PLANS to take swift action to turn round under-performing schools are confirmed in today’s Queen’s Speech.
Under a new Education and Adoption Bill, new powers will be brought in to speed up the process of changing a failing school’s leadership and turning it into an academy.
Those considered to be “coasting’’ - not performing as well as they could be - will also face being taken over as part of a fresh Government bid to raise standards.
The Bill will also give the Education Secretary new powers to force local councils to hand over their responsibilities for adoption to another authority or agency. This could mean a number of councils see their adoption services merged into regional adoption agencies.
“Legislation will be brought forward to improve schools and give every child the best start in life, with new powers to take over failing and coasting schools and create more academies,” the speech said.
The new Bill will give regional schools commissioners powers to parachute top headteachers into failing schools and quickly turn them into academies.
There will also be a new definition of a “coasting school”, which is likely to cover factors such as a lack of pupil progress and under-performance.
The Department for Education has previously said that schools declared coasting will be put on an immediate notice to improve, and face being taken over and turned into an academy if they fail to come up with a clear improvement plan. The school’s leadership could also be replaced.
Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said the union agreed that every school should be a good one, but the speech had not addressed serious problems that schools are facing.
“There’s a concern that it is silent on two of the major issues that the education system is facing at the moment,” he said.
“That’s the funding element, particularly the fact that there’s a need to move to a national fair funding formula and that funding for 16-to-18-year-olds is woefully inadequate, and the recruitment of teachers into the profession. Everyone around the country is facing major issues to do with recruitment.
“There’s a little bit of a concern that the speech is completely silent on the issue. That’s accepting the fact that the speech tends to focus on what is in the Bill.”
He added that to achieve the goal of every school being considered good, there needs to be a decent supply of high quality teachers.
“Everybody wants schools to be good, we’re committed to that, but they need the raw materials and that’s sufficient teachers of high quality and adequate funding in order to be able to pay those teachers and resource the school.”
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