EduPeople by Strictly Education

News item

White Paper published ‘Opportunity for all: Strong schools with great teachers for your child’.

5th May 2022

On 28th  March the Government published the Policy Paper ‘Opportunity for all:  Strong schools with great teachers for your child’.

The Schools White Paper, the first in six years, is intended to demonstrate how the education system can deliver on the government’s priority to level up across the country.

The White Paper sets out proposed reforms to the education system focussed on a number of key areas:

  • providing an excellent teacher for every child
  • delivering high standards of curriculum
  • behaviour and attendance
  • targeted support for every child that needs it and
  • a stronger and fairer school system.

Staffing Related Commitments

The policy paper includes a number of staffing related commitments including:

  • a minimum school teaching week of 32.5 hours to be achieved in state funded settings by September 2023 at the latest (Most schools already deliver a 32.5-hour school week, which is equivalent to 8.45am to 3.15pm from Monday to Friday) Where any concerns exist around the quality of education in state funded mainstream settings OFSTED will consider if any reduction in hours has contributed to such concerns.
  • leadership-level SENCO NPQs as the mandatory qualification for new SENCOs (subject to further consultation) bringing further focus the long-standing variation of practice regarding inclusion of the SENCO in a school’s SLT.
  • new National Professional Qualification for Leading Literacy and Early Years Leadership.
  • further clarity in contractual relationships with staff regarding tutoring.
  • the launch of a new national behaviour survey in order to "better understand" the thoughts and feelings of parents, pupils and teachers on behaviour and wellbeing (the negative impact of poor behaviour on staff wellbeing is well documented)
  • as previously announced, starting salaries of £30,000 for ECTs.
  • as previously announced, every school to have access to funded training for a senior mental health lead.

A fully trust led system

Some of the most high-profile headlines around the content of the White Paper have concerned its proposals around academisation.

A fully trust led system is proposed with a single regulatory approach, a government review is planned this summer to look in detail at the accountability and regulation of MATs. The intention is for all schools to be in or moving towards multi-academy trusts (MATs) by 2030. It is envisaged that strong trusts continue to grow, and new trusts  are established, including trusts established by local authorities where few strong trusts exist in the local area for schools to join.

The DfE has stated it will not convert schools to standalone academies but will consider bids for high-quality free schools to open initially as standalone trusts. DfE research as shown that trusts typically start to develop central capacity when they have more than 10 schools so the expectation is that by 2030 most trusts will be on a trajectory to either serve a minimum of 7,500 pupils or run at least 10 schools. The DfE does not intend to set a maximum size on any trust, but do plan to limit the proportion of schools in the local area that can be run by an individual trust.

You can view the full policy paper on Gov.uk.