WE have developed a framework to turn these principles into practice: a revised national curriculum, more resources devolved to schools than ever before, good-quality data, access to best practice and clear accountability and inspection and publication of results.
The emerging evidence reinforces our confidence that in the medium and long term this framework for continuous improvement will work. The number of failing schools has fallen; the average time it takes to turn a failing school round has dropped from 25 months to 18 months; the percentage of students meeting standards at 16 and 18 has risen slowly but steadily; and the percentage of students leaving school wth no qualifications has dropped significantly (from 8 per cent of the cohort to less than 6 per cent), though it is still too high.
Our welcome for this progress is tempered by the knowledge that it is not dramatic enough on its own to convince us that we are on track to achieve world-class standards within the next few years. In order to achieve step change, three strategies have been developed and implemented, each one of which is aligned with and reinforces the framework for continuous improvement: the national literacy and numeracy strategies at primary level; the transformation of secondary education; and the modernisation of the teaching profession.