Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Another bill for education

Gordon Brown

The prime minister's draft legislative The prime minister's draft legislative programme announced on 14 May contained proposals for yet another education and skills bill - which makes more than 20 pieces of education legislation in 20 years.

John Dunford said that, while ASCL recognises that legislation is necessary for creating new government bodies, "heads and principals are weary of this annual treadmill of education bills and need time to implement the legislation that is already in the statute books."

Most of the bill's proposed content has been emerging over the last few months so there are few surprises. The bill would:

  • enact 'appropriate powers' to ensure local authorities intervene in schools not achieving least 30 per cent five GCSEs at A*-C grade including English and maths

  • reform pupil referral units and other alternative provision

  • transfer funding and responsibility for 16-18 education and training to local authorities

  • ensure that new and existing performance management arrangements for teachers are utilised effectively

  • set out how pupils who are falling behind will receive targeted support, including one to one tuition

  • create an adult careers service within a new post-19 Skills Funding Agency

  • formalise the creation of the Office of the formalise the creation of the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA)

  • create the Young People's Learning Agency to perform certain functions for pre-19 formerly carried out by the Learning and Skills Council

  • give employees the right to request from their employer time to undertake relevant training

  • create a new National Apprenticeships Service, with a statutory entitlement to apprenticeships for all 'qualified' young people, and ensure that schools provide career information about apprenticeships

ASCL will continue to stress that legislation is not the way to ensure that all schools meet the government's floor target for GCSE results. The most effective improvement strategy is school-to-school support and this is already happening.

ASCL also welcomed the news that the government will hold a consultation before deciding whether to legislate on parental engagement with schools. Again, schools are already doing this and legislation is not necessary.

The government is inviting public comment and consultation on the draft legislation at www.commonsleader.gov.uk/yourvoice

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