Summary of Schools White Paper


In this support article, we provide a summary of the Schools White Paper if you haven’t had the time to read it in full.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the Schools White Paper, titled, ‘Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child.’ 

‘White papers’ are essentially formal plans from the Government that set out proposals for future legislation before being decided upon by parliament.

The DfE explains that the White Paper sets out a series of new measures, including:

  • Schools will offer a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023
  • Ofsted will inspect every school by 2025, including the backlog of ‘outstanding’ schools that haven’t been inspected for many years
  • By 2030, all children will benefit from being taught in a school in, or in the process of joining, a strong multi-academy trust, which will help transform underperforming schools and deliver the best possible outcomes for children
  • At least £100m to put the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) on a long-term footing so they can continue to evaluate and spread best practice in education across the country

We outline the expectation on the length of the future school week and the expectation that all schools will be or working towards academy status by 2030, as this has drawn the most interest from teachers. We also provide a summary of the four chapters in the White Paper.

Minimum expectation on length of school week: what do I need to know?

There will be the expectation that state-funded mainstream schools should deliver a school week of at least 32.5 hours by September 2023.

All schools maintained by the local authority and special schools not maintained by the local authority are required to:

  • Meet for at least 380 sessions or 190 days during any school year to educate their pupils
  • Operate two sessions on every school day divided by a break in the middle of the day
  • From September 2022, all state-funded schools are expected to publish their opening times on their school website
  • From spring 2023, all state-funded schools are expected to submit the length of their school week via the spring collection of the school census
  • By September 2023 at the latest, all state-funded, mainstream schools will be expected to provide a compulsory school week of at least 32.5 hours

Full details can be found here.

We have published a blog post looking at a variety of research on the impact of a longer school day and week.

Do all schools need to move towards academy status by 2030?

The government wants all schools to be in or moving towards multi-academy trusts (MATs) by 2030.

The White Paper says that the DfE knows that trusts typically start to develop central capacity when they have more than 10 schools.

It said it will not convert schools to standalone academies but will consider bids for high-quality free schools to open initially as standalone trusts.

Full details can be found here.

Chapter 1: An excellent teacher for every child

The DfE will deliver:

  • 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024, giving all teachers and school leaders access to world-class, evidence-based training and professional development at every stage of their career
  • Specialist training to drive better literacy through a new National Professional Qualification for Leading Literacy; a new National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership; and up to £180m investment in the early years workforce, including training for early years practitioners to support literacy and numeracy teaching
  • £30,000 starting salaries to attract and retain the very best teachers – with additional incentives to work in the schools with the most need

Chapter 2: Delivering high standards of curriculum, behaviour and attendance

The DfE will deliver:

  • A new arms-length curriculum body that works with teachers across the country to co-create free, optional, adaptable digital curriculum resources, supporting schools to deliver rigorous, high-quality curricula
  • A richer, longer average school week which makes the most effective use of time in school and ensures children enjoy a rounded education
  • Better behaviour and higher attendance through more effective use of data, including an annual behaviour survey and a national data system, to drive up attendance and make it easier for agencies to protect vulnerable children 

Chapter 3: Targeted support for every child who needs it

The DfE will deliver

  • A Parent Pledge that your school will provide evidence-based support if your child falls behind in English or maths and tell you about their progress
  • Up to 6 million tutoring courses by 2024 with action to cement one-to-one and small group tuition as a permanent feature of our school system
  • A secure future for the EEF putting our independent ‘what works’ centre on a long-term footing and placing the generation and mobilisation of evidence at the heart of our education system

Chapter 4: A stronger and fairer school system

The DfE will deliver:

  • A fully trust led system with a single regulatory approach, which will drive up standards, through the growth of strong trusts and the establishment of new ones, including trusts established by local authorities
  • A clear role for every part of the school system, with local authorities empowered to champion the interests of children and a new collaborative standard requiring trusts to work constructively with all other partners
  • Education Investment Areas to increase funding and support to areas in most need, plus extra funding in priority areas facing the most entrenched challenges

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