More competitive sport, the three Rs and better behaviour – Damian Hinds today set out his vision for what a "world class" education should look like.
The education secretary used his first keynote address to the Conservative Party conference to outline a series of measures designed to put his stamp on the school system.
A briefing ahead of this afternoon's speech said plans would include:
- A School Sport Action Plan to get more competitive sports in schools.
- Updated guidance on behaviour in schools.
- £10 million to improve training on behaviour management for teachers early in their careers.
- The naming of 32 schools that will become the English hubs.
- A doubling of the number of trained career leaders in schools.
- £38m investment in equipment to help deliver the new T Levels – the technical-learning alternative to A levels.
Education secretary Damian Hinds addresses the Conservative Party ConferencePosted by Tes on Tuesday, 2 October 2018
Last night, Mr Hinds also said he wanted to "make sure we are learning all the subjects of the future, the languages of mankind and the languages of machines as well”.
In comments released today ahead of his speech, Mr Hinds said: “Our ambition is simply said but truly stretching: a world-class education for everyone, whatever path you take, whatever your background.
“We will not rest until results in all parts of our country are as good as they are now in the best, opportunity is equally available to all of our society, and all routes, whether academic or technical, are of equal standing.”
However, headteachers dismissed the “small pots of money”, announced by Mr Hinds, as “a drop in the ocean” when set beside the wider funding pressures facing schools.
The education secretary set out his belief in the importance of competitive sport for building character and resilience in young people – a theme he has stressed since he first took office.
Mr Hinds will work with sports minister Tracey Crouch and sporting bodies, such as the Premier League and England Netball, to create a School Sport Action Plan, to be published next year.
He said the Department for Education would update its behaviour guidance by using best practice from schools that have been identified for managing behaviour well.
He added that training for teachers in the first two years of their career would be reformed to ensure that they were able to manage behaviour, and £10m would be invested to allow schools with a good record of behaviour management to train other teachers and share their expertise.
The announcement comes amid rising concern about the growing number of children being excluded or off-rolled and, yesterday, education minister Nadhim Zahawi said he wanted to explore how to incentivise schools to cooperate to reduce exclusions.
However, Tes understands that the DfE does not intend today’s announcement to change exclusion policy, as it awaits the findings of the Timpson review into the issue.
Mr Hinds also signalled a continuation of former education secretary Justine Greening’s prioritisation of early language and reading skills.
He announced the 32 primary schools that will become the English hubs that his predecessor announced last year. He said they will identify specialist literacy teachers who will receive extra training to act as experts in the early teaching of language and reading, from Reception to key stage 1.
The education secretary also announced £5m to more than double the number of trained careers leaders in schools.
He said new networks of schools and colleges working with employers would lead to more work experience and employer visits to schools.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL headteachers’ union, said: “While we welcome any additional investment in schools and colleges, it is disappointing that the small pots of money announced by the education secretary are a drop in the ocean compared to the funding that is so desperately needed to give all our young people the best possible education."
He described the announcements as a “modest investment in specific initiatives, spread very thinly over several years” that would “do nothing to address the shortage of funding in our schools and colleges, which has resulted in cuts to the curriculum and individual support for students”.