The focus of today’s news review is the new education related announcements in the Queens’s Speech, delivered on Wednesday 18 May.
The Queen’s Speech included the announcement of two new bills for the Department: the Children and Social Work Bill and the Education For All Bill, and a new measure in the Home Office Counter Extremism Bill to safeguard children from being exposed to extremist views in supplementary schools offering intensive education.
The Times, Daily Mail and Guardian reported positively on the Children and Social Work Bill. There was also balanced coverage in the Telegraph and Times on plans for all schools to become academies although the Guardian carried a critical comment piece, incorrectly claiming the policy has in effect been “kicked in to the long grass”.
However, in the same article the reporter is positive about the introduction of a national fairer funding formula for schools. The Times also reports on the Home Office Counter Extremism Bill, describing the new measure to safeguard children for extremist views and crack down on unregulated schools as ambiguous compared to last year’s announcement.
When we announced the next steps in implementing the educational excellence everywhere white paper (6 May), Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
Making every school an academy is the best way to ensure every child, regardless of birth or background, has access to a world-class education.
I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools to become academies. However having listened to the feedback from Parliamentary colleagues and the education sector we will now change the path to reaching that goal.
By focusing our efforts on those schools most at risk of failing young people, and encouraging good and outstanding schools to seize the opportunities of conversion, we will ensure the continued growth of the academy programme, empowering frontline heads and school leads and transforming even more children’s education.
On the national fairer funding formula our position is:
We have protected the core schools budget in real terms, so that as pupil numbers increase, so will the amount of money in our schools. At the same time we are consulting on a national formula to make funding fairer, and address the historic unfairness in the system so funding is matched to need.
This will be the biggest step forward in making funding fair in over a decade, and we are determined to take the time to get this right, which is why we are conducting a two-stage consultation. But we want schools to benefit as soon as possible and are committed to introducing a national formula in 2017-18.
To help schools manage the change, we are setting a national Minimum Funding Guarantee to limit the amount their allocation can fall from one year to the next and will consult further on the detail of this in our second consultation.
The Government’s briefing pack in response to the Queen’s Speech can be found here.