PM to announce new laws to level up education opportunity so no child is left behind

Fatima Fokina
  • Schools Bill to help deliver government’s ambition to give every child in the country a world-class education, providing the foundation they need to secure future well-paid jobs
  • Bill will support schools to raise standards, strengthen attendance and improve safeguarding for children wherever they are educated
  • Measures will feed into the government’s central mission to spread opportunity, level up the country, and strengthen our economy

New laws are expected to be unveiled tomorrow to underpin the government’s ambition for every child to receive a world-class education, no matter where in the country they live.

The Schools Bill is set to be announced in the Queen’s Speech. It will provide the legislation necessary for the government’s key education reforms and support its central mission to spread opportunity and level up the country, driving future economic growth.

Making sure every young person gets a good education is at the forefront of the government’s agenda. It is also in the interest of the entire country, because these young people will have the skills, knowledge and opportunity needed to fulfil their future potential, secure the good jobs needed to support our economy, and fill local skills gaps.

Through the Bill, the government will raise education standards across the country via a range of measures including supporting schools to join strong, multi-academy trusts, introducing registers for children not in school and giving Ofsted more powers to crack down on unregistered schools operating illegally.

It will help to deliver the government’s Levelling Up mission for education – for 90% of children leaving primary school to achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and maths by 2030, providing them with the foundation they need to secure well-paid jobs in the future.

To support this, last month the government announced its new pledge to parents: if your child falls behind in English or maths, they will get the support they need from their school to help them get back on track.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I want every parent across the country to know that their child’s education is at the very heart of this government’s agenda.

“We are determined to raise standards in our schools so every child has access to the same opportunities wherever they live, and our brilliant teachers are supported to do what they do best, which is why we’re putting our education ambition into law this week.

“By giving every child a good education, we’re giving them the opportunity to thrive so they can reach their full potential and secure the jobs needed – this is absolutely vital to our levelling up mission.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“Our new Schools Bill, alongside the Schools White Paper, will create a school system that works for every child, parent and family, bringing every school up to our current best standards.

“We want every school to be part of an academy trust, enabling teachers to focus on what they do best – meeting the needs of every child. Schools’ approach to attendance is being overhauled to make sure every child gets the benefit of every possible hour in the classroom.

“In combination, this work will make sure every child has access to an education that they deserve and helps them fulfil their potential.”

The measures in the Bill will:

  • Support more schools to become part of a strong, multi-academy trust.
  • Strengthen the regulatory framework for academy trusts, underpinned by powers to intervene where they are failing.
  • Introduce a direct National Funding Formula, so that every school is allocated funding on a fair and consistent basis, wherever it is in the country.
  • Require schools to publish an attendance policy
  • Establish compulsory registers for children not in school, so that the system can identify those who are not receiving a suitable full-time education.
  • Place a duty on local authorities to provide support to home-schooling families, so that no child falls through the cracks.
  • Give Ofsted more powers to crack down on ‘unregistered schools’ operating illegally.
  • Give the Teaching Regulation Agency increased powers to investigate misconduct.

This is all backed by huge government investment – core school funding will rise by £4 billion in 2022/23 compared with 2021/22, which represents a 7% increase per pupil. On top of this, £5 billion has been invested in the National Tutoring Programme, offering high-quality catch-up tutoring for students who fell behind during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, the government also set out its vision for a post-18 education system that promotes social mobility by providing more options for people to study, train, retrain or upskill at any stage throughout their lives.

In support of this, the Higher Education Bill is also expected to be announced this week, enabling the introduction of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement. This will provide people with a loan equivalent to four years of education (£37,000 in today’s fees) that they can use over their lifetime for a range of studies including shorter and technical courses. This could help them secure a promotion, or a better job.

This is a seismic shift in the way post-18 education is funded and accessed – and combined with the government’s school reforms – will make sure an excellent education is accessible to everyone in this country, no matter what stage of life they’re at.

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