A White Paper that ups the ante

Share

It will be back to school with a vengeance when the new term starts next week – not only for the pupils and the teachers but on the national education scene, too.

It will be back to school with a vengeance when the new term starts next week – not only for the pupils and the teachers but on the national education scene, too.

The Government's much-vaunted – and delayed – White Paper on education is scheduled for publication early in September. It will be followed by a review of the way that Ofsted, the Government's education standards watchdog, carries out school inspections. The White Paper was originally due out at the end of the summer term but – amid claims that there was a dispute over New Labour's commitment to more private-sector involvement in the running of state schools – it was shelved.

The key themes will be the same, however:

* More private involvement in school management.

* An increase in the number of specialist secondary schools.

* More emphasis on vocational education for a growing number of 14- to 16-year-olds. They will be allowed up to two days off school a week to go on work experience or to college.

* An increase in the number of state schools.

* Shaking up the curriculum for the first few years of secondary education with more emphasis on raising the literacy and numeracy standards of those who fall behind in class.

The biggest controversy will be over the involvement of the private sector. However, the impact is likely to be less than that of some other elements of the package. Estelle Morris, the secretary of state for education and skills, has always said she favours a "whatever works" solution to the running of the education system. She argues that an institution can either be turned round by private-sector involvement or dynamic input by those already involved in the state sector.

It is the expansion in specialist secondary schools that may well have a bigger impact. Ministers now want specialist status to be the "norm" for the country's 3,500 secondary schools. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, originally set a target of 1,500 by 2006 but now the Government is upping the ante and aiming for a large majority to become specialist.

Ministers plan to give every secondary school the green light to apply for specialist status. The only grounds for refusal would be failure to convince the Department for Education and Skills that it could meet targets for improved standards. A failing school, too, would not be allowed to apply until it had been removed from the hit list of schools in special measures kept by Ofsted.

The second major announcement of the new term, the review of Ofsted inspections, is likely to be greeted with more enthusiasm at the chalk face. Mike Tomlinson, the chief inspector of schools, has told teachers he wants the nature of inspections to change so that they are "done with you rather than about you".

In teachers' books, that is a far cry from the more authoritarian viewpoint taken by his predecessor, Chris Woodhead. He has also said he wants inspectors to take into account the school's staffing situation in inspections carried out as from this September.

Teachers believe this may give them more ammunition to bring home to the Government what they believe will be the seriousness of the staffing situation come the new term.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Don’t pity me for eating alone, just give me a better table

Rosie Millard
Aerial view of planned third runway at Heathrow  

Heathrow expansion: This final 'conclusion' has simply fanned the airport flames

Chris Blackhurst
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most