March 29, 2022 dmh

Nadhim Zawawi, Education Secretary in England introduces the ‘Opportunity For All White Paper’ outlining the government’s vision for improving children and young people’s education

Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child

This white paper demonstrates how our education system can deliver on the government’s priority to level up across the country. The economic benefits of meeting the white paper’s ambitions, and the case for a fully trust led system, are also set out.


The government has today published its schools white paper, titled “Opportunity for all: Strong schools with great teachers for your child”.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said it set out his vision to “introduce and implement standards that will improve children’s education, deliver the right support if they fall behind and give them the tools to lead a happy, fulfilled and successful life”.

However, lots of the policies are not new and have already been announced – so this brief round-up highlights new policies, and then those already previously announced.

Many of the policies are also stated to be achieved by 2030 – eight years’ time – as the paper “marks the start of a journey towards an education system in which all children benefit from the high standards of the best schools and families of schools”.

Here’s what you need to know…

The two new ‘ambitions’ …

Government has already set a target in its levelling up paper for 90 per cent of children by 2030 leaving primary school with the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, up from 65 per cent currently.

The white paper now sets out a new “ambition” to increase the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in maths from 4.5 in 2019, to 5 by 2030.

There are few more details about the pledge, but the two ambitions will be the “measure of this white paper’s success”.

The NEW white paper policies…

Chapter 1: An excellent teacher for every child

  1. Consultation on a new leadership level NPQ for SENCOs, which would replace the National Award in SEN Coordination as the mandatory qualification for all new SENCOs.
  1. New scholarship to attract the most talented language graduates and a new ITT course to support more engineers to teach physics.
  2. A new digital service will recognise teaching qualifications “from all over the world”.

Chapter 2: Delivering high standards of curriculum, behaviour and attendance

  1. A new literacy and numeracy test for a sample of year 9 pupils to “estimate performance at a national level. This will “consist of a short series of digital activities undertaken by a small number of children in school”. More on that here.
  2. Legislation to “modernise” rules on recording attendance, with a new “national data solution” which will provide a blueprint for other parts of the system.
  3. Legislation to increase Ofsted’s powers to inspect schools that are operating illegally without registration.
  4. An expectation that all mainstream schools run a 32.5 hour week by September 2023. Ofsted will check up on schools where it has concerns over education quality and their hours are below the minimum. But this won’t apply to special schools. New guidance will be published in the summer
  5. A new network of modern foreign language hubs from 2023, and more effective professional development for language teachers.
  6. Updated plans to support sport and music education will be published this year, and a new cultural education plan will come out in 2023.
  7. A new careers programme for primary schools in areas of disadvantage and improved professional development for teachers and leaders on careers education.

Pg 30

SEND review: Children to receive earlier support in new government plans

By Alice Evans BBC News

Natasha says getting extra support for her son has been “an impossible battle”

Children with special educational needs will receive better help at school from an earlier stage under a new national system, the government says.

The Department for Education plans for England include digitising paperwork to help parents receive extra support for their children more quickly.

It is the result of a delayed review into support for children with special education needs or disabilities (SEND).Critics say too little urgency has been shown to address the “broken system”.

Last year, 1.4 million pupils in England were identified as having special educational needs – the proportion has been growing since 2017.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi told BBC News early intervention was a “focus” of the plans – and would be achieved partly by training 5,000 more early-years teachers to be SEN co-ordinators (Sencos), who monitor and assess SEN children’s progress.

The plans “will give confidence to families across the country that from very early on in their child’s journey through education, whatever their level of need, their local school will be equipped to offer a tailored and high-quality level of support”, he said.

New funding of £70m would be used to back the proposals, the Department for Education said.

But for some families, the review – announced in 2019 – comes too late.

‘It crushes your soul’

Natasha Balashova, from Norwich, says securing extra support for her son has been “an impossible battle that crushes your soul and takes all of your energy”.

Boris, seven, is autistic and has not been to his mainstream school for a year because he had too little support, she says.Children who need more help than is available through SEN support – such as one-to-one teaching or a place in a specialist school – must have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place.”Because the system is broken, there are delays at every step of the process,” Ms Balashova told BBC News.

While his EHCP was being processed, Boris did not receive the support he needed.

And by the time it was ready to be implemented, he had become too anxious to go to school.

Ms Balashova is “sceptical” the government’s proposals will improve the EHCP process because “there is no quick fix of this state of shambles – it has to be reorganised from the top to the bottom”.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders trade union, welcomed the government’s focus on early intervention but said it was frustrating the review had been delayed “and full implementation of the Green Paper is some way off”.

“In the meantime, many thousands of children and young people will continue to pass through a broken system, with schools left to pick up the pieces without sufficient resources,” he added.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the Green Paper had some “sensible” ideas but he was “not convinced” the plans were ambitious enough to tackle waiting lists for specialist services such as speech therapy.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson, said the plans were “incredibly disappointing” and fell short of the “transformation” needed to improve SEND support.

“Warm words on early intervention are not good enough when affordable early childcare is unavailable to most parents,” she added.

But some children are already benefiting from early-intervention projects.

Lilycroft Primary School, in Bradford, has been part of a trial where experts use data to identify children who might need more support, at a much earlier stage than usual.

Head teacher Nicola Roth told BBC News it could take six years for a child in Bradford to be diagnosed as autistic – which can delay the support for which they are eligible.

“We can just get on with treating the child and getting the best education for the child as soon as possible,” she said, adding she hoped every school could benefit from the same model.

Nicola Roth’s school has been part of a trial using education and health data to identify children who might benefit from early support

Prof Mark Mon-Williams, a director at the Centre of Applied Education Research, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary, who ran the trial, said: “All the evidence is that acting early is good across the board.

“That child can then thrive in the educational setting, which means that we then have less issues to deal with in terms of that child’s long-term physical and mental health.”

Other proposals in the SEND and alternative provision Green Paper include:

publishing local dashboards to make it clearer to parents who is responsible for what part of the system

launching a national framework for councils to make it clear what level of support is expected for children with the greatest additional needs

spending £10m to train more than 200 more educational psychologists, who will graduate in 2026 and can give advice and input into EHCP assessments and offer wider support.

approving up to 40 new special and alternative provision free schools

Families are being invited to share their views on how to shape the new system, in a 13-week public consultation.


  1. FOR THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT SECTOR: page 65. We want all children to be inspired by the options available to them when they leave school or college. We will launch a new careers programme for primary schools in areas of disadvantage and are extending the legal requirement to provide independent careers guidance to all secondary school children, as well as increasing the opportunities for them to meet providers of apprenticeships and technical education. We will also improve professional development for teachers and leaders on careers education, including strengthening understanding of apprenticeships and technical routes.

Chapter 3: Target support for every child who needs it

  1. Ofsted will hold schools to account for the new a new “parent pledge’ – that “any child that falls behind” in English and maths should receive “timely and evidence-based support to enable them to reach their full potential”. Government has “pledged” to make sure schools communicate this to parents.
  2. New guidance on providing catch-up “targeted support”, keeping parents updated and effective assessment for children who have fallen behind will be published in partnership with Ofsted.
  3. Tutoring to become a “core academic option in the pupil premium menu” with a “vibrant tutoring market” from 2024. Schools will be expected to use their core budgets, including pupil premium, to pay for support.

Chapter 4: A stronger and fairer system

On academies …

  1. A target for all schools to be in strong multi-academy trusts, or have “plans to join or form one”, by 2030.
  2. The DfE will “expect” most trusts to work towards serving at least 10 schools or 7,500 pupils.
  3. The proportion of schools a trust can run in a particular area will be capped, though no cap will be imposed on trust size overall.
  4. A review in May to consider new intervention powers over academy trusts if they fail to meet new statutory standards for being “strong” MATs.
  5. Clearer expectations for trusts over providing high-quality, inclusive education, school improvement, financial management, parental engagement and workforce deployment, training and retention.
  6. They also face new statutory duties to work collaboratively with other trusts, councils and public bodies, and follow the admissions code.
  • Top-slicing faces new “transparency measures”.
  • In “exceptional circumstances”, good schools may be able to request moving trust.
  • A three-year £86 million pot is earmarked for trust capacity funding, with extra “financial support” for dioceses to launch trust following a pilot.
  • A new CEO development scheme will be open to executive heads and senior trust staff.
  • A consultation to move schools with two consecutive Ofsted judgments below “good” into strong trusts. Ex-minister Gavin Williamson had promised a year ago to mandate conversions after three poor ratings.
  • A consultation, published today, proposes new powers to force “coasting” maintained and academy schools (those with two consecutive Ofsted ratings below “good”) to convert or change trusts.
  • Regional schools commissioners to be rebranded as regional directors.
  • The DfE will “consider” bids for high-quality standalone trust free schools, but “avoid converting schools as standalone academies”.
  • A £40 million fund is promised for 24 “priority” areas among the 55 disadvantaged “education investment areas” to address particular needs, such as literacy, numeracy or absence. These areas will also be targeted for establishing new “academically focused” 16-19 free schools.
  • Legislation will protect faith schools’ “statutory freedoms and protections” on conversion, will “ensure” selective schools are “secure” in MATs.
  • Will “discuss with sector” plans for all trusts to have “local governance arrangements for their schools”.

On councils …

  1. Councils will get “backstop powers” to force trusts to admit children, and to object to schools’ published admissions numbers. They will take responsibility for in-year admissions, while admissions faces a “new statutory framework” to put children’s needs first and reform over-subscription rules.
  2. Councils will be able to launch MATs as expected, but the focus will be “where too few strong trusts exist”. The minister will have powers to mass convert all a council’s schools at their request.
  3. A new system of proactive assurance with Local Safeguarding Partnerships commissioning safeguarding audits every three years. This will “help ensure that all schools’ policies are consistent with local safeguarding arrangements and the academy trust standards”.

The policies we already knew about…

Chapter 1: An excellent teacher for every child

This includes a host of already-announced policies. They include 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024, establishing a flagship Institute of Teaching, and teacher trainers being reaccredited.

Old policies with money attached include the pledge to raise teacher starting salaries to £30k by 2023 and the £3k retention payments for maths and science teachers in disadvantaged areas.

There is also a new relocation premium to help teachers from around the world with visas and other expenses and bursaries for international trainees, which Zahawi announced earlier this month.

Ofsted will also inspect all ITT providers by July 2024, and then every three years after that.

Chapter 2: Delivering high standards of curriculum, behaviour and attendance

Turn Oak National Academy into a new arms-length curriculum body, offering free, adaptable digital curriculum resources and video lessons, free for all teachers.

It commits to no changes to the national curriculum “for the remainder of the Parliament”, and GCSEs and A-levels to remain in place, returning to pre-pandemic grading in 2023.

There’s also the including the need for schools to publish a clear policy.

“new behaviour guidance, and legislation for a register for children not in school.

Chapter 3: Target support for every child who needs it

The Education Endowment Foundation will be funded with at least £100 million so it can “continue its crucial work to build the evidence base” for “at least the next decade”.

£55 million for the Accelerator Fund to “develop and scale-up the best-evidence literacy and numeracy interventions”. This was announced last year.



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