White paper outlines plans to transform England's schools


A new accreditation system to recognise teachers’ expertise and ability in the classroom rather than just their completion of a training course is part of a new vision for schools to raise standards and extend opportunity to every child in a white paper launched by Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan.

The white paper outlines significant changes to teacher qualifications which will recognise teachers for the experts that they are and give teaching the same status as doctors and lawyers.

Alongside this are plans to better develop and train the next generation of school leaders and ensure they are working where they are needed most.

Despite the progress already made there are still areas of underperformance around the country. To ensure great leaders are not discouraged from working in those areas the white paper is proposing the introduction of new ‘improvement periods’ during which schools will not be inspected by Ofsted.

For schools which have been judged as requiring improvement, an improvement period of around 30 months will be applied.

Where schools have been taken over by a new sponsor following a period of underperformance, Ofsted will not re-inspect until their third year. This will give heads the chance to bring about real improvement and change before being inspected again.

More widely the inspectorate will also consult on the removal of separate judgements on the quality of teaching to make clear that schools are being held to account for the outcomes their pupils achieve, not the teaching styles they use.

The white paper also confirms the government’s plans for all schools to either become academies, or be in the process of converting to academy status, by the end of 2020.

It also proposes that the vast majority of schools work in multi-academy trusts (MATs), allowing them to share resources, staff and expertise to continue driving up standards. The new structure will also provide further career development options for teachers so they can continue to work in the classroom. This will be supported by the further funding announced by the Chancellor in the budget.

The new system of supported autonomy will mean that not only are schools able to drive improvement themselves but where a school is struggling, action can be taken sooner and support can be provided.

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