Underperforming schools will be the focus of new government powers to raise standards of education for young people locally.
The new powers will mean schools with two or more consecutive Ofsted ratings below ‘Good’ may be matched with a strong multi-academy trust, to support their improvement. The government laid regulations in Parliament yesterday, Thursday 30 June, to enable this to happen from 01 September.
The government’s 55 Education Investment Areas, where education standards are currently among the weakest, have been prioritised as the focus of new intervention powers to help rapidly improve underperforming schools.
Strong multi-academy trusts have a good track record of improving underperforming schools as sponsored academies, with those academies on average improving more quickly than similar local authority schools.
Currently only schools with Inadequate Ofsted ratings are eligible for this type of intervention, but 900 schools across the country with consecutive Ofsted ratings below Good will now newly be eligible.
The government will initially look to contact around a third of the eligible schools about potential intervention, on the basis they have a recent Requires Improvement rating from 01 May 2021 or later.
Schools’ individual circumstances including their existing capacity to improve will be considered before intervention goes ahead, but those in Education Investment Areas are expected to be prioritised during the coming academic year.
Schools Minister Baroness Barran said:
For too long education outcomes, and therefore children’s life chances, have been different depending where in the country they grow up.
We are rapidly increasing our delivery of support and investment to our Education Investment Areas to right that wrong and give every child the chance to fulfil their potential.
This is just one way in which the government is working to raise standards in Education Investment Areas. Other initiatives include:
Tax-free bonuses to retain teachers of STEM subjects in their first five years of teaching, worth a maximum of £9,000 over three years for those teachers working in the most disadvantaged schools in Education Investment Areas
Making up to £150 million available to the Connect the Classroom programme to install modern wireless internet throughout whole schools, including for all schools in the 24 Priority Education Investment Areas, and to schools below Good in the remaining 31 Education Investment Areas
Up to £86m in funding to support strong trusts to expand over the next three years, heavily targeted towards Education Investment Areas and Priority Education Investment Areas, to grow the number of strong academy trusts and increase the number of schools that have the support of a strong trust
The government aims to provide 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities across the country by 2024, including two new specialist national professional qualifications in literacy and early years leadership, as well as a £30,000 starting salary for teachers to attract and retain the very best talent.
This work builds on the government’s Schools White Paper released in March, which set a blueprint to radically raise education standards across the country and placed a significant emphasis on supporting teachers through strong multi-academy trusts and salary investment, to make sure that every child can be taught by an excellent teacher.
The government’s mission is for the average GCSE grade in English and maths across the country to rise from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030; and for 90% of children leaving primary school to meet the expected standards in reading, writing and maths by 2030, up from 65% in 2019.