NAHT says new Education Bill misses the main challenges of 2015.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “Once again, the government resorts to sanctions and threats when our education system desperately needs investment and support.
“Parents who have campaigned against the opaque and centralised process of academisation will be dismayed to see themselves dismissed as obstacles to be eliminated.
“To suggest some distinction between ‘education experts’ and campaigners against academisation is wrong – especially when the evidence for the performance of academies is so weak. There are as many education experts that remain sceptical about academisation as there are who are supportive.
“When a school is clearly failing; it is right that the process of intervention is swift and decisive. It should also be fair and transparent. In many cases, the government has actually promoted conflict and delay by failing to consult and engage the local community.
“Where change is necessary, parents and children have a right to see the evidence that what’s proposed for their school will work.
“The government has provided some extra detail on its approach to so called ‘coasting’ schools, outlining a process of warning, support then replacement of leaders. This provides more reassurance, as requested, but it has still, crucially and unhelpfully, failed to define what it means by coasting. This creates unnecessary fear and confusion.
“NAHT has repeatedly pressed for a clear definition. The government can’t delay this information any longer.”
“Above all, though, this approach to school improvement looks increasingly threadbare. It not only fails to recognise the central concerns of 2015 – on school places, funding and recruitment – it actually exacerbates them by damaging the morale of teachers and the recruitment of leaders to challenging schools.”
NAHT’s Manifesto for Education contains five key education reforms that they are calling for:
- Continued support for the establishment of a college of teaching, to help teaching establish itself as an autonomous, high status profession, using evidence to determine good practice and promote professional development
- The introduction of an office of education responsibility to devise and manage a five year plan for reform, independent of government, to minimise the unpredictability of policy which harms pupils’ chances, particularly at secondary school
- To protect education funding from early years to school leaving age, adopting a fair funding formula so children can flourish regardless of their background or the challenges they face at home or in the classroom
- To promote an alternative to the current adversarial inspection regime, where school leaders lead critical reviews of schools, working in partnership with Ofsted and not at odds with it
- Ensure fairer admissions policies prioritising children from low income families and creating new schools and places in both the academy and maintained sectors, wherever they are most needed.
For more information, visit: www.naht.org.uk