Last Updated: 01 December 2010
Created: 01 December 2010
This week we saw the publication of the Education White Paper. This is a serious set of reforms for the long-term based on the best evidence of what works in the highest-performing education systems in the world. These reforms mark a decisive shift in direction, moving away from micro-management by remote ministers and instead trusting teachers, allowing them to reassert the importance of teaching over ticking the boxes of the latest PC fads.
I understand the importance of these proposals as since being elected MP I have been busily visiting a number of our local schools, seeing first hand not only the excellent hard work and dedication of our staff and pupils, but also the challenges the Education White Paper needs to address. There are three key areas of reform:
Firstly, action on standards. We will introduce a new duty on the exams regulator to insist that our tests compare with the best in the world, and we will restore exam marks for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Second, action on discipline. It is essential we restore school discipline. We will make it easier to restrain abusive pupils, to impose detentions by removing the requirement to give 24 hours’ notice, and we will stop appeals panels overruling head teachers by reinstating excluded children.
Finally, recruiting the best – we understand just how crucial it is to have the very best teachers. We will toughen up entry requirements for all teachers so we match the world’s best countries for teacher recruitment, coupled with making pay and conditions more flexible so good teachers can be paid more. In addition, we will reform teacher training so that more takes place in schools, not teacher training colleges. I am also delighted to see we are setting up a ‘Troops to Teachers’ scheme to support ex-servicemen and women who wish to retrain as teachers.
Underlining these proposals, despite the challenging economic circumstances, we will see the schools budget rise by £1.1billion over the Spending Review period, and an additional £2.5billion to introduce a Pupil Premium to target the poorest students.
From a personal perspective, I will continue to lobby in two areas. Nationally, I will continue to push for the greater inclusion of financial education in the national curriculum. I have been championing this issue in Westminster; I strongly believe we need to equip young people with the relevant skills to make informed decisions. This campaign is already gaining significant cross-party support, in addition to the backing of Martin Lewis on MoneySavingExpert.com. And locally, I will continue to work with Swindon Borough Council and local schools on the future of 6th form provision in North Swindon, to make sure we get the best for our young people.