Community has commented on the Department for Education’s announcements on ‘reforms to National Professional Qualifications, the National Institute of Teaching, the Early Career Framework and Appropriate Bodies’ (26 May 2022) and on the Schools Bill and academy trusts (25 May 2022).
Helen Osgood, National Officer for Education and Early Years, said:
“These announcements empower schools with one hand while taking away powers and giving them to the Education Secretary with the other hand.
“This is not about ‘stronger schools’ but a stronger Secretary of State.
“There is some good news, with bursaries for small schools and more tailored NPQs, and the welcome inclusion of early years NPQs, but these qualifications have a heavy workload and take staff away from their children. They also have no ‘value’ outside of education as they don’t contribute to master credits.
“There are also significant workload and other issues that need to be resolved with the Early Career Framework.
“Short-staffed schools and early years settings urgently need government funding and support to be able to release staff for training and development.
“The regulatory measures in the Schools Bill represent an alarming consolidation of power for the Education Secretary and DfE, with the loss of freedoms and autonomy for individual schools and academies, potential changes to terms and conditions for teachers and TAs, and powers for ministers to dictate term dates, holidays and working hours.
“The Bill focuses on organisations and structures while largely avoiding the real issues – underfunding, educational recovery from COVID, support for mental health and wellbeing, staff shortages and workload, curriculum funding and assessment, and the early years funding and recruitment crises.
“The political view that schools can only improve through being a part of a multi-academy trust is an ideological assumption without the evidence to support it.”
Research conducted on behalf of the Local Government Association of inspection ratings between August 2018 and January 2022 shows that 81% of local authority schools retained their outstanding rating, in comparison to 72% of outstanding academies that did not inherit grades from their former maintained school status.
Department for Education:
’Next steps towards a stronger school system’ Updated: 25 May 2022
Early career framework reforms Updated: 26 May 2022
Appropriate body reform and induction assessment Updated: 26 May 2022
National professional qualifications (NPQs) reforms Updated: 26 May 2022