The government’s Schools Bill was announced this week as part of the Queen’s speech. In the speech, the government committed to reforming education to ‘help every child fulfil their potential wherever they live, raising standards and improving the quality of schools and higher education’.
The Schools Bill aims to achieve this through 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.
As with the Schools White Paper released in March, the Schools Bill has some welcome announcements. However, there are significant missed opportunities and a notable lack of ambition to ensure schools are properly supported as we look beyond the pandemic.
Some measures also risk putting more pressure on schools, with unnecessary micro-management. In both the white paper and the bill, it is not yet clear how a ‘strong’ multi-academy trust will be defined.
In our survey on the Schools White Paper, sent out to North East schools, there were real worries about the standardisation of MATs, with respondents arguing that good trusts should not be defined by size alone, but by what collaboration and school-to-school support they facilitate. You can read the full results from our Schools White Paper survey here.