Welcome back after the half term break. This week I’m concentrating on the new Education Bill and its impact on schools as well as details on a new fund to help rugby coaches build character and resilience in pupils.
NEW EDUCATION BILL IN THE QUEEN’S SPEECH
The Queen outlined the proposed legislation of the new Government on 27 May, in her first Conservative-only speech in nearly 20 years. Whilst the new legislative plans for education had already been outlined in the 2015 Conservative Manifesto not much further detail was added. The main measures were:
- New powers to academise coasting schools
- Quick intervention in failing schools, including forced academisation
- New powers for the Regional Schools Commissioners to bring outstanding Heads into underperforming schools
It was made clear that in the future every single school rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted will be turned into an academy. Coasting schools will be put on a notice to improve and given support from a team of expert Headteachers. Those schools that continue to be unable to demonstrate a clear plan for improvement will be given new leadership.
The Government will reveal a clear definition of ‘coasting’ schools in due course, but Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said last week that Ofsted judgements will not be the only factor considered when defining a ‘coasting’ school – mediocre performance and unsatisfactory pupil progress will also weigh heavily.
INCREASING THE HOURS OF FREE CHILDCARE FOR 3 AND 4 YEAR OLDS
The Queen’s Speech also introduced measures to increase the hours of free childcare for three and four year olds in England from 15 to 30 hours a week by 2017, for families where all parents are working.
It is estimated the scheme will cost £350million a year and will be funded through reductions in tax relief on pension contributions for people earning more than £150,000. While the additional hours for children has been largely welcomed by the early years sector, there are still concerns over funding and that nursery providers need to be funded properly to make these plans sustainable.
FUNDING FOR RUGBY COACHES TO BUILD CHARACTER AND RESILIENCE IN PUPILS
This week the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced that rugby coaches from premiership clubs will be drafted into schools to instil character and resilience in disaffected children, as part of the government’s “core mission to deliver real social justice”.
In the year England is hosting the Rugby World Cup, the Government is funding 14 professional clubs to design and deliver programmes to use the sport’s ethos of discipline and respect to build character and resilience in pupils. All 12 Aviva Premiership clubs plus Worcester Warriors and Bristol will work with local pupils through the scheme.