Ministers will crack down on truancy, boost the powers of education watchdogs and reform the funding system in new legislation to create “a school system that works for every child”.
Under the plans, which will be part of the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday, English schools will be required to publish an attendance policy and there will be compulsory registers for children who are not in class so authorities can identify who is not receiving not a full-time education. The measures will allow pupils to benefit from “every possible time in class”, said Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said education was “at the very heart of this government’s agenda”.
“We are committed to raising the standards in our schools so that every child has access to the same opportunities wherever they live, and our brilliant teachers are supported to do what they do best, which is why we are making this week a reality. our education ambition,” Mr Johnson said. “By giving every child a good education, we give them the opportunity to thrive so they can reach their full potential and get the jobs they need, it’s absolutely vital to our upgrading mission.”
The Schools Bill will also include plans for schools to join Multi-Academy (MAT) trusts, a proposal education unions have resisted, with a strengthened regulatory framework giving more powers to intervene in case of failure. A new national funding formula aims to distribute money on a ‘fair and consistent basis’, Ofsted will be given greater powers to crack down on ‘unregistered schools’ operating illegally and the Agency’s ability educational regulations to investigate misconduct will be strengthened.
In addition to measures on schooling, to prevent children from falling through the cracks, local authorities will be assigned a duty to support home-schooled families.
Mr Zahawi said: “Our new Schools Bill, alongside the Schools White Paper, will create a school system that works for every child, parent and family, bringing every school up to our current best standards. We want every school to be part of an academic trust, allowing teachers to focus on what they do best, meeting the needs of every child.
“The schools’ approach to attendance is being reviewed to ensure that every child gets every possible hour in class. Combined, this work will ensure that every child has access to the education they deserve and will help realize their potential.” Also in the Queen’s Speech, a Higher Education Bill will see the introduction of the promised Lifetime Loan entitlement, allowing people to retrain at any time. Under the plan , people can access a loan equivalent to four years of study, £37,000 in today’s fees, which they can use throughout their lives for a range of studies, including courses plus short and technical.
Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson said: ‘After two years of unprecedented chaos and disruption in the education of children, Tories are obsessed with structures instead of improving the experience of children by classroom. This bill contains no plan to support the recovery of children in the event of a pandemic.
“No plan to improve education and combat the exodus of school staff from our classrooms. No plan to ensure that more young people acquire the essential qualifications. No plan to give children the general education that the young people, parents and employers want to see No plan, no ambition, no vision for our children.
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