Queen's speech: government confirms raft of reforms in a new education Bill

The Queen sets out her government’s basic plan to turn every school in England into an academy, in a speech short on details about education policy

Richard Vaughan

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The government will publish a new education Bill 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, entitled Education for All, 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”, aiming to redress “historical unfairness” in school funding by introducing a long-awaited national funding formula.

The new formula will ensure that 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.

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

Budget pressures on schools

Allan Foulds, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that while the national funding formula was welcome, more 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,” he said.

The NUT teaching union warned that the speech demonstrated that 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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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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