In writing Schools that Enable All to Thrive and Flourish, we never sought to respond to Education Excellence Everywhere nor Schools that Work for Everyone rather to demonstrate there was another way; one in which our children and young people can thrive and flourish. If this is to happen we need to retain and recruit the very best teachers and school leaders. Central to our proposals is the need for political imperatives to be replaced by policies focused on pupils’ education; the need for every pupil to have a high quality education irrespective of social class, ethnicity or geographical location. Please circulate our Alternative Green Paper as widely as possible and engage in discussions about it.
If you would like to download a two page summary of the Headteachers’ Roundtable Alternative Green Paper, Schools that Enable All to Thrive and Flourish, please click below:
The full version is available at the bottom of the post. Thanks to our expert supporters for helping the group put this together and all at Schools Week for publishing it.
Accountability: Policy Proposals
- Establish a means for determining system effectiveness and improvement through National Reference Assessments starting in reception and at four year periods (current Years 4, 8 and 12), independent of the curriculum of the day.
- Introduce an annually reviewed Office for Standards in Education Quality Mark (the Ofsted MoT) based on schools meeting an agreed multi-year contextualised value added measure (weighted to reflect the amount of time a pupil spends in a school), secure Safeguarding processes and unqualified audited accounts. Schools awarded the Quality Mark would be exempt from any other form of external accountability.
- The use of floor attainment targets should cease immediately; Key Stage 1 assessments, in their current form, should be discontinued as a means of holding primary schools accountable and the Government should refrain from establishing accountability measures relating to an aspect of provision instead using holistic measures.
- An Expert Working Group should be established to consult and report on a means of determining the quality of education offered by Special Schools, Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Education Providers.
- Secure Safeguarding processes in all schools through an annual audit undertaken by a newly established group of Chartered Safeguarding Officer.
- Merge the work of Ofsted and the School Commissioners, in coterminous regional bases, into one effective, efficient organisation whose role and responsibility are clear and transparent to all.
- A National Baccalaureate for Primary Schools should be established based on core learning, a personal project and a personal development programme.
- The School Information Regulations 2012 should be repealed as unnecessarily burdensome.
- Establish a set of cross departmental policies to support children and their families, with associated funding over a ten year period, aimed at increasing the number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing Level 3 qualifications at 16 years of age. This should include a set of national attainment assessments to determine the standards being reached by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, a national inter-agency Parent Support Strategy supporting all parents to create an optimal home learning environment for under 5s and maintain Pupil Premium Funding at least at its current real term level.
Recruitment and Retention: Policy Proposals
- Hold the Secretary of State for Education responsible for ensuring there are sufficient teachers trained and retained within the public education system.
- Develop a single national pathway into Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and remove the fees for people training in shortage subject areas.
- Introduce a Regional ITE Macro Cluster structure to enable regional stakeholders, including TeachFirst, to work together to develop a longer term strategic plan based on rolling three year guaranteed funding streams.
- To increase retention provide a National Service Benefit for teachers where loans are paid off over time based on length of service. This incentive could be enhanced to fill vacancies in areas or subjects which struggle to recruit by shortening the length of time before the loan would be fully paid off.
- Establish a National Recruitment Fund which will provide well-targeted funding for areas of deprivation to attract talented Headteachers, English and mathematics teachers.
- Support the College of Teaching with compulsory membership for all teachers.
- Introduce the entitlement to a professional development programme leading to QTS for all teachers after a maximum of two years’ induction and a Masters-level professional qualification after five years.
- To enhance retention introduce 10th Year Funded Sabbaticals for teachers in their 10th, 20th or 30th
Structures: Policy Proposals
- Set out a ten year timeframe to move the whole system towards a Partnership Trust model in which all schools are linked to multi-institution structures with no stand-alone schools.
- Diversify the leadership of Partnership Trusts beyond the single CEO model
- Establish the National School Commissioner’s Audit Tool as the basis for all groups of schools to apply for approval to become a Partnership Trust or expansion of pre-existing Partnership Trusts.
- Clear no-profit guarantees included in all Trusts Articles of Association.
- Partnership Trusts should prepare annual consolidated accounts as part of an on-going audit process with all payments to executives or members reported in them including ones made via a “shadow company”.
- There must be an exit clause so that schools are not indefinitely locked into a particular Trust arrangement.
- All schools, including those in Partnership Trusts, must honour local safety-net obligations. Every school has a duty to serve the community in which it is located.
- There should be no further expansion of current grammar schools or increase in selection which may further disadvantage children and young people from disadvantaged families or who have significant barriers to learning.
Additional Policy Proposals
- Teaching Schools should retain responsibilities for the Initial Training of Teachers within Regional ITE Macro Clusters. The provision of schools to school support (SLE & NLE), professional development and research & development along with associated funding should be moved to Partnership Trusts.
- The decision to ease the deficit reduction targets in this Parliament should be used to reduce the financial strain on schools. This should be part of a transparent, well communicated and carefully managed ten year Fairer Funding process to redistribute sufficient funding to all England’s schools. Key to securing sufficient funding for schools is the willingness of Government Ministers and the Department for Education to cease spending on low impact, high cost initiatives based on short term political gain or limited evidence of effectiveness in the UK with respect to raising attainment.
- The Department for Education should undertake an immediate review of the costs of placing pupils in independent special schools.