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Basics are targeted in Education White paper

Education

In 2019 only 65% of children achieved the expected levels in English and Maths at age 11. In a new White Paper the Government sets out how they intend to hit the target of 90% of children leaving primary school reaching the expected standards by 2030, as set out in the “Levelling Up” White Paper earlier this year.

The measures include a “Parent’s Pledge” that Schools will provide support such as tutoring to any child that falls behind in English or Maths with regular updates on progress relayed to the child’s parent.

Other measures include:

  • A minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023
  • Ofted to have inspected every school by 2025 include ‘outstanding’ schools that have been backlogged for years
  • At least £100m to be put into the Education Endowment Foundation so their budget is secure for long term evaluation of best practise in education

Progress

The White Paper touts the progress that has been made in education noting that England has achieved the highest ever scores in international comparisons in English and Maths. The introduction of a Phonics Screening Check in 2012 seems to have had a positive effect as Year 1 students reaching expected standards in reading have increased from 58% to 91%. The Government notes similar progress based on their past policies of academy schools and the “Pupil Premium” expanded and introduced during the coalition Government respectively.

Any child who falls behind in maths or English will get the support they need to get back on track, and schools will also be asked to offer at least a 32.5 hour school week by September 2023. We know what works in schools and we are scaling up to ensure that every child can expect interesting, enriching lessons. Parents rightly expect a world class education for their children and that is what we will deliver.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi

SEND

Much of the country is on tenterhooks waiting for the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) review to be published this week but this White Paper offers a preview of the numbers the Government are working with. Only 22% of children with SEN meet expected standards in reading and maths in 2019 by comparison with 74% with no special educational needs.

If you would like information regarding our up coming Dyslexia Commission chaired by the Rt Hon. Matt Hancock MP please email us at team@curiauk.com

Final Thought

Since 2010 the Conservatives have a good story to tell on education with significant reform, progress and innovation taking place with little increase in costs. Building on Blair era reforms, the Coalition government was radical and now this Government seems eager to pick up baton and run with it.

Including education in the Levelling Up agenda is a masterstroke ensuring that enduring improvements in poorer areas can be seen as a result of Levelling Up even if infrastructure projects take longer than expected to deliver (as they always do).

The flip side of these reforms is that there has been little extra money set aside for additional progress. If the NHS was hardest hit by the pandemic, education must come as a close second with teachers and pupils bounced between in-school and home learning and teachers especially vulnerable to Covid exposure.

A new commitment to a £30,000 minimum starting salary for teachers is a good start but eventually even this Government may be forced to put it’s money where it’s mouth is to achieve further progress.

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