Government White Paper Schools: How the education shake-up will affect South Yorkshire children and parents

The first Schools White Paper in six years has been published – and it will affect every child and parent in South Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 1:36 pm

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has promised a radical shake-up of education but teaching unions and staff are wary.

Here, we explain what is proposed and how it might affect your family.

What’s the plan?

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The first Schools White Paper in six years has been published - and it will affect every child and parent in South Yorkshire

Any child who falls behind in maths or English will get the support they need to get back on track, says the Government.

Schools will identify children who need help, provide targeted support such as small group tuition, and there will be a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023.

Ofsted will inspect every school by 2025, including the backlog of Outstanding schools that haven’t been inspected for many years

By 2030 all children will be taught in through a multi-academy trust. The Government believes academies help transform underperforming schools and deliver the best possible outcomes for children

What about primary schools?

Ministers want 90 per cent of primary children to achieve the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths by 2030.

In 2019, only 65 per cent of children achieved this.

And secondary schools?

The ambition aims to see the national average GCSE grade in both English language and maths increase from a 4.5 grade in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

The government says “the wider benefits” of pupils in 2030 meeting the Key Stage 2 and GCSE ambitions are estimated to be worth at least £30 billion each for the economy.

What about teachers and school staff?

There will be 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities in the next couple of years with £30,000 starting salaries to attract and retain the best teachers.

Extra payments will be available to recruit and keep talented physics, chemistry, computing and maths teachers working in disadvantaged schools.

Up to six million tutoring courses by 2024 will cement tuition as a permanent feature of schools.

Every school to have access to funded training for a senior mental health lead to deliver a whole school approach to health and wellbeing.

What do teachers think?

There are concerns about yet more targets and the pressure on pupils after two years of a pandemic has severely disrupted their education and increased mental health issues.

Dr Mary Bousted,  joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Schools are being battered here and now by a storm of real problems.

“Funding levels are inadequate. Child poverty is increasing. Key indicators of attainment, such as the attainment gap, are moving in the wrong direction.

“Targets for teacher recruitment are not being met while low play and intense pressures of workload are leading teachers to leave in large numbers.

“Our curriculum and qualifications system is outdated and sells our students short. The pressure on budgets mean cuts to teaching assistants and welfare posts.

“The White Paper does not recognise the seriousness and depth of these issues.”

What about SEND children?

Early intervention will be a focus of the plans, achieved partly by training 5,000 more early years teachers to be SEN co-ordinators (Sencos), who monitor and assess SEN children’s progress.

New funding of £70m would back the proposals.