White Paper sets out education reforms – 24/11/10
A radical reform programme that puts teachers at the heart of school improvement and frees schools from central Government direction was published today by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
His schools White Paper, entitled The Importance of Teaching, sets out plans to reform the quality of teacher training, improve pupil discipline and increase student attainment.
The Government has also set out plans to "shorten and simplify" regulations on removing incompetent teachers, enabling headteachers to "deal more swiftly, effectively and fairly with underperforming members of staff".
Gove said, "This white paper shamelessly plunders the best ideas from the highest performing education nations and applies them to our own circumstances.
"The best schools systems recruit the best people to teach, train them intensively in the craft of teaching, continue to develop them as professionals throughout their career, groom natural leaders for headship positions and give great heads the chance to make a dramatic difference."
The White Paper revealed that armed forces veterans with a degree will have their tuition fees sponsored if they wish to train as teachers. The Government has also confirmed that it will explore a "bespoke compressed" undergraduate route for ex-soldiers without a degree.
A national network of teaching schools, modelled on teaching hospitals, will also be created and they will receive funding to provide professional development for teachers and heads.
Meanwhile, a new financial incentive will be introduced for schools to collaborate, encouraging stronger ones to support weaker schools and improve their performance.
A new benchmark for school achievement under what will be called an English baccalaureate is also being set.
This means pupils will be encouraged to take GCSEs in English, maths, a science, a modern language and a humanities subject.
Gove said that he believes too many schools opt for softer subjects in a bid to boost their league table positions.
"I don't think that we should say to children just because they come from a certain background that they shouldn't expect to have any understanding of this country's history or learn a foreign language," explained Gove.
Under the new plans, Gove will give head teachers the ultimate say over who they can permanently exclude from schools.
"We will make it easier for schools to exclude disruptive children without the fear of seeing excluded children reinstated over their heads," he said.
But heads would have to ensure that there was suitable provision available for them elsewhere and fund it.
Prime Minister David Cameron said, “These radical proposals will give teachers both the freedom and the authority in the classroom that's needed if we are to realise our ambition to drive up standards, improve discipline and behaviour and deliver the world class education that our children deserve.”