The last few years have seen significant changes in education policy, with the Coalition Government of 2010 to 2015 implementing a raft of measures that made fundamental changes to the structure of the education system, the assessment of children's progress and the funding available for disadvantaged students.
Key education policies of the coalition government are outlined below. While many of these policies were implemented some years ago, their effects are still being keenly felt across the school system.
The Conservative government which came into office in May 2015 has made clear that it is keen to continue with significant reforms to the education system, further focussing on free schools and academies, as well as changes to the way in which attainment is measured and the provision of early years care.
Find out more about different Government policies on the links below.
The Education and Adoption Bill was one of the first pieces of legislation put forward by the government, as part of the Queen's Speech in May 2015. It was given royal assent in March 2016.
The Act makes provision for addressing inadequate and coasting schools through direct intervention from Secretary of State (SoS), including conversion to academies.
The SoS will intervene in schools 'eligible for intervention' (meaning those that are inadequate or coasting) and has duty to convert inadequate schools to academies, and a power (not duty) to convert coasting schools. There will be no requirement for consultation for conversion of schools 'eligible for intervention'.
Governing bodies and local authorities will be required to take 'all reasonable steps' to enable conversion, ensuring that the process is as rapid as possible.
Regional Schools Commissioners will extend their remit to include all schools, not just free schools and academies, and will be responsible for providing leadership support (e.g. from sponsors, local schools) to inadequate and coasting schools.
The Department for Education (DfE) has recently released its definition of a 'coasting' school. The definition is as follows (measured over three years):
The Childcare Bill was also introduced as part of the Queen's Speech in May 2015 and gained royal assent in March 2016. It set out proposals for 30 hours per week of free childcare for three and four year olds with both parents working. It is envisaged that this will come into operation in September 2017.
Work needs to be done to assess the potential impact of this change in Waltham Forest, especially given existing concerns about the number and quality of early years providers available in the borough.