What the budget means for schools: Latest

  • All schools will become academies. Every school in England will have to either have become an academy by 2020, or to have an academy order in place by 2020 so that they will be committed to converting by 2022. The government will take on “radical” new powers over schools that fail to put an academy conversion plan in place, which will allow it to force them to do so.
  • “It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education,” according to chancellor George Osborne. “So I’m going to get on with finishing the job we started five years ago, to drive up standards and set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy.”
  • Journalists have been briefed that provision will be made to encourage academy chains to take over “Cinderella schools” that are unattractive to potential sponsors because of their small size, tight budgets, expensive buildings or remote locations.
  • But school leaders warned yesterday that full academisation would create “significant risks” for primary schools.
  • And NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney, said: “Parents will be as outraged as teachers that the Government can undo over 50 years of comprehensive public education at a stroke.”
  • More than £1.5 billion in additional funding will be spent on education over this parliament
  • But the money has not won school leaders over. Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “While we welcome any additional funding for schools, the reality is that the government has already made savings by requiring schools to pay increased employer National Insurance and pension contributions from existing budgets. This is a significant real-terms cut. The ‘additional’ funding is a classic case of the large print giveth while the small print taketh away.”
  • Secondaries can open for longer. There will be funding to allow a quarter of secondary schools to rethink the “structure and duration” of their school day by opening for longer hours, ending what Chancellor George Osborne calls the “Victorian tradition” of finishing at 3.30pm. Schools that successfully bid for the funding can use it to provide at least five extra hours a week for extra-curricular activities such as art and sport.
  • A report by the Education Endowment Foundation has found that, on average, pupils make two additional months’ progress per year from extended school time, or the targeted use of before and after school programmes. It found some evidence that disadvantaged pupils benefit disproportionately from this.
  • But Mr Trobe said: “It is highly divisive that the funding will only be available to 25 per cent of secondary schools as this will potentially disadvantage children at the three quarters of schools which miss out. Many schools already provide after-school activities so we also need to understand how this new provision will be differentiated from the existing provision and what will be expected of schools.”
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