Queen’s speech: Government confirms raft of reforms in a new education bill

The Queen has set out her government’s plans to turn every school in England into an academy, in a sparse speech on education policy.

The government will publish an education bill, Education for All, that will contain new laws to force all schools in a local authority to convert to academy status if the council fails to meet a “minimum performance threshold”.

TES understands the new bill is not expected to be published until the autumn, and will also contain plans to allow local authorities to apply to have their remaining schools converted to academy status if they have reached a “critical mass”.

The bill will also legislate to ensure “all schools are funded fairly” and will aim to redress “historical unfairness” in school funding by introducing a long awaited National Funding Formula.

The new formula will ensure money is allocated to schools “fairly and efficiently”.

The bill will also place a responsibility on schools when it comes to the next educational steps of excluded pupils.

The Queen’s speech also set out proposals to put the National Citizens Service on a “permanent statutory footing” – and all schools will be forced to promote it.

Alan Foulds, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that while the national funding formula was welcome, more was needed to be done to reduce pressure on school budgets.

“We await with interest the government’s detailed proposals on further academisation. However, we would urge ministers to focus more attention on the issues which matter most to schools, colleges, parents and pupils and these are funding and teacher supply,” Mr Foulds said.

The NUT warned the speech demonstrated that the education secretary Nicky Morgan was missing the bigger issues facing schools and teachers.

“The secretary of state is out of touch with teachers who are desperate for better policy making, proper support, and an end to ceaseless curriculum and assessment turmoil,” NUT general secretary Christine Blower, said. “Teachers await strategic responses from government on teacher vacancies, pupil place shortfalls, falling pay, rising workloads and funding gaps.”

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