what they do every day, working hard to ensure that all children and young people succeed. But all they will hear from the Secretary of State is that their qualifications are not good enough; they shouldn’t have been in the classroom in the first place; they need to be subject to more monitoring because they can’t be trusted and they must be told how to teach because they have been short-changing pupils.”

Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Bit by bit Michael Gove is dismantling state education in England. His plans risk leaving every school an island divorced from the help and support of their Local Authorities. We totally support the Education Secretary’s drive to encourage schools to improve, but his plans dismally fail to provide the means to help them do so. His one-size-fits-all approach fails to recognise the diversity of issues facing schools where fewer than 35% of pupils get five A* to C grade GCSEs and the range of measures they will need to help them improve.”

Voice General Secretary Philip Parkin said: “The Department for Education seems to be driven by competing and conflicting ideologies: centralise with inflexible targets yet undermine national pay and conditions for school staff; raise teaching standards but propose the employment of unqualified teachers in Free Schools; promote a traditional National Curriculum but exempt its favourite type of school from following it; allow teachers freedom to teach but tell them how to do it – not so much a mass of contradictions but a mess of contradictions."

Susan Anderson, CBI Director for Education and Public Services Policy said: “This is a far-reaching review which sets out ways to drive up quality and standards in the education system. The Government is right to focus on raising standards in literacy and numeracy. While many schools are already doing an excellent job, it is right that attention is being focused on helping young children achieve better results. Businesses want students to leave school with high-quality qualifications which are recognised and understood. The English Baccalaureate could be a good way of encouraging more young people to study academic subjects, such as languages, which businesses value. However, we need a more determined focus to ensure students study the three separate sciences at GCSE as this is the best preparation for further A-level study.”

We would love to hear your views on The Schools White Paper 2010 – send your thoughts to info@flse.org.uk.


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