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<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Ian (Ferguson CBE). And thank you Aviva for hosting this important forum. It&rsquo;s a great pleasure to be here.</p> <h2> HTI&rsquo;s 25th anniversary</h2> <p> And can I first offer my congratulations to HTI on your 25th anniversary. Set up with the purpose of building relationships between business and education, your network has grown in strength and influence over the years.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m delighted that you&rsquo;ve chosen to celebrate your silver anniversary year by promoting the importance of raising aspiration among teachers and young people. An important cause which certainly chimes with the aims of the Department for Education. So I wish you every success this year, and indeed for the next 25.</p> <h2> Working together to tackle complex issues</h2> <p> One of the features which I admire so much about HTI, and something which I think all the delegates here today have in common &ndash; is a willingness to grasp the nettle when it comes to difficult subjects.</p> <p> This can-do attitude, this entrepreneurial spirit of optimism &ndash; that you all have in spades and do so much to encourage in our schools &ndash; is a necessary quality when we&rsquo;re thinking about how to tackle that most difficult and complex issue &ndash; the subject of today&rsquo;s discussion forum: runaway children.</p> <p> Past efforts to help these hardest-to-reach people have been rather hit-and-miss, on the whole. Legislation, guidance, policy initiatives &ndash; you name it &ndash; despite our best endeavours, too many children and young people still don&rsquo;t get the support and care which they desperately need, particularly at such a vulnerable point in their lives.&nbsp;</p> <p> But we also feel very strongly that, whatever the past failures, we can&rsquo;t give up on these children who have fallen off society&rsquo;s radar. And as we know from too many recent examples, it is often these children who come to most harm through neglect, violence, sexual and other exploitation.</p> <p> The reasons why they run away from home or from care in the first place are complex and diverse. As are the reasons they can become attracted to life on the streets, and unwilling to change their behaviour, and ultimately trapped in a cycle of despair. It is particularly alarming that of the hundreds of under 16-year-olds estimated to be runaways each year,&nbsp;one in&nbsp;six are under the age of 12.</p> <p> So if we&rsquo;re going to make a difference we need to put our heads together, and work together to find alternative ways of supporting, engaging and including these young people in extreme need.</p> <h2> Big Society</h2> <p> I&rsquo;m always struck by how much can be achieved, when someone decides that something needs to change. For example, Jo Shuter, the headteacher of Quintin Kynaston, who is responding to the plight of homeless sixth formers in her school, not by wringing her hands but by raising money to buy a 10-bed house, which will be staffed by adults acting as proxy parents, to these students who have no other home.</p> <p> And David Maidment, the founder and chair of Railway Children, Aviva&rsquo;s chosen partner charity. Acting in response to the street children he saw during a business trip to Mumbai, David did his research, saw a need for early intervention and started what became, 15 years on, a global charity that last year helped nearly 30,000 homeless children and young people.</p> <p> To me, these people embody the Big Society idea. To anyone who isn&rsquo;t sure what the Big Society is all about, I say look no further than these individuals. To anyone who doubts the rhetoric of the Big Society, or thinks it&rsquo;s really all about cutting costs, I say look at what they have achieved.</p> <p> And crucially, look at what they have achieved by joining forces with others - collaborating with businesses such as Aviva, as well as with schools, charities, public sector bodies and with young people themselves. Partnering up to find out what works, pooling resources, and being open to creative new ideas that will reach even further. Not sitting back. Not going it alone.</p> <p> As Barack Obama said when calling for a new age of responsibility in the States, people who join together can &lsquo;do amazing things&rsquo;.</p> <p> Businesses too have so much to contribute to building a big society, and giving young people a respected place within it. Nationally and locally, an increasing number recognise the opportunity and the need to invest in young people. To engage them positively in their communities and to help them develop the skills they, and we, need for the future.&nbsp;</p> <h2> What government is doing about vulnerable children?</h2> <p> Which brings me back to the big, and largely sidelined, problem under scrutiny today. How to help the approximately 100,000 children under the age of 16 who run away from home or care each year. They do so to escape abuse or abusers, possibly neglect or family conflict &ndash; but they do so because they see no alternative for themselves. And once on the streets it&#39;s a sure bet they&#39;ll encounter further violence and exploitation. They are truly amongst the most vulnerable people in our society.</p> <p> I am especially concerned about the runaways who come from the care system, having already been rescued from traumatic and neglectful conditions with their birth families.</p> <p> We have a particular responsibility to do everything in our power to protect these children and young people in care or who are about to leave care. Statutory guidance already requires local authorities to liaise with police when a child goes missing from care, to take action to find the child and to minimise the chances of them going missing in future.</p> <p> And a new regulatory framework, coming into force in April, highlights the importance of support and training for foster carers, who provide most of the care placements, to equip them with the skills they need to help their foster children - including those children at risk of running.</p> <p> Our Department is working with the sector to develop a Foster Carers&rsquo; Charter. This will set out how fostering services and local authorities can best support carers &ndash; and how we expect carers, in turn, to support their foster children, to enable them to reach their potential and thrive, and enjoy stable placements which mitigate the urge to opt out and escape.</p> <p> All children and young people who run away &ndash; boys and girls - are at far greater risk of sexual exploitation. We are considering urgently what further action needs to be taken to safeguard children and young people. And we need to look at every aspect of the problem, from awareness-raising and prevention through to crime detection and victim support.</p> <p> &nbsp;I am particularly concerned about the recent cases highlighted in Operation Retriever, amongst others, which highlighted systemic sexual exploitation of teenagers across a number of UK cities, many of them from the streets. The Barnado&rsquo;s report last month underlined the extent of the problem and I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge.</p> <p> With my colleagues in the Home Office we are working alongside other government departments, local authorities, Local Safeguarding Children Boards, and organisations like the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Barnardo&#39;s, to build on existing guidance. We aim to develop effective prevention strategies, support victims and take action against perpetrators.&nbsp;</p> <h2> Business and charity partnerships</h2> <p> But to be really effective at getting to grip with society&rsquo;s problems, society as a whole needs to get involved and be eternally vigilant. And to me that means businesses linking up with charity groups, and getting their employees involved as volunteers. It&rsquo;s a win-win situation, as Aviva and others have already found. Working with Railway Children, Aviva employee volunteers are going out to schools and communities across the UK, raising awareness and delivering education programmes.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s making them a happier and more loyal, motivated and productive workforce.</p> <p> This partnership is an example of the kind of thing we want to see more of, and that will underpin the growth of the Big Society. Business engaging with the voluntary sector, with local authorities, with the education sector, with young people and with government. Everyone working together. Everyone&rsquo;s responsibility.</p> <h2> Government&rsquo;s role in partnership working</h2> <p> And the Government&#39;s role in &lsquo;working together&rsquo; will be chiefly about creating the right conditions for partnerships to flourish and providing some of the tools. We want to facilitate rather than control from the centre.</p> <p> So we&#39;re exploring how we might establish a network that will bring together businesses interested in supporting young people. Because the stronger the collaboration, the greater the impact.</p> <p> We need young people themselves to be involved in decisions that affect their lives, if our policies and programmes are to work. Fewer than 5 per cent of young runaways seek help from statutory bodies such as police and social services &ndash; so clearly we need to go out there and talk to them about what would work for them, and listen much more to what they need. We have to do this if we hope to engage and influence them.</p> <p> Over the next few months, we will be holding a youth summit and organising workshops and round table events, so that we can develop a shared vision of the purpose, benefits and role of services for young people, particularly vulnerable children and young people.</p> <p> This will be a real collaboration, so that when we publish our policy document outlining plans for young people&rsquo;s services, it will have been validated by our partners &ndash; young people, local authorities, businesses and voluntary organisations. And it will be the product of joined-up working between other departments.</p> <h2> Early intervention and targeting resources</h2> <p> And similarly, at the local level, we want to see local authorities embracing smarter joined-up ways of working in partnership with each other and with local agencies in order to run services better and more cost effectively.</p> <p> In tough financial times we have to focus our limited resources on the young people who need it most. And we have to measure success by outcomes achieved, not the numbers &lsquo;processed&rsquo;, which has too often been the case in the past. We must share insights into what works best and pool capital resources. We owe this to young people and we owe it to the public purse.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re exploring Payment by Results models of funding as part of the Early Intervention Grant, to reward those local authorities who produce excellent outcomes.</p> <p> Early intervention is the key to much of this, which is why we came up with the EIG grant and are promoting Graham Allen&rsquo;s work to promote quality and targeted intervention early, with the immense social and financial savings following swiftly on.</p> <p> As its name suggests, the Early Intervention Grant is intended to fund services that can prevent early risks from escalating into something much more expensive and problematic further down the line. It&rsquo;s about thinking and spending for the long term and is targeted at the most vulnerable young people and families.</p> <p> And the role of schools in preventative care cannot be underestimated &ndash; by engaging children in their own education and raising their aspirations of course, but also by keeping an eye on students&rsquo; overall wellbeing and liaising with other local agencies where there are particularly vulnerable or dysfunctional families, which are often the source of many of these runaways.</p> <p> Teachers are often best-placed for spotting emerging problems &ndash; and for taking early action to deal with them. In recognition of this, and because resources need to be targeted directly at those in need, we have introduced the pupil premium. It amounts to &pound;2.5 billion pounds of extra funding over the next four years, and will go with the poorest children to the schools they attend. And schools will be accountable for spending the money where it&rsquo;s needed, on raising attainment and aspiration, and giving everyone an even chance of flourishing and staying put.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> We are determined to end the terrible waste of human potential that we see in the most disadvantaged and most vulnerable children today. And we are determined to create the conditions for long-term success &ndash; through education reform, through youth sector reform, through putting resources where they are most needed. But most importantly through working together.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> 2011-04-12T20:31:43.533072 http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074150/tim-loughton-to-the-headteachers-and-industry-hti-discussion-forum Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Headteachers and Industry (HTI) discussion forum Education 2011-02-01
<p> [Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.]</p> <p> Thank you Tony for that kind introduction.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The last time we met was in New York when we were discussing school reform and, in particular, teacher performance.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I remember arguing that teachers had nothing to fear from lesson observation &ndash; not only was learning from other professionals the best way to improve, confident performers should relish the opportunity to show what they can do.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> After all, I argued, other inspirational professionals are used to being watched while they work - great footballers, I said, like Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, don&rsquo;t object to people paying them attention when they do their thing&hellip;.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Perhaps, in hindsight, I could have chosen a happier parallel &ndash;<br /> but Tony you are one professional who always performs with effortless grace &ndash; thank you.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And thinking of outstanding performances which are a joy to watch, Steve, can I thank you for a brilliant and inspiring speech&hellip;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> You incarnate the virtues of great leadership.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Clarity of vision.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Generosity of spirit.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Energy in action.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And, above all, clear moral purpose.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Together with Vanni, Toby and the rest of the leadership team at the National College you have responded to every challenge we&rsquo;ve given you with the enthusiasm, optimism and ambition of great public servants.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I am in your debt.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I mentioned that you bring a clear sense of moral purpose to everything you do, Steve.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Throughout your career you have aspired to give children and young people new opportunities, richer futures, a sense of limitless possibility.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And it&rsquo;s about moral purpose that I want to speak today.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Knowledge is power</h2> <p> The moral purpose that animates the work we all do. Ministers, officials, school leaders, teachers.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> What unites us is a belief that lives can be transformed by what goes on in schools. The precious moments spent in the classroom, the interactions between professionals and students, the process of teaching and learning &ndash; can shape futures like nothing else.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Just last week I was talking to one young man at the secondary school nearest to my home, Burlington Danes in London&rsquo;s White City Estate. A teenager who had been persistently in trouble, going in the wrong direction and who saw in the environment around him no incentive to work hard, no penalty for indiscipline, no encouragement to learn. Until that school was taken in a new direction by a new leader, the amazing Sally Coates.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> She made sure every moment every child spent in her school was worthwhile &ndash; focussed on learning &ndash; with a clear expectation that every child could surpass their family&rsquo;s expectations. That young man is now on course to study engineering at Cambridge and his life has been transformed immeasurably for the better.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And what Sally has done in Burlington Danes, so many of you are doing across the country. Changing schools for the better, spreading opportunity more widely.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I am uniquely fortunate to be Secretary of State at a time when we have the best generation of teachers ever in our schools and the best generation of heads leading them.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> People like Dana Ross-Wawrzynski at Altrincham Grammar Schools for Girls, who not only runs one of the most impressive schools in the country, but is also creating a trust in East Manchester that is already rapidly boosting the performance of a number of other local schools.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or Ray Ruszczynski at Chellaston Academy, a superb National Leader of Education, working in a collaborative group with Landau Forte Academy and West Park School, as well as providing a wide range of support to Sinfin School.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or Dame Sue John who has turned Lampton Academy into an inspiring example of how a school can succeed in a tough area, while also spearheading the London Challenge initiative which has so helped improve education in our capital.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Heroes and heroines whose vocation is teaching &ndash; the noblest calling I know.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> All of us in this hall share something, I suspect. All of us, I am sure, were inspired by a teacher or teachers who kindled a love of knowledge, a restless curiosity, and a passion for our subject when we were young.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And all of us, I believe, want to excite the next generation &ndash; as we were excited &ndash; by the adventure of learning.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Introducing the next generation to the best that has been thought and written is a moral enterprise of which we can all be proud. Giving every child an equal share in the inheritance of achievement which great minds have passed on to us is a great progressive cause. Shakespeare&rsquo;s dramas, Milton&rsquo;s verse, Newton&rsquo;s breakthroughs, Curie&rsquo;s discoveries, Leibniz&rsquo;s genius, Turing&rsquo;s innovation, Beethoven&rsquo;s music, Turner&rsquo;s painting, Macmillan&rsquo;s choreography, Zuckerberg&rsquo;s brilliance &ndash; all the rich achievements of human ingenuity belong to every child &ndash; and it should be our enduring mission to spread that inheritance as widely as possible.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Because it is only through learning &ndash; the acquisition of intellectual capital &ndash; that individuals have the power to shape their own lives. In a world which globalisation is flattening, in which unskilled jobs are disappearing from our shores, in which education determines income and good qualifications are the best form of unemployment insurance, we have to ensure every child has a stock of intellectual capital which enables them to flourish.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Making opportunity more equal</h2> <p> But there is one area where the sense of moral purpose which guides us as leaders in education must impel us to do more.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> As a nation, we still do not do enough to extend the liberating power of a great education to the poorest.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> As Barack Obama has persuasively argued, education reform is the civil rights battle of our time.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> In Britain, as in the USA, access to a quality education has never mattered more but access to a quality education is rationed for the poor, the vulnerable and those from minority communities.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Each year there are 600,000 students passing through our state schools. 80,000 of them - the poorest - are those eligible for free school meals.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Of those 80,000, in the last year for which we have figures, just 40 made it to Oxford or Cambridge. Fewer from the whole of the population on benefits than made it from Eton. Or Westminster. Or St Paul&rsquo;s School for Girls.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We know that we are not playing fair by all when, in the last year for which we have figures, just one child from all the state schools in the whole London Borough of Greenwich makes it to Oxford.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> My moral purpose in Government is to break the lock which prevents children from our poorest families making it into our best universities and walking into the best jobs.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> That is why this Government is spending two and a half billion pounds on a pupil premium to ensure that every child eligible for free school meals has two thousand pounds more spent on their education every year.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> That is why this Government is investing in more hours of free nursery education for all three and four year olds and 15 hours of free nursery education for all disadvantaged two-year-olds.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And that is why this Government is investing in an Education Endowment Fund which will, like Barack Obama&rsquo;s Race to the Top Fund, provide additional money for those teachers who develop innovative approaches to tackling disadvantage.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Because the scandal which haunts my conscience is the plight of those students from the poorest backgrounds, in the poorest neighbourhoods, in our poorest-performing schools who need us to act if their right to a decent future is to be guaranteed.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We still have one of the most segregated schools systems in the world, with the gap between the best and the worst wider than in almost any other developed nation.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> In the highest-performing education nations, such as Singapore, around 80% of students taking O-levels get at least an equivalent of a C pass in their maths and English.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And we should remember that Singapore has only been independent for around fifty years, it has no natural resources, is surrounded by more powerful nations, is a multi-ethnic society and its students sit exams in English &ndash; even though their first language will be Malay, Tamil or Chinese.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Here just over half of students get a C pass in GCSE maths and English. And the half which fail are drawn overwhelmingly from poorer backgrounds and are educated in poorer-performing schools.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So, at the heart of our comprehensive reform programme for education is a determination to learn from, and emulate, those countries which are both high performers and succeed in generating a much higher level of equity across the school system.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Thanks to the pioneering work of thinkers such as Michael Fullan, Michael Barber and Fenton Whelan, and the data gathered by the OECD through its regular surveys of educational performance, we can identify the common features of high-performing systems.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The best people need to be recruited into the classroom.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> They then need to be liberated in schools set free from bureaucratic control.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Given structures which encourage collaboration and the sharing of the benefits innovation brings.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Held to account in an intelligent fashion so we can all identify the best practice we can draw on.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And led in a way which encourages us all to hold fast to the moral purpose of making opportunity more equal.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I want to say a little about each.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We&rsquo;re getting more superb teachers<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We&rsquo;ve moved quickly to get more high-performing graduates into teaching by funding the doubling of Teach First over the course of this parliament and expanding the fantastic Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders programmes which, with the support of the National College, provide superb professional development for the future leaders of some of our toughest schools.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Shortly we&rsquo;ll be publishing our strategy for Initial Teacher Training. This will further emphasise our commitment to boosting the status of the profession by toughening up the recruitment process and ensuring that all new teachers have a real depth of knowledge in their subject.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We&rsquo;ll be making sure this covers the whole spectrum by, for example, providing additional funding for more placements in special schools, so as to give more teachers specialist knowledge in teaching children with special needs.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We will also explore how excellent schools can be more involved in both initial training and the provision of professional development. Contrary to what some have said this is not about excluding higher education from teacher training. There are many excellent centres of ITT and losing their experience is not on my agenda.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But I am keen that we make better use of headteachers&rsquo; and teachers&rsquo; experience. That&rsquo;s why I, like Steve, am so excited about the development of Teaching Schools.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I believe Teaching Schools have the potential to generate higher standards than ever before. Over 1,000 expressions of interest and 300 applications is a very positive sign of your enthusiasm. The first 100 Teaching Schools will be designated next month but the partnerships being developed between schools and with higher education are already having a powerful and positive impact on the system.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> We&rsquo;re empowering school leaders to innovate</h2> <p> Putting our best schools in charge of professional development is, though, just one way in which we&rsquo;re handing you control of the education system.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We&rsquo;ve reduced central Government prescription for all schools to make your lives easier and give you the space to focus on what really matters.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The hundreds of pages of forms you had to fill in to complete the FMSIS process. Gone.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The vast Ofsted self-evaluation form that took weeks to fill in. Gone.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Performance Management guidance has been cut by three quarters and capability procedures simplified so you can deal with inadequate staff quickly and effectively.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Behaviour and bullying guidance has been cut from 600 pages to 50 so as to give you complete clarity over your powers and duties.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Over the next few months we will be publishing shortened guidance in a whole host of other areas. In total, departmental guidance will be more than halved.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And, I hope you&rsquo;ve noticed we&rsquo;ve stopped the endless stream of emails that use to emanate from the Department.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Beyond these changes we&rsquo;ve implemented for the benefit of all schools, we&rsquo;ve also given every school the opportunity to take complete control of its budget, curriculum and staffing by applying for academy status.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> When I spoke to you last year there were 203 academies. Now there are 704 and a further 814 schools have applied. By the end of the year more than a third of secondaries will be academies. This is a much faster rate of conversion than I, or I think anyone else, had anticipated and testament, I believe, to school leaders&rsquo; desire for genuine autonomy.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Many of you who have converted in the past year have already used your freedoms to great effect. For example:<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Premier Academy in Milton Keynes has extended payscales &ndash; so that good teachers can choose to remain in the classroom rather than move into management to increase their salaries.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And, like other schools such as Wakefield City Academy, they have used resources previously held by their Local Authority to employ a dedicated pastoral support worker on-site to ensure that children with social and educational needs get complete continuity of care.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Others are following some of the larger sponsor groups like ARK and Haberdashers in extending their school day and the academic year.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Yet others like the Kunskapsskolan schools in Richmond are developing exciting new curriculum models.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And many converter academies have found they are able to buy services for a significantly lower cost than those provided by their local authority.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> For instance Broadclyst Academy Primary School has cut the costs of their payroll system in half and has ploughed the money back into teaching. Watford Grammar School for Girls and Hartismere Academy have found procuring small improvements to be significantly cheaper and quicker.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> This is creating a new relationship between schools and Local Authorities. As we know, in some areas LAs have been genuine drivers of innovation and improvement: they have seen their role as champions of excellence; identifying struggling heads and governors; brokering peer-to-peer support; and forging partnerships with local universities or major employers to drive up standards.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But in other areas this has not been the case. And this is now beginning to change, as LAs react to schools&rsquo; new powers by improving the quality of their offer to ensure academies buy back services and engage with local initiatives. As one academy head explained recently to the Guardian:</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <blockquote> <p> Under the old regime, nothing had ever been done about some things that weren&#39;t good enough, whereas now, there&#39;s an awful lot of activity at our Local Authority to make sure services are good enough so that we will buy them in.</p> </blockquote> <p> Under the old regime, nothing had ever been done about some things that weren&#39;t good enough, whereas now, there&#39;s an awful lot of activity at our Local Authority to make sure services are good enough so that we will buy them in.</p> <p> And some healthy competition isn&rsquo;t just improving Local Authorities. A study just published by academics at the London School of Economics, looking at academies opened by the last government, shows not only that they have improved significantly faster than other schools, but also that other schools in their locality have seen results improve.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We&rsquo;re embedding a culture of collaboration<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But competition isn&rsquo;t the main driver of improvement in the system. What we&rsquo;re seeing, as Steve put it, is collaboration driving improvement but with a competitive edge. Indeed I would go as far to argue that genuine collaboration is harder without that competitive edge to inspire the need to improve.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So I&rsquo;m hugely encouraged by the renewed focus on partnership between schools I&rsquo;m seeing at the moment. I&rsquo;ve already mentioned how impressed I am with some of the alliances put together by aspirant Teaching Schools. But that&rsquo;s just one area of activity.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> For instance, all of the new converter academies have, between them, agreed to support over 700 other schools and we&rsquo;ve begun the doubling of the National and Local Leader of Education programmes to support fellow heads.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I am particularly pleased to see that a number of these softer collaborative relationships are evolving into hard federations.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I have always thought that many of the best academy chains are those that have grown out of a single outstanding school with a visionary leadership team. Just look at what Dan Moynihan has done at Harris; or Sir Kevin Satchwell at Thomas Telford; or Sir Peter Simpson at Brooke Weston; or our new Schools&rsquo; Commissioner Elizabeth Sidwell at Haberdashers.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> What these leaders share is that were given a rare opportunity as headteachers of CTCs to use their longstanding autonomy to develop a powerful educational model that could then be readily applied to new schools when the last Government launched their academy programme.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Now, with our offer of academy freedoms to all outstanding schools and leaders we have created the opportunity on a much larger scale for great leaders to expand their vision across a group of schools.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The process of allowing outstanding schools to convert has created a new generation of academy sponsors dedicated to turning round under-performing schools.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> For example, Morley High School, led by NLE John Townsley, converted in January and will start sponsoring Farnley Park School in Leeds next year. And Sandy Hill Academy in Cornwall &ndash; one of the very first converters &ndash; is now in the process of taking on Trevebyn Primary.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I hope many more of you will take advantage of this opportunity over the coming years.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> A proper national framework of accountability</h2> <p> Of course in this new educational landscape &ndash; where far more schools have significant autonomy and improvement is driven not by Government but by great schools working with others &ndash; proper accountability becomes even more important than ever.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re currently overhauling the Ofsted framework to focus on the four core responsibilities of schools &ndash; teaching and learning; leadership; attainment; behaviour and safety &ndash; as opposed to the twenty-seven different categories in the existing framework.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I am particularly keen that under the new framework Ofsted inspectors are able engage properly with schools, as opposed to focusing too strongly on data alone. I want them to be able to view more lessons; talk to more teachers and hear what students and parents have to say. And I want inspectors to engage not just during inspections but subsequently so that schools feel they have some guidance as well as a judgement.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We also need to change the way we use data in our pursuit of accountability. As Professor Alison Wolf&rsquo;s review on vocational education has made clear, the introduction of large numbers of vocational equivalents to the GCSE performance tables in 2004 has led to widespread gaming of qualifications. The 4,000 per cent rise in the number of such qualifications taken in just six years is testament to this.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> She has proposed measures to combat this issue which we are now implementing &ndash; including much tighter criteria for courses that wish to be considered equivalent to GCSE. But this particular problem is symptomatic of a wider issue. As long as most data is hidden from the public and the profession governments can manipulate what they do choose to release so as to mislead.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> That is why we&rsquo;ve already begun a major transparency revolution. We&rsquo;ve started the process of publishing all the information the Department collects &ndash; including an additional 14 million lines of exam data this year. In future this will include more data on how schools are improving the results of the disadvantaged &ndash; both those in receipt of the pupil premium and those with low prior attainment.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I don&rsquo;t expect, of course, that many parents will personally search through all this new material, but we are already seeing third parties finding new ways to present this data. Moreover educational researchers will have an unprecedented opportunity to investigate what&rsquo;s really going on in the system.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> It also means that any new performance measures Government does seek to highlight &ndash; such as the English Baccalaureate &ndash; will only have an impact insofar as they resonate with parents. Initial surveys suggest this measure does have real resonance. Which is unsurprising as it simply seeks to replicate the sort of academic core that is expected in almost every developed country in the world: for children on both academic and vocational routes post-16.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> A moral commitment to helping those most in need</h2> <p> Crucial to a proper framework of accountability is a set of clear expectations for schools. As the OECD say: &ldquo;PISA results suggest that the countries that improved the most, or that are among the top performers, are those that establish clear, ambitious policy goals.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> In last year&rsquo;s White Paper we took a tougher line on underperformance than ever before by raising the floor standard for secondary schools to 35 per cent of pupils achieving five GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths. We wanted these standards to be as fair as possible, so schools which show pupils making superb progress from a low basis are exempted.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But that still left 216 secondary schools below this floor. We have taken action, in partnership with many of you in this room, to ensure their performance is turned round.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> In the next school year at least 88 schools, and counting, will be placed in the hands of new academy sponsors with a mission to end a culture of poor performance. That is more under-performing schools converted to academies than the last Government ever managed in a single year and more than they managed in their first eight years combined.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So I&rsquo;m hugely encouraged by our progress. But I don&rsquo;t believe, and I hope you don&rsquo;t either, that 35 per cent of kids getting five decent GCSEs should be the limit of our ambition.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> To compete with the best in the world, we have to raise our expectations not just once but continuously. In Poland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand more and more students are graduating from school and going on to university. In Singapore more than 80 per cent of young people taking O-levels now achieve 5 passes &ndash; the equivalent of C grades in GCSE. In South Korea an incredible 97 per cent of students graduate from high school.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So if we are to aspire to a world-class education system then we need to raise our sights beyond 35 per cent. And in doing so we cannot allow ourselves to have lower expectations for more disadvantaged parts of country. Of course I accept that schools in such communities face harder challenges but I also know that these challenges can be met. Deprivation need not be destiny.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Look at Perry Beeches in Birmingham. 25 per cent of children are on Free School Meals and 41 per cent have special needs. Yet in three years they have moved from 21 per cent five A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths to 74 per cent.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or Paddington Academy &ndash; which jumped from 34 per cent to 63 per cent five A*-C with English and maths in just one year. At Paddington 51 per cent of children are on Free School Meals and 65 per cent are identified has having some kind of special need.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or Woodside High School in Haringey, a school Steve spoke eloquently about in his speech, where almost no children at all achieved five A*-C with English and maths five years ago and where over 50 per cent will hit that benchmark this year. Again this is a school where 55 per cent of children are on Free School Meals and 38 per cent have identified special needs.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Now that we know this level of achievement is possible in schools like these, and in many others similar to them, we must surely make it our expectation for all schools. To do any less, I believe, would be a betrayal of our young people.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So next year the floor will rise to 40 per cent and my aspiration is that by 2015 we will be able to raise it to 50 per cent. There is no reason &ndash; if we work together &ndash; that by the end of this parliament every young person in the country can&rsquo;t be educated in a school where at least half of students reach this basic academic standard.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I realise that in stating this aspiration some will criticise too strong a focus on testing. Let me be clear: I do not think the only responsibility a school has is to help students pass exams. An outstanding school will look after the pastoral needs of its pupils; will provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities, and play a role as a broader part of its community. But it must also endow each child with the basic entitlement of intellectual capital any citizen needs to make their way in the world. A GCSE floor standard is about providing a basic minimum expectation to young people that their school will equip them for further education and employment.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Primary</h2> <p> And we must also have a similar level of expectation for primary schools. The last Government&rsquo;s academies programme was never extended to primaries, even though it was Andrew Adonis&rsquo;s clear ambition.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And after an initial focus on primary schools in its first five years, the last Government lost momentum. So in the White Paper I also introduced a meaningful floor standard for primaries for the first time: that 60 per cent of pupils should achieve Level 4 in English and maths at Key Stage 2 or make an average level of progress.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Of course primary test scores are more volatile than those in secondaries due to the smaller size of schools, so one has to treat data with additional care. However, analysis of this new floor standard reveals that there are more than 200 schools that have been under the floor for five years or more. Indeed more than half of these have been under the floor for at least ten years.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> A further 500 or so schools have been under the floor for three of the past four years.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> These schools have let down repeated cohorts of children. Again I appreciate that it is harder to reach this standard in some parts of the country than others. But again we know that it is possible:<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Look at Berrymede Junior School in Acton where 58 per cent of children are on Free School Meals and 31 per cent have a special need. Here over 80 per cent of pupils have achieved Level 4 in English and maths in each of the last three years.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or Woodberry Down in Hackney with 51 per cent on Free School Meals and 34 per cent with special needs where 80 per cent reached Level 4 in English and maths last year.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or Cuckoo Hall Academy in Edmonton with 37 per cent on Free School Meals and 34 per cent with special needs where an incredible 95 per cent of pupils achieved the Level 4 benchmark last year.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Or dozens of others in similar circumstances. Given that we know it can be done and it is done, we surely must make it our minimum expectation for all primary schools that they will not consistently fall below a 60 per cent floor.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So, as an urgent priority, we will start work on turning around the 200 schools that have most consistently underperformed by finding new academy sponsors for them so that most can reopen from September 2012. We want to work closely with the schools involved and their local authorities to make this happen.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The Education Bill currently working its way through Parliament will give the Department the power to intervene to turn around underperforming schools where authorities are recalcitrant or try to stand in the way of improvement. But wherever possible we want to find solutions that everyone can agree on - as we have done with the vast majority of the secondary schools that will become academies next year.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Beyond this we want to support Local Authorities in turning round the 500 schools who have fallen below the floor in at least three of the past four years. Several months ago I asked Local Authorities to draw up plans showing how they intended to improve their weaker schools. These have now been submitted and some of them are very impressive showing clear leadership and engagement with the problems of long-term underperformance.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> In his speech Steve mentioned Wigan&rsquo;s plans to commission groups of schools to run improvement activity across the authority and he underlined how schools across Manchester are working together to embed the success of the Greater Manchester Challenge. In Devon and Suffolk the Local Authorities have worked to help schools become academies while maintaining a strong network between the schools.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But there will be other local authorities that need some support &ndash; financial and logistic - from the centre. So, over the coming months, we will identify areas &ndash; either whole authorities or parts of larger authorities &ndash; that have a significant number of underperforming schools. We will help these communities dramatically transform primary education in their area.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> And there is an urgent need for us all to act.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We have just suffered the worst financial crisis since 1929.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Our economy is weighed down by a huge debt burden.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Europe has major problems with debt and the euro.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Meanwhile there is a rapid and historic shift of political and economic power to Asia and a series of scientific and technological changes that are transforming our culture, economy and global politics.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> If we do not have a school system that is adapting to and preparing for these challenges then we will betray a generation.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Our school system needs to have innovation embedded in its way of working. That is what our reforms provide &ndash; the opportunity for our school system to adapt rapidly to technological change such as the amazing revolution of iTunesU, whereby Harvard and Oxbridge publish their most valuable content free, extending the scope of knowledge available to all children.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Only by learning from other nations, and by giving school leaders the freedom to shape their own futures, liberated from outdated bureaucratic structures, can we ensure we benefit from the other, increasingly rapid changes technological innovation will bring.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And while globalisation brings many benefits to our citizens, it also bears particularly heavily on the poor and the young.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Across the Western world countries are struggling with youth unemployment at the moment.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And for all those of us who feel that the moral purpose of our work is to find a fulfilling outlet for the talents of our young people, there is a special tragedy in seeing young lives unfulfilled.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> There are things Government can do to ameliorate this in the short term. And we are acting, not least through my colleague Iain Duncan Smith&rsquo;s work programme.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But if we are to grasp this issue properly then we must deal with the root causes of the problem.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And that is our shared responsibility.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> For those root causes can be found in the first years of a child&rsquo;s life.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We know that a child who struggles at Key Stage One will struggle to do well in their Key Stage Two tests. And we know those children with the greatest difficulties are drawn overwhelmingly from our poorest neighbourhoods.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And we know that those same children who don&rsquo;t have Level 4 English and maths when they leave primary school are much less likely to achieve five good GCSEs than their more fortunate peers.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And we know that the same young person who doesn&rsquo;t get the equivalent of five good GCSEs is much more likely to be NEET at 16 or 17 and much less likely to be in secure employment thereafter.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We are fortunate to be in the most fulfilling employment anyone can have. To be engaged in the education of the next generation is to be given a chance to liberate thousands from the narrow horizons which have limited mankind&rsquo;s vision for centuries.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But if we are to make good that promise then we need to recognise that we will all have to work harder than ever before - work to attract even better people into teaching, work to innovate more determinedly, work to identify talent more zealously, work to collaborate more intensively, work to raise aspirations, standards, hopes...<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But in this work lies the promise of a reward greater than is given to any other profession - the knowledge that we have guaranteed the life of the next generation will be better than our own.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <p> &nbsp;</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0077859/the-moral-purpose-of-school-reform Michael Gove MP The moral purpose of school reform Education 2011-06-16 Birmingham
<p> I&rsquo;m absolutely delighted to be here today and I&rsquo;m grateful to you for inviting me.</p> <p> First, because we have much in common. As Minister of State, rather than Secretary of State, I too am a fully paid up member of the &lsquo;deputy club&rsquo;.</p> <p> And secondly, because I&rsquo;m a huge admirer of what the independent sector has achieved.</p> <p> While the state sector has, over the last half century, fallen victim to the vicissitudes of passing educational fads and ideology, the independent sector has remained steadfast to high quality, well-rounded education based on clear evidence of what works best for children and young people.</p> <p> HMC schools don&rsquo;t just set the benchmark for every other school in this country, private or state, to aspire to.</p> <p> Their excellence is recognised all over the world.</p> <p> And as I saw on a visit to King Edward&rsquo;s School in Birmingham in January, that success is rooted in independence, freedom and autonomy.</p> <p> The independence to develop strong teaching and curricula which maintains academic rigour across the board.</p> <p> To adopt high quality, internationally recognised qualifications like the IB or the iGCSE.</p> <p> And to use outstanding artistic, sporting and pastoral provision, to create broad-minded young people, ready to thrive in an ever-changing world.</p> <p> Our reform programme is based on the same principles of independence &ndash; that teachers and professionals know best how to run schools.</p> <p> Everything we&rsquo;re doing is about giving the best state schools the same autonomy to get on with the job &ndash; without Whitehall dictating day-to-day details.</p> <p> And so today, I also want to set out how the independent sector and its leadership teams can play a part in raising standards across our education system.</p> <p> Unashamedly, we want to replicate the best of what the independent sector does - learning and applying the lessons from its success.</p> <p> But to do that properly, we need to draw directly on the excellence, ethos, and proven track record &ndash; what my predecessor, Lord Adonis, called the &ldquo;educational DNA&rdquo; of the independent sector.</p> <p> I was pleased to see that that the title of this conference &ndash; Meeting the Challenges &ndash; suggests independent schools are not resting on their laurels.</p> <p> Because the education system is facing some of its toughest challenges in decades.</p> <p> How do we meet the demands of business, universities and society to compete in a fast-changing, unpredictable global economy?</p> <p> How do we use early years&rsquo; provision and schools to drive social mobility?</p> <p> How do we drive up standards in the state system in the face of tighter public spending?</p> <p> Our White Paper last November, The Importance of Teaching, pointed out that there is much to admire and build on in England&rsquo;s state education system: hundreds of outstanding schools; tens of thousands of great teachers; academies established and outstripping the rest of the maintained sector.</p> <p> But it was also made clear that too many children are still being let down because the system is not fulfilling its potential.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re failing to keep pace with countries with the best education systems &ndash; falling back in the PISA international rankings, from fourth to sixteenth in science; seventh to 25th in literacy; and eighth to 28th in maths - meaning our 15-year-olds are two years behind their Chinese peers in maths; and a year behind teenagers in Korea or Finland in reading.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re still not meeting the expectations of employers - with the CBI&rsquo;s annual education and skills survey just last month finding that almost half of top employers had to invest in remedial training for school and college leavers.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;ve still not closed the yawning attainment gap &ndash; which remains unacceptably wide both between rich and poor and between state and private sectors.</p> <p> Professor William Richardson&rsquo;s excellent report for the HMC 18 months ago, showed the top ten universities&rsquo; increasing reliance on the independent sector &ndash; with 40% of all students on strategically important courses like engineering, science, maths and languages, drawn from private schools.</p> <p> And last year&rsquo;s A-level results also showed a fifth of all entrants in chemistry, physics, maths and biological sciences and almost a third in further maths were independent school pupils.</p> <p> But as a nation, we can&rsquo;t carry on relying on the seven per cent of young people the independent sector educates, to provide such a high proportion of future generations of scientists, engineers, medics or linguists.</p> <p> The key to both social mobility and a mobile economy is to realise the potential, ability and talent of young people from all backgrounds.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve introduced the English Baccalaureate.</p> <p> The Russell Group has been quite clear about the core GCSE and A-level subjects which equips students best for the most competitive courses &ndash; English; maths; the three sciences; geography; history; classical and modern languages.</p> <p> So the E-Bacc is designed to open up those same subjects to tens of thousands of state pupils currently denied the opportunity.</p> <p> We need to take clear action.</p> <p> It is a major concern to us that nine out of ten state pupils eligible for free school meals are not even entered for the E-Bacc subjects - and just 4% actually achieve it.</p> <p> It is a concern that the proportion taking a modern foreign language GCSE has slipped from 79% a decade ago to just 43% last year &ndash; and little more than a third when you take out independent schools.</p> <p> And it cannot be right that no pupil was entered for any of the single award science GCSEs in 719 mainstream state schools; for French in 169; for geography in 137; and for history in 70.</p> <p> The most academic subjects must not become the preserve of independent schools.</p> <p> They should be open to every single student, regardless of background.</p> <p> In the modern world, there is nowhere to hide for any school leaver. Jobs can be transported across international borders in a nanosecond. The pace of technological change means that new industries are evolving in the space of months not decades.</p> <p> So it is no longer good enough to judge state education simply by how much we spend or against rigid, centrally arbitrated targets &ndash; we need to raise our game.</p> <p> Our reform programme draws on the clear and consistent evidence base from the leading education systems around the world.</p> <p> PISA, OECD, McKinsey and others tell us that despite most developed countries doubling or even tripling their education spending since the mid-1970s, outcomes have varied wildly.</p> <p> Because it is not how much they&rsquo;ve spent on education that counts most. It is how they spent it.</p> <p> The strongest systems recruit and develop the best teachers. They have strong leadership. They have internationally benchmarked curricula, assessments and qualifications. And above all, they give schools and professionals freedom to flourish.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we are getting rid of much unnecessary, cumbersome bureaucracy that bedevils state schools &ndash; slimming down the National Curriculum; scrapping the Self Evaluation Form; focusing Ofsted inspections on teaching; closing down quangos; and cutting the overly complex Admissions Code and hundreds of pages of statutory guidance.</p> <p> But we want to go further.</p> <p> We want to complete the last government&rsquo;s unfinished business when it comes to academies.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve enabled every single state primary, secondary and special school to become independent, autonomous institutions. Free to decide how to use their budgets. Free to vary pay and conditions. Free to decide the length of the school day. Free to offer qualifications in their pupils&rsquo; best interests.</p> <p> Academies have already proved a force for good in turning around underperforming schools in some of the most deprived areas. Mossbourne in Hackney; the Harris chain across south London and Burlington Danes in Hammersmith are now watchwords for the best of what the state sector can achieve.</p> <p> Just as your success is rooted in independence, the evidence is emerging that these early academies&rsquo; independence has driven up standards in neighbouring state schools &ndash; as new research from the LSE showed last month.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re allowing good state schools to convert to academy status and the demand to do so has far exceeded our expectations.</p> <p> It took five years to open 15 City Technology Colleges and four years to open the first 27 Academies.</p> <p> But 1244 schools have applied to become an academy in the last 12 months and 430 have already converted &ndash; a rate of more than two every school day. A third of all secondary schools are either now academies or in the process of converting. And hundreds more are in the pipeline.</p> <p> This is a fundamental shift away from government and towards teachers and professionals.</p> <p> Academies are now reforming in ways never foreseen when the programme started a decade ago:</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;established multi-academy chains like Harris and ARK are raising standards in areas failed educationally for generations.</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;the first special schools are going through the application process.</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;the first generation of specialist technical academies are now opening &ndash; offering high-quality, work-based vocational education.</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;the door is now open to Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges and alternative provision to become academies through the current Education Bill before Parliament.</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;the first free schools are now set to open from September &ndash; and hundreds more coming through.</p> <p> Independent schools have already played an important part &ndash; acting as lead academy sponsors like Dulwich, Wellington and Canford; co-sponsoring like Marlborough, King Edward School, Bryanson and Tonbridge; or being active educational partners like Malvern, Winchester, Uppingham and Oundle.</p> <p> Organisations like ULT, Girls&rsquo; Day School Trust, Haberdashers&rsquo;, Woodard Schools and the Skinner&rsquo;s Company oversee joint families of academies and independent schools.</p> <p> And some have actually converted to the state sector like Birkenhead High School; William Hulme&rsquo;s Grammar School; Belvedere Girls&rsquo; School; and Bristol Cathedral Choir School.</p> <p> But as the brakes come off the programme, scores more opportunities are opening up for the independent sector; HE and FE; charities; and business to play a greater role.</p> <p> Because crucially, we haven&rsquo;t forgotten the programme&rsquo;s roots &ndash; to turn round our most challenging, underperforming schools.</p> <p> Children only get one shot at education. So we&rsquo;re clear that we will not hesitate to intervene in weak schools which are letting down parents and pupils.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve appointed Dr Liz Sidwell, the Chief Executive of Haberdashers&rsquo; Aske&rsquo;s Federation, as our new Schools Commissioner.</p> <p> Few in education have her track record or experience. And she hasn&rsquo;t been shy in challenging local authorities and heads to come up with robust improvement plans &ndash; brokering academy arrangements; recruiting sponsors; enthusing heads and governors to go for academy status; promoting free schools to prospective proposers; and expanding our existing pool of sponsors significantly.</p> <p> Many schools in the independent sector have already established successful partnerships with neighbouring institutions through the Independent State School Partnership scheme. And we want that sort of collaboration to continue through the new national network of Teaching Schools; our Education Endowment Fund; and the National and Local Leaders of Education programme.</p> <p> But I believe that formally sponsoring, founding or partnering an academy must be the next logical step for many more independent and state schools.</p> <p> Because as academies become the norm in every single part of the system, how the best institutions are judged in the public&rsquo;s eyes will also change.</p> <p> We have a clear expectation that the strongest state schools converting to academies should partner the weakest.</p> <p> And I hope that same expectation can apply in the independent sector too.</p> <p> Providing an opportunity for the sector to spread its unique ethos, culture and thinking to tens of thousands more children whose parents can&rsquo;t afford school fees.</p> <p> Concepts like Brighton College&rsquo;s plans for a consortium of independent and state schools to establish a sixth form college in East London to get gifted students to top universities.</p> <p> I know some schools have been hesitant to come forward. I understand those who may feel that the independent sector has enough on its plate &ndash; with many parents fighting hard to afford fees and many smaller schools striving to keep their heads above water in the current economic climate.</p> <p> But many independent schools were born out of a moral drive to help the poorest. That same moral purpose underpins our reforms &ndash; to give every single child, of whatever background, the opportunity to make the most of their talents.</p> <p> Mr Chairman, in the 12 months that I&rsquo;ve had the privilege to hold the position of Minister of State for Schools I have done all I can to reduce regulation on the independent sector and I hope we can go further still.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve recognised the iGCSE in the performance tables &ndash; including from this year the Edexcel iGCSE &ndash; and we&rsquo;ve made our admiration for what the sector has achieved clear at every opportunity.</p> <p> We all have the same goals when it comes to raising standards throughout the education system and I look forward to continuing to work with HMC and the independent sector to help achieve those goals.</p> <p> Thank you.<span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></p> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0077697/schools-minister-nick-gibb-to-the-2011-hmc-deputy-heads-conference Nick Gibb MP Schools Minister Nick Gibb to the 2011 HMC Deputy Heads Conference Education 2011-06-07
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you so much Ann Marie. It is a very real pleasure to join you all this afternoon.</p> <p> Before I start, can I offer my sincere thanks to Barnardo&#39;s for organising this event. And of course, my thanks to everyone who has spared their very valuable time to come along today and support it.</p> <p> Secondly, I have been asked to make an apology on behalf of my good friend and colleague James Brokenshire, who was unable to come along today from the Home Office. He has asked me to pass on his profound regrets. Unfortunately, he is involved in urgent Ministerial business.</p> <p> Let me begin by saying just how much personal importance I attach to this event. As I hope many of you will know, I am very proud to be Minister for Children and have thoroughly enjoyed doing the job over the last year. But there are certain parts of the portfolio that always bring me back down to earth with a very big bump. This is one of them.</p> <p> No matter how long you stay in the job it is difficult to credit just how much cruelty children can be subjected to. In fact, issues like violence in the home, neglect, abuse, and sexual exploitation are so cruel, and so degrading, that it&rsquo;s sometimes difficult for people to believe they even exist in this country. It feels like something you&rsquo;d find at another place and in another age.</p> <p> Mercifully, the vast majority of children in this country do grow up safe from any harm. But, as was made so uncomfortably clear in the Barnardo&#39;s report at the start of year, exploitation is happening here and it is happening now. And I think it&rsquo;s a much bigger problem than it may appear now on our radar. And, it is just that when you read reports like &lsquo;Puppet on a string&rsquo; &ndash; it is difficult to reconcile the well-lit streets of our cities, with the shadows of the world where some children spend their childhoods.</p> <p> However, reconcile ourselves to it we must. And I should start by thanking Barnardo&#39;s for producing that report; for their outstanding and groundbreaking work on the &lsquo;Streets and Lanes&rsquo; project in Bradford; and its expansion in operations to combat child exploitation to 22 sites across the UK.</p> <p> When you published &#39;Puppet on a string&#39; &ndash; you issued the Secretary of State and myself with a direct challenge to make tackling child exploitation a top priority.</p> <p> Today, I want to show how we are keen to meet that challenge, and in doing so &ndash; I want to pay a very big thank you to my colleagues at the Department for Education, including Jeanette Pugh and her team, who I know have been working hard on this.</p> <p> The first thing Barnardo&#39;s asked for was a Minister to take charge of the issue across Government. I am now (and indeed always was) that Minister, and I am determined to drive this forward. But I am doing it very much in partnership with the Home Office and the Minister James Brokenshire specifically, who has strong interest in this issue.</p> <p> The second thing you asked for was an action plan. And I am pleased to say we have begun work on one.</p> <p> To kick start the process, I chaired a roundtable meeting last month with senior representatives from a range of organisations.&nbsp; At that meeting we identified a wide range of issues to be addressed from awareness raising and understanding - to effective prevention and early detection, and the challenge of securing prosecutions and the need to support victims.&nbsp;</p> <p> I hope shortly to be in a position to give a full breakdown of what the plan will include, and as those of you who are supporting us in its development will know, it is going to build on existing guidance; it is no small endeavour, and I want to get it right.</p> <p> It will help to develop our understanding of sexual abuse by looking at effective prevention strategies going on around the country; by identifying those most at risk of exploitation; by supporting victims; and by taking the very strongest, most uncompromising action against the people who perpetrate these appalling crimes.</p> <p> I have asked Jeanette and her team to work that report up over the summer as a top priority, so I hope to be able to report back to you by the autumn.</p> <p> Thirdly, we have reviewed the child protection system itself &ndash; not something Barnardo&#39;s specifically asked for, but I do believe in going the extra mile.</p> <p> Last week, Professor Munro published the final report of that review &ndash; and I am exceedingly grateful to both her and her team for all their hard work and the recommendations they have come up with.</p> <p> It has the potential, I think, to be a big step forward in tackling exploitation because it places so much emphasis on supporting the men and women at the sharp end of preventing it &ndash; social workers and other agencies who need to work closer and smarter. And I&rsquo;m pleased that Professor Munro specifically mentions the issue of child sexual exploitation &ndash; and the important role of Local Safeguarding Children Boards in tackling it &ndash; in her report.</p> <p> More generally, the report stresses the importance of reducing the amount of unnecessary bureaucracy professionals have to put up with so that they can spend more time where they should be - helping children, young people and families.</p> <p> And it makes very explicit that Government should place a duty on local authorities to secure sufficient provision of local &lsquo;early help&rsquo; services for children, young people and families.&nbsp; Because it&rsquo;s so important to identify issues early and put preventative action in place.</p> <p> For our purposes, that may well mean asking them to specify the range of professional help available to children. Specify how authorities will identify children who are suffering &ndash; or likely to suffer significant harm. And set out the local resourcing of &lsquo;early help&rsquo; services for families, so that they provide an &lsquo;early help offer&rsquo;, even before individuals of concern reach the threshold for social care services.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re giving very careful consideration to the review&rsquo;s recommendations, and will be working with the sector to develop a response that we will be publishing over the summer.</p> <p> James has asked me to pass on his personal commitment to tackling child sexual exploitation as a core part of policing. And I know that from top to toe, the Home Office machine is determined to make sure its police force is equipped with the understanding and support they need to tackle what is always a serious crime &ndash; and quite often an organised one as well.</p> <p> As Barnardo&#39;s has said, improving the national picture of evidence and data is a first major step to achieving this. And I know James, like myself, is looking forward to seeing the findings from the CEOP thematic assessment of child sexual exploitation, which is due to be published next month. A point I would certainly echo, particularly after hearing Neil Giles&rsquo; update at our roundtable meeting in the House last month. The findings of the assessment will be an important input into our action plan.</p> <p> The final thing James asked me to say, was a slightly broader point around his determination to work together with the police &ndash; through ACPO &ndash; to find ways of improving officers&rsquo; ability to identify vulnerability, and minimise risk.</p> <p> Something I know he is deeply committed to.</p> <p> And that brings me on to my last point, and it is one of collaboration.</p> <p> One of the big lessons we have learnt over the years, is that public services are at their worst when they don&rsquo;t talk to each other. And at their best when they do. But more importantly act together as well.</p> <p> You see it in health, in education, welfare, local government and law enforcement &ndash; but nowhere is it more obvious than child protection.</p> <p> Our services have &ndash; I think &ndash; got better at talking to each other over the years, but there is still a wide variation in collaboration depending on where you choose to look.</p> <p> So, as we draw up the action plan, we are determined to make sure it involves the whole range of government departments and agencies. Bringing in local safeguarding children boards in particular. But also other organisations like Barnardo&#39;s, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and local authority children&rsquo;s services.&nbsp; Not to mention, of course, all those smaller voluntary and community organisations that can make all the difference &ndash; like the Safe and Sound Project in Derby.</p> <p> One of the first steps we have taken to be more collaborative is to begin work with the Office of the Children&rsquo;s Commissioner on a two year inquiry into child sexual exploitation, which begins in the autumn.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> As the old saying goes, together we are stronger. And we really do need to be stronger than ever if we are going to shine a torch into this murkiest of areas and have the resolve to see through the solutions we need to bring to bear.</p> <p> To end, let me just thank Barnardo&#39;s once again. It has been a privilege to join you and &ndash; as always &ndash; it has been an education.</p> <p> In one way or another, child protection and welfare is at beginning and end of everything I do in the Department.</p> <p> I look forward to working with you all over the coming months as we do that. And I look forward to hearing a better story from Barnardo&#39;s in the years ahead.&nbsp;</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0077355/tim-loughton-to-barnardos-event-on-child-sexual-exploitation Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to Barnardo's event on child sexual exploitation Education 2011-05-17
<p> I&rsquo;ve not had much time to study or enjoy the view, but one thing is for sure - it&rsquo;s exciting. And it is nationwide - I&rsquo;ve already been to Darlington - and I&rsquo;ve commissioned a set of maps in the Department to help me take in the whole educational landscape to ensure we focus on the pockets of greatest need and use those areas of greatest strength.</p> <p> Thank you for inviting me to speak today. It is a privilege to be here both in my role as Schools Commissioner and also as a Governor of Wellington College. I was involved in the Academy from the very beginning and it is wonderful to see how much has been achieved by Andy Schofield and his team in partnership with Wellington. It shows the way forward.</p> <p> It is also an honour to follow Lord Adonis. Andrew was an inspiration to work with when he was in the Department and always understood that academies were the solution to underperformance.</p> <p> My passion for the past 20 years has been to raise standards in our most deprived communities and so close the attainment gap through bringing independence across the state sector via academies and federations. I know this works - I&rsquo;ve done it, and I&rsquo;ve seen it. Independence is energising and brings sharp accountability. It is good for schools and for children.</p> <p> I know children only have one chance, one very small window and we need to work fast to open up opportunities for them now. At Haberdashers we took on four schools in five years. Many chains are now working much faster than that. There really is no time to wait.</p> <p> We have some of the best schools in the world, and we know:</p> <blockquote> <p> The best education for the best is the best education for all.</p> </blockquote> <p> The best education for the best is the best education for all.</p> <p> Our challenge is to make this a reality. My role as Schools Commissioner is to deliver it through brokering partnerships and creating academies and free schools, particularly where underperformance is endemic. This means liaising with Local Authorities, heads, sponsors, governors and entrepreneurs - and confronting failure.</p> <p> I have been greatly encouraged by the deluge of emails and calls I have received since the announcement of my role. It is proof that there are many people out there wanting to engage in the process and to be partners in this transformation agenda.</p> <p> Since the Academies programme was extended almost a year ago, it has gained momentum at an astonishing pace and today a third of all secondary schools are either academies, or are in the process of becoming one. There are now over 600 academies, over two-thirds of which have opened since September 2010 - that&rsquo;s equivalent to more than two every working day.</p> <p> There is a real will across the country to take up the opportunities that are now on offer, but there is much more to do, and quickly. And I think in some ways the challenge we face now is even greater.</p> <p> For me, the following quote sums up where we are now with academies:</p> <blockquote> <p> The future is already here - it&rsquo;s just not evenly distributed.</p> </blockquote> <p> The future is already here - it&rsquo;s just not evenly distributed.</p> <p> We need to scale up what has already been achieved - we need to empower the converter academies to help with the weaker schools; we need to focus on primaries and special schools; we need to raise the floor standards; we need more sponsors.</p> <p> Partnership is the way we will succeed.</p> <p> My role is to challenge local authorities and schools - including academies - that are not performing. There is no preferential treatment.</p> <p> My remit includes:</p> <ul> <li> brokering academy arrangements between schools and established sponsors</li> <li> encouraging and recruiting more potential academy sponsors</li> <li> enthusing leaders of good schools to go for academy status and to partner other schools</li> <li> raising the profile of Free Schools among prospective proposers - free schools are a very important part of the solution, responding to parental demand.</li> </ul> <li> brokering academy arrangements between schools and established sponsors</li> <li> encouraging and recruiting more potential academy sponsors</li> <li> enthusing leaders of good schools to go for academy status and to partner other schools</li> <li> raising the profile of Free Schools among prospective proposers - free schools are a very important part of the solution, responding to parental demand.</li> <p> I will be fair to schools and LAs. I know how great the challenge is in some areas. I know that teachers, heads and governors across the country are working hard, desperately trying to improve their schools and I&rsquo;m on their side.</p> <p> But I will be honest when schools are not improving fast enough. My direct experience of transforming a good school to great, turning round a seriously failing school, transforming primaries and setting up a new school means I am not asking anyone to do what I, and so many others across the country, have not already done.</p> <p> There are a number of priorities in the view of the Office of the Schools Commissioner moving forward, but today I&rsquo;d like to focus on three important areas: primary schools, sustainability and leadership.</p> <p> Firstly, primaries.&nbsp;</p> <p> Earlier I quoted some &lsquo;stand out&rsquo; figures about the progress of academies so far. There&rsquo;s another figure that I think is memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.</p> <p> There are currently 1,400 underperforming primary schools. That&rsquo;s eight per cent of primary schools in England - and at least 300,000 children being let down.&nbsp;</p> <p> Children need access to a high-quality education from the first day they arrive at school. Primaries have a vital job to do - if we don&rsquo;t get it right, then we are severely hampering a child&rsquo;s progress and the secondary school&rsquo;s ability to perform. Primary schools are the bedrock of our education system - if we provide children with a good education early on, then the transition to secondary will be that much smoother, and they are more likely to succeed.</p> <p> We are seeking models of transformation for struggling primaries: primary federations; primaries joining existing chains; and all-through solutions. Outstanding primaries will be very important in leading primary groups. I personally favour cross-phase partnerships wherever possible because they provide economic and educational benefits.&nbsp;</p> <p> At Haberdashers we were able to provide:</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;free lunch for all primary children</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;cross phase teaching developed naturally to the benefit of all</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;a seamless transition from year 6-7 to ensure standards did not dip, as is often the case.</p> <p> I have heard concerns expressed about secondary specialists and secondary chains taking on primaries. We should remember they are all schools and that the teaching will always be led by primary specialists.</p> <p> Merlin Primary School in Lewisham experienced a fast rate of progress once it joined a bigger organisation, the Haberdasher&rsquo;s Federation. We were able to root out inefficiencies, give access to wider Continuing Professional Development and provide many more opportunities to broaden the curriculum. But seemingly small, simple changes also had a big impact - one change that was described by the primary head as &lsquo;dramatic&rsquo; and &lsquo;incredible&rsquo; was the positive effect of ensuring that all pupils wore a formal school uniform.</p> <p> So the focus is now on primaries, and this is why we have raised the floor standard to 60 per cent. We will ensure that these standards are fairly applied but I am absolutely determined that we make headway in addressing this issue.</p> <p> We need to future-proof our primary and our secondary schools. This brings me to my second issue - sustainability.</p> <p> School improvement must be sustainable. Quick fixes - sticking plasters - aren&rsquo;t good enough, for example interventions for year 11 and year 6. I want to see evidence of partnerships, of schools working together to share expertise and to provide local solutions that will endure. We need successful schools, including converters and independent private schools, to help support and lead and to commit themselves for the long term.</p> <p> For example, Haberdashers Hatcham College became one of the most successful schools in the UK. It partnered a second academy in 2005 to become Haberdashers&rsquo; Knights. The school it replaced, Malory School in Lewisham, was seriously failing. Five years on, the latter has 1,500 students including a primary and is oversubscribed. Academic performance is good and sustained, and the youngsters are proud of their school.</p> <p> Haberdashers&rsquo; Knights is not alone. There are great federations across the country that are making outstanding progress, working together to raise standards for the long-term.</p> <p> Also, good governance is all important for raising and sustaining standards.&nbsp; Governors need to understand their vital role in monitoring standards and sponsors can make a positive contribution here - they bring a business perspective to school boards.</p> <p> So we shall add to and diversify the pool of sponsors.&nbsp; Business leaders like Lord Harris and successful colleges and schools like Wellington College give struggling schools professionalism and a brand of success that is vital in lifting self-esteem and performance. It is all about association with success. For this reason I am very pleased to be in discussion with HMC regarding potential sponsorship of academies and a number have already led the way including Dulwich, Sevenoaks,&nbsp; Woodard and of course Wellington.</p> <p> And all schools performing well that are converting to become academies have made a commitment to work with other schools and share their expertise - so far over 500 schools are being supported by converter academies. Here we have the opportunity to establish further school to school sustainable support through these outstanding independent heads and their teams.</p> <p> This brings me to my third issue - a legacy of future school leaders.</p> <p> This is fundamental. We need a steady flow of good leadership. We all know that great teachers make a great school and the most important job a head does is to appoint the staff. Of course the most important task of the sponsor or governors is to appoint the head.</p> <p> That is why we are supporting organisations like Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders. They are bringing fresh blood into the school system and are focusing on the most challenging schools. It is vital we bring outstanding leaders of schools and subjects to our most challenged schools because they understand what excellence looks like. These people will ensure exciting and sustainable progress is made.&nbsp;</p> <p> In addition, federations and chains understood early the importance of great leaders in their schools. Many appointed Deputies to their new schools as a result of careful succession planning.&nbsp; Developing leaders should be the norm in all schools.</p> <p> The National College is working with us to establish Teaching Schools and develop flexible accreditation for heads. It has been a disgrace that our children in greatest need of inspired teaching have had to accept that &ldquo;care&rdquo; was more important than academic attainment: that they had to settle for satisfactory because their schools could not attract the best.</p> <p> Those of you who have seen the film &lsquo;Waiting for Superman&rsquo; know that the poorest families will do anything to have access to the best teachers.</p> <p> Academies offer a multitude of opportunities to the staff who work in them, at all levels. Federations offer posts across schools and transfers. All raise the bar in terms of excitement and expectation, and therefore attainment. Academies are attracting the best teachers and leaders.</p> <p> I feel very strongly that today&rsquo;s school leaders have a responsibility to &lsquo;grow&rsquo; the school leaders of tomorrow - to seek out and to nurture talented teachers and encourage them to take on leadership roles. I set up a &lsquo;teaching school&rsquo; ten years ago in partnership with local schools, and it really inspired the staff. They wanted to be involved.</p> <p> Over the coming months I will be in schools across the country; a strong advocate for a good school for every child, and a strong advocate for academies and free schools.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re on the threshold of making the best there is available to every child, but we need to work in partnership to deliver this.&nbsp; So please do get in touch - you can contact me through the Office of the Schools Commissioner at the Department.&nbsp;</p> <p> I look forward to working with you.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> <p> Dr E M Sidwell CBE</p> <p> Schools Commissioner</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0077374/dr-elizabeth-sidwell-to-wellington-academy Dr Elizabeth Sidwell MP Dr Elizabeth Sidwell to Wellington Academy Education 2011-05-13
<p> Thank you.</p> <p> It was a pleasure to speak at the SSAT Conference in November to set out the principles at the heart of our White Paper, &lsquo;The Importance of Teaching&rsquo;&ndash; that the education system must trust the professionalism of heads and teachers.</p> <p> Today I&rsquo;ve been asked to talk about the Curriculum Review which we launched in January.</p> <p> There is always a danger that head teachers and teachers might be suffering from &lsquo;curriculum review fatigue&rsquo; after the last two decades. There was a view &ndash; expressed particularly by the QCA and QCDA as it became &ndash; that the curriculum should be in a perpetual state of revolution and change. That&rsquo;s not our view. We need a review to sort out the curriculum, to reduce its volume and prescription about how to teach. But then we need a period of stability.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve been greatly heartened by the huge response to the review &ndash; from not just the education sector but the academic world; business; and the wider public.</p> <p> There have been almost 5800 responses to the call for evidence &ndash; the highest response to any education consultation. Included in that is the submission from SSAT itself.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve had an extensive programme of events up and down the country to listen carefully to the views of teachers; subject experts; learned societies; Higher and Further education. And we&rsquo;ll carry on consulting widely throughout the review process.</p> <p> As I&rsquo;m sure you&rsquo;ll appreciate &ndash; it is early days and today I&rsquo;m not going to get into the territory of pre-empting the outcome of such an exhaustive, expert-led, evidence-based review.</p> <p> But the spirit of open and honest thinking; passionate but constructive argument; and hard-headed, detailed analysis of international and national research is exactly what we wanted to harness.</p> <p> This same spirit was at the heart of the-then Prime Minister Jim Callaghan&rsquo;s Ruskin College speech 35 years ago, where he called for a &ldquo;rational debate based on facts&rdquo; - what became known as The Great Debate - about the nature and purpose of state education policy.</p> <p> Callaghan argued it was vital for the country&rsquo;s future prosperity to ask radical and at the time politically toxic, questions such as whether or not to have a national curriculum; a national inspectorate; a national exams system; and national performance standards.</p> <p> His point was two-fold.</p> <p> First: that the education world did not have, what he called, &ldquo;exclusive rights&rdquo; on talking about what happened in schools.</p> <p> He deferred to teachers&rsquo; professionalism and expertise in the classroom. But for him, the furious rows in the late-60s between the Plowden &ldquo;progressives&rdquo; and Black Paper &ldquo;traditionalists&rdquo; were far too insular. In a democracy, the whole of society has a stake and say in education. For him, reducing debate around schools and universities to political mantras merely alienated the public.</p> <p> And his second point was that we constantly need to balance how education best equips young people not just for work but for life.<br /> As he put it:</p> <br /> <p> &ldquo;There is no virtue in producing socially well-adjusted members of society who are unemployed because they do not have the skills. Nor at the other extreme must they be technically efficient robots. Both of the basic purposes of education require the same essential tools&hellip; basic literacy, basic numeracy, the understanding of how to live and work together, respect for others and respect for the individual&rdquo;.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not going to rake over the arguments of the 1970s, &lsquo;80s and &lsquo;90s in setting up and establishing the National Curriculum, external testing and Ofsted.</p> <p> But Callaghan&rsquo;s words are worth bearing in mind as we today face our own twenty-first century Great Debate in education &ndash; how to create a truly world class curriculum, which keeps pace with the leading systems and meets the demands of business, universities and society to compete globally.</p> <p> Our White Paper made clear there is much to admire and build on in England: Hundreds of outstanding schools. Tens of thousands of great teachers. Academies established and outstripping the rest of the secondary sector. And a culture of innovative specialisms entrenched and embedded throughout the sector.</p> <p> But it was also clear that too many children are still being let down.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s no longer good enough to judge ourselves simply by how much we spend on education or against rigid, domestic targets.</p> <p> The attainment gap between rich and poor remains stubbornly and unacceptably wide at all levels of education. Of those children who do not qualify for Free School Meals 77% achieved the required level in English at the end of primary school compared to 56% of those who do qualify for Free School Meals. Similarly at GCSE, 56% of non-Free School Meal pupils achieved 5 or more good GCSEs last year compared to 31% of pupils who do qualify &ndash; and that 25 point gap has remained stubbornly constant over recent years.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re falling back in the PISA international rankings, from fourth to sixteenth in science; seventh to 25th in literacy; and eighth to 28th in maths - meaning our 15-year-olds are two years behind their Chinese peers in maths; and a year behind teenagers in Korea or Finland in reading.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;ve got to listen to the concerns of the private sector &ndash; the annual CBI education and skills survey just last week found that almost half of employers had to invest in remedial training for school and college leavers.</p> <p> In the modern world, there is nowhere to hide for school leavers. Jobs can be transported across international borders in a blink of an eye. The pace of technological change means that new industries are evolving in the space of years not decades.</p> <p> And so having a National Curriculum that&rsquo;s thin on content and overly prescriptive on teaching method is not doing our children any favours in such a tough environment.</p> <p> The clues for success are there in the consistent, growing picture about how the best performing education systems operate &ndash; an international evidence base which simply didn&rsquo;t exist a few years ago.</p> <p> PISA, OECD, McKinsey and others tell us that despite most developed countries in the world doubling or even tripling their education spending since the mid-1970s, outcomes have varied wildly.</p> <p> Because it is not how much you invest in education that counts. It is how you invest it.</p> <p> The strongest systems recruit and develop the best teachers. They have strong leadership. They have internationally benchmarked assessments and qualifications. They take the right balance between giving schools greater autonomy and rigorously holding them to account.</p> <p> And crucially they develop coherent national curricula that allow for the steady accumulation of knowledge and conceptual understanding.</p> <p> Our National Curriculum was originally envisaged as a guide to study in key subjects; giving parents and teachers confidence that students were acquiring the knowledge necessary at every level of study.</p> <p> But the glaring weaknesses are clear for all to see &ndash; as last November&rsquo;s invaluable report by Cambridge Assessment&rsquo;s Tim Oates, called Could Do Better, sets out.</p> <p> Tim argues powerfully that we&rsquo;ve been looking inwards and backwards when debating our curriculum, instead of outwards and forwards at what the rest of the world do.</p> <p> And he sets out how previous reforms over the last 20 years have failed to eradicate the systemic and inherent problems which have built up:</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;acute overload, with far too much pressure to move through material with undue pace &ndash; which inadvertently has created a tick list mentality;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;too many new core topics and subjects being added &ndash; which have diluted and undermined the curriculum&rsquo;s purpose and stability;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;too weak and inconsistent a link with testing and assessment;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;and a constant blurring of the lines between prescribing teaching method with essential knowledge.</p> <p> As he puts it:</p> <p> &ldquo;The England National Curriculum is, in law, an expression of content and of aims and values. It cannot do everything. To expect it so to do will most likely result in failure.&rdquo;</p> <p> And he&rsquo;s right.</p> <p> The National Curriculum is too important to draw it up simply by arbitrating between which lobby group shouts loudest &ndash; rather than on sound, evidence-based reasoning.</p> <p> It must never be a prescriptive straitjacket &ndash; constraining teachers by dictating teaching methods.</p> <p> It must never attempt to cover every conceivable area of human knowledge or endeavour.</p> <p> It must never become a vehicle for imposing political or academic fads on our children.</p> <p> It must never emphasise generic learning skills over vital knowledge, concepts and facts on which all children&rsquo;s education is built.</p> <p> The current system fails because it confuses the core National Curriculum and the wider school curriculum.</p> <p> The real curriculum &ndash; taught and untaught &ndash; is the total experience of a child within the school. It includes not just class teaching but all the unseen, incremental social and personal development that goes into preparing a student for the wider world.</p> <p> The National Curriculum can never &ndash; and should never - specify and control every element of it. And as Tim Oates says it will always run into terrible difficulty if it does.</p> <p> So the new National Curriculum will get this balance right.</p> <p> It will embody rigour and high standards and create coherence in what is taught in schools.</p> <p> It will give every child the chance to gain a set core of essential knowledge and concepts.</p> <p> It will set act as a benchmark for the entire state sector.</p> <p> It will provide parents with a clear understanding of what progress they should expect.</p> <p> It will be internationally respected by being judged against the leading curricula in the world.</p> <p> But above all, it will give teachers the freedom to use their experience and skills to design their own programmes &ndash; to innovate beyond the academic core it sets out and let them get on with the job of motivating, enthusing and engaging young people.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve got to get away from a mentality that just because an activity, topic or subject is important, it has to be specified in the National Curriculum. And just because something isn&rsquo;t in the National Curriculum doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s not taught.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s time for teachers to regain confidence in their own professionalism and judgement about how best to teach. And to demonstrate once and for all that politicians and civil servants trust them to do so.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why our view is not just being advised by Tim Oates and his expert panel but by an advisory committee made up of some of the most outstanding head teachers in the country.</p> <p> So let me end by reassuring you that this is not just another curriculum review.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re deliberately taking our time to get this right by carrying out the review in two distinct phases over three years.</p> <p> We want this to be a one-off change that will deliver a stable National Curriculum because it focuses on core knowledge and core concepts &ndash; instead of needing to be constantly updated with all the knock-on effects on pedagogy, administration, teaching materials and training.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve learnt the lessons of a continual cycle of reforms which simply entrenched existing weaknesses because they were made in isolation to the wider system.</p> <p> And it is why the curriculum is so closely tied into the wider White Paper programme, much of which I know you are discussing later on today:</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;strengthening and reforming vocational education through Professor Alison Wolf&rsquo;s proposals</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;reviewing Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability to cut down teaching to the test and give parents clear information on their children&rsquo;s progress;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;benchmarking qualifications against the leading systems in the world;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;targeting early years education on preparing pupils for their first years at primary school;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;setting out the biggest programme of reform in SEN and disabilities education for 30 years;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;reforming Ofsted &ndash; so it focuses on leadership, teaching, attainment and behaviour&nbsp; and cuts out unnecessary bureaucracy;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;strengthening training and recruitment to attract the brightest and best into the profession &ndash; as well as giving existing teachers top-class career development;</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;and seeking to take out perverse incentives from the performance tables that can incentivise some schools to offer qualifications that are more in the interests of the school&rsquo;s league table position than in the best interests of the student.</p> <p> The whole thrust of these changes is to make sure that the no element of the curriculum is off-limits to any child &ndash; particularly those subjects and qualifications that progress to A-level, further or higher education.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve introduced the concept of the English Baccalaureate &ndash; which I&rsquo;m sure we will discuss in a moment.</p> <p> I know that far more than just one in 25 students on free school meals &ndash; and one in six overall &ndash; are capable of achieving at least a C in GCSE English, maths, two sciences, a language and a humanity.</p> <p> So the entire system needs to be built around giving more students the opportunity to study the most rigorous core academic subjects, while leaving enough space for wider study.</p> <p> We should be asking ourselves how in as many as 175 state secondary schools not a single pupil could even have taken the EBacc last year because they weren&rsquo;t entered for all the subjects &ndash; the same subjects the Russell Group identifies as key for university study.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s right to question and discuss how in 719 maintained mainstream schools, no pupil entered any of the single award science GCSEs; no pupil was entered for French in 169 schools; no pupil was entered for geography in 137; and no pupil was entered for history in 70.</p> <p> So events like today&rsquo;s are crucial.</p> <p> We have never denied this is an ambitious programme.</p> <p> But nor do want to shy away from the challenges ahead.</p> <p> Developing a new National Curriculum is a deliberately detailed and in-depth process.</p> <p> Sustaining momentum is vital.</p> <p> And I thank you for your engagement so that together we can make it a success.<br /> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></p> <br /> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0077262/nick-gibb-to-the-specialist-schools-and-academies-trust Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Education 2011-05-12
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you for that introduction.</p> <p> When Michael Gove asked me what I was doing on Easter Sunday, I thought, how nice, Sunday lunch at the Goves.</p> <p> After a few seconds, I realised it was because he was asking me to come to Glasgow for the annual conference of the UK&rsquo;s biggest teaching union.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m delighted that he did.</p> <p> Having shadowed the Schools Minister post for 5 years in Opposition, I&rsquo;ve waited a long time to have the opportunity of speaking at the Easter teacher union conferences. But, as they say, good things come to those who wait.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve learnt that it can be quite challenging speaking to large groups of teachers because some of you think that I believe I know how you should do your jobs better, and I know that all of you think you could do my job better.</p> <p> But I want to begin by putting on record my thanks to the NASUWT &ndash; and in particular to Chris Keates.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s fair to say that Chris and I don&rsquo;t always see eye to eye. As she recently remarked, we can at least always leave our meetings by agreeing to differ after having had a good debate. That&rsquo;s the way it should be.</p> <p> I have great admiration and respect for the NASUWT &ndash; and I enjoy working with Chris &ndash; because of the wholehearted way that it campaigns and puts across its case. I never leave a meeting with Chris uncertain of the union&rsquo;s position.</p> <p> One of the issues that the NASUWT has campaigned on is better protection for teachers from false and malicious allegations.</p> <p> I supported the NASUWT&rsquo;s campaign in Opposition so I&rsquo;m delighted that, within our first year in government, we are changing the law so that it will be an offence for a newspaper or media outlet to publish the names of any teacher faced by accusations of a criminal nature. And indeed they won&rsquo;t be able to publish details of a case that could lead a reader to being able to identify the teacher involved.</p> <p> You campaigned for it &ndash; we are delivering it.</p> <p> It is also vital that pupils, parents and head teachers all fully understand their responsibilities and realise that there will be extremely serious consequences if a false allegation is made.</p> <p> If there are grounds to believe that a criminal offence like perverting or attempting to pervert the course of justice has been committed, the case should be referred to the police. And in all cases where malicious allegations against a teacher have been made, head teachers have a responsibility to take action, including, when appropriate, permanent exclusion.</p> <p> For a number of years, the NASUWT has also been a leading voice in drawing attention to the detrimental effects of poor pupil behaviour &ndash; both to attainment and to the recruitment and retention of good teachers.</p> <p> The discipline measures in our Education Bill will ensure that the pendulum, which has swung too far towards pupils in recent years, moves back towards teachers by strengthening the powers that teachers have to maintain order.</p> <p> Amongst the new measures we are introducing is a specific power to search for and confiscate items like mobile phones and video cameras.</p> <p> These powers may only be used very rarely, but I would rather teachers are able to decide for themselves whether to use them than have to tolerate pupils using those items to create disruption and, in the worst cases, to bully teachers and other students.</p> <p> The Government is supporting head teachers and schools, in taking action to ensure strong standards of behaviour prevail in our schools. In turn we expect head teachers to back and support teachers in the decisions they take on a day to day basis in the isolation of the classroom to ensure that pupils can learn in a safe and ordered environment.</p> <p> And with the backing of head teachers and government, I hope that teachers will be able to instill a culture of good behaviour where pupils behave well not just because they fear sanctions, but because they understand the right way to behave and have due respect for adults and one another.</p> <p> And let&rsquo;s not forget the role parents have to play in ensuring their children are well-behaved at school and that they too support the school when teachers take action.</p> <p> An important campaigning issue for the NASUWT has been the incompatibility of teaching with the views of groups like the BNP.</p> <p> The Government agrees that the ideology of the BNP cannot co-exist with the education of future generations of young people.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we want to ensure that head teachers and governing bodies can dismiss any teacher who promotes inappropriate views or behaviour or advocates discrimination in schools. The independent review of teachers&rsquo; standards will look at how best to achieve this. And I hope the NASUWT will contribute strongly to that Review.</p> <p> In the same spirit of partnership and dialogue, I want to say a few words about public spending and pressure on school budgets.</p> <p> Whichever political party came into office at the election, it would have faced the challenge of tackling the economic consequences of a spiralling budget deficit.</p> <p> A deficit in which we were spending &pound;156 billion more than we were receiving in income. And an accumulated debt that was costing &pound;120 million in interest each and every day &ndash; enough to build 10 new primary schools, every single day. The Office for Budget Responsibility reports that without any further action to tackle the deficit, interest payments would rise to a staggering &pound;67 billion a year by 2014-15 &ndash; that&rsquo;s almost two years&rsquo; total spending on schools; three times what we spend on the salaries of every teacher in England, just to service the interest on the debt.</p> <p> Very difficult decisions have had to be taken across policing, health and other vital public services. In education too, we have had to face some very difficult choices that we would not otherwise have wanted to make in order to help tackle that deficit.</p> <p> But I am pleased that we have managed to protect &ndash; at least in cash per pupil terms &ndash; spending on schools. I recognise that even this still means difficult decisions for schools &ndash; but in the context of cuts in spending in other Government departments &ndash; I am proud of the settlement that Michael Gove negotiated with the Treasury.</p> <p> I am also pleased that we have been able to honour the third year of the teachers&rsquo; pay deal agreed before the election.</p> <p> I know the pay freeze isn&rsquo;t welcomed, but it&rsquo;s a freeze that applies right across the public sector and it doesn&rsquo;t include increments or pay rises due to promotion. Our priority is to be as fair as possible to all public sector workers and the freeze is helping to maintain the number of teaching posts.</p> <p> And while we are doing the best we can with the finances we have available, by far our biggest asset is the people working in our schools.</p> <p> There is nothing more inspirational than being on the receiving end of great teaching.</p> <p> There was one particular teacher who inspired me. His name was Mr Rogers.&nbsp; We called him Brian. It was after all the mid-70s. And he taught me A-level economics. At that time, he himself had only recently graduated and, despite his own left-of-centre politics, he provided me with a genuine understanding of how economics works and he enthused me so that I became a confirmed economic liberal.</p> <p> I owe him a huge debt of gratitude &ndash; but as I turned 50 recently, it&rsquo;s horrifying to think that that young teacher I remember must now be contemplating retirement.</p> <p> A good pension has long been an important part of the overall reward package for teachers. We are committed to ensuring that continues to be the case.</p> <p> The issue of pensions is extremely important to the profession and I know that the recommendations of Lord Hutton&rsquo;s Commission have given rise to huge anxieties. I wanted, therefore, to set out where we have got to in those discussions and negotiations and to say something about the long term problems the Government is forced to address.</p> <p> Over the last 10 years, the private sector has been moving away from defined benefit pensions to the much less generous money purchase schemes. We are not going to go down this route. We are determined &ndash; as is Lord Hutton &ndash; to keep defined benefit pensions in the public sector and for public service pensions to remain the benchmark standard.</p> <p> The Government asked Lord Hutton, with his experience as a Cabinet Minister in the last Labour Government and his strong commitment to the public service ethos, to head up a commission to review how we tackle the cost issues arising from increased life expectancy, while maintaining good quality defined benefit public service pensions.</p> <p> In 2005/06, the cost of paying teachers&rsquo; pensions was around &pound;5 billion per year. By 2015/16, the cost is forecast to rise to almost &pound;10 billion.&nbsp;</p> <p> Lord Hutton&rsquo;s recommendations have already been the subject of some very constructive discussions between the Government and the TUC. A series of further meetings is planned and I am pleased that Chris is so actively involved to ensure that the specific interests of teachers are properly represented.</p> <p> What is needed now is more negotiation and discussion so that the specific issues that distinguish the teachers&rsquo; pension from other public sector pensions can be drawn out and addressed.</p> <p> And just to be clear &ndash; from the start, the Government has made an absolute and public commitment to protecting accrued rights. All the benefits that have been built up in a teacher&rsquo;s pension will not be affected by any future reforms.</p> <p> So, false allegations, pupil indiscipline and bullying, BNP membership, pensions. These are all areas where the NASUWT and government are working together to address the issues that matter to practising teachers.</p> <p> Because at the end of the day, everything comes back to what teachers do.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m sure that many teachers have been watching Jamie&rsquo;s Dream School on Channel 4 with a combination of intrigue, horror and glee as celebrities have tried their hand at teaching a group of pretty difficult young people.</p> <p> There are some other valuable insights from watching a renowned historian like David Starkey, at least initially, struggle to convey his passion and expertise to his class.</p> <p> What the programme demonstrated so vividly is that good teachers not only need good subject knowledge, they also need to be able to communicate that passion, they need an understanding of how young people learn and they need to know their pupils too.</p> <p> And the most important thing it did was prove why teachers deserve so much thanks and respect for what they do.</p> <p> But one of my principal concerns with our education system is that teachers haven&rsquo;t been afforded that trust and respect.</p> <p> Over the past decade, for every step forward, it has been a case of three steps backwards as yet more targets and responsibilities have been heaped upon teachers.</p> <p> There has been nothing short of a perpetual revolution inflicted on schools, which we have to bring to an end if we are to raise the professional status of teachers, which this Government is committed to doing.</p> <p> That is why we are so determined to give teachers more space and flexibility to teach by reducing central prescription and by cutting back on bureaucracy.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re shrinking and clarifying guidance.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve scrapped the National Strategies.</p> <p> Our review of the National Curriculum has the express aim of reducing prescription in primary and secondary schools about how to teach.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re reforming Ofsted so it focuses on a school&rsquo;s core activities and removes the paper trail for inspection &ndash; and let me say too that written lesson plans aren&rsquo;t a requirement for inspection, nor will they be in the future.</p> <p> The GTCE &ndash; by this time next year, it will be gone.</p> <p> And just as teachers are responsible for delivering high standards in schools, so we too as ministers will no longer hide behind arms-length bodies like the QCDA. Instead, we&rsquo;re taking responsibility by bringing essential functions back into the Department where we can be held properly accountable for them at a national level.</p> <p> After years of hard work and training, it is only right that teachers are trusted to get on with their jobs.</p> <p> We also need to celebrate their achievements by ensuring that excellent teachers can continue to demonstrate their high quality professional skills.</p> <p> And we need to ensure that teachers can access more and better continuous professional development.</p> <p> We believe that one of the best ways to improve teaching practice and to allow teachers to become better professionals is by observing other, more experienced teachers.</p> <p> That is why we intend to reform teacher training and establish new centres of excellence in teaching practice &ndash; teaching schools &ndash; that will allow new and experienced teachers to learn and develop their professional skills throughout their careers.</p> <p> But this doesn&rsquo;t mean the end of university-based initial teacher training. As a nation, we need about 35,000 new teachers each year so there will always be a major role for universities in preparing new teachers.</p> <p> Throughout teachers&rsquo; careers, keeping their knowledge of their subjects up to date is a vital part of being a good teacher.</p> <p> In the coming months, we intend to introduce a new Scholarship Fund, which will enable a number of teachers every year to study for post-graduate qualifications or other equally rigorous subject-based professional development that will benefit them and their careers.</p> <p> And alongside the other improvements we are making to strengthen professional development, it will ensure that teachers remain the intellectual guardians of the nation.</p> <p> I want to end by reflecting on why all of this matters.</p> <p> Why is it important that we support, protect and develop teachers and why should we enhance, raise and improve the standing of the teaching profession?</p> <p> The answer is the same reason that teachers get into teaching in the first place &ndash; to help all children, irrespective of their background and where they went to school, receive the support they need to succeed.</p> <p> Despite the hard work of teachers, the least likely to succeed are still those children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.</p> <p> Only one in five young people from the poorest families achieve five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths, compared with three-quarters from the richest families.</p> <p> And of course, it&rsquo;s not just about qualifications. It&rsquo;s the end result of unemployment, poor health, generational cycles of poverty and a greater likelihood of getting into trouble that really brings home the importance of a good education.</p> <p> The same mission to make opportunity more equal drives us in government &ndash; and in Michael Gove, we have an Education Secretary whose own upbringing ignited a burning passion to extend better opportunities to the most vulnerable children.</p> <p> That is why we&rsquo;re extending free childcare for the most disadvantaged two year olds and focusing Sure Start on the most vulnerable families.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re spending an additional &pound;2.5 billion on the pupil premium that will provide more resources directly to schools for the education of the poorest pupils.</p> <p> But the most important thing that we in government can do to close the attainment gap between rich and poor is ensure that there are well-trained, qualified teachers working in the state sector with the freedom and protection they need.</p> <p> Because it is those same teachers who make the biggest difference of all.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why our White Paper is called The Importance of Teaching.</p> <p> It is a great privilege for me to be the Minister of State for Schools. I believe it is one of the best jobs in Government because, as someone who went into politics to improve people&rsquo;s lives, I&rsquo;m convinced that, whatever their background, nothing is more important than a child&rsquo;s education.</p> <p> Whatever our differences on particular policy areas, I know that we all agree on that.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve enjoyed working with Chris over the last 11 months.</p> <p> And I look forward to a fruitful and constructive dialogue with the NASUWT in the months and years to come.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0076895/nick-gibb-to-the-nasuwt-2011-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the NASUWT 2011 Conference Education 2011-04-24
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, Mary for that introduction.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a real pleasure to be here.&nbsp;I&rsquo;ve waited many years to have the opportunity of speaking at the annual ATL conference. Having shadowed the Schools Minister post for 5 years in Opposition, I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;ve ever been invited before but, as they say, good things come to those who wait.</p> <p> As part of my job I regularly meet Mary Bousted and other union leaders.&nbsp; When I saw Mary a few weeks ago I asked her what to expect at this conference.</p> <p> She was very honest.</p> <p> She said it would probably be challenging.</p> <p> She said the delegates would speak their minds.</p> <p> But she said that was because her members are dedicated professionals who take great pride in what they do.</p> <p> I see this whenever I visit schools. During my five years as the Shadow Minister for Schools, I visited over 200 schools and, as a Minister, I try to continue to visit as many schools as I can.</p> <p> One school I visited recently was Kingsford Community School in Newham. It&rsquo;s a Confucius School, so it teaches Mandarin and I had the chance to sit in on a lesson with a Year 9 class. Given how difficult the language is to learn, I was astonished at how well the pupils could read and speak Mandarin. But after just a few minutes in that classroom, it was apparent why. It was the brilliant teacher who commanded the whole class&rsquo;s attention superbly and instilled a deep love of the language in the pupils.</p> <p> This dedication was clear again earlier today in the hour I spent with a group of delegates.</p> <p> If I said that that we&rsquo;d agreed on everything, there would probably be a few eyebrows raised &ndash; followed by several hundred requests for a list of the people in the room.</p> <p> Suffice to say, we didn&rsquo;t agree on everything &ndash; but I do believe that we agree on more than we disagree and we all agree on the importance of education to the individual child and to the country as a whole.</p> <p> I think being Minister of State for Schools is one of the best jobs in Government, because, as someone who went into politics to improve people&rsquo;s lives, I&rsquo;m convinced that whatever their background nothing is more important than a child&rsquo;s education.&nbsp;For children from the poorest backgrounds in particular, education is the only route out of poverty.</p> <p> One of the overarching objectives of this Government is to close the attainment gap between those from wealthier and poorer backgrounds, an ambition that I know is shared by the ATL.</p> <p> As the ATL survey released last week showed, nearly 80 per cent of teachers have students living in poverty. Four in 10 say that poverty has increased over the last three years. And 86 per cent say it is having a negative impact because their pupils are coming to school tired, hungry or lacking on confidence.&nbsp;</p> <p> As so, despite the hard work of teachers, it is still the case that the least likely to succeed are those children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.</p> <p> Children from poorer homes start behind their wealthier contemporaries when they arrive at school. At age five, those children living in poverty are around eight months behind their peers.</p> <p> The achievement gap then becomes entrenched during primary school. At Key Stage 2, 25 per cent of children from poorer backgrounds fail to meet the expected level, compared to just three per cent from more affluent backgrounds.</p> <p> And it then stubbornly persists through secondary school. Only one in five young people from the poorest families achieve five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths, compared with three-quarters from the richest families.</p> <p> The odds are even worse for children in care - just one in seven reach that basic benchmark.</p> <p> And of course, it is not just about qualifications. It&rsquo;s the prospect of unemployment or a low-paid job, poor health, generational cycles of poverty and a greater likelihood of getting into trouble that really brings home the importance of a good education.</p> <p> The same mission drives us in government &ndash; and in Michael Gove, we have an Education Secretary whose own upbringing ignited a burning passion to extend better opportunities to the most vulnerable children.</p> <p> That is why we&rsquo;re spending more in the vital early years and cutting the bureaucracy associated with the EYFS so children get a better start in life.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re spending an additional &pound;2.5 billion on the pupil premium that will mean the poorest pupils get the extra help and support they need.<br /> And we&rsquo;d like to do more. But whichever political party came into office at the election it would have faced the challenge of tackling the economic consequences of a spiralling budget deficit.</p> <br /> <p> A deficit in which we were spending &pound;156 billion more than we were receiving in income. And an accumulated debt that was costing &pound;120 million in interest each and every day &ndash; enough to build 10 new primary schools, every single day. The Office for Budget Responsibility reports that without any further action to tackle the deficit, interest payments would rise to a staggering &pound;67 billion a year by 2014-15 &ndash; that&rsquo;s almost two years&rsquo; total spending on schools; twice what we spend on the salaries of every teacher in England, twice what we spend running every state school in the country &ndash; just to pay the interest on the debt.</p> <p> And that &pound;156 billion budget deficit, had we not taken measures to address it, would have resulted in the same financial crises that have devastated Greece, Ireland and Portugal.</p> <p> And in the Department for Education we have had to make some very difficult decisions that we would not otherwise have wanted to make in order to help tackle that deficit.</p> <p> But I am pleased that we have managed to protect &ndash; at least in cash per pupil terms &ndash; spending on schools. I recognise that even this means difficult decisions for schools but in the context of cuts in spending in other Government departments I am proud of the settlement that Michael Gove negotiated with the Treasury.</p> <p> And I am pleased that we have been able to honour the third year of the teachers&rsquo; pay deal agreed before the election.</p> <p> I know the pay freeze we&rsquo;ve had to impose beyond that isn&rsquo;t popular but it&rsquo;s a freeze that applies right across the public sector and it doesn&rsquo;t include increments or pay rises due to promotion. Our priority is to be as fair as possible to all public sector workers and the freeze is helping to maintain the number of teaching posts.</p> <p> At the same time, we are also making the funding system for schools fairer and more transparent. It&rsquo;s just not right that similar schools in different parts of the country receive, in some cases, vastly different amounts of money.</p> <p> But while we are doing the best we can with the finances we have available to us, by far our biggest asset is the people working in our schools.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m sure that many teachers have been watching Jamie&rsquo;s Dream School on Channel 4 with a combination of intrigue, horror and glee as celebrities have tried their hand at teaching a group of pretty difficult young people.</p> <p> There are some other valuable insights from watching a renowned historian like David Starkey, at least initially, struggle to convey his passion and expertise to his class.</p> <p> What the programme demonstrated so vividly is that good teachers not only need good subject knowledge, they also need to be able to communicate that passion, they need an understanding of how young people learn and they need to know their pupils.</p> <p> And the most important thing that the programme did was prove why teachers deserve so much thanks and respect for what they do, as well as why teaching should be revered alongside the most esteemed and highly skilled professions.</p> <p> But, despite this, it&rsquo;s also true that teachers haven&rsquo;t been afforded the trust and respect they deserve.&nbsp;And consequently, I believe more needs to be done to raise the professional status of teachers, something this Government is committed to helping to deliver.</p> <p> Over the past decade, there has been ream after ream of guidance issued to schools and law after law passed about education.</p> <p> But for every step forward, it has been a case of three steps backwards as yet more targets and responsibilities have been heaped upon teachers.</p> <p> There has been nothing short of a perpetual revolution inflicted on schools, which we have to bring to an end if teaching is to become the kind of prestigious profession we want it to be.</p> <p> That is why we are so determined to cut back on all unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re removing those onerous duties.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve scrapped the National Strategies.</p> <p> Our review of the National Curriculum has the express aim of reducing prescription about how to teach.</p> <p> Through the measures in our Education Bill, we&rsquo;re refocusing Ofsted and we&rsquo;re cutting back on back-office functions &ndash; including by getting rid of the GTC.</p> <p> And just as teachers have the responsibility for delivering high standards, so we too as ministers will no longer hide behind arms-length bodies like the QCDA. Instead, we&rsquo;re taking responsibility by bringing essential functions back into the Department where we can be held properly accountable for the decisions made.</p> <p> Of course, there are areas where teachers need strong powers.</p> <p> Tackling bad behaviour is one of the toughest parts of a teacher&rsquo;s job.<br /> I can also understand why teachers might feel that the system &ndash; and Government &ndash; hasn&rsquo;t been on their side in the past.</p> <br /> <p> Our Education Bill will ensure that the pendulum, which has swung too far away from teachers in recent years, moves back in their favour by ensuring teachers have clear powers to discipline pupils and maintain order in the classroom.</p> <p> Just as importantly, it makes clear that we are backing head teachers and teachers &ndash; but that we expect all those in leadership positions to stay in touch with what is going in their classrooms and to back teachers too.</p> <p> And perhaps most importantly of all, ensuring teachers get proper protection from false and malicious allegations that are not only hugely damaging, but which can blight careers and lives.</p> <p> We also believe that professionals should have access to more and better continuous professional development.</p> <p> As Mary often says, teaching is a vocation and teachers need the highest possible skills. I can think of no one better qualified to lead a discussion with Ministers and with professional associations about the role and future of CPD, which is what Michael Gove and I have asked her to do next month.</p> <p> Teachers are the intellectual guardians of the nation and keeping their knowledge of their subjects up to date &ndash; whether it&rsquo;s theoretical physics or English literature &ndash; is a vital part of being a good teacher.</p> <p> In the White Paper, we made a commitment to introduce a new Scholarship Fund. It hasn&rsquo;t attracted much attention so far but our intention is that it will enable a number of teachers every year to study for post-graduate qualifications or other equally rigorous subject-based professional development that will benefit them and their careers.</p> <p> The ATL has long championed teachers improving their professional skills by observing other teachers. We agree that it is one of the best ways to improve teaching practice and to allow teachers to become better professionals.</p> <p> That is why we intend to reform teacher training so that, alongside thorough initial training, more time is spent in the classroom.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also why new centres of excellence in teaching practice &ndash; teaching schools &ndash; are being established. Modelled on teaching hospitals, they will allow new and experienced teachers to learn and develop their professional skills throughout their careers.</p> <p> But this doesn&rsquo;t mean the end of university initial teacher training &ndash; as the country needs about 35,000 new teachers each year there will always be a major role for universities in preparing teachers for the profession.</p> <p> And in giving schools more autonomy some have claimed that we want to set schools free to go it alone.&nbsp;But by removing needless bureaucracy from schools and by encouraging school-led professional development, we believe schools can strengthen the bonds that exist between them and allow for more opportunities for teachers and schools to collaborate with each other.</p> <p> So, more freedom, more and better professional development, and more collaboration. All of these are essential to enabling teachers to improve their own effectiveness and, in turn, to improve the effectiveness of their schools.</p> <p> Because there is nothing more inspirational or memorable than being on the receiving end of great teaching.</p> <p> I remember one teacher from my own school days, Mr Rogers, or Brian as we called him &ndash; it was after all the mid-70s &ndash; who taught me A-level economics. He was himself only recently out of university and, despite his own left-of-centre politics, taught me economics so thoroughly that it gave me a genuine understanding of how economics works and turned me into a confirmed economic liberal.</p> <p> I owe him a huge debt of gratitude, but as I turned 50 recently, it&rsquo;s horrifying to think that that young teacher must now be contemplating retirement.</p> <p> The issue of teacher pensions is one that is exercising the minds of teachers, teacher unions and the Government. As well as the huge pressures on public spending as a result of the Budget deficit, there are also long term pressures on all pension funds &ndash; both public sector and private &ndash; as a result of longer life expectancy and reduced financial returns on pension capital.</p> <p> We asked Lord Hutton to look at public sector pensions because of his experience as a Cabinet Minister in the last Labour Government and also because of his unparalleled commitment to public service values.</p> <p> In his report, Lord Hutton underlined the importance of continuing to provide high quality pension schemes to essential public service workers like teachers, whilst ensuring that current and future generations of public servants can also be rewarded for their hard work with a fair but affordable pension.</p> <p> We have already been clear that we don&rsquo;t want to see a race to the bottom in pension provision &ndash; and that public service pensions should remain a gold standard.</p> <p> A good pension has long been an important part of the overall reward package that teachers expect.</p> <p> Our priority is to ensure that continues to be the case. Opt out rates from the Teachers Pension Scheme are extremely low and we want to keep them that way. But we won&rsquo;t be able to achieve all of this if we ignore the realities of the cost pressures that all pension schemes are facing as life expectancy increases.</p> <p> The combination of more teacher pensioners and the increase in their life expectancy has meant that the cost of teachers&rsquo; pensions increases every year.&nbsp; In 2005/06, the cost of paying teachers&rsquo; pensions was around &pound;5 billion.&nbsp;By 2015/16, the cost is forecast to rise to almost &pound;10 billion.</p> <p> This is why long term reform of public service schemes is needed &ndash; and why teachers and other public service scheme members are being asked to pay a higher pension contribution from April 2012.&nbsp;</p> <p> From the start, the Government has made its commitment to protecting accrued rights absolutely clear. All the benefits that have been built up in a teacher&rsquo;s pension will not be affected by any reforms recommended by Hutton. This means there is absolutely nothing to be gained by teachers seeking to retire earlier than they have planned.</p> <p> The Government has accepted Lord Hutton&rsquo;s recommendations as the basis for discussions with all the trades unions. There have already been some constructive discussions between the TUC and the Government. The aim is to agree a package of principles for pensions reform by the end of June. I fully understand the strength of feeling here in this room &ndash; but I strongly urge the ATL to wait for the outcome of those discussions before deciding on whether to take further action.</p> <p> In preparing for this conference I looked back at the speech that Mary made last year.</p> <p> There was one phrase that really stuck in my mind. And it was this:</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the teachers, stupid.&rdquo;</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not sure who the &ldquo;stupid&rdquo; was directed at. I can only guess&hellip;&hellip;</p> <p> But she was right.</p> <p> We have to attach the highest possible importance to teachers and the teaching profession.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why our White Paper is called The Importance of Teaching.</p> <p> Its aim is to help teachers to be better professionals by reducing bureaucracy, improving professional development and supporting teachers and head teachers to maintain high standards of behaviour.</p> <p> And the reason why is because that is the only way that we can close the attainment gap between those from poorer and wealthier backgrounds.</p> <p> Whatever our differences on particular policy areas, I know that we are united in that aim.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve enjoyed working with Mary and with Martin over the last 11 months &ndash; and I look forward to a fruitful and constructive dialogue with the ATL in the months and years ahead.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0076831/nick-gibb-to-the-association-of-teachers-and-lecturers-2011-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers 2011 Conference Education 2011-04-20
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker</p> <p> Thank you, Philippa.</p> <p> And also a big thank you to everyone here today for the fantastic work you do, day in, day out, making life better for our most vulnerable children &ndash; whether you&rsquo;re a head teacher or a teaching assistant, occupational therapist or educational psychologist.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve said it before and I&rsquo;ll say it again &ndash; we are extremely fortunate to have so many talented and committed professionals working with our children who have disabilities and special educational needs, helping them to fulfil their potential.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;d like to congratulate the Trust on the launch of your research project findings, and&nbsp; set of six guidance booklets. The findings offer enormously important insights into the new generation of children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities &ndash; taken from a solid research base involving 90 special and mainstream schools, including 15 international schools.</p> <p> Your web-based tools, such as the Inquiry Framework for Learning, and Engagement Profile and Scale offer much forward-thinking, imaginative and practical guidance on how teachers might systematically engage children in their learning.</p> <p> Professionals who support our most vulnerable&nbsp;children, whether in mainstream or special schools, will find these tools an invaluable support to their work &ndash; and they cost nothing to download.</p> <p> Many of the insights that developed from your research have already fed into our Green Paper. For example, we know that the profile of disabled children and children with&nbsp;special educational needs&nbsp;is changing. Medical advances mean that babies who were born extremely pre-term, and who previously would not have survived birth, are now entering school.</p> <p> Ten per cent of babies born at less than 27 weeks , have very severe cognitive difficulties.<sup>1</sup></p> <sup>1</sup> <p> Nearly a million families in the UK today have a child with a disability.<cite class="publication"> </cite></p> <cite class="publication"> </cite> <p> Children with rare syndromes, who in the last century would not have survived, are entering school for the first time.</p> <p> And teachers are reporting that they increasingly have to deal with mental health needs in children. So it&rsquo;s clear that today there are many new challenges and opportunities for teachers &ndash; and for us in government &ndash; to face as we work out how best to support children with&nbsp;special educational needs&nbsp;and disabilities.</p> <p> It is equally clear that the way ahead is to focus on more child-centred services. The starting point has to be the child, and services should be able to adapt to the child, rather than the child having to adapt to the service.</p> <p> In our Green Paper we use the example of six-year-old Lucy, whose compulsion to put paint and other substances in her mouth, meant she was unable to do art activities in school. But by analysing how Lucy could engage, teachers were able to test strategies that meant she was eventually able to paint directly on paper, without touching her mouth.</p> <p> We know that the system as it stands is letting children and young people and their families down.</p> <p> For a start, services just aren&rsquo;t joined up enough. Parents describe how they are passed from pillar to post as they seek the support they need. They face bureaucracy and frustration at every step. The Council for Disabled Children reports that, on average, a disabled young person will have been assessed 32 times as they&rsquo;re growing up.</p> <p> So we&rsquo;re very clear that what we need is a new system with a new approach &ndash; a much more streamlined approach. And the Green Paper is our vision of a radical new approach. The plans we set out are informed by professionals like you, and by parents. In fact, of the 1800 responses we received in our call for views, 40 per cent came from parents.</p> <p> We propose a system that puts parents and children right at its heart. And where services work together, alongside families, to provide early and effective support. It will be very much in keeping with the philosophy of the Trust&rsquo;s own research &ndash;&nbsp; child-centred, practitioner-led and evidence-based.</p> <p> First of all, we want to make the system less stressful for all concerned by introducing a more coordinated process for assessment and care. And one of our most radical ideas is to replace the statutory SEN statement with a new single assessment process, supported by an Education, Health and Care Plan.</p> <p> This single, straightforward plan will be reviewed regularly to reflect the changing needs of the child right from birth to age 25: it will have the same statutory status and will include a commitment from all agencies to provide services required by the child.</p> <p> To make sure we get it absolutely right we will be setting up local pathfinders to test the best ways of achieving this. Many local authorities are already coming forward with interesting and innovative plans, and I hope that more will put themselves forward.</p> <p> Second, we plan to make information about the system and the provision of services clearer and more easily available for parents. This will enable parents to have real choice over their child&rsquo;s education, and control over support for their family. We propose a change to the law so that parents of children with statements or single assessment plans will have the same rights to express a preference for any state-funded school, be it a special school or mainstream. And they should have their preference met wherever practical.</p> <p> Third, we want parents to be confident that their child&rsquo;s school will have the capacity to meet their needs. Having a special educational need or being disabled shouldn&rsquo;t mean low expectations or poor quality education and support.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s crucial that teachers and college staff are well-trained to understand and overcome the barriers to learning that these children experience. The Pupil Premium gives schools additional funding and flexibility to support individual pupils, but teachers also need to be able to identify the right help for those children.<br /> <br /> SSAT&rsquo;s online guidance will go a long way to helping teachers understand how to engage children with complex learning difficulties. In addition, we&rsquo;ve asked the Training and Development Agency for Schools to commission online training materials about profound, multiple learning disabilities and severe or complex learning difficulties.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> We&rsquo;re offering free training resources on specific conditions such as autism, dyslexia and speech and language needs. It will form nationally recognised training for teachers that can be used for accredited professional development.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re proposing to fund scholarships for teachers to develop their practice in supporting disabled pupils and pupils with special educational needs. And we want outstanding special schools to apply to become teaching schools, so they can share and develop expertise among their own staff and throughout their network of schools.</p> <p> Finally, I want to emphasise that this Green Paper is a consultative document &ndash; so I urge you to keep telling me your thoughts and ideas. We&rsquo;ve set a four month period for this because we want to hear from as many people as possible. This is a really important issue and we are determined to get it right &ndash; so if you haven&rsquo;t already done so, please read it, scrutinise it &ndash; then tell me what you think.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> <p> <sup>1.</sup> EPICure study of pre-term babies - Marlow et al, 2005<br /> <sup>2.</sup> Blackburn et al, 2010</p> <sup>1.</sup> <br /> <sup>2.</sup> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0076582/specialist-schools-and-academies-trust-conference-on-complex-learning-difficulties-and-disabilities Sarah Teather MP Specialist Schools and Academies Trust: Conference on complex learning Difficulties and Disabilities Education 2011-03-24 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, David. And thank you very much BAAF [British Association for Adoption and Fostering]&nbsp;for your hard work over the past few years &ndash; for your contribution to policy development around private fostering, and for the important role you&rsquo;ve played as members of the Advisory Group.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m grateful to BAAF for the support and expertise you continue to give professionals working on the front line of children&rsquo;s services: helping them to consolidate and share good practice; suggesting ways to tackle especially complex and sensitive issues; and providing training on effective multi-agency working.</p> <p> In particular I&rsquo;d like to thank you for your awareness-raising activities &ndash; especially during Private Fostering Week &ndash; and to congratulate you on the launch of your new multi-media resources. They are the culmination of three years&rsquo; work and are a very useful, lasting, addition to the advice available on the sensitive issue of private fostering.</p> <p> Teachers, GPs, health visitors, and social workers &ndash; anyone who works with children &ndash; can be in no doubt, after referring to these materials, of the need to inform their local authority if they suspect, or know of, a child who is being cared for by someone other than a parent or close relative.</p> <p> This information will give professionals the confidence and understanding to handle such a situation with tact, firmness and sensitivity.</p> <p> Because it is absolutely vital that local authorities are aware whenever a child under the age of 16 &ndash; or 18 if they have a disability &ndash; is being looked after under a private arrangement, for 28 days or more.</p> <p> Just as we expect, and demand, that local authorities record and monitor all other fostering and adoption arrangements. Be they implemented via the state or voluntary sector. It is a simple question of safeguarding. And children who are privately fostered can include some of our most vulnerable children.</p> <p> I also recognise that private fostering comes in many guises. It can be a very good and positive thing if it means, for example, a friend helping someone out during a &nbsp;troubled period, perhaps giving a teenager and his parents some breathing space apart. And crucially, if the local authority is notified of the circumstances. In a situation of this sort, where everything is open and transparent and above board, selflessly offering a home to somebody else&rsquo;s child, just like adopting, just like ordinary fostering &ndash; is one of the most powerful manifestations of the Big Society.</p> <p> But private does not mean secret. We are all too aware of how easy it is for the worst criminal elements in society to prey on the most vulnerable if they can find an obscure place in which to hide. And we know there are some who will not scruple to exploit a system such as private fostering, that should be based around trust and altruism.</p> <p> Human traffickers and child abusers won&rsquo;t hesitate to take advantage of a lack of public awareness, or to capitalise on natural but misplaced sensitivities about &lsquo;snooping&rsquo; into other people&rsquo;s affairs.</p> <p> So we need to shine a very clear light on what private fostering means, and on the obligation to inform local authorities of these private, but not secret, arrangements. To ensure that there is no hiding place for abusers. To protect and support vulnerable children. And indeed, to protect and support the good people whose only motivation is a genuine desire to help a young person in need.</p> <p> And we have to encourage professionals who work with children not only to be aware that local authorities should be informed of private fostering arrangements, but that they have a moral duty to act if they believe a child is being privately fostered. Either by advising private carers that it&rsquo;s in their best interests to notify, or if that doesn&rsquo;t work, by taking notification upon themselves.</p> <p> And so, if the offer of a loving home to a vulnerable child &ndash; somebody else&rsquo;s child &ndash; is one manifestation of Big Society values, a second, equally valid expression is the decision we can all take, not to turn a blind eye when something looks wrong.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a responsibility we all have to be vigilant &ndash; to safeguard all children with whom we come into contact. And it&rsquo;s important for everybody to do our bit, to keep our eyes and ears open &ndash; to ask questions, to pay attention to what is happening around us and to be alert to the possibility that a child is in danger.</p> <p> Teaching and health professionals especially are in a good position to notice,&nbsp; query and report.</p> <p> Professionals must play their part, but so must all of us &ndash; because too many terrible cases of abuse have gone unnoticed, slipped under the radar, until it is too late.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s never forget the shocking death of Victoria Climbi&eacute;, who was part of a private fostering arrangement and whose murder might have been prevented had the adults around her listened to alarm bells, joined up the intelligence, and acted on it.</p> <p> Victoria Climbi&eacute; was an extreme case, but she wasn&rsquo;t an isolated one. And if we know that a child is privately fostered, even if we think that everything is fine, we should not ignore it.</p> <p> For one thing, essential welfare checks must be carried out on the child. Then there are the obvious benefits to private foster carers themselves, of notification. They will be offered parenting support, as well as advice on claiming benefits to which they may be entitled. In addition, local authorities will be able to provide professional help to bring families in crisis back together again.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s no secret that I&rsquo;ve been worried about the low levels of notification on private fostering for many years now. It&rsquo;s true the numbers are increasing lately, but only very slowly. And we still don&rsquo;t have anything like a true and accurate figure for the total number of children being privately fostered.</p> <p> So we still do not have a really accurate handle on the full extent of the challenge.</p> <p> But we do know they fall into very broad and diverse categories &ndash; and they are often in great need. Children of different nationalities who have been sent to the UK by parents hoping to give them a better life. Unaccompanied and traumatised children who are fleeing danger in their own country. Sofa surfing teenagers who are experiencing family problems &ndash; to mention three especially vulnerable categories.</p> <p> So why don&rsquo;t we make it an absolute requirement for private fostering to be a formally registered activity?</p> <p> Many of you will know this is something I have called for in the past. And I haven&rsquo;t ruled out such a measure. I am keenly aware that our first and foremost priority must be to safeguard the vulnerable child &ndash; and if I am convinced that registration will help do that more effectively, then I&rsquo;ll say, let&rsquo;s get on with it.</p> <p> But I also understand the sensitivities around the issue, and the concerns that have been raised by the Private Fostering Advisory Group &ndash; so it needs careful and correct handling.</p> <p> Because there are many groups of children who have experienced private fostering, for many different reasons, a measure which might protect one group could possibly have quite a different, and detrimental effect on another.</p> <p> And the last thing we would want to do is criminalise, or force unnecessary state bureaucracy on, for example, friends who are only interested in helping each other in an hour of great need. Or who prefer to do it without payment and without too much formality.</p> <p> So we are proceeding with care, and the jury will remain out at least until I&rsquo;ve seen Professor Munro&rsquo;s final report on the child protection system as a whole, &nbsp;which is due out in May.</p> <p> One of Professor Munro&rsquo;s biggest criticisms in her interim reports, is that there have been far too many well-intentioned but piecemeal reforms put together in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. Too many quick-fix, hasty solutions to problems that, when taken together, never really work properly.</p> <p> I am absolutely determined to get our decision-making right. And our proposals regarding private fostering will form part of a greater whole, and part of a much more cohesive strategy for wider safeguarding.</p> <p> But this is a tricky, complex issue and there are no easy one-size-fits-all answers that will work for everyone and every situation. Nevertheless, my intention is to achieve the right balance between safeguarding against the criminal, and supporting the good.</p> <p> And as this is National Private Fostering Awareness Week, let&rsquo;s take this opportunity to make sure that the good intentions and good practice of the best private fostering arrangements &ndash; those that are properly notified &ndash; apply to the greater community of private foster carers.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s to this group of carers that I would like to hand the last word today. Because in the past week or two, as you all know, we&rsquo;ve talked a lot about the great work done by ordinary local authority foster carers, and we&rsquo;ve done much to encourage more people to come forward to foster and adopt.</p> <p> So now it&rsquo;s the turn of good and law-abiding private foster carers, and those who support them, to know they are appreciated and to be thanked for the positive difference they make to many children&rsquo;s lives.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0076579/somebody-elses-child-in-a-big-society-how-we-all-need-to-take-responsibility-for-children-in-private-fostering-arrangements Tim Loughton MP Somebody else's child in a Big Society: how we all need to take responsibility for children in private fostering arrangements Education 2011-03-22 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Welcome to this, our first, Positive for Youth Summit. Thank you Susanne. And thank you to everyone at the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services for the extremely hard work and amount of time that I know you have put into organising today&rsquo;s event. I&rsquo;d also like to thank Jack Rowley from the British Youth Council who will be leading much of today&rsquo;s proceedings and who I know will do a fantastic job of ensuring everything runs beautifully.</p> <p> Thanks too to Aviva and O2 for their support not only of today&rsquo;s event, but also for the shining example both organisations continue to set to the wider business community, through their practical and positive commitment to the wellbeing of Britain&rsquo;s young people.</p> <p> And to all of you who are here today, &nbsp;I believe that we are now at the start of something that is very new and very exciting and very positive for our young people. I&rsquo;m proud to be here as the minister responsible for young people &ndash; a job that I can only do with the buy-in of young people themselves, and by making sure they are at the heart of all our decision making.</p> <p> Which is what today&rsquo;s summit is all about of course. And although we&rsquo;ve only just opened, there&rsquo;s already a real buzz of energy and ideas, that is extending beyond this room through the tweeting that&rsquo;s going on.</p> <p> But the activity isn&rsquo;t surprising, because this is such an important and a unique event.</p> <p> Unique, because although there have been events around young people before, and although there have been events for ministers from different departments before, this is the first time we&rsquo;ve brought together ministers from right across Government, to work alongside businesses, the voluntary sector and young people &ndash; in order to focus solely on youth, and be positive for youth. And that is a real achievement.</p> <p> So, we have ministers and officials here from the Department for Education, Home Office, Department for Health, Cabinet Office, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Ministry of Defence.</p> <p> And the reason we are all here today is to work together more closely, so that we can create a policy for youth that will be sustainable for the long term, that will be practically achievable, and that has the positive endorsement and buy-in of young people.</p> <p> This means that we&rsquo;ll be looking at how we can make all our services for children and young people better. For example, with the Department of Health we&rsquo;ll be looking at how to address issues such as binge drinking, risky sexual behaviour, and how the new mental health strategy will affect young people.</p> <p> With the Home Office we&rsquo;ll be looking at how young people can avoid getting involved in crime &ndash; and avoid being victims of crime. With the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills we&rsquo;ll be looking at how we help young people to prepare for and find work.</p> <p> But today is also about how we can help young people become responsible citizens, who will themselves be able and willing to serve others in their community, and in turn to get the respect of society and communities that too often has been lacking.</p> <p> Because it&rsquo;s also about how we can restore the trust that over the years seems to have eroded between generations. So we want to look at how we counter the negative images of young people that have become so prevalent, and that are so far from the truth of the vast majority of our teenagers.</p> <p> And how we can make the detractors, who generalise so sweepingly about Britain&rsquo;s youth, eat their words.</p> <p> If we are to rebuild bridges between old and young, if we are to turn around popular misconceptions to create a more positive society that is positive towards youth, we will need to make a real joined-up effort. That means Government, businesses, voluntary sector, local authorities and the media, all working together. And right at the heart of it, young people themselves.</p> <p> We have to give young people a strong voice. We have to allow them to participate actively in decisions that affect them. Given they represent 20 per cent of the population, it is only right that we do. In the past we may have tried to wrap young people up in cotton wool too much &ndash; and we haven&rsquo;t done them any favours by it.</p> <p> So older people have to start trusting young people again &ndash; and we have to start listening to each other even when we don&rsquo;t always agree with each other. Because that&rsquo;s all part and parcel of a mature relationship. And in my experience, when you make that leap of faith, young people will repay your respect and trust in spades.&nbsp;</p> <p> So, naturally, I am really happy to see so many young people here today. I want you to influence and test our policies. I want you to make your voices heard today, and in the future when we meet for more discussions.</p> <p> And when I&rsquo;ve listened to what you say, I&rsquo;m going to produce a draft of proposals that I will then give back to you&nbsp; to inspect &ndash; so that you can pull it to pieces if you like, and really let me know what you think of it &ndash; before I produce the final policy document. Which will be a picture of what we want the future to look like for you, for young people, and a plan of how we get there. And which will be different from previous documents that may have been high in gloss but low in actual content from the people they&rsquo;re intended for.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve already got a lot going on behind the scenes. As well as regular roundtable meetings with young people, I&rsquo;ve set up different groups with leading lights in business, local authorities and the voluntary sector, all of whom are keen to promote young people&rsquo;s interests.&nbsp;</p> <p> And, of course, you can&rsquo;t hope to change public perceptions without involving the media, so we&rsquo;re building relationships with the big players there too. And if it means we&rsquo;ll get to see more programmes along the lines of the excellent series on BBC 2 at the moment, <em>When Teenage Meets Old Age</em>, it will be a more than worthwhile investment of our time. If you haven&rsquo;t seen this programme yet, I highly recommend you try and catch the final episode next Monday.</p> <em>When Teenage Meets Old Age</em> <p> But, to return to the immediate issues at hand, and a more serious note. We&rsquo;re all very aware that youth services are under a great deal of pressure at the moment. And in straitened economic times, youth services are sadly bearing the brunt of many cuts. That is the unfortunate reality we face and there is no ducking it.</p> <p> So what we have to do, to ensure that we come through this stronger, is think smarter about the way we work. And the way to do that is to think about the kind of partnerships we might create. So we would like to see, for example, local authorities working hand-in-hand with business, with social enterprise groups, with the voluntary sector, with the education sector and of course with young people.</p> <p> We want to see more pooling of resources to get better value for money, and more collaboration to find out what works best. And we want to see a commitment to share smart new ideas so that innovation and good practice spread further afield and benefit even more young people. And in all of that, services will be designed not just for, but by, young people.&nbsp;</p> <p> In Government, we have to think about how we target the limited public funds at our disposal. And there is no doubt in my mind that our priority has to be the most disadvantaged young people in our society. In particular I&rsquo;m looking to set up a Youth Action Group with representatives from a small number of big organisations, and with ministers from&nbsp;seven departments of Government, to inform the development of Government policies and their impact on young people most in need.&nbsp;</p> <p> In short, I think we can sum up our vision for the future of youth and youth services under four principles.</p> <p> First and foremost is the positive and active role we want for young people. And I urge young people, if you can, to continue to get involved with youth councils, youth mayors and the Youth Parliament&nbsp;&ndash; all good ways of giving yourselves a louder, more effective voice in society.</p> <p> Then, if the first principle is about young people&rsquo;s responsibility to themselves, the second is about the responsibility of local communities to young people. There are already some great examples of excellent community projects led by volunteers and socially responsible businesses.</p> <p> And there is an appetite for more of these. Indeed, tomorrow we&rsquo;ll be launching the second round of National Citizen Service pilots, creating more opportunities for organisations to come together, and offering 30,000 more places to young people who want to take part in the programme.</p> <p> And our reforms to the criminal records and vetting and barring procedures send a clear signal to volunteers who want to give their time that they are welcomed and encouraged, not immediately suspected as potential abusers.</p> <p> The third principle is to target funding that prioritises the most vulnerable children and young people and focuses on quality outcomes. And the fourth is about achieving a greater diversity of service providers, to get the best value for money and to support growth in the voluntary sector.</p> <p> How these principles will take colour and shape as the day progresses is entirely up to you of course. I&rsquo;m delighted that the Deputy Prime Minister will be making his keynote speech later on, and he will have many more positive things to say.</p> <p> But the point of today is to get us all round the table to talk about these issues. And for those who aren&rsquo;t here to take part in the conversation via Twitter. In this way we will flesh out some ideas for a future that is really positive for youth.</p> <p> So it&rsquo;s not for me to keep you from this important business any longer, and without further ado I&rsquo;m going to quit the stage and wish you &ndash; us &ndash; all, a very happy and productive day.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0075355/tim-loughton-at-the-launch-of-the-positive-for-youth-summit Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton at the launch of the Positive for Youth Summit Education 2011-03-09 Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London
<p> <strong>* Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</strong></p> <strong>* Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</strong> <p> Thanks Tony &ndash; and my thanks to Action Planning for inviting me along today for this afternoon&rsquo;s children and young people session.</p> <p> I just wanted to start, if I can, by saying what a pleasure it is to be here again. I attended last year&rsquo;s conference and was hugely impressed by the programme on offer to delegates. And from the look of it, it appears as though this year&rsquo;s event is, if anything, even bigger and better.</p> <p> So, my thanks to you all, to ACEVO, to the Charities Aid Foundation and of course to today&rsquo;s other sponsors and backers. It&rsquo;s wonderful to join you.</p> <p> From the off, I wanted to repeat the message that I&rsquo;m sure Eric, Jeremy, Nick, and Lord Freud have already set out today &ndash; and underline just how critical the voluntary and charitable sector is to this Government.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s very easy, I know, for cynics to take a pop at ideas like the Big Society, but this is actually a hugely important time for the third sector.</p> <p> Never before has the work you&rsquo;ve done been more highly prized by a Government, and never before has your contribution been more actively encouraged&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip; with new opportunities being opened up to the sector all the time through things like the Localism Bill; the Big Society Bank and new approaches to social finance; and, of course, through the Opening Public Services white paper.</p> <p> So, while there will always be those who think public policy should control bad influences, rather than promote good ones, there is &ndash; I think &ndash; real cause for optimism in our sector over the coming years.</p> <p> However, in saying all this, I&rsquo;m also acutely aware that despite the steps forward - these are still, as Kevin Curley said at the NAVCA conference, the &lsquo;hardest of times&rsquo;.</p> <p> And in all of this, there&rsquo;s that same, dark irony that a sector which is based so heavily on the values of charity and selflessness, has been so adversely affected by a financial crisis caused by the very opposite of these things.</p> <p> Nevertheless, as Kevin said, this is not the time to wring hands - it&rsquo;s the time for pragmatism and to seize opportunities...</p> <p> &hellip;and that means we&rsquo;ve got to baton down the hatches, and make sure that when the economic wave finally rolls over us, we emerge with a stronger, more resilient and more sustainable sector.</p> <p> In all likelihood, of course, this means things won&rsquo;t necessarily look the same tomorrow as they do today.</p> <p> So, just as the prime minister called for a &lsquo;new chapter in the economic story&rsquo; at the weekend - with greater focus on innovation.</p> <p> So too we need to find a new chapter and entrepreneurial spirit in the voluntary and community sector.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination - but history has repeatedly shown us that innovation thrives in the hardest of times.</p> <p> And in the voluntary and charitable sector in particular, there are literally hundreds of examples where adaptation and innovation have already taken place.</p> <p> Not so long ago, for example, I heard one charity recruitment consultant mention that in the early 90s, many voluntary organisations were being run by enthusiastic amateurs like ex-army men.</p> <p> Now, as he put it, &lsquo;there was something to be said for candidates who, when asked what conflicts they had resolved at work, could claim victory in north Atlantic sea battles&rsquo;.</p> <p> But nowadays, we&rsquo;re also benefiting from a much broader church of professionals - who are leaving business in droves to come and work in this sector, bringing their experience and expertise with them&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip; as a result of which, we&rsquo;re seeing an increasingly market-savvy approach to charity income &ndash; and an increasing confidence to take part in things like partnerships and mergers, similar to the one we saw between &lsquo;Help the Aged&rsquo; and &lsquo;Age Concern&rsquo; &ndash; when they formed AGE UK.</p> <p> This is not &ndash; in short &ndash; a mission impossible. But if we&rsquo;re going to pull off the same kind of trick for youth charities in 2011, then we have to have the same spirit of enterprise and adventure.</p> <p> And for us, that means two things in particular. Firstly, getting the sector to think more creatively and innovatively&nbsp;about the way it delivers services.</p> <p> And secondly, getting government to provide a more effective helping hand than it has in the past.</p> <p> Today, I&rsquo;m going to look at both of those points, but I&rsquo;m going to start, if I can, with the second because while the big society has its beginning and end product in local communities&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip; a key point on the journey is in the corridors of Whitehall, where we are witnessing a radical redistribution of power away from senior civil servants, towards the voluntary sector.</p> <p> We have, for example, just launched the Strategic Partnership programme, which will help us work much more closely with voluntary sector organisations in shaping national policy and in supporting the sector itself.</p> <p> That work, as many of you will know, was announced alongside the &pound;60 million VCS grant at the end of last month &ndash; 10 per cent of which will be spent on building capacity within the sector to help organisations make that transition away from central government grants &ndash; towards payment by results.</p> <p> And, over time, we expect both the grant and the strategic partner programme to help us build far greater capacity in the sector, particularly for the smaller organisations who are most worried about the downturn.</p> <p> This is all though, simply part of a much wider body of work we&rsquo;re doing to bring the proverbial mountain to Mohammed, and get government to work more closer with the voluntary and community sector.</p> <p> On a purely personal level, for instance, I&rsquo;m getting young people into the department to talk through policy on a youth advisory group; I&rsquo;ve set up a regular business roundtable; a local authority roundtable; and there&rsquo;s also now a youth VCS group.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s part of a general trend away from central control, and towards a more democratic, more efficient and more dynamic partnership.</p> <p> So, for instance, as many of you will know, we&rsquo;re working very closely now with Kevin and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action &ndash; already publishing the <cite class="publication">Better Together</cite> paper, which has some incredibly useful examples, and business cases, of how local authorities can work well with the sector to minimise the impact of any spending cuts.</p> <cite class="publication">Better Together</cite> <p> And we&rsquo;re also now committed to opening up public services and making it easier for the sector to get involved in service delivery.</p> <p> This has already happened, for example, in the tendering process for the National Citizen Service pilots, which was so successful that we want it to provide a blueprint for closer partnership working right across the sector.</p> <p> And while I don&rsquo;t want to jinx any of those projects, I can say I&rsquo;ve been absolutely delighted with the quality of the partnerships we&rsquo;ve been able to develop through the pilots, with some truly inspirational youth organisations like: Young Devon; the Bolton Lads and Girls Club; Catch 22; The National Young Volunteers&rsquo; Trust; the Prince&rsquo;s Trust; and Football League Ltd, amongst others.</p> <p> Over time, we hope that many more will get involved as the pilots roll out&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip; helping thousands of 16-year-olds to develop the skills they need to become active and responsible citizens, to mix with people from different backgrounds, and to start getting involved in their communities.</p> <p> In a similar vein to this work of course, we&rsquo;ve also introduced the recent Localism Bill, which included measures that will give youth organisations the right to challenge local authorities to run services &ndash; if they do things better or more cost effectively.</p> <p> Now, this is &ndash; I think &ndash; a radical shift. And despite all the uncertainty that comes with change, this is a shift that brings with it opportunities to reinvent, innovate and create real sustainability in the sector.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;d certainly urge everyone here to get involved in the consultation that was launched last month on that &lsquo;Community Right to Challenge&rsquo;.&nbsp;</p> <p> However, all this change means that much of the responsibility for reform is now in the hands of local organisations and authorities &ndash; a point that brings me on to that second area I wanted to look at today&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip;because we want the sector to determine the look and feel of future services and how they deliver them. Giving charity leaders much greater autonomy and flexibility over how they do business.</p> <p> We are keen to support, for example, the creation of things like mutuals, co-operatives and other types of employee-led organisations in the children and young persons&rsquo; sector.</p> <p> Not only do they offer increased freedom and autonomy to frontline volunteers &ndash; they also play a role in breaking open overly bureaucratic state monopolies - and creating more plural and diverse markets.</p> <p> The Department is, for instance, particularly interested in how employee-led models might be applied within areas of Sure Start children&#39;s centres, MyPlace &ndash; which we&rsquo;ve just committed a further &pound;134 million to &ndash; and local authority youth services...</p> <p> &hellip; while, of course, we already have social work practices that are independent, social worker-led organisations, that deliver support to children in care.</p> <p> All, I think, great examples of how the voluntary and community sector, as well as public sector employees, can lead change and drive innovation.</p> <p> However, this is not just about structures and ownership &ndash; it&rsquo;s about quality of outcomes, and where the sector focuses its resources to greatest effect.</p> <p> It is, in other words, about producing more evidence based projects, rather than numbers based projects.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s why, as a government, we&rsquo;re so keen to see smarter thinking instituted right across the sector - with a hard focus on early intervention in our communities, which we know saves us around &pound;8 for every &pound;1 we spend.</p> <p> To help this work, the &pound;2.2 billion Early Intervention Grant was announced in the last spending review, and it will help local authorities to focus far more on this kind of prevention work &ndash; rather than just spending money on papering over the cracks in communities.</p> <p> Included within it is extra help for the most disadvantaged families to access free nursery care for their children. It includes enough investment to guarantee the universal coverage of Sure Start children&#39;s centres, and it includes money to support things like family recovery projects and family intervention projects.</p> <p> Indeed, just a few months ago, I was up in Nottingham visiting a family intervention project in the city&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip; And I remember one family in particular, with a mother and her 10 children, who had endured a huge catalogue of problems that had left her children on the brink of being taken into care.</p> <p> However, staff there had placed a huge chart right across the wall, with a line through the middle and then, on the left hand side, you had the family&rsquo;s starting point in the project - with all their specific problems listed below the line &ndash; in the red &ndash; including the children getting into trouble with the law, truancy, violence, criminal behaviour, poor parenting, and poor health.</p> <p> All of these problems, needless to say, had a cost attached to them, with some agency or another paying for it. But as you walked across the room and through the timeline, one by one you could see the problems lifting themselves above the line, back into the black.</p> <p> And eventually, you got to the point where the mother had enrolled on a law course and moved out of reach of a violent husband, and her children were no longer in trouble with the police, and were attending school regularly.</p> <p> Visually, it was a very powerful indicator of the value of early intervention work. The challenge for all of us though, is to embrace this kind of focus and innovation right across the sector.</p> <p> And that will certainly require charities and voluntary groups in the youth sector, to think hard about how they deal with local authority cuts:</p> <ul> <li> to think hard about how they take advantage of the localism bill and the markets it has opened up to you;</li> <li> and to tell us exactly where the quick wins can be made in terms of building capacity and innovation in the sector.</li> </ul> <li> to think hard about how they take advantage of the localism bill and the markets it has opened up to you;</li> <li> and to tell us exactly where the quick wins can be made in terms of building capacity and innovation in the sector.</li> <p> So, to end, let me just repeat that message around the importance of smarter working.</p> <p> It can sound almost ruthless to talk about business practice and entrepreneurship when it&rsquo;s in relation to the voluntary and community sector&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip;but the fact remains that no matter where you work, or what sector you&rsquo;re involved in, it is invariably the organisations who adapt to change, who prosper in the long term.</p> <p> So, I can promise you that the sector that will emerge over the coming years will be a more resilient, more effective and more sustainable one.</p> <p> Fantastic new opportunities exist to drive reform and shape the future of local communities, free from government micro-management. And fantastic opportunities exist to deliver key public services in your communities for the first time.</p> <p> Yes, these are difficult times, but they&rsquo;re not impossible times. There may be some consolidation in the sector, there may be some change, but we will get through it in partnership with leaders in the sector.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0075364/tim-loughton-speaks-at-the-funding-the-future-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton speaks at the Funding the Future conference Education 2011-03-08 Methodist Central Hall, London
<h2> Improving all our schools</h2> <p> Thank you so much for having me back.</p> <p> A lot has happened since I last spoke at your conference in November.</p> <p> Since then, we&rsquo;ve published our white paper, <em>The Importance of Teaching</em>, and introduced our Education Bill into Parliament. Both have something to say about the importance of governors. Both reflected a number of the arguments made to me by Emma and Clare on your behalf.&nbsp;And both set out our plans for improving all our schools.</p> <em>The Importance of Teaching</em> <p> As I hope you know, I am very grateful for the work the NGA does on behalf of governors &ndash; and to governors for the work you do on behalf of schools.</p> <p> As the white paper made clear, we believe that governing bodies should be the key strategic body in schools, responsible for the overall direction that a school takes. In that respect, governors are also therefore the key body for school improvement.</p> <p> One of the most important parts of my job is to make sure that you have the time, the space and the tools you need to do yours.</p> <p> I know that good governing bodies can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with members drawn from many different walks of life. So we want to give schools more flexibility to decide for themselves on the structure and composition of governing bodies that will best meet their school&rsquo;s particular needs.</p> <p> I am especially keen that governing bodies are able to appoint members with the mix of skills they think they need, rather than because they have to be appointed from a particular category or group. So I am pleased that we&rsquo;re making it possible for schools to adopt more flexible models, with the only requirement being that they appoint a minimum of two parent governors to sit alongside the headteacher on the governing body.</p> <p> Schools will of course still be able to appoint members of staff or local authority governors if that&rsquo;s what they believe is right for them. Voluntary-aided schools can still also retain foundation governors to allow them to preserve their religious character.</p> <p> But it will be a decision for schools to exercise themselves &ndash; or not &ndash; not something that is imposed. And it is very much in line with points made to me by the NGA about moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach.</p> <p> I also agree with the NGA that trained clerks who can offer expert advice and guidance to governing bodies can be a real help and I would like to see more schools considering appointing them.&nbsp;</p> <p> And I agree too that governing bodies sometimes don&rsquo;t have the information or training they need to challenge and support their headteacher, which is why I want to make it easier for governors to ask challenging questions by giving them access to more data about how their school is doing and to work with the National College to offer high-quality training for chairs of governors.</p> <p> These measures are all deliberately designed to help governors perform their vital school leadership role, because there is no more important part of your jobs than helping your schools to improve.</p> <p> Let me set out the broad context for school improvement by explaining the principles that underpin our approach.</p> <p> First, at the heart of our approach is a belief that greater autonomy should be extended to schools and greater trust to front-line professionals.</p> <p> The evidence of the past decade in our own country, as well as from the jurisdictions around the world with the best-performing education systems, shows that the fastest improvement takes place where schools have the most freedom.</p> <p> One way to give schools greater autonomy is through our Academies programme, and I&rsquo;m delighted that so many schools have decided to take us up on our offer to become academies. Since the start of the school year in September, more than two new academies have opened every working day, bringing the overall total of academies to around 450. By the beginning of this year, more than one in&nbsp;10 secondary schools was an academy &ndash; since then the pace has been accelerating.</p> <p> Of course, some schools don&rsquo;t yet want to become academies.&nbsp; My job is to support those schools just as much as in those that do convert. So as well as the freedom for governing bodies I described earlier, we&rsquo;re keen to reduce the bureaucratic burden faced by all schools by cutting away unnecessary duties, reducing prescription in the curriculum, clarifying and shrinking guidance, simplifying school inspection and scrapping as many unnecessary processes as we can.</p> <p> The best-performing education systems all combine greater autonomy for schools with intelligent accountability that makes schools accountable, allows fair comparisons to be made between schools by parents, and drives improvement.</p> <p> So our second principle is to strengthen the accountability framework. We want to publish much more information and data so that governors, headteachers and parents can all see how their schools are doing but also learn from those schools that are performing well.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s because it&rsquo;s so important that the public can make fair comparisons between schools that we are also revamping performance tables to place more emphasis on the real value schools add, as well as the raw attainment results they secure.</p> <p> Pupils need good qualifications to succeed &ndash; but I know that it has been a bugbear of many governors for a while now that we don&rsquo;t always recognise the successes by those schools that take children from the most challenging and difficult backgrounds and help them gain good qualifications.</p> <p> The third principle of our approach to school improvement is to strive for higher expectations for all pupils.</p> <p> Other nations have an expectation that more and more young people leave school with better and better qualifications. Our current expectation that only English and maths be considered a minimum benchmark at 16 marks us out from them.</p> <p> It is because we want to raise our expectations to match the highest standards around the world that we are introducing a new measure &ndash; the English Baccalaureate &ndash; which will show how many students in each school secured five good passes in English, maths, science, languages and one of the humanities.</p> <p> More generally, minimum standards at GCSE have also risen in recent years, in line with the increased aspirations of parents and communities. All those headteachers, teachers and governors who have helped drive improvement deserve special credit.</p> <p> But given the quickening pace of school improvement around the world, we have also raised the floor standards and, importantly, made them fairer by adding a new progression measure.</p> <p> A secondary school will now be below the floor if fewer than 35 per cent of pupils achieve the standard of five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths &ndash; up from 30 per cent &ndash; and fewer pupils than the national average make the expected levels of progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 in English and maths.</p> <p> A primary school will be below the floor if fewer than 60 per cent of pupils achieve the standard of Level 4 in both English and maths at Key Stage 2 &ndash; up from 55 per cent &ndash; and fewer pupils than the national average make the expected levels of progress between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in English and maths.</p> <p> But I am clear that this is only a guideline, and any school where attainment and pupil progression are low and where schools lack the capacity to improve themselves will be eligible for the additional support they need.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s why proportional support is the fourth principle that guides our approach to school improvement. Many of those schools that need to improve the most serve the most disadvantaged communities of the country and face the greatest challenges.</p> <p> Our pupil premium will ensure those schools receive additional money &ndash; starting at &pound;430 per pupil but rising in total from &pound;625 million this year to &pound;2.5 billion per year by 2015 &ndash; to support the education of the most disadvantaged pupils.</p> <p> On top of this, we have created a new education endowment fund worth &pound;110 million, which provides a further incentive for schools and local authorities to work together to bring forward innovative projects that will raise attainment of disadvantaged children in underperforming schools.</p> <p> And because nothing matters more than giving more of the poorest children access to the best teaching, we are more than doubling the size of Teach First so more of the best young graduates are able to teach in more of our most challenging schools, including primaries.</p> <p> But this won&rsquo;t be enough for all of the lowest-performing schools.</p> <p> You&rsquo;ve already heard today from Dr Liz Sidwell, herself an inspirational head, who I&rsquo;m delighted to say is now working with us as the Schools Commissioner. Liz&rsquo;s job will be to use her experience and knowledge to work with local authorities to identify those schools most in need of support and then to help them develop plans for their improvement.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m sure Liz will also be interested to hear your thoughts &ndash; through the NGA &ndash; on how the expertise of local authorities in school improvement can be retained and used most effectively.</p> <p> And I do want to stress that local authorities remain our essential partners in school improvement. Many local authorities will already have plans to improve schools below the floor standards in hand. And Michael Gove wrote to local authorities yesterday asking them to share those plans, which will also cover primaries for the first time, with us.</p> <p> Where it&rsquo;s essential, additional financial support will be made available, but many will not require extra money and will involve extending the influence of high-quality academy sponsors and harnessing the talents of great headteachers to help those schools that are underperforming.</p> <p> School-to-school collaboration is the fifth and final principle. Whether it&rsquo;s a strong school supporting a weaker school or good schools collaborating together, partnership working goes with the grain of the culture that already exists within many schools.</p> <p> One of the most exciting developments &ndash; if not the most exciting development &ndash; coming out of the academies programme is that powerful combination of autonomy and partnership that is seeing a growing number of schools wanting to become academies in chains or clusters.&nbsp;</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s just as encouraging to see groups of primaries clustering around a secondary school or federations of good schools where opportunities for pupils and staff are being increased, standards are going up and costs are going down &ndash; including in rural areas.</p> <p> One of the great school improvement success stories in recent years have been national and local leaders in education.</p> <p> Because we are committed to more of that system-led leadership that we know works, we&rsquo;ve doubled the number of NLEs and LLEs and we&rsquo;re also establishing a new national network of 500 teaching schools by 2015. Based on our teaching hospitals, they will act as real centres of excellence and ensure teachers can access excellent continued professional development throughout their careers.</p> <p> In many ways, education is a continual quest for improvement. It is a quest to reach the ever higher standards that will allow more of our young people to be educated to ever higher levels.</p> <p> I know it is that quest that led to you to giving up your valuable time to volunteer as school governors. You are the unsung heroes of our education system.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s always such a privilege to speak at an NGA conference.</p> <p> And why I will do what I can to champion the role of governors.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0075100/lord-hill-to-the-national-governors-association-school-improvement-conference Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the National Governors' Association school improvement conference Education 2011-03-02 Royal Lancaster Hotel, London
<p> Thank you, Secretary of State. It&rsquo;s a pleasure to join you for today&rsquo;s event and can I offer a very warm welcome to everyone here.</p> <p> Before I start, I just wanted to pass on my thanks to all of the local authorities, charities and media organisations who&rsquo;ve spared their time to come along this morning. And can I give a special thank you to Coram, not only for hosting this event, but also for their advice and support over the last nine months, and while we were in opposition.</p> <p> I know that both myself, and the Secretary of State, have hugely valued your input as we&rsquo;ve been working through our reforms for the adoption system; and, of course, we owe the wider sector an equally big debt of gratitude for its contribution to today&rsquo;s guidance, and its help to the Government as we&rsquo;ve been working to speed up adoption placement times. As always, it&rsquo;s great to see this kind of progress being made, and it leaves us that step closer, I think, towards achieving the ultimate ambition of creating a much fairer, and far more effective adoption system.</p> <p> However, it&rsquo;s fair to say we&rsquo;re not here today because everything is working perfectly, we&rsquo;re here because we&rsquo;ve got work to do in this country to get an adoption system that&rsquo;s truly fit for purpose.</p> <p> There are still, for example, big variations in adoption services across the country, with the percentage of children in care adopted last year ranging from just 2 per cent&nbsp;to 16 per cent&nbsp;depending on your postcode. Waiting times have been suffering, with only 72 per cent&nbsp;of children being placed within 12 months of their adoption decision, a figure that is even worse for black children, who have to wait 50 per cent longer on average than children from other ethnic groups.</p> <p> And, just as worryingly, overall adoption figures have fallen over the year, despite the fact that there are prospective parents out there who are desperate to build families for themselves and offer a loving and stable family home.</p> <p> Now, the question we&rsquo;ve had to answer over the last nine months is why this slide was allowed to happen - despite all the good will and impetus behind the 2002 Adoption Act. Part of the problem is, undoubtedly, a systemic one &ndash; but part of it was simply, we think, one of a lack of focus in the past or sense of urgency.&nbsp;<span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></p> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span> <p> Over the years, adoption has been allowed to creep down the public sector agenda - and the consequences have rippled out right across the country.<br /> As far back as 1998 for example, we were talking about relaxing the rules around mixed race adoption, but when the Adoption Bill eventually came to Parliament, despite all those good intentions, little happened.</p> <br /> <p> And even now, more than a decade down the line, we&rsquo;re having to grapple with the absurdity of some adoption agencies treating a child&rsquo;s ethnicity as the only deciding factor in their placement, when we know that we should be looking at all of a child&rsquo;s needs, rather than one that might only serve to end their chances of finding a permanent family.</p> <p> So, what we really wanted to achieve today, with the launch of this guidance, was a &lsquo;call to arms&rsquo; right across the sector. We all know that adoption is a hugely complicated, and nuanced area &ndash; I&rsquo;m not claiming this is match.com stuff&hellip; But equally, we also know that quality, long-lasting placements are not impossible to find. And that when they are found, they&rsquo;re potentially life changing for those involved, helping to unlock children&rsquo;s full potential&nbsp; and giving those who adopt them the chance to take on the ultimate privilege, and responsibility, of becoming a parent.</p> <p> Our challenge, and it is a real challenge, is to try and unlock these extraordinary opportunities far more consistently and effectively in the future. To do that though, we have to move through the gears quickly, and I&rsquo;m delighted that today&rsquo;s revised guidance is supporting that acceleration, and that call to arms.</p> <p> We really believe in this guidance &ndash; and we also believe a corner has been turned with its launch. Finally, we&rsquo;re saying loud and clear</p> <ul> <li> that it&rsquo;s not enough to deny a child a loving home with adoptive parents only on the basis that they don&rsquo;t share the same ethnicity</li> <li> that it&rsquo;s not good enough to ignore the possibility of using voluntary adoption agencies if you can&rsquo;t place them with in-house services</li> <li> that local authorities should be making full and effective use of the Adoption Register</li> <li> that adoption should be considered for children even if they&rsquo;ve been overlooked in the past, whether that&rsquo;s because of something like age or disability</li> <li> and, finally, that local authorities should be welcoming enquiries from all those who take the incredible step of wanting to adopt &ndash; no person should be turned away on the basis of race, age or social background.</li> </ul> <li> that it&rsquo;s not enough to deny a child a loving home with adoptive parents only on the basis that they don&rsquo;t share the same ethnicity</li> <li> that it&rsquo;s not good enough to ignore the possibility of using voluntary adoption agencies if you can&rsquo;t place them with in-house services</li> <li> that local authorities should be making full and effective use of the Adoption Register</li> <li> that adoption should be considered for children even if they&rsquo;ve been overlooked in the past, whether that&rsquo;s because of something like age or disability</li> <li> and, finally, that local authorities should be welcoming enquiries from all those who take the incredible step of wanting to adopt &ndash; no person should be turned away on the basis of race, age or social background.</li> <p> Over the last year, all of these reforms have been extensively road tested, and we know they can be potentially game changing &ndash; helping us to stop adoption rates from fizzling out any further.</p> <p> However, they are still only a part of a wider reform package for adoption, which has been taking shape not just over the last nine months but, as the Secretary of State has already hinted at, over many years in opposition as well.</p> <p> In fact, the first Act of Parliament I ever worked on as a frontbencher, was the Adoption Bill back in 2002, and since that time, a huge amount of work has been done, and a huge amount of reform is now being instituted right across Government to back up the new guidance.</p> <p> We are, for example, working with the British Association for Adoption and Fostering on a pilot with local authorities to reduce delays in adoption,&nbsp;which will, we hope, eventually help all local areas to take full advantage of the Adoption Register, which has matched some 1,300 children since it was taken over by the BAAF six years ago.</p> <p> In addition, as many of you will know, we&rsquo;ve also asked David Norgrove to&nbsp; review the family justice system, which is currently facing some big challenges around delays to decision making. And I&rsquo;ve also had discussion with Sir Nicholas Wall, president of the family division, on how adoption panels and the judiciary can be encouraged to work together more effectively.</p> <p> Perhaps the single most important part of all this reform, though, is the work we&rsquo;re doing to support adoption agencies and help them improve their services.</p> <p> For example, we&rsquo;re now actively encouraging and challenging both DCSs and lead members to examine their adoption performance compared to other local authorities, so that we can begin to address that variation I&rsquo;ve mentioned, and we&rsquo;re also asking local areas to see whether they can work in closer partnership with the voluntary sector, so that adoption services work more effectively, and so that we can ensure families our found for the most difficult to place children.</p> <p> Get all of this work right, and we know the results can be hugely impressive.<br /> In Harrow, for example, the council has increased its adoption rates for black and ethnic minority children from just three per cent, to nearly 10 since it started working with Coram &ndash; an incredible jump and one that is, if you want to talk numbers, now saving the council nearly half a million pounds a year and huge amounts of time in placing children.</p> <br /> <p> All of this reform and all of these individual examples are profoundly important steps, we think, towards building that more effective, and fairer adoption system. Not only do they prove that it&rsquo;s possible to have access to great services no matter where you are in the country; they also show that with a little bit of common sense, quality placements for children can be found.</p> <p> Why, for example, are people who are interested in adoption being turned away simply because the agency they approach says it doesn&rsquo;t need them? Surely they should be directed instead to someone who does. I want prospective adopters welcomed in with neon lights above every local authority, or at least on their website.</p> <p> We want agencies to look hard at how this can be done more effectively, and at the criteria they use to reject people. If you throw out someone&rsquo;s application solely on the basis that they&rsquo;re single, that they&rsquo;re too old, or that they&rsquo;re the wrong ethnicity, you might well be turning away an incredible placement.</p> <p> Furthermore, why are we inundating social workers and other professionals with incredible amounts of bureaucratic form filling, when we could be freeing up their time to spend with families, and to make critical decisions that affect children who might be either on the edge of care, or already in care?</p> <p> Professor Munro&rsquo;s review of child protection will, we hope, help us to address that bureaucratic straitjacket, and move us towards a far more commonsensical approach to social work.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m also confident that by looking at the role of independent reviewing officer, and considering whether it might be strengthened in relation to placement decisions, as well as by looking at the role of Ofsted and its inspection regime for adoption agencies, we can &ndash; in future &ndash; help make the system itself work even more effectively. All of which will, we hope, further underline the fact that while in a tiny minority of cases, social workers have got in wrong, in the vast majority of cases, adoption remains a fantastic, life-changing opportunity for the children involved.</p> <p> So, to end, my sincere thanks again to everyone for coming along, and to the Secretary of State. As I&rsquo;ve said, today is a real clarion call from this Government around adoption reform.</p> <p> With today&rsquo;s guidance, and with the wider reforms we&rsquo;re introducing, we want to get people talking and thinking about adoption again, and we want all that to translate into action, with better quality placements right across the country.</p> <p> Over the coming months I&rsquo;ll be hosting a series of roundtable meetings to get different perspectives on the best ways of driving forward that reform, and I&rsquo;m pleased to see here today some of the prospective adopters who came to the first of those meetings.</p> <p> Already, I think, huge strides have been made, and there&rsquo;s no doubt in our mind that this is an area of public services that can be turned round as long as we maintain that focus, determination and self-belief.</p> <p> Thank you.<span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></p> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074791/tim-loughton-at-the-adoption-guidance-launch Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton at the adoption guidance launch Education 2011-02-22 Bloomsbury, London
<p> Thank you, Mary [McLeod, chair of Safe Network advisory group]. And thank you to all who were involved in the preparation of the Safe Network standards document launched today.</p> <p> I was able to get a preview before its publication and it provides straightforward, practical advice that I&rsquo;m sure will be invaluable to many individuals and organisations who work with children.</p> <p> Too often in the past, Government has produced well-intentioned but very lengthy tomes&nbsp; &ndash; yet really, it&rsquo;s not the database, or guidance or regulations that make children safer. It&rsquo;s the way that they are translated into practical action by professionals in the sharp end.</p> <p> We have here today, and I&rsquo;m delighted to see, an enormously diverse audience, with representatives from a wide range of organisations and charity groups &ndash; big and small &ndash; who have many different perspectives on working with children. You may be a football coach, parent or youth volunteer involved in a small organisation or you might be a paid representative of a big charity working with local authorities, and dealing with vulnerable children in the child protection sector.</p> <h2> Common purpose:&nbsp;safe and active children</h2> <p> But we all have a united common purpose in making sure we keep children safe. While at the same time we want to allow them to live active lives, and be free to explore their world outside home and school.</p> <p> And we need people, we need organisations, who have the passion, the energy and the goodwill to continue working with young people, developing their potential and promoting their physical and emotional wellbeing.</p> <p> Because the vast majority of people who work with children are motivated by good intentions, and they want to contribute in a way that is useful and meaningful and worthwhile.</p> <p> So we must encourage adults who want to come forward and give their time freely to work with children, not treat them as potential child abusers, simply by virtue of their wanting to help. I think it&rsquo;s a warped kind of vision that suspects wrongdoing unless there is hard evidence to prove otherwise.</p> <p> But we cannot be na&iuml;ve and we must not be complacent. But we do need to return to common sense levels of vigilance, where we all take responsibility for our children&rsquo;s safety and wellbeing, by keeping our eyes and ears open and raising concerns effectively when they arise.</p> <p> And this goes right to the heart of what the Big Society means. It&rsquo;s about all of us being responsible adults &ndash; alert to any potential harm, and not just assuming someone else will sort out any difficulties, or warn of any suspicions.</p> <p> And I believe that a good, healthy society depends on people who are motivated by goodwill, and who are happy to take responsibility for themselves and others.</p> <h2> Too much red tape</h2> <p> Now, of course, we all know that we&rsquo;re living in financially straitened times. But does it really cost more to keep children safer and help them live richer lives? Is it good financial sense, for example, to have child protection social workers who are trained and experienced in front line work, spending 80 per cent of their time in front of their computers?</p> <p> For many people, one of the biggest barriers to working with children and young people has been not simply the lack of money, but the over-abundance of red tape.</p> <p> The sheer complexity of paperwork involved in current regulations is itself costly, burdensome and off-putting. The result is that organisations, feeling overwhelmed, can end up being far too cautious in what they do. Or they simply avoid working with children altogether.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> It&rsquo;s not a healthy state of affairs for our children or for our society.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> The fine balance between the need to protect children on the one hand, and to give them freedom and real life experiences on the other has become horribly skewed in recent years.</p> <p> We can&rsquo;t wrap our children in cotton wool for their entire lives. Instead we need to nurture confidence and resilience.</p> <h2> Vetting and barring</h2> <p> So we have to go back to a common sense and proportionate approach that will protect children, without driving a wedge between the generations. We have to restore the trust in our relationships that I believe had suffered a major breakdown in our society over too many years.</p> <p> The new measures put before Parliament last week as part of the Protection of Freedoms Bill will rebalance the system by scaling back checks to common sense levels. It will be less bureaucratic and less intimidating, so that well-meaning adults won&rsquo;t be put off working or volunteering with children.</p> <p> Of course, protection will always be our top priority. And we will always maintain sufficient criminal record checks to ensure that we safeguard children and vulnerable adults.</p> <p> We know there is no room for complacency. Only this week, a report by the NSPCC told us that although the situation is improving, nearly one in seven children and young people have experienced at least one occasion of physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect by a parent or carer.</p> <p> And children are also increasingly exposed to the dangers, as well as the undoubted benefits, of the internet&nbsp; - with cyber bullying and online grooming a very real fear for children and parents: nearly one in&nbsp;10 children say they were bullied online last year and 12 per cent received sexual messages.</p> <p> It could be tempting to view the internet as a sort of 21st century hydra. In Greek mythology, of course, the hydra was a many-headed serpent, and for each head cut off two more grew in its place. Sometimes it seems that for every online threat we start to tackle, at least another two spring up.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s not to say we shouldn&rsquo;t attempt to regulate at all, of course. But it is to recognise that regulation has its limits, and that vigilance is important. I&rsquo;m extremely grateful to Professor Tanya Byron for her work with us on how to keep children safer online. Out of her report the UK Council for Child Internet Safety arose which I jointly chair with Home Office Minister James Brokenshire and we are working with industry, children&rsquo;s groups, local authorities, schools and the police to make the internet a safer place for children and their parents &ndash; and I particularly mention parents because much of the solution starts at home and is not something that can be delegated to Government, regulators or schools.</p> <p> Parents need to keep an eye on what their children are looking at and who they are talking to online, and to make good use of parental control software. And we have to make young people themselves aware of how to manage their social networking safely.</p> <h2> Eileen Munro</h2> <p> Essential to what we are doing to improve safeguarding is the review undertaken by Professor Eileen Munro. Her interim report published earlier this month argued that too many rules, too much red tape, leads to a fixation with process that is, in any case, counter productive to genuine safeguarding.</p> <p> Because people start to trust rules and systems rather than their own common sense. Their individual sense of responsibility for what is happening around them is improved. And as we all know, the best system in the world for keeping children safe will never be as effective as the involvement of sensible, sensitive adults, looking out for the children they know and work with.</p> <p> In her interim report <em>The Child&rsquo;s Journey</em> Professor Munro argues for a new approach that focuses on the child, rather than on the demands of inspection. Professionals, she says, are forced to spend too much time on the demands of inspection and regulation.</p> <em>The Child&rsquo;s Journey</em> <p> And she argues for reform that makes it easier for professionals such as social workers, police, health and family support services to work together, train together and most importantly act together to help vulnerable children. I look forward to reading Professor Munro&rsquo;s final recommendations due in May.</p> <h2> Safe Network&rsquo;s role</h2> <p> So it&rsquo;s clear that reform is needed. And reform is afoot. And organisations like Safe Network, and its partners in the voluntary sector, have an important role during this time of major change.</p> <p> For smaller groups with more limited resources, Safe Network has been a great support, helping organisations understand what to do to comply with safeguarding rules, as well as guiding them through what they don&rsquo;t need to do.</p> <p> It has faced up to the challenge of bullying, advising groups on positive strategies for tackling this endemic problem, and crucially involving young people themselves in working out ways to prevent it. Encouraging responsibility in children, who are also looking out for each other.</p> <p> And in the context of the Big Society, we&rsquo;d like to see more of this type of support for more volunteers who want to get involved in working with children.</p> <p> And we want to hear a strong voice for the voluntary sector, helping organisations become savvier about the commissioning process, so that smaller groups can play a bigger role in providing local services for children.</p> <h2> Commissioning and cuts</h2> <p> Because in these really tough economic times, we don&rsquo;t want local authorities to take the easy option of indiscriminately cutting funding to voluntary groups. But of course, we have given them the freedom to decide their priorities &ndash; and we can&rsquo;t empower local authorities, and then start telling them what to do. But clearly the Government has given a clear steer about placing more importance on early intervention, about trusting professionals to make quality value judgements on the frontline not in the back office and that we need to assess interventions in terms of quality of the outcomes and the beneficial impact on children not just on numbers, structures and processes.</p> <p> So it&rsquo;s up to you in the voluntary sector, and your partners, to make commissioners aware of the strength and expertise within your ranks. Don&rsquo;t let it be an easy option for commissioners to cut you out.</p> <p> Nowadays, to survive, more than ever you have to demonstrate value and show smarter working. So join forces, work together, pool your expertise and be really creative about what you can do. Because we want voluntary groups to have the capacity and knowledge to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.</p> <h2> More responsible adults, safer children</h2> <p> And the more active, responsible adults we have working with and looking out for our children, the safer and happier they will be.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s great that we&rsquo;re now getting common sense regulations; it&rsquo;s great that we&rsquo;ve got the Munro review reporting in the spring; it&rsquo;s great that we&rsquo;ve got a network that spreads advice and gives support.</p> <p> But ultimately we all have a responsibility. And when we come through the challenges ahead, the real winners will not be individual organisations, or partnerships or commissioners or the Coalition Government or even the Big Society. The real winners will be our children.</p> <p> Thank you.<br /> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></p> <br /> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074690/tim-loughton-to-the-safe-network-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Safe Network Conference Education 2011-02-17 Church House, Westminster, London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Mr Blake. And thank you for inviting me to speak at your conference. It&#39;s a great pleasure to meet you all and an honour to be sharing a platform today with such a highly regarded social campaigner &ndash; Stop the Traffik&#39;s founder, Steve Chalke.</p> <p> Now, when I&#39;m invited to speak at events such as this, it&#39;s normal for me to ask beforehand &#39;who will be the audience&#39; so that I can address the particular concerns of that group of people &ndash;&nbsp;whether it&#39;s, for example, a group of business leaders or teachers or charity workers.</p> <p> But when I asked the same question before coming here, they said &#39;oh, there&rsquo;ll be teachers, and church leaders, and members of the police, and councillors, and local government officials, and representatives from youth organisations, oh, and young people from schools right across Sussex!&#39;</p> <p> So I decided to keep things straightforward and address what I consider to be the most important group here today &ndash; young people. And I&#39;m very glad I did, because you way outnumber all the old ones here together!</p> <p> But also, I think that this global problem we&#39;re considering this afternoon &ndash; this big moral issue of human trafficking, is one that particularly resonates with you, more than with any other group of people.</p> <p> Because it is young people who are most often the victims of this horrific trade in human beings. Slavery, by another name. If you had been born into poverty in South East Asia, West Africa, Uganda or parts of Eastern Europe, it could be you being sold today into some gruesome sweatshop by your desperately poor parents. Or shipped off to work in a foreign brothel. Or kidnapped and forced to take up arms in a brutal civil war. It could be you.</p> <p> For example, did you know that between&nbsp;two and&nbsp;four million men, women and children are trafficked across borders and within their own country each year? That&rsquo;s equal to five jumbo jets every day &ndash; full of people who have been deceived or taken against their will to be bought, sold and transported into slavery for sexual exploitation, sweatshops, child brides, the sale of human organs&hellip; The shocking list goes on.</p> <p> And because it&#39;s a global trade, it&rsquo;s a global problem and we feel and see the implications directly over here in the UK. So we definitely need to do something over here, because so many people are ending up in our towns and cities:&nbsp;young people &ndash; young women and young men &ndash; trafficked into the sex industry, trafficked into unpaid domestic service, all of them extremely vulnerable children and adults living here amongst us.</p> <p> And we also feel and see the direct implications of enslaved human beings overseas, right here in our shopping centres. For example, a few years ago there was a great outcry when it was found that Nike had been using sweatshop child labour in India to manufacture its trainers.</p> <p> But that abuse of children in India was fuelled by the fact that people in the West were buying cheap shoes. We provided the market and made the abuse possible. Nike, of course, were forced to take action to stop the abuse in order to regain the confidence of their customers.</p> <p> But as we all know, the trade in human beings continues in many different forms and places and the question is: Who can stop it?</p> <p> Well, we can look first at our history to find a few of the answers. Because just over 200 years ago, for the first time, a law was passed in this country making the slave trade illegal. Slaves at that time of course were made to work on sugar plantations in the West Indies, not cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. Sugar was an extremely profitable, and powerful industry. Slaves were seen as a commercial necessity and for decades, few people had thought there was anything immoral about it.</p> <p> William Wilberforce was the member of Parliament who did see that the slave trade could not be morally justified. He took up the cause for abolition in the House of Commons, arguing, persuading, browbeating his fellow MPs, until eventually, after years of knock-backs, on 25 March 1807 he finally convinced enough of them to pass the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.</p> <p> But here&rsquo;s the thing. Long before Wilberforce took up his campaign to influence the House of Commons, small groups of people were already starting to realise that slavery was wrong. Ships captains brought back evidence of conditions on slave boats, academics wrote books, groups of Quakers pioneered what were brand new techniques for the time, such as lobbying, leafleting, boycotting &ndash; the sort of awareness raising activities with which we&#39;re all now familiar.</p> <p> And it was their hard work that brought the issue to Wilberforce&#39;s attention, and provided him with evidence, with arguments and with courage to continue the fight in Parliament. Wilberforce wasn&#39;t a lone pioneer &ndash; he needed the energy and he needed the commitment and he needed the evidence of others, before he in his turn could persuade the government to act. Just as we in government today rely on the hard work, support and expertise of countless others before we make anything happen.</p> <p> And there&#39;s one more historical parallel here. Because in Wilberforce&rsquo;s day, in the late 18th century, society was seeing a sort of communications revolution. The first newspapers and magazines in the country were founded, the postal network was expanded, and coffee houses began to spring up as popular meeting places. Fairly ordinary people had access to more information than ever before. And it gave them a power they had not had before.</p> <p> Well, you don&#39;t need me to spell it out to you. Because in exactly the same way as those early activists used new communications to get involved in politics and social affairs, so you have more potential to influence the world today, thanks to digital technology.</p> <p> Your generation has more power to bring about change &ndash; and to do it more quickly &ndash; than any that has gone before.</p> <p> Whether you&#39;re joining forces through social networking sites, using the internet to research an issue or tweeting your local council &ndash; if there&#39;s something you feel strongly about, there&rsquo;s never been a better time to make your voice heard. And you can still make use of the old ways, such as writing letters, attending meetings, talking to your MP.</p> <p> And politicians, business leaders and all the movers and shakers want to hear what you have to say. We value your energy and your idealism and your optimism, and we see you as our partners in society. Even when we don&#39;t agree, we must keep on talking and listening to each other &ndash; because working together is the most effective way of making things happen.</p> <p> And we all have our part to play, working together. William Wilberforce helped win the moral argument against slavery 200 years ago, and that is enshrined in our laws. But as we all know, we still have to work to uphold that moral principle.</p> <p> The illegal trade in human beings today earns twice as much worldwide revenue as Coca Cola. And traffickers have got their eye on next year&#39;s London Olympics as a potentially lucrative opportunity to ship more people over here for abuse and exploitation.</p> <p> Thank goodness, then, for organisations like Stop the Traffik. This worldwide coalition of individuals, young people, communities, professionals and politicians working together to make more people aware about what&rsquo;s going on. And they&#39;re taking action to prevent it.</p> <p> For my own part, I am working with colleagues in the Home Office, alongside other government departments, local authorities and organisations like Barnado&#39;s to find out how we can do more to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and young people across our cities.</p> <p> We need to work out how to support victims better, and take effective action against perpetrators.</p> <p> It&#39;s just one of the big challenges we face in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation &ndash; and I don&rsquo;t underestimate the extent of it.</p> <p> So to return to my earlier question: Who can stop it?</p> <p> The answer I believe is clear. You can stop it. Working together, we can stop it. As Barack Obama said, no matter how big the problem, or how desperate the situation &ndash; &#39;when people join together, we can do amazing, unlikely things&#39;.</p> <p> Or in the words of Stop the Traffik: &#39;When people act, things change.&#39;</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074449/tim-loughton-to-windlesham-house-school-in-sussex Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to Windlesham House School in Sussex Education 2011-02-11
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Richard. It&rsquo;s a pleasure to join you all in the Guildhall.</p> <p> I just wanted to begin, if I may, by thanking the 100 Group for inviting me to take part in today&rsquo;s debate&hellip;</p> <p> &hellip; and can I especially thank those of you, including Richard and his team at Brighton College, who&rsquo;ve taken time out of very busy schedules to show me round your schools in the last year.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re very fortunate, of course, to have many excellent headteachers in this country &ndash; and I know that both myself, and the Secretary of State, have found their advice and support very useful over the past nine months as we&rsquo;ve been working on the Education White Paper and the curriculum review.</p> <p> Indeed, the Government&rsquo;s vision for building a truly world-class education sector that attracts the very best teachers,&nbsp;allows school leaders greater autonomy&nbsp;and reduces the attainment gap between the richest and poorest students, owes a huge amount to the example of great schools like Mossbourne, Kingsford Community School and indeed Brighton College.</p> <p> For the purposes of today&rsquo;s debate however, I&rsquo;m going to concentrate, if I may, rather more on the international influences that have shaped that vision than on the domestic ones...</p> <p> &hellip; Because right from the very start of our reform programme, we&rsquo;ve always been clear that if you&rsquo;re serious about constructing an education system that&rsquo;s capable of meeting the demands of the global economy in 2011, it has to draw on international best practice.</p> <p> In doing that work though, what&rsquo;s become increasingly clear is that our children&rsquo;s education has been suffering in relation to their peers over the last decade.</p> <p> The PISA rankings, for example, which I&rsquo;m sure have already been debated today, show us falling from&nbsp;fourth to sixteenth in science, from&nbsp;seventh to 25th in literacy, and from&nbsp;eighth to 28th in maths.</p> <p> Even accounting for the fact that the number of countries in those rankings has changed,&nbsp;this shows a really worrying trend &ndash;&nbsp;particularly when taken in the context of the more general evidence, which shows:</p> <ul> <li> in maths&rsquo; tests, Chinese 15-year-olds are now some two years ahead of students in this country</li> <li> the reading level of our pupils is now nearly a year behind that of children in countries like Korea and Finland&nbsp;</li> <li> and that just 1.8 per cent of 15-year-olds in this country &lsquo;can creatively use information based on their own investigations and modelling of complex problem situations&rsquo;. This is&nbsp;compared to some 25 per cent of pupils in Shanghai.</li> </ul> <li> in maths&rsquo; tests, Chinese 15-year-olds are now some two years ahead of students in this country</li> <li> the reading level of our pupils is now nearly a year behind that of children in countries like Korea and Finland&nbsp;</li> <li> and that just 1.8 per cent of 15-year-olds in this country &lsquo;can creatively use information based on their own investigations and modelling of complex problem situations&rsquo;. This is&nbsp;compared to some 25 per cent of pupils in Shanghai.</li> <p> Indeed, we&rsquo;d argue that the malaise actually goes rather deeper than this. It&rsquo;s not simply a case that our average results are falling behind other countries; it&rsquo;s also the case that the gap between the opportunities open to wealthier students and poorer students has grown wider over the last ten years.</p> <p> Opportunity has, if anything, become less equal in comparison to the rest of the world.</p> <p> Children in wealthier areas, for example, are now twice as likely to get three As at A Level as children in poorer areas. And the number of our very poorest children &ndash; those eligible for free school meals &ndash; who&rsquo;ve made it to Oxbridge, has actually fallen in recent times.&nbsp;In the penultimate year for which we have figures it was 45. And in the last year, 40 out of 80,000 pupils.</p> <p> In fact, very quickly we&rsquo;ve got to the point where we now have one of the most unequal systems in the developed world &ndash;&nbsp;a truly worrying situation I&rsquo;m afraid, and one that suggests we are, indeed, falling behind the competition. Or, as the OECD has said, that we&rsquo;ve &lsquo;remained stagnant at best&rsquo; while the rest of the world has surged past.</p> <p> The question we&rsquo;ve had to answer is why this has been allowed to happen. Has it simply been because of a lack of investment by government? Or is it, perhaps, about a lack of political will?</p> <p> The international spending comparisons &ndash;&nbsp;which place us as the eighth highest per-pupil spender in the OECD &ndash;&nbsp;and the amount of energy that&rsquo;s been invested into narrowing the attainment gaps between the richest and poorest students over the years, suggests it&rsquo;s probably neither of these things actually.</p> <p> Instead, it seems to be about a more fundamental lack of national ambition. Too often in the past we&rsquo;ve been too quick to level down our education system, rather than attempting the trickier task of levelling up&nbsp;&ndash; despite the fact that time and time again, when you look at the results of our best schools, they&rsquo;ve shown that if you set your horizons high, children will perform consistently well regardless of background or parental income.</p> <p> And that, in turn, is forcing us away from what Joel Klein, New York&rsquo;s former chancellor of education, described in America last year as the &lsquo;culture of excuse&rsquo; &ndash; where variations in academic performance can be automatically blamed on a pupil&rsquo;s individual background, rather than on their God-given ability.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s why, as I said at the start, we&rsquo;re now placing so much emphasis on promoting that ambitious agenda of reform, based on the importance of teachers, on giving schools greater autonomy, and on ensuring the National Curriculum is a match for the very best performers like Singapore, Finland and South Korea.</p> <p> On the importance of teaching &ndash; in particular&nbsp;we have, as many of you will know, already introduced our Education White Paper into Parliament, which is geared towards bringing more talented people into our classrooms,&nbsp;towards reforming teacher training,&nbsp;devoting resources into getting top graduates in maths and science into the classroom,&nbsp;and towards expanding programmes like Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders, which attract the best and the brightest into teaching.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s an ambitious approach to teaching that will help us build on the wealth of talent that already exists in our schools and help us restore the very best traditions of teaching as one of the most respected of all the professions.</p> <p> On the second point, around greater autonomy for schools, we know there is a pressing need to increase the level of operational independence in our schools if we want to match what&rsquo;s happening in the best education systems across the world. Particularly over issues like pay, staffing, timetabling and spending.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;re delighted that well over 400 good and outstanding schools have already applied to take up our offer of academy status &ndash; with more than 200 parent, teacher and charity groups also applying to set up Free Schools.</p> <p> However, none of this reform can work independently of the systems that support it. And this is why the third of those areas &ndash; the review of the National Curriculum &ndash; is now so vitally important to our plans for an ambitious, and equal, system of education.</p> <p> Of all the areas, it is perhaps the easiest to compare and contrast with the international competition. And for that same reason, it&rsquo;s also perhaps the most difficult to ignore.</p> <p> In the modern world, there is nowhere to hide for school leavers. Jobs can be transported across international borders in the blink of an eye, and having a curriculum that&rsquo;s thin on content and overly prescriptive on teaching method is not doing our children any favours.</p> <p> This is why, as many of you will know, we owe Cambridge University&rsquo;s Tim Oates a very substantial debt of gratitude for his invaluable analysis of international curricula and the lessons we can learn from them.</p> <p> Already we&rsquo;ve announced that we&rsquo;re introducing a new measure of accountability &ndash; the English Baccalaureate &ndash; which will show how many students in each school secured five good passes in the core academic subjects of English, maths, science, languages and one of the humanities.</p> <p> But as Tim has explained before, the best-performing education nations also deliberately set out to compare themselves against international benchmarks &ndash; learning from each other and constantly asking what is required to help all children do better.</p> <p> Hong Kong and Singapore, for example, have sought to maintain their pre-eminence by reviewing their national curricula, while Australia and US states are also looking to see how they can strengthen their curriculum offers.</p> <p> But while other countries have developed coherent national curricula that allow for the steady accumulation of knowledge and conceptual understanding, ours has, sadly, lost much of its initial focus.</p> <p> Originally envisaged as a guide to study in key subjects, which would give parents and teachers confidence that students were acquiring the knowledge necessary at every level of study to make appropriate progress,&nbsp;it has since developed to cover even more subjects, to prescribe more approaches to teaching, and to take up more school time than originally intended &ndash;&nbsp;more often in response to pressure groups than for sound pedagogical reasons.</p> <p> Now, the net impact of that has been the promotion of generic dispositions, the distortion of the core function of the National Curriculum, and the dilution of the importance of subject knowledge.</p> <p> For example, at the moment the art and design curriculum at Key Stage 3 patronises teachers horribly by telling them that they need to &#39;develop ideas and intentions by working from first-hand observation, experience, inspiration, imagination and other sources&#39;.</p> <p> Meanwhile, for Key Stage 3 history, it says that &#39;the study of history should be taught through a combination of overview, thematic and depth studies&#39;.</p> <p> Now, as far as I can see it, this isn&rsquo;t much different from advising a surgeon to consider using a knife during surgery. Not only is it staggeringly obvious, it&rsquo;s also an insult to professional intelligence.</p> <p> What is really needed, as Tim Oates says, is to identify the essential knowledge that pupils need, including the crucial concepts and ideas that each year group should learn.</p> <p> So, in undertaking this review, our primary objective is to make the curriculum more focused than it currently is, and to hand control back to teachers.</p> <p> Research carried out by the Prince&rsquo;s Teaching Institute, for example, shows that good subject knowledge, and the ability to communicate it, are the most important attributes of successful teachers.</p> <p> But unless the curriculum affords them the space and flexibility that&nbsp;they want and need, teachers simply cannot do that &ndash; and teaching can become far too rigid, far too prescribed and far too formulaic.</p> <p> This is why we want to return the National Curriculum to its fundamental purpose of setting out the essential knowledge that all children should acquire, organised around subject disciplines.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s why we want it to be slimmed down, so that it properly reflects the body of essential knowledge in core subjects and does not absorb the overwhelming majority of teaching time in schools.</p> <p> In short, individual schools should,&nbsp;we think,&nbsp;have much greater freedom to construct their own programmes of study in subjects outside the National Curriculum, and to develop approaches to teaching and study&nbsp;that complement the academic core.</p> <p> However, as we look to do all this, it remains absolutely critical that we learn from best practice overseas and this review will, for the first time, require explicit benchmarking against the most successful school systems in the world &ndash; so that standards and expectations for pupil attainment measure up to those of the highest performing jurisdictions.</p> <p> An ambitious, challenging and rigorous curriculum like this works for the very widest range of pupils, ensuring that all children &ndash;&nbsp;not just those who can afford it &ndash;&nbsp;can access the best possible education.</p> <p> The new National Curriculum will, in essence, represent a standard against which the curricula offered by all schools can be tested.&nbsp;It will be a national benchmark, to provide parents with an understanding of what progress they should expect, to inform the content of core qualifications, and to ensure that schools have a core curriculum to draw on which is clear, robust, and internationally respected.</p> <p> And what we want, is for this review unambiguously to show that we are on the side of teachers and headteachers. And I&rsquo;m delighted that our advisory committee consists predominantly of outstanding heads and former heads &ndash; people like Sir Michael, John McIntosh and Dame Yasmin Bevan &ndash; as well as the voices of universities and business.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m equally delighted that Tim Oates has also agreed to lead an expert panel that will help us draw up the content of the new curriculum.</p> <p> To end, can I just thank the 100 Group again for inviting me along today and for giving me the chance to answer questions.</p> <p> In one sense at least, this debate around our international standing has been needed for some time now,&nbsp;but perhaps the most important thing, regardless of the country&rsquo;s starting point, is simply to make sure that the end goal is the same &ndash; and that we&rsquo;re all working towards a truly world-class education system.</p> <p> Thanks in no small part to the expertise and ambition of the 100 Group, as well as the many other excellent school leaders we have in this country, we think we&rsquo;re now on the right trajectory towards achieving that ambition.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074394/nick-gibb-to-the-100-group Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the 100 Group Education 2011-02-10 Guildhall
<p> Thank you so much for inviting me. And thank you most of all for everything you have done and are doing to improve education and increase opportunity. Nothing this government or the last government has tried to do with academies could have happened without your hard work and dedication. You didn&rsquo;t do it for the fame or money, but because of what you have done, the lives of tens of thousands have been changed for the better. So thank you and thank you to the IAA for the fantastic support it has given to the academies programme. And finally, and in particular, a big thank you to Mike [Butler &ndash; IAA Chair].</p> <p> I know he is standing down as IAA chair shortly so I wanted to take this opportunity to put on the record my and the Department&rsquo;s gratitude for his passion, enthusiasm and commitment, and for everything he has done in the course of education.</p> <p> So as part of my thank you to Mike let me start by saying that I agree with him entirely that the work of academies in areas of deprivation and with disadvantaged young people must remain a key part of the programme.</p> <p> You know the figures but I am going to say them again.</p> <ul> <li> Children not on FSM are twice as likely to get five good GCSEs as those who are on FSM.</li> <li> Last year 40 out of 80,000 children on FSM went onto Oxford or Cambridge.</li> <li> Children who attend private schools are three times more likely to achieve three A-grade A Levels than those who attend state-funded schools.</li> <li> Gaps in attainment start young and get worse as children grow older.</li> </ul> <li> Children not on FSM are twice as likely to get five good GCSEs as those who are on FSM.</li> <li> Last year 40 out of 80,000 children on FSM went onto Oxford or Cambridge.</li> <li> Children who attend private schools are three times more likely to achieve three A-grade A Levels than those who attend state-funded schools.</li> <li> Gaps in attainment start young and get worse as children grow older.</li> <p> These figures are a reproach to us all.</p> <p> Confronting these challenges is what gave the Academies programme its moral purpose. I know it is what drove Andrew Adonis as it is what drove Joel Klein, the former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, and Mike Feinberg, the inspirational founders of the KIPP programme, whom I was lucky enough to meet last week. We went to the King Solomon Academy in Westminster where we saw brilliant, energetic teaching and fantastic switched on children. Joel said something very simple, but very powerful: &#39;If we can do it here, why can&rsquo;t we do it anywhere?&#39;.</p> <p> It is that simple thought that drives so many involved with academies. And it is what continues to drive heads, sponsors and teachers to work flat out, day in day out, providing opportunity, raising aspiration and raising standards.</p> <p> And we know that academies do raise standards. Not at all the same rate, but across the board, average GCSE results are improving at about twice the rate of the rest of the secondary sector. More than a quarter of you are rated outstanding by Ofsted &ndash; compared to under a fifth of all maintained schools.</p> <p> Many of you in this room were the pioneers and it is because of your success and hard work that we have been able to roll the academies programme forward as Lord Adonis and Tony Blair had always planned. I am very happy to pay tribute to them and before them to Ken Baker and CTCs &ndash; because without them, we would not now be able to open up the potential of academy freedoms to thousands more schools.&nbsp;</p> <p> I was the lucky person who had the task of introducing the Academies Bill to the House of Lords on my second day in the job.</p> <p> I know some people wondered what the rush was. Well, the rush was that children only get one shot at education. When all the evidence from around the world shows that there is a very strong correlation between top-performing education systems and autonomy at school level, Michael Gove was impatient &ndash; rightly so &ndash; to extend these freedoms to others.</p> <p> As a result of that Bill we have opened up academy status to every single state primary, secondary and special school which wants it.</p> <p> What has been particularly exciting in recent months has been the number of approaches that we have been having from schools wanting to become academies in chains or clusters. I recognise that at the time of the Academies Act last summer the key message coming across was about autonomy. What has become clear to me when talking to schools is that perhaps even more powerful than autonomy is the combination of autonomy and partnership. That seems to me to combine the advantages of professional freedom, with the real move that there has been in recent years towards schools working together and learning from each other.</p> <p> We don&rsquo;t want academies to be seen as islands &ndash; and nor do the academy principals that I talk to. That is one of the reasons why we said in the Academies Act that we expected outstanding schools which wanted to convert to partner another local school which would benefit from their support.</p> <p> As you will know, in November we announced a further opening up of the programme by saying that any school could apply for academy status, regardless of its Ofsted rating, if it applied as part of a group with a school that was rated as outstanding or good with outstanding features. There has been a strong response to that, as schools have come up with their own ideas for working together &ndash; groups of secondaries, or primaries, or primaries clustered around a secondary, perhaps with a special school. This development seems to me to go with the grain of the culture of schools, and the fact that it is bubbling from the bottom up makes me think that it is all the more powerful.</p> <p> We continue to roll the programme out and extend its freedoms to others. The new Education Bill, introduced in the House of Commons last week, extends the academies programme to FE and sixth-form colleges and also to alternative provision.</p> <p> So when I look back over the last&nbsp;six months, what do I see?</p> <ul> <li> More than one academy opening every working day, and the interest continuing to grow.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> 10 per cent&nbsp;of secondary schools are now academies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> The growing success of multi-academy chains like Harris or ARK &ndash; working with weak schools to raise standards with a distinctive ethos and strong leadership.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> All-through academies up and running.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> The first special schools going through the application process to open later this year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> The first generation of university technical colleges and studio schools on track &ndash; offering high-quality, work-based technical and vocational education. I am a huge fan of UTCs and studio schools. While I can probably never match the sheer energy and enthusiasm of Ken Baker, I support whole heartedly what he is trying to. With the UTC movement picking up pace and the review of vocational qualifications being carried out by Alison Wolf, I think we have a fantastic opportunity to make a profound and positive change to the education.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> The independent sector &ndash; HE and FE, charities, business and other groups with good track records keen to sponsor projects, now the brakes have been let off the programme.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> And the first Free Schools now set to open in September in under a year &ndash; with eight projects having their business cases approved last week, and with another 35 applications moving forward.</li> </ul> <li> More than one academy opening every working day, and the interest continuing to grow.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> 10 per cent&nbsp;of secondary schools are now academies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> The growing success of multi-academy chains like Harris or ARK &ndash; working with weak schools to raise standards with a distinctive ethos and strong leadership.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> All-through academies up and running.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> The first special schools going through the application process to open later this year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> The first generation of university technical colleges and studio schools on track &ndash; offering high-quality, work-based technical and vocational education. I am a huge fan of UTCs and studio schools. While I can probably never match the sheer energy and enthusiasm of Ken Baker, I support whole heartedly what he is trying to. With the UTC movement picking up pace and the review of vocational qualifications being carried out by Alison Wolf, I think we have a fantastic opportunity to make a profound and positive change to the education.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> The independent sector &ndash; HE and FE, charities, business and other groups with good track records keen to sponsor projects, now the brakes have been let off the programme.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <br /> <li> And the first Free Schools now set to open in September in under a year &ndash; with eight projects having their business cases approved last week, and with another 35 applications moving forward.</li> <p> So we have made a brisk start. But there is more to do. Where there is much to admire and build on in the current system, there are still too many weak schools in deprived areas. Teaching is only rated as satisfactory in half of our schools. And we&rsquo;re slipping back against our international rivals &ndash; falling from fourth to sixteenth in science, seventh to 25th in literacy, and eighth to 28th in maths in the latest PISA rankings. Despite all the efforts of recent years, the rest of the world has not been standing still.&nbsp;</p> <h2> Autonomy and accountability</h2> <p> So that&rsquo;s why the white paper and Education Bill set high aspirations for the whole education system.</p> <p> International evidence shows that freedom for schools, coupled with sharper public accountability, is the key to driving up standards.</p> <p> So we&rsquo;re freeing outstanding schools and colleges from inspections &ndash; so Ofsted concentrates on those performing less well.</p> <p> We are legislating so that Ofqual makes sure our exams keep pace with international standards.</p> <p> We are overhauling vocational qualifications through Professor Alison Wolf&rsquo;s review&nbsp; to make sure young people are equipped with the skills employers need.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also why we&rsquo;ve introduced the English Baccalaureate, about which I suspect some of you have views, to make sure that while students get the broadest possible curriculum, their parents know exactly how they perform in the core subjects at 16, just as they do in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve set tougher but fairer floor targets.</p> <p> We want firm, decisive action when results are persistently below this, where management is weak with little capacity to improve, or when there is serious Ofsted concern.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re extending ministers&rsquo; intervention powers in underperforming schools.</p> <p> And why we&rsquo;ve appointed Dr Elizabeth Sidwell, the Chief Executive of Haberdashers&rsquo; Aske&rsquo;s Federation, as our new Schools Commissioner.</p> <p> Few in education have her pedigree, quality or experience. And she won&rsquo;t be shy in challenging local authorities and heads to come up with robust improvement plans &ndash; brokering academy arrangements, recruiting sponsors, enthusing heads and governors to go for academy status, and promoting Free Schools to prospective proposers.</p> <p> I know that there has been a lot of emphasis on the structural reforms we have introduced &ndash; the academies and Free Schools. But structures without people are nothing. We all know that the key to good schools are great heads and great teaching. So the purpose of the structural change is to give heads and teachers greater freedom and more control over their own destiny, so that they can get on with doing what they do best &ndash; teaching and running their schools.</p> <p> And that brings me &ndash; finally and you might think belatedly&nbsp;&ndash; to the theme of your conference: Academies, the new orthodoxy. L&amp;G, let me make a confession: I am suspicious of orthodoxies. Orthodoxies tend to be top down, inflexible and controlling. They value order and consistency over innovation and freedom. What is so exciting at the moment is that ideas are bubbling up from below &ndash; teachers who want to set up Free Schools, rural primary schools wanting to form a chain and cluster around a secondary school, parents wanting to set up schools in libraries and yes, in the Department for Education. One of the points we made early on about the Academies Bill was that our approach was permissive, not coercive. So whether the Academies programme is a success and becomes the norm is not up to me, but to you and the thousands of people like you.&nbsp;</p> <p> So let me end where I started: in thanking you for what you have done and in looking forward to working with you to try answer the question posed to me last week by Joel Klein, &#39;If we can do it here, why can&rsquo;t we do it anywhere?&#39;.&nbsp;<span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span></p> <span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074223/lord-hill-to-the-iaa-national-conference-and-annual-general-meeting-academies-the-new-orthodoxy Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the IAA National Conference and Annual General Meeting – Academies: The New Orthodoxy Education 2011-02-03 Royal Horseguards Hotel
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Ian. And thank you Aviva for hosting this important forum. It&rsquo;s a great pleasure to be here.</p> <p> And can I first offer my congratulations to HTI on your 25th anniversary. Set up with the purpose of building relationships between business and education, your network has grown in strength and influence over the years.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m delighted that you&rsquo;ve chosen to celebrate your silver anniversary year by promoting the importance of raising aspiration among teachers and young people. An important cause which certainly chimes with the aims of the Department for Education. So I wish you every success this year, and indeed for the next 25.</p> <p> One of the features which I admire so much about HTI, and something which I think all the delegates here today have in common &ndash; is a willingness to grasp the nettle when it comes to difficult subjects.</p> <p> This can-do attitude, this entrepreneurial spirit of optimism &ndash; that you all have in spades and do so much to encourage in our schools &ndash; is a necessary quality when we&rsquo;re thinking about how to tackle that most difficult and complex issue &ndash; the subject of today&rsquo;s discussion forum: runaway children.</p> <p> Past efforts to help these hardest-to-reach people have been rather hit-and-miss, on the whole. Legislation, guidance, policy initiatives &ndash; you name it &ndash; despite our best endeavours, too many children and young people still don&rsquo;t get the support and care which they desperately need, particularly at such a vulnerable point in their lives.&nbsp;</p> <p> But we also feel very strongly that, whatever the past failures, we can&rsquo;t give up on these children who have fallen off society&rsquo;s radar. And as we know from too many recent examples, it is often these children who come to most harm through neglect, violence, sexual and other exploitation.</p> <p> The reasons why they run away from home or from care in the first place are complex and diverse. As are the reasons they can become attracted to life on the streets, and unwilling to change their behaviour, and ultimately trapped in a cycle of despair. It is particularly alarming that of the hundreds of under 16-year-olds estimated to be runaways each year,&nbsp;one in&nbsp;six are under the age of 12.</p> <p> So if we&rsquo;re going to make a difference we need to put our heads together, and work together to find alternative ways of supporting, engaging and including these young people in extreme need.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m always struck by how much can be achieved, when someone decides that something needs to change. For example, Jo Shuter, the headteacher of Quintin Kynaston, who is responding to the plight of homeless sixth formers in her school, not by wringing her hands but by raising money to buy a 10-bed house, which will be staffed by adults acting as proxy parents, to these students who have no other home.</p> <p> And David Maidment, the founder and chair of Railway Children, Aviva&rsquo;s chosen partner charity. Acting in response to the street children he saw during a business trip to Mumbai, David did his research, saw a need for early intervention and started what became, 15 years on, a global charity that last year helped nearly 30,000 homeless children and young people.</p> <p> To me, these people embody the Big Society idea. To anyone who isn&rsquo;t sure what the Big Society is all about, I say look no further than these individuals. To anyone who doubts the rhetoric of the Big Society, or thinks it&rsquo;s really all about cutting costs, I say look at what they have achieved.</p> <p> And crucially, look at what they have achieved by joining forces with others - collaborating with businesses such as Aviva, as well as with schools, charities, public sector bodies and with young people themselves. Partnering up to find out what works, pooling resources, and being open to creative new ideas that will reach even further. Not sitting back. Not going it alone.</p> <p> As Barack Obama said when calling for a new age of responsibility in the States, people who join together can &lsquo;do amazing things&rsquo;.</p> <p> Businesses too have so much to contribute to building a big society, and giving young people a respected place within it. Nationally and locally, an increasing number recognise the opportunity and the need to invest in young people. To engage them positively in their communities and to help them develop the skills they, and we, need for the future.&nbsp;</p> <p> Which brings me back to the big, and largely sidelined, problem under scrutiny today. How to help the approximately 100,000 children under the age of 16 who run away from home or care each year. They do so to escape abuse or abusers, possibly neglect or family conflict &ndash; but they do so because they see no alternative for themselves. And once on the streets it&#39;s a sure bet they&#39;ll encounter further violence and exploitation. They are truly amongst the most vulnerable people in our society.</p> <p> I am especially concerned about the runaways who come from the care system, having already been rescued from traumatic and neglectful conditions with their birth families.</p> <p> We have a particular responsibility to do everything in our power to protect these children and young people in care or who are about to leave care. Statutory guidance already requires local authorities to liaise with police when a child goes missing from care, to take action to find the child and to minimise the chances of them going missing in future.</p> <p> And a new regulatory framework, coming into force in April, highlights the importance of support and training for foster carers, who provide most of the care placements, to equip them with the skills they need to help their foster children - including those children at risk of running.</p> <p> Our Department is working with the sector to develop a Foster Carers&rsquo; Charter. This will set out how fostering services and local authorities can best support carers &ndash; and how we expect carers, in turn, to support their foster children, to enable them to reach their potential and thrive, and enjoy stable placements which mitigate the urge to opt out and escape.</p> <p> All children and young people who run away &ndash; boys and girls - are at far greater risk of sexual exploitation. We are considering urgently what further action needs to be taken to safeguard children and young people. And we need to look at every aspect of the problem, from awareness-raising and prevention through to crime detection and victim support.</p> <p> I am particularly concerned about the recent cases highlighted in Operation Retriever, amongst others, which highlighted systemic sexual exploitation of teenagers across a number of UK cities, many of them from the streets. The Barnado&rsquo;s report last month underlined the extent of the problem and I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge.</p> <p> With my colleagues in the Home Office we are working alongside other government departments, local authorities, Local Safeguarding Children Boards, and organisations like the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre&nbsp;and Barnardo&#39;s, to build on existing guidance. We aim to develop effective prevention strategies, support victims and take action against perpetrators.&nbsp;</p> <p> But to be really effective at getting to grip with society&rsquo;s problems, society as a whole needs to get involved and be eternally vigilant. And to me that means businesses linking up with charity groups, and getting their employees involved as volunteers. It&rsquo;s a win-win situation, as Aviva and others have already found. Working with Railway Children, Aviva employee volunteers are going out to schools and communities across the UK, raising awareness and delivering education programmes.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s making them a happier and more loyal, motivated and productive workforce.</p> <p> This partnership is an example of the kind of thing we want to see more of, and that will underpin the growth of the Big Society. Business engaging with the voluntary sector, with local authorities, with the education sector, with young people and with government. Everyone working together. Everyone&rsquo;s responsibility.</p> <p> And the Government&#39;s role in &lsquo;working together&rsquo; will be chiefly about creating the right conditions for partnerships to flourish and providing some of the tools. We want to facilitate rather than control from the centre.</p> <p> So we&#39;re exploring how we might establish a network that will bring together businesses interested in supporting young people. Because the stronger the collaboration, the greater the impact.</p> <p> We need young people themselves to be involved in decisions that affect their lives, if our policies and programmes are to work. Fewer than&nbsp;five per cent of young runaways seek help from statutory bodies such as police and social services &ndash; so clearly we need to go out there and talk to them about what would work for them, and listen much more to what they need. We have to do this if we hope to engage and influence them.</p> <p> Over the next few months, we will be holding a youth summit and organising workshops and round table events, so that we can develop a shared vision of the purpose, benefits and role of services for young people, particularly vulnerable children and young people.</p> <p> This will be a real collaboration, so that when we publish our policy document outlining plans for young people&rsquo;s services, it will have been validated by our partners &ndash; young people, local authorities, businesses and voluntary organisations. And it will be the product of joined-up working between other departments.</p> <p> And similarly, at the local level, we want to see local authorities embracing smarter joined-up ways of working in partnership with each other and with local agencies in order to run services better and more cost effectively.</p> <p> In tough financial times we have to focus our limited resources on the young people who need it most. And we have to measure success by outcomes achieved, not the numbers &lsquo;processed&rsquo;, which has too often been the case in the past. We must share insights into what works best and pool capital resources. We owe this to young people and we owe it to the public purse.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re exploring Payment by Results models of funding as part of the Early Intervention Grant, to reward those local authorities who produce excellent outcomes.</p> <p> Early intervention is the key to much of this, which is why we came up with the Early Intervention Grant and are promoting Graham Allen&rsquo;s work to promote quality and targeted intervention early, with the immense social and financial savings following swiftly on.</p> <p> As its name suggests, the Early Intervention Grant is intended to fund services that can prevent early risks from escalating into something much more expensive and problematic further down the line. It&rsquo;s about thinking and spending for the long term and is targeted at the most vulnerable young people and families.</p> <p> And the role of schools in preventative care cannot be underestimated &ndash; by engaging children in their own education and raising their aspirations of course, but also by keeping an eye on students&rsquo; overall wellbeing and liaising with other local agencies where there are particularly vulnerable or dysfunctional families, which are often the source of many of these runaways.</p> <p> Teachers are often best-placed for spotting emerging problems &ndash; and for taking early action to deal with them. In recognition of this, and because resources need to be targeted directly at those in need, we have introduced the pupil premium. It amounts to &pound;2.5 billion pounds of extra funding over the next four years, and will go with the poorest children to the schools they attend. And schools will be accountable for spending the money where it&rsquo;s needed, on raising attainment and aspiration, and giving everyone an even chance of flourishing and staying put.</p> <p> We are determined to end the terrible waste of human potential that we see in the most disadvantaged and most vulnerable children today. And we are determined to create the conditions for long-term success &ndash; through education reform, through youth sector reform, through putting resources where they are most needed. But most importantly through working together.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0074150/heads-teachers-and-industry-forum-kids-off-the-radar-from-street-to-school Tim Loughton MP Heads, Teachers and Industry forum: 'Kids off the Radar - from street to school' Education 2011-02-01 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you so much.</p> <p> I am delighted to be here. It makes a very nice change not to be in the House of Lords, where we&rsquo;ve been holed up for the last fortnight, sleeping bags at the ready, while voting &ndash; or not voting &ndash; on the electoral reform bill.</p> <p> Your timing is immaculate,&nbsp;as this morning we published the new Education Bill. I will say a bit more about that, and about academies in particular, in a moment.</p> <p> But first of all, I just want to say a very big thank you for all that you do.</p> <p> No one becomes a head or a teacher for fame, money or anything other than a deep conviction that education enriches children&rsquo;s lives and helps them reach their full potential. I know how hard you all work &ndash; day in, day out &ndash; to increase opportunity and raise aspiration.</p> <p> My mother was a teacher, so I was brought up to understand the importance of learning; how education transforms lives; and how books have the power to set people free. And I&rsquo;m glad to say that at nearly 84, she is still going on doing a day a week to her local primary school to help children with their reading.</p> <p> I also don&rsquo;t need convincing about the fantastic job that Catholic schools in particular do.</p> <p> The CES&rsquo; <em>Value Added</em> report, published earlier this month, spells it out.</p> <em>Value Added</em> <p> Your GCSE and Key Stage 2 results are consistently above the national average. Seventy-three per cent of your secondaries and 74 per cent of your primaries are rated outstanding or good by Ofsted,&nbsp;compared with 60 and 66 per cent nationally. And your leadership quality, teacher training and CVA scores far outstrip your peers.</p> <p> So it was right that his holiness Pope Benedict celebrated your achievements on his visit last year, as part of the Year of Catholic Education &ndash; and it was a great treat to be at the Big Assembly at St Mary&rsquo;s in Twickenham as the sun fought with the clouds, to hear his thoughtful speech about faith, society and schools.</p> <p> I know your theme today is &#39;stewards of the common good&#39;. And I am sure that we have a shared purpose in seeking to promote the common good, working to overcome the situation whereby too many children have their life chances determined by where they are born.</p> <p> We know the figures, but they bear repetition:</p> <ul> <li> Children not on FSM are twice as likely to get five good GCSEs as those who are on FSM.</li> <li> Last year 40 out of 80,000 children on FSM went onto Oxford or Cambridge.</li> <li> Children who attend private schools are three times more likely to achieve three A-grade A Levels than those who attend state-funded schools.</li> </ul> <li> Children not on FSM are twice as likely to get five good GCSEs as those who are on FSM.</li> <li> Last year 40 out of 80,000 children on FSM went onto Oxford or Cambridge.</li> <li> Children who attend private schools are three times more likely to achieve three A-grade A Levels than those who attend state-funded schools.</li> <p> Gaps in attainment start young and get worse as children grow older. These figures are a reproach to us all.</p> <p> And just as the Christian churches took the lead in setting up the first schools to teach the poor long before the State stepped in, I hope that we can work with you on the next stage of education reform in England.</p> <h2> The need for change</h2> <p> Let me say a few words about our overall approach.</p> <p> In a way, I hope the title of our White Paper &ndash; <cite class="publication">The Importance of Teaching</cite> &ndash; says it all.</p> <cite class="publication">The Importance of Teaching</cite> <p> I know that there has been a lot of emphasis on the structural reforms we have introduced &ndash; the academies and Free Schools. But structures without people are nothing. We all know that the key to good schools are great heads and great teaching. So the purpose of the structural change is to give heads and teachers greater freedom and more control over their own destiny, so that they can get on with doing what they do best &ndash; teaching and running their schools.</p> <p> Our White Paper makes clear there is much to admire and build on in the current system: hundreds of outstanding schools, tens of thousands of great teachers, the best generation of heads and leaders ever.</p> <p> But too many children are still being let down. There are still too many weak schools in deprived areas. Teaching is only rated as satisfactory in half of our schools. And other countries have not been standing still.</p> <p> Over the last decade in the PISA world rankings for 15-year-olds, we have fallen from&nbsp;fourth to sixteenth in science, seventh to 25th in literacy, and&nbsp;eighth to 28th in maths.</p> <p> So there is a big job to do.</p> <p> That is why we have announced plans to strengthen teacher recruitment and training &ndash; expanding Teach First, increasing cash incentives for shortage subjects, making initial training more classroom-based, and creating a new national network of teaching schools and university teaching schools.</p> <p> And we need to do more to support teachers in the classroom.</p> <p> So in our Education Bill published today, we plan to introduce tougher discipline powers &ndash;&nbsp;so teachers can search for any items banned by the school rules, making it easier for heads to expel violent pupils; protecting teachers from malicious allegations; and removing 24 hours notice on detentions so schools, if they want to, can impose immediate punishments.</p> <p> We also have plans for a slimmed-down but strong National Curriculum, more robust assessment and inspection, a fairer funding system, the new Pupil Premium, and to move away from central targets and red tape.</p> <h2> More autonomy for heads</h2> <p> But I know there has been a lot of focus on academies &ndash; and that&rsquo;s what I want to turn to now.</p> <p> I am enthusiastic about academies for two main reasons.</p> <p> First, because of their track record to date. Not all are perfect and not all have done equally well. But taking their results as a whole, their GCSE scores are improving at almost double the national average. And in terms of ethos, they have shown how to turn around the deep-seated culture of defeatism and low expectations in so many of our poorest areas.</p> <p> Second, because evidence from around the world shows that there is a very strong correlation between top-performing education systems and autonomy at school-level &ndash; where heads and principals are free to determine how pupils are taught and how budgets are spent.</p> <p> So while we want to carry on with the last government&rsquo;s approach to use academies to raise standards in underperforming schools, we are also opening up the programme to all primary, secondary and special schools who want to convert.</p> <p> What has been particularly exciting in recent months has been the number of approaches that we have been having from schools wanting to become academies in chains or clusters. I recognise that at the time of the Academies Act last summer&nbsp;the key message coming across was about autonomy. What has become clear to me when talking to schools is that perhaps even more powerful than autonomy is the combination of autonomy and partnership. That seems to me to combine the advantages of professional freedom, with the real move that there has been in recent years towards schools working together and learning from each other.</p> <p> We don&rsquo;t want academies to be seen as islands entire unto themselves &ndash; nor do the academy principles that I talk to. That is one of the reasons why we said in the Academies Act that we expected outstanding schools which wanted to convert to partner another local school which would benefit from their support.&nbsp;</p> <p> As you may know, in November we announced a further opening up of the programme by saying that any school could apply for academy status, regardless of its Ofsted rating, if it applied as part of a group with a school that was rated as outstanding or good with outstanding features. There has been a very encouraging response to that, as schools have come up with their own ideas for working together &ndash; groups of secondaries, or primaries, or primaries clustered around a secondary, perhaps with a special school. This development seems to me to go with the grain of the culture of schools, and the fact that it is bubbling from the bottom up makes me think that it is all the more powerful.</p> <p> So far as faith schools are concerned, we&rsquo;ve also been clear that conversion to academy status would be on an &lsquo;as is&rsquo; basis.</p> <p> From the outset, I have been keen that&nbsp; faith schools should be free to become academies but equally clear I hope, that we have no wish to undermine the special status, values, freedoms, assets or anything else that is a part of a being a Catholic school or part of a family of Catholic schools.</p> <p> So I understand why the CES was initially cautious about academies. I think that &#39;beware governments bearing gifts&#39; is a good principle. Catholic schools have been here a lot longer than all of us and will be around a lot longer than this Government &ndash; I think I am allowed to say that without being accused of disloyalty. So you are right to think about the long term and to look before you leap.</p> <p> To date, 204 new academies have opened since September &ndash; that&rsquo;s at least one every working day &ndash;&nbsp;doubling the number open when the Coalition came to power and meaning more than one-in-ten secondaries overall are now academies.</p> <p> And we expect many more to follow.&nbsp; Earlier this morning I was at a conference for special schools who want to become academies, where there was a great deal of enthusiasm.</p> <p> And I know that many of you are also interested in the freedoms that academy status provides &ndash; over 150 Catholic schools have formally expressed an interest in converting.</p> <p> The Department and the CES have been working closely together,&nbsp;and I believe we have made good progress in providing the reassurance the CES has sought.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve helped to fund the CES to develop a tailored funding agreement to make clear that Catholicism will be at the heart of a faith academy&rsquo;s object and conduct. It puts in black and white that diocesan boards will be able to appoint and maintain the majority of the governors &ndash;&nbsp;and that no principal can be appointed without fully consulting them.</p> <p> So I hope the safeguards the CES understandably asked for are in place and that this will allow Catholic schools which want to become academies to become part of the patchwork quilt of provision that I would like to see and encourage.</p> <p> Another part of this patchwork quilt, of course, are the new Free Schools. Set up under the Academies legislation, the first ones are due to open this September &ndash;&nbsp;new schools set up in under a year. There has been a fantastic response from inspirational teachers, charities and faith groups keen to open new schools, often in areas of the greatest need, to extend opportunity and raise aspiration.</p> <h2> Responsibility, accountability and partnership</h2> <p> But although I am a great enthusiast for academies, they are only part of the story. The Government is keen to set higher expectations and aspirations for the entire school system.</p> <p> We know from international league tables and the pioneering research of Tony Blair&rsquo;s former education advisor, Sir Michael Barber, that the more data you have on schools the easier it is to spot strengths and weaknesses.</p> <p> That is one of the reasons that we have introduced the English Baccalaureate. We will of course listen to any strong cases about what should and shouldn&rsquo;t be included but I think the basic principle is right &ndash; that while students should have the broadest possible curriculum, including a statutory requirement to offer RE, their parents should be able to know how they perform in the core academic subjects at 16.</p> <p> We are also setting new floor standards for secondary schools. This will include both an attainment measure and a progression measure:</p> <ul> <li> For secondary schools, a school will be below the floor if fewer than 35 per cent of pupils achieve 5 A*-C grade GCSEs including English and mathematics, and fewer pupils make good progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage&nbsp;4 than the national average.</li> <li> For primary schools, a school will be below the floor if fewer than 60 per cent of pupils achieve level four in both English and mathematics, and fewer pupils than average make the expected levels of progress between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.</li> </ul> <li> For secondary schools, a school will be below the floor if fewer than 35 per cent of pupils achieve 5 A*-C grade GCSEs including English and mathematics, and fewer pupils make good progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage&nbsp;4 than the national average.</li> <li> For primary schools, a school will be below the floor if fewer than 60 per cent of pupils achieve level four in both English and mathematics, and fewer pupils than average make the expected levels of progress between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.</li> <p> We expect there to be firm, decisive action when results are persistently below this level, where management is weak, where there is a little capacity to improve, or when there is serious Ofsted concern.</p> <p> And we have recreated the post of schools commissioner to help us drive the process of school improvement forward. The highly respected chief executive of Haberdashers&rsquo; Aske&rsquo;s Federation, Dr Elizabeth Sidwell, will take up the post in the spring.</p> <p> These are just some of the areas where we have been pushing ahead. The Secretary of State, Michael Gove, has set a cracking pace and I know he is impatient for improvement. He is impatient for improvement because he sees the waste of talent, the loss of opportunity, the lottery of birth and the strides forward that other countries are making.</p> <p> There is an economic imperative for those of a more Gradgrindian bent. But much more than that, there is a moral imperative. All of us here in different ways have had our lives changed for the better by education. Catholic schools have a long and proud tradition of transforming lives. I am very keen to work with you, to build even closer ties, and to see how we can develop that theme of autonomy and partnership together.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0073901/lord-hill-to-the-national-conference-for-senior-leaders-of-catholic-secondary-education Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the National Conference for Senior Leaders of Catholic Secondary Education Education 2011-01-27 Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you so much for that warm welcome.&nbsp;Having spent much of the last&nbsp;four days stuck camping away in the House of Lords in my sleeping bag. I can tell you that it is extremely nice to be here. It may seem a funny way to run the country, but at least&nbsp;&ndash; thanks to our sleeping arrangements &ndash; I can now say that I having finally slept with a member of the cabinet.</p> <p> The second thing to say is how very sorry the Secretary of State is not to be here.&nbsp;I know he has been looking forward to tonight and he has asked me to pass on his best wishes and to thank the SSAT and you for all you do.</p> <p> Apart from the change of scene, I consider myself very lucky to be here tonight with you, the real heroes and heroines of our education system, the people who are day to day helping out to lay the foundations for the better, fairer society which all of us want to create.</p> <p> No one becomes a teacher for fame or money. And no one gives up their time by becoming a governor or a school sponsor out of anything other than a deep sense that education is the means by which we enable children to enrich their lives and fulfil the limits of their potential.</p> <p> Over the eight months or so since I became a schools minister, I&rsquo;ve developed a huge admiration for the work that all of you do.</p> <p> Your vision, passion, expertise and leadership is what ultimately will make much more difference than anything I can do in central government. Because in any system I can think of it is people who matter the most.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> So although an important part of my job is to do with structures, I am very clear that those changes are merely a means to an end. In a nutshell, what we are trying to do is to create the space for professionals to get on with what they do best and to allow people who are passionate about education and young people to make their contribution without feeling they are constantly having to wade through treacle.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> So I&rsquo;m delighted to have the chance this evening to celebrate your achievements and, also, to say thank you.</p> <p> If this event is a celebration of the very best of our education system, I also want to recognise the role SSAT plays in it.&nbsp;I am grateful to them and to the work they have done in helping and supporting academies.</p> <h2> Expanding the Academies programme</h2> <p> International evidence tells us very clearly that schools see fastest improvement&nbsp; where school leaders are given the greatest control over what happens in their schools.</p> <p> The near-universal network of specialist school shows what can be achieved when schools are allowed to innovate and have the freedom to develop their own distinct character and ethos.</p> <p> We want to remove the bureaucracy that surrounds specialist status so that all schools can decide how to develop their specialisms in the light of the total resources available to them.</p> <p> And more generally we want to extend the autonomy that schools can enjoy.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why the very first thing we did when we took office was to lift the brakes that had been placed on the Academies programme and gradually open it up to all schools, including primaries and later this year special schools.</p> <p> The response has been very encouraging.</p> <p> There has been real enthusiasm in many schools to take advantage of the freedoms that academy status can bring.</p> <p> Why?&nbsp; Because they&rsquo;ve recognised that it can help them to offer an ever-better standard of education.</p> <p> We now have well over 400 academies.</p> <p> More than one academy has opened every working day since the beginning of the school term in September.</p> <p> And the pace seems to be quickening. We had 129 new applications in the first week back in the New Year alone.</p> <p> What I am particularly excited about is the combination of autonomy and partnership that the Academies programme is opening up. We don&rsquo;t want academies to be islands entire unto themselves to mis-quote John Donne. So one of the developments I am keen to encourage is applications from clusters or chains of schools &ndash; from groups of primaries, or primaries grouped around secondary as part of a dealing with the issue of transition.</p> <p> But there&rsquo;s no way that we could have done what we&rsquo;ve done &ndash; or what we want to do &ndash; without the support of many of the people in this room.</p> <h2> The role of the SSAT and sponsors</h2> <p> The SSAT has played a vital role helping schools that want to make the transition to academy status.</p> <p> I know that well over a thousand headteachers have attended the seminars that you&rsquo;ve organised where they&rsquo;ve been able to hear about the benefits of converting and about the experiences of those who have been through the process.</p> <p> The National Headteacher Steering Group has also provided us and prospective convertors with invaluable advice that has been crucial in allowing us to achieve this early momentum.</p> <p> There is no doubt that networks like those operated by the SSAT are the best way of spreading the word, telling it like it really is and developing the culture of collaboration in which schools help other schools to innovate, develop their staff and offer a better educational experience to young people.</p> <p> Expanding the Academies programme also means there will be more opportunities for business people, charities, faith groups, successful schools, higher and further education institutions and other groups with a track-record of success in education to come forward as sponsors.</p> <p> I am keen to encourage more primary schools to convert to academy status and for more sponsors &ndash; both existing and new &ndash; with expertise of working with primary schools to come forward as sponsors.</p> <p> I hope more sponsors with an excellent track-record of working with schools to help them to innovate and improve will come forward. I know that the SSAT itself has exciting plans to become a sponsor, a move which I am keen to encourage. There are certainly plenty of outstanding role models here tonight for any one that wants to do so.</p> <p> It is only because of the often superhuman efforts of sponsors and school leaders that the specialist schools and academies programmes have been such successes.</p> <p> It is therefore only right that on a day like today we stop for a moment to celebrate the fantastic life-enhancing contributions that you make day in, day out across the country. And I would like to thank you for allowing me to be here to share in it with you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0073436/lord-hill-to-the-ssat-guildhall-reception Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the SSAT Guildhall Reception Education 2011-01-20 Guildhall
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you for coming to Ealing and to this great comprehensive. Twyford is a superb state school which draws children from every social background and gives them all a rigorous academic education. Its performance in every area &ndash; from modern languages to music &ndash; is outstanding. This school, under its inspirational head, Alice Hudson, is a great place of learning, a powerful engine of social mobility and a joy to visit. Which is why I hope there&rsquo;ll be time for everyone who wants to, to talk to Alice, see more of her school and see what great state education can achieve.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re fortunate that there are so many great headteachers in our schools. In the last few months I&rsquo;ve had the privilege of talking to many of them. Heroes like Jim McAteer of Hartismere School in Suffolk, Mike Griffiths of Northampton School for Boys, Barry Day of the Greenwood Academy in Nottingham, Mike Spinks of Urmston Grammar in Greater Manchester, Mike Crawshaw of Debenham High and Greg Martin of Durand in Lambeth. And heroines like Sally Coates at Burlington Danes in Hammersmith, Lubna Khan down the road at Berrymede here in Ealing, Sue John at Lampton in Hounslow, Joan McVittie at Woodside High in Tottenham and Kathy August at Manchester Academy.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> After nine months in this job there&rsquo;s no doubt in my mind that we have a wonderfully talented cohort of new teachers and a superb generation of school leaders. But despite the dedication of those professionals, and the hard work of our children, the sad fact is that when it comes to objective measures of our children&rsquo;s academic performance, we&rsquo;re falling behind other nations.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Just before Christmas the most comprehensive survey of global educational achievement ever conducted showed just how daunting the challenge is. The OECD published its PISA league tables &ndash; they record progress in student achievement. But we haven&rsquo;t been progressing relative to our competitors; we&rsquo;ve been retreating. In the last ten years we have plummeted in the rankings: from 4th to 16th for science, 7th to 25th for literacy and 8th to 28th for maths. In those tests of mathematics, Chinese 15-year-olds are now more than two years ahead of 15-year-olds in this country. And in maths, the OECD found that just 1.8 per cent of 15-year-olds in this country &lsquo;can generalise and creatively use information based on their own investigations and modelling of complex problem situations&rsquo;. In Shanghai it&rsquo;s 25 per cent.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And it&rsquo;s not just the case that we&rsquo;re falling behind, it&rsquo;s also the case that the gap between the opportunities open to wealthier students and poorer students has grown wider over the last ten years. Opportunity has become less equal. Children in wealthier areas are twice as likely to get three As at A level as children in poorer areas. And the number of our very poorest children &ndash; those eligible for free school meals &ndash; who made it to Oxbridge actually fell in recent years. In the penultimate year for which we have figures it was 45. And in the last year, 40 out of 80,000.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <p> These figures tell a terrible story of horizons narrowed, opportunity restricted, lives blighted. It&rsquo;s not just offensive to any notion of social justice that so many should lose out in this way. It&rsquo;s also a threat to our economic recovery. And a step backwards &ndash; to a past when we rationed access to knowledge and assumed there had to be a limit on how much poorer children could achieve. There is a real danger that if we don&rsquo;t change we will remain stuck in that unhappy past.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> First, we have to improve the quality of entrants into teaching by recruiting more talented people into the classroom. The best-performing nations &ndash; like Finland, South Korea and Singapore &ndash; all recruit their teachers from the top pool of graduates. Which is why we are reforming teacher training, devoting resources to getting top graduates in maths and science into the classroom and expanding programmes such as Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders, which attract the best and the brightest into teaching. We also need to reform the rules on behaviour and discipline. The biggest barrier to talented people coming into or staying in teaching is poor behaviour by pupils &ndash; which is why we will strengthen teachers&rsquo; powers to maintain order in our new Education Bill.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Second, we have to increase the level of operational autonomy in our schools &ndash; over issues like pay, staffing, timetabling and spending &ndash; matching what&rsquo;s happening in the best education systems across the world. Again I&rsquo;m delighted that well over 400 good and outstanding schools have applied to take up our offer of academy status. And that over 200 parent, teacher and charity groups have applied to set up Free Schools. We&rsquo;re also working with many local authorities around the country to ensure that dozens of the poorer performing schools in their areas are taken over by proven independent sponsors. In eight months we&rsquo;ve more than doubled the number of academies.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And third, you need mechanisms that send a relentless signal that you believe in holding everyone to higher and higher standards. That&rsquo;s why we introduced our English Baccalaureate in last week&rsquo;s league tables to encourage more children &ndash; especially from poorer backgrounds &ndash; to take the types of qualifications that open doors to the best universities and the most exciting careers.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Yes, this pace of change is radical &ndash; but it needs to be. Those who want to keep the current system unreformed can only justify it by deluding themselves and others about the world around us. Millions of Asian students graduating from schools which outpace our own joining the international trade system? Ignore it. Moore&rsquo;s Law in computer science, genetics, biological engineering and robotics transforming industry after industry before our eyes? Ignore it. Other nations ruthlessly plundering best practice from the highest-performing jurisdictions to get better and better? Ignore it and say since there are more As now at A Level than 25 years ago, everything is fine.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We cannot afford to remain stuck with a school system that isn&rsquo;t adapting when the pace of change in business is accelerating. The movie of the moment &ndash; the Social Network &ndash; tells the story of a company, Facebook, which almost no-one had heard of a few years ago and which is now worth billions. The jobs of the future will be found in industries none of us can envisage now. But the biography of Facebook&#39;s founder Mark Zuckerburg powerfully underlines the lesson that a rigorous academic education is the best preparation for the future. When Zuckerburg applied to college he was asked what languages he could speak and write. As well as English he listed French, Hebrew, Latin and Ancient Greek. He also studied maths and science at school. He would have done very well in our English Baccalaureate. And the breakthroughs his rigorously academic education helped create are now providing new opportunities for billions. Which is why we need schools that equip students with the intellectual capital to make the most of these opportunities. Critically that means giving every child a profound level of mathematical and scientific knowledge, as well as deep immersion in the reasoning skills generated by subjects such as history and modern foreign languages.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> We must change fast and we will change or we are going to be culturally and materially impoverished. Across the globe, the future lies in elevating our sights, raising aspiration, daring to imagine the new heights our children might scale. Which is why we need to step up the pace of reform, not slow down. And, critically, why we should set the benchmark for our children higher still.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> That&rsquo;s why today I&rsquo;m launching a new review of the entire National Curriculum. It&rsquo;s badly in need of reform. It&rsquo;s too long: in total, the full document approaches nearly 500 pages. It&rsquo;s patronising towards teachers and stifles innovation by being far too prescriptive about how to teach. Teachers are instructed on how to use specific techniques in RE and commanded to use certain types of source material in history. Its pages are littered with irrelevant material &ndash; mainly high-sounding aims such as the requirement to &lsquo;challenge injustice&rsquo; which are wonderful in politicians&rsquo; speeches &ndash; but contribute nothing to helping students deepen their stock of knowledge.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And at the same time as having become so bloated with prescriptive detail about how to teach and empty rhetoric about what teaching should achieve, the curriculum is decidedly thin on actual knowledge. So we have a compulsory history curriculum in secondary schools that doesn&rsquo;t mention any historical figures &ndash; except William Wilberforce and Olaudah Equiano, the great abolitionists (and then only in the explanatory notes). We have a compulsory geography curriculum in secondary schools that mentions no countries apart from the UK, no continents, no rivers, no oceans, no mountains and no cities, although it does mention the European Union. And we have a compulsory music curriculum at Key Stage 3 in secondary school which doesn&rsquo;t mention a single composer, musician, conductor or piece of music.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <p> The curriculum that was prepared for our primary schools by the last Government was similarly denuded of content. The English curriculum didn&rsquo;t mention a single writer, novel, poem or play. The arts and music curriculum didn&rsquo;t mention any artists or musicians, or indeed any composers or pieces of music. And the programme for historical, geographical and social understanding didn&rsquo;t mention a single historical figure or specify a single historical period that had to be studied. The primary curriculum doesn&rsquo;t require children to learn about adding or subtracting fractions &ndash; but does require that five-year-olds create and perform dances from a variety of cultures. The curriculum doesn&rsquo;t include anything in science on the water cycle but does, helpfully, inform swimming teachers that pupils should be taught to &lsquo;move in water&rsquo;.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The absence of such rigour leaves our children falling further and further behind. In all those countries that perform best in international comparison studies like PISA, the curriculum contains more core knowledge and less extraneous material. As Tim Oates says:</p> <br /> <br /> <blockquote> <p> In all high-performing systems, the fundamentals of subjects are strongly emphasised, have substantial time allocation, and are the focus of considerable attention in learning programmes.</p> </blockquote> <p> In all high-performing systems, the fundamentals of subjects are strongly emphasised, have substantial time allocation, and are the focus of considerable attention in learning programmes.</p> <p> Comparing Hong Kong and England alone, examples of topics explicitly covered in Hong Kong at primary school but not in England include:</p> <ul> <li> calculations with fractions</li> <li> the solution of equations</li> <li> the properties of cones, pyramids and spheres</li> <li> the number of days in each month and the number of days in a year</li> <li> area and perimeter is limited to rectilinear shapes, and volume.</li> </ul> <li> calculations with fractions</li> <li> the solution of equations</li> <li> the properties of cones, pyramids and spheres</li> <li> the number of days in each month and the number of days in a year</li> <li> area and perimeter is limited to rectilinear shapes, and volume.</li> <p> Examples of science topics explicitly covered in the Singapore primary curriculum but not the England one are:</p> <ul> <li> understanding of cells as the basic unit of life; how cells divide to facilitate growth; identification of different parts of plant and animal cells</li> <li> understanding the importance of the water cycle</li> <li> understanding of the link between the Earth&rsquo;s position relative to the Sun as a contributing factor to Earth&rsquo;s ability to support life.</li> </ul> <li> understanding of cells as the basic unit of life; how cells divide to facilitate growth; identification of different parts of plant and animal cells</li> <li> understanding the importance of the water cycle</li> <li> understanding of the link between the Earth&rsquo;s position relative to the Sun as a contributing factor to Earth&rsquo;s ability to support life.</li> <p> The TIMMS survey of maths and science teaching in education systems around the world compares those topics taught to children in different countries. It reveals some big gaps in the English curriculum. The following common topics aren&rsquo;t in the English primary curriculum:</p> <ul> <li> adding and subtracting simple fractions</li> <li> comparing and matching different representations of the same data</li> <li> finding a rule for a relationship given some pairs of numbers.</li> </ul> <li> adding and subtracting simple fractions</li> <li> comparing and matching different representations of the same data</li> <li> finding a rule for a relationship given some pairs of numbers.</li> <p> And these common topics aren&rsquo;t in the primary curriculum for science:</p> <ul> <li> plant and animal reproduction</li> <li> energy requirements of plants and animals</li> <li> ways that common communicable diseases are transmitted</li> <li> properties and uses of metals</li> <li> common energy sources and their practical uses</li> <li> common features of Earth&rsquo;s landscape</li> <li> weather conditions from day to day or over the seasons</li> <li> fossils of animals and plants.</li> </ul> <li> plant and animal reproduction</li> <li> energy requirements of plants and animals</li> <li> ways that common communicable diseases are transmitted</li> <li> properties and uses of metals</li> <li> common energy sources and their practical uses</li> <li> common features of Earth&rsquo;s landscape</li> <li> weather conditions from day to day or over the seasons</li> <li> fossils of animals and plants.</li> <p> A poor curriculum doesn&rsquo;t just cause problems in the classroom, it also makes it much harder to set high-quality, rigorous exams. As Tim Oates said last year:</p> <blockquote> <p> If the curriculum specifications contain irrelevant content, there will be erosion of face validity of assessments and qualifications, leading to a loss of confidence in national assessment and public qualifications. Developing fair and accurate assessment relies on clarity in the statement of that which is to be assessed &ndash; this was not provided by the highly generic statement of the revised secondary curriculum.</p> </blockquote> <p> If the curriculum specifications contain irrelevant content, there will be erosion of face validity of assessments and qualifications, leading to a loss of confidence in national assessment and public qualifications. Developing fair and accurate assessment relies on clarity in the statement of that which is to be assessed &ndash; this was not provided by the highly generic statement of the revised secondary curriculum.</p> <p> This is one reason why Key Stage 2 tests have become devalued in recent years. It has also led to problems with those GCSEs &ndash; English, maths and science &ndash; that have to fulfill curriculum requirements.</p> <p> The relationship between curriculum and assessment can also lead to false reassurance for parents. For example, the secondary English curriculum lists a huge range of writers from Bunyan and Chaucer, to Larkin and Amis, yet there is very little requirement to study writers from any period or genre. This means that exam boards tend to focus on the same texts year after year. An unpublished departmental survey suggests that over 90 per cent&nbsp;of schools teach <cite class="book"></cite><cite class="publication">Of Mice and Men</cite> to their GCSE students. And as many students only read one novel for GCSE, the curriculum&rsquo;s impression of wide-ranging study is misleading.</p> <cite class="book"></cite> <cite class="publication">Of Mice and Men</cite> <p> So the need for a complete overhaul of the curriculum is very clear &ndash; we have taken a serious wrong turn and we need to be brought back to the road travelled by the most successful education systems around the world. As we explained in the White Paper, the remit is clear:</p> <blockquote> <p> The National Curriculum will act as a new benchmark for all schools. It will be slim, clear and authoritative enough for all parents to see what their child might be expected to know at every stage in their school career. They will be able to use it to hold all schools to account for how effectively their child has grasped the essentials of, for example, English language and literature, core mathematical processes and science.</p> </blockquote> <p> The National Curriculum will act as a new benchmark for all schools. It will be slim, clear and authoritative enough for all parents to see what their child might be expected to know at every stage in their school career. They will be able to use it to hold all schools to account for how effectively their child has grasped the essentials of, for example, English language and literature, core mathematical processes and science.</p> <p> Our timetable will allow this new curriculum in English, science and maths to be introduced in 2013. All these subjects &ndash; alongside PE &ndash; will remain compulsory at all key stages. Our aim is to introduce programmes of study in other subjects in 2014. And this timetable will allow for extensive consultation amongst interested parties. Of course I have views &ndash; some of them well-known &ndash; on the value and importance of different subjects and topics, but it is crucial that everyone have their voice heard in what is an extremely important national debate.</p> <p> We are lucky to have as guides an advisory panel containing many of best current and former headteachers, including Sir Michael Wilshaw from Mossborne, John Macintosh, formerly of The Oratory, and Bernice McCabe from North London Collegiate. And an expert panel to collate evidence on the best international examples led by Tim Oates, Director of Research at Cambridge Assessment, with the support of some of the most innovative and inspiring education academies currently working in this country &ndash; such as Professor Dylan William.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> These great men and women have a tough job to do. We live in a rapidly changing world and we need a truly modern curriculum that provides schools and teachers with a baseline, a benchmark that will be meaningful to parents and the wider public but that does not fetter the ability of heads and teachers to innovate and adapt. As is true of all of our reforms we don&rsquo;t have time to wait &ndash; we must push ahead now on all fronts. We&rsquo;ve already fallen too far behind &ndash; in this area as in so many others &ndash; made the wrong choices. I look forward to all of your support and help as we take this next step on the path to a better education for all our children.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> &nbsp;</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0073212/michael-gove-to-twyford-church-of-england-high-school Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to Twyford Church of England High School Education 2011-01-20 London
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> As a fan of Charles Dickens, I must complement you on the name you&rsquo;ve chosen for this conference. <cite class="book">Hard Times </cite>and <cite class="book"></cite><cite class="publication">Great Expectations </cite>are not only two of the finest Victorian novels but &ndash; as is often the case with Dickens&rsquo;s work &ndash; aspects of them continue to resonate with contemporary concerns, even though they were written more than 150 years ago.</p> <cite class="book">Hard Times </cite> <cite class="book"></cite> <cite class="publication">Great Expectations </cite> <p> And if you don&rsquo;t mind, I&rsquo;d like to go on to suggest a third Dickens title &ndash; <cite class="book">Our Mutual Friend </cite>&ndash; which I think evokes well ideals such as partnership, empowerment and trust: ideals that underpin the kind of relationships we need to engage in more, whether our work is based in Westminster, local government or a community-based organisation.</p> <cite class="book">Our Mutual Friend </cite> <h2> Society needs to engage young people</h2> <p> And when we think about these principles &ndash; partnership, empowerment and trust &ndash; it seems to me that they have special relevance with regard to the way we work with young people.</p> <p> Because too often, I think, society treats young people as merely passive recipients of what adults are able to give them. Although it&rsquo;s done with the best intentions.&nbsp;</p> <p> As parents, educators and politicians we give children information, we provide them with leisure activities &ndash; computer games, youth clubs, drama groups, football teams &ndash; we steer them towards certain universities and training courses.</p> <p> Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves of what the pioneering American educator Robert Shaffer said:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> We should think of young people as candles to be lit, not empty bottles to be filled.</p> <p> And we have to remember that young people today are so much more vocal - and powerful - than ever we were, thanks to the technology at their disposal.</p> <p> Our globalised digital world is one in which they are right at home, and light years from the teenage experiences of anyone now over the age of 35.</p> <p> So, if a group of young people can launch a successful Facebook campaign to stop a multinational clothes chain using sweatshop labour, how can we expect them to remain inert while we continue telling them what to do?</p> <p> Of course, young people won&rsquo;t always like what we say to them, and we won&rsquo;t always like what they say to us. That is the nature of dialogue and free speech, and of teenagers.</p> <p> But just as any good business listens to and takes account of its customers and employees when making decisions, so those of us in public life need to listen more and take real account of what young people tell us about the kind of society they want.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s an approach which is key to this Government&rsquo;s thinking about all of its relationships - which we believe should be based on mutual respect and two-way dialogue, not a one-way channel of diktats and prescriptive ring-fences dished out from the people in charge.</p> <p> We could do a lot worse than follow the example of one of the UK&rsquo;s most creative and successful companies &ndash; John Lewis &ndash; which doesn&rsquo;t have &lsquo;employees&rsquo;. Only partners. We want, we need, young people to be active citizens - our partners in society.</p> <h2> Young people as partners</h2> <p> By partnership, I mean we need to engage in a full dialogue with young people. To give them real opportunities to be involved in decisions that affect their lives.</p> <p> We must channel the energy, enthusiasm and idealism that are the hallmarks of youth, to&nbsp; benefit young people themselves as well as the rest of society.</p> <p> The vast majority of young people, we know, are positive, responsible citizens who are keen to make a difference where they live.</p> <p> We want to give them a chance to develop skills and experience so that they can be involved in real decision-making at national, local and community levels.</p> <p> And, of course, one step on the road to achieving this is through the National Citizen Service programme. It&rsquo;s been a long time in our vision and a long time in the planning and it&rsquo;s set to become a reality this summer.</p> <p> We hope and believe National Citizen Service will become a valued rite of passage into adulthood that all 16-year-olds will want to complete. The kind of skills and experience they will build, such as leadership, working as part of a team and using initiative will be an important part of their personal development.</p> <p> For many teenagers, we hope their summer of service will be remembered by them as one of the transformative periods in their lives: introducing them to friends they would never otherwise have met; helping them to discover talents they never realised they had; developing a spirit of community and belonging and national identity.</p> <p> We currently have 12 groups of organisations who will be working with 11,000 young people to deliver National Citizen Service this summer &ndash; and we want many more youth organisations to get involved over the next few years.&nbsp;</p> <p> Because there are real opportunities here not only for young people themselves, but also for the many groups who work with them.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s interesting to reflect that, out of the hundreds of interested parties bidding to run National Citizen Service programmes this year, the winning bids were almost all made up of small groups who had pooled their different expertise to form federations or partnerships.</p> <p> And we see this way of working as a blueprint for the future of youth services as a whole. Because sharing resources, interacting with partners, isn&rsquo;t only more creative. It makes much more economical sense, particularly in these financially straitened times.</p> <p> It is our ambition that, over time, every 16-year-old will choose to take part in National Citizen Service, and discover for themselves the truth of Gandhi&rsquo;s words:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.</p> <p> But we also know that it will take more than a single, radical programme such as this to help us achieve our vision for young people in a Big Society. So NCS is just one element of how we want to get a better deal for young people.</p> <p> Over the next few years, we want to see youth services transformed, so that all young people can feel prepared for life as adults and able to determine their own future.</p> <p> We foresee different services being able to pool capital and intellectual resources in imaginative ways to bring about better, smarter ways of working together, for the ultimate benefit of young people.</p> <p> It won&rsquo;t be government who will achieve these changes. It will be all of you within the sector who will take on the work and achieve the reforms, with the buy-in of young people themselves. The Government is only the catalyst for change.</p> <p> So while we are proud, for example, to have secured &pound;134 million of capital funding for 57 Myplace projects for young people, we know our role is simply that of facilitator to the excellent work community groups up and down the country are doing, in Myplace and other youth hubs.</p> <p> And we need to make sure these groups remain fully engaged so that projects such as Myplace can go from strength to strength and be active hubs at the heart of their community.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Now, as we fine-tune our agenda for reform, we are consulting with young people themselves, as well as with stakeholders, on what the priorities for the youth sector need to be.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> Over the next few months, we&rsquo;ll be holding a youth summit and organising workshops and round table events, so that we can develop a shared vision, and a shared understanding, of the purpose, benefits and role of services for young people.</p> <p> And when, in spring, we publish our policy document outlining the approach, we will do so confident that it has been scrutinised and validated by our partners &ndash; young people, local authority leaders, businesses and charity organisations.</p> <h2> Empowering young people</h2> <p> We want young people to have a sense of optimism about their future. To have high aspirations and a perception of empowerment from knowing they can achieve them.</p> <p> And there are two other ways in which we can make this happen.</p> <p> First, we do it through education. Education is a young person&rsquo;s route to empowerment. It liberates young minds from the constraints of poverty; and it frees them from prejudiced ways of thinking.</p> <p> Our schools and educational institutions, therefore, are essential if we want to increase social mobility and make sure we bring out the absolute best in young people.</p> <p> Because one thing that particularly concerns us today is the poverty of aspiration that we too often see in children from poorer backgrounds.<br /> And at the heart of our education reforms is a determination to tackle the chasm that exists between the haves and the have-nots. It&rsquo;s a disparity not only of wealth, but even more importantly, of aspiration, opportunity and achievement.</p> <br /> <p> At present, the alarming reality is that in any given year, more young people from a single public school will achieve a place at a top university, than from their contemporaries among the poorest 80,000 in the country.</p> <p> One of the key ways in which we will address this national shame is via the pupil premium &ndash; extra funding that amounts to &pound;2.5 billion pounds over the next four years, for the poorest pupils in the country.</p> <p> Crucially, the money will follow the child to the school they attend. The school will be accountable for working with the student to make sure that extra income is spent on helping to raise their attainment.</p> <p> Of course, attainment doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean attending university, whatever your background. An academic career isn&rsquo;t the only route to empowerment and there&rsquo;s much more we&rsquo;re doing around vocational education as well.</p> <p> We need to offer young people a real choice about the path they would like to follow in life. We need to give them the freedom to explore their individual talents and interests in a way that will match their hopes for future employment.</p> <p> Professor Alison Wolf is currently considering how we can strengthen what we offer to 14- to 19-year-olds in terms of vocational education. We look forward to seeing her recommendations when the review is published this spring.</p> <p> But hand in hand with greater choice, is the need for good, professional advice.</p> <p> We all appreciate sound guidance when we face a number of options, even if we&rsquo;re only buying a new smart phone.</p> <p> Good, impartial careers guidance from a professional informs young people of the options open to them, and helps them to choose the right path for themselves.</p> <p> For students with fewer aspirations, such guidance can be a crucial motivator and an important factor in increasing social mobility.</p> <p> So we have been working with colleagues at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to reform and streamline the careers service in England for all young people up to the age of 25.</p> <p> From April next year, a new all-age service will offer informed and independent guidance on ways into education and training, employment and apprenticeships. And we will expect schools to make this available to all students.</p> <p> Local authorities will continue to be responsible for providing help to vulnerable young people only, to enable their participation in education and training.</p> <p> But whether an individual decides on an academic, vocational or work-based training path, what matters is that they do continue their education and training beyond the age of 16.</p> <p> Research shows that for young people not in employment, education or training between the ages of 16 and 18, the outlook is quite bleak.</p> <p> Being NEET at this age is associated with problems later in life, such as unemployment, poor health and depression. At the end of 2009, almost 10 per cent of our 16- to 18-year-olds were classified as NEET. And yesterday&rsquo;s figures on youth unemployment are also cause for concern.</p> <p> So I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s any exaggeration to say this is a tragedy for young people themselves, and a loss on a huge scale to society.</p> <p> In the recent spending review, we committed to raising the participation age to 17 by 2013, and to 18 by 2015, thus helping all 16- and 17-year-olds gain the skills and qualifications they need for a successful transition to university or skilled employment.</p> <p> Educational reform is one way in which we are able to empower young people and raise aspiration. The second approach is by putting the right policies in place within the wider social context.</p> <p> We place enormous value on the pastoral role that schools play in young people&rsquo;s lives. But we recognise that teachers by themselves can&rsquo;t give young people everything they need in the way of pastoral care.</p> <p> Growing up is fraught with anxiety &ndash; even those teenagers lucky enough to have the most perfect childhood aren&rsquo;t immune at times from painful feelings of social inadequacy, from fear and loathing of their changing bodies &ndash; or from that excruciating embarrassment known as parents.</p> <p> Parents and teachers need a supportive society to help them guide young people through the difficult terrain of adolescence.</p> <p> But sadly, far from being supported, parents often feel our culture conspires against them. From a very young age, children are bombarded with dodgy marketing messages and even dodgier merchandise.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Our independent&nbsp; review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children, commissioned last month, will make specific recommendations on what we can do to tackle these issues when it reports back in May.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> Our Department is also working closely with other government departments, to provide sustained and integrated support for young people through improved schooling, health and youth employment programmes.</p> <h2> Targeting resources at the most vulnerable - EIG</h2> <p> The role of wider society is especially important when we think about children who don&rsquo;t have the good fortune to be born within a stable and loving family.</p> <p> Who live in areas of great deprivation, or who are vulnerable perhaps because they have a disability, or are at risk of taking the wrong track, for example through involvement in crime, risky sexual behaviour or substance misuse.</p> <p> When money is really tight we&rsquo;ve got to focus financial support on the young men and women who need it most.</p> <p> And we have to measure success by outcomes achieved, not by numbers participating.</p> <p> To this end, we&rsquo;re currently exploring Payment by Results models, as part of the one-pot-fund we&rsquo;re calling the Early Intervention Grant.</p> <p> As its name suggests, the Early Intervention Grant is intended to fund services that deal with potential problems by getting in there early on &ndash; preventing early risks from escalating into something much more expensive and problematic later on.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s intended to help all young people and families who become vulnerable in some way &ndash; including teenagers.</p> <p> We are keenly aware of the financial challenges that local authorities face in the coming year. We are sympathetic. But we won&rsquo;t tell local authorities what to do. Those days are gone. We believe that local spending and local priorities are best decided by local people.</p> <p> The Early Intervention Grant is one step on the road to greater autonomy for local communities. It&rsquo;s also a step towards a more strategic role for local government.</p> <h2> Changing role of LAs</h2> <p> Instead of being providers, local authorities will increasingly become commissioners of services, responding to local need.</p> <p> We expect to see much greater involvement by voluntary, community and private enterprises in the running of our public services. Smarter partnerships &ndash; in particular between local authorities and youth agencies.</p> <p> The Localism Bill will help create a level playing field, giving organisations the right to challenge local authorities for the right to run services, if they can show they can do it better and more cost effectively.</p> <p> The new, independently run Big Society Bank will use millions of pounds from dormant bank accounts to help fund charities and social enterprise projects. And I want to see high quality youth focused projects at the front of the queue for these funds.</p> <p> And a cabinet office consultation paper on Commissioning sets out how Government will further support the creation and expansion of mutuals, cooperatives and social enterprises. These results will all feed into a Public Service Reform white paper to be published in a few months time.</p> <p> Youth services stand to benefit enormously from these reforms &ndash; but it&rsquo;s going to be a challenging and choppy ride. Unlike most other sectors, provision for young people has never been properly modernised. And unfortunately, this is why they have always had to rely heavily on central government grants, and why the pain is felt at the sharp end, when money is tight.</p> <p> So we need to grasp the nettle now to make youth sector services more sustainable, more viable, more varied and more young person-led.</p> <p> Times are hard, but I am confident that if we seize this opportunity, in four or five years time we will come through better and stronger than ever, our services transformed and expectations fulfilled.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0073388/tim-loughton-to-the-local-government-associationnational-youth-agency-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Local Government Association/National Youth Agency conference Education 2011-01-20 Local Government House, London
<img src="http://media.education.gov.uk/mediacache/website/172/457674362.gif" class="primaryimage" alt="Tim Loughton speaking at BETT" /> <p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thanks Dominic, and a very happy new year to you all. It&rsquo;s a real pleasure to start 2011 with everyone here at the BETT Education Leaders&rsquo; Conference and thank you for inviting me.</p> <p> Can I just begin by paying my thanks to EMAP Connect and the British Educational Suppliers Association for once again organising the exhibition so brilliantly.</p> <p> It is a huge credit to BETT, its sponsors and its participants, that there&rsquo;s such an extraordinary wealth of innovation on display. Reflecting the fact that a staggering amount has changed in both the world of technology and in the classroom over the 27 years that this exhibition has been going on.</p> <p> Who would have thought back in the 80s, for instance, that teachers would be using interactive whiteboards rather than getting their fingers covered in chalk dust.</p> <p> And who would have thought that instead of an entire class crowding around a single ZX Spectrum, or in my days at school crowding round the abacus, the ratio of computers to pupils would stand at around one to three.</p> <p> The pace of change has, frankly, been phenomenal. And there is no doubt that everyone involved in all those BETT exhibitions down the years have played a huge role in helping young people and teachers to benefit directly from that change.</p> <p> So, my thanks once again to everyone who has played their part, and to all those who have come along today. It is a privilege to be able to open the conference officially.</p> <p> Now, technology is, of course, very rarely out of the news in one form or another. Partly because it is, by its very nature &lsquo;new&rsquo; and offers up exciting possibilities &ndash; making it good newspaper fodder (or perhaps Kindle fodder as we should now call it) and partly because it so often splits opinion &ndash; leaving some of us heralding the endless possibilities it brings, and others worrying about the risks that accompany them.</p> <p> Generally speaking, the optimists tend to outnumber the pessimists. But inevitably, with any new frontier comes new risks, and there&rsquo;s always going to be some concern greeting the arrival of innovation.</p> <p> The difficulty for school leaders, parents and politicians of course, is how to balance the concern with the opportunity &ndash; and that&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s so important that we listen to the best possible experts.</p> <p> Unfortunately, I know one of the most eminent of those, Professor Tanya Byron, can&rsquo;t be with us today. But I am very grateful for the work she has been doing with the Department.</p> <p> A few weeks ago, she came in to the Department and gave a very informative, very inspiring presentation to the Secretary of State about the use of technology by children and young people.</p> <p> One of the many interesting points she made then &ndash; which any of you who were at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust conference in November might have heard her talk about - was the history of &lsquo;moral panics&rsquo; we&rsquo;ve had in the past with regard to new technology.</p> <p> She talked, for example, about the consternation in the church that greeted the arrival of printing presses. The panic that greeted the arrival of the film industry in the 1920s &ndash; although it started before this in my constituency...</p> <p> And she also mentioned the apparently frenzied debate surrounding the arrival of the sofa &ndash; which people were afraid would lead to young people lazing around all day.</p> <p> However, as Tanya has argued so well, the arrival of new technology almost invariably offers far more opportunity than it does risk &ndash; and never has this been more true than it is today in the world of education.</p> <p> Now, more than ever before, technology is of profound importance to young people&rsquo;s development. We know it supports good teaching, we know it helps students get better results, we know it helps to reduce truancy&hellip;</p> <p> We even know it can support higher order critical skills: such as reasoning, analysis, scientific enquiry &ndash; and by engaging students in authentic, complex tasks.</p> <p> So, even though when most of us were growing up, it didn&rsquo;t really matter whether you were particularly computer or gadget literate &ndash; in 2011, the world is very different.</p> <p> And whether we see only the endless possibilities, or see only the risks, there&rsquo;s no denying that technology is &ndash; as Microsoft&rsquo;s Chief Executive Steve Bullmer once said &ndash; something that &lsquo;makes real people more effective, every day, in some basic and fundamental thing that they want to do&rsquo;.</p> <p> Here in the UK of course, we can take some pride in the fact that we&rsquo;ve adapted as quickly as we have to that transformation.</p> <p> As many of you will know, we have the highest levels of technology in our classrooms of anywhere in the European Union. The majority of our children have their own online learning space, and practically every school in this country is hooked up to &ndash; and in many cases making great use of &ndash; broadband.</p> <p> This is a huge credit to great headteachers and teachers, fantastic ICT suppliers like those exhibiting here and, of course, to young people themselves.</p> <p> And it has left us uniquely well positioned &ndash; I think &ndash; to equip pupils with the technical expertise they&rsquo;ll need to achieve to the very best of their abilities in a very tough, very competitive world.</p> <p> Nonetheless, this conference is about the future of education, rather than the past. And we&rsquo;re now facing very different challenges, and answering very different questions, to the ones we were facing 10, or even just five years ago.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s no longer simply about shoehorning technology into the classroom. It&rsquo;s about how we help schools to access and use it effectively. And it&rsquo;s about how we help young people to benefit from innovation safely.</p> <p> Today, I want to look at both of these points. But &ndash; if I can &ndash; I&rsquo;m going to start with the second, partly because I&rsquo;ve spent much of my time in Government, and before that in opposition, campaigning on issues like child internet safety and child protection.</p> <p> And partly because there&rsquo;s been a huge amount of attention focused on the issue over the last few weeks.</p> <p> Just this Monday, for example, we saw the head of Woldingham School in Surrey, Jayne Triffitt, outline her concerns over the abuse of the social networking site Little Gossip, after some students used it to spread malicious rumours about their peers and teachers.</p> <p> On the same day, we saw the National Association of Head Teachers publish guidance for schools on how to deal with internet campaigns that target teachers or pupils &ndash; an issue that has also been championed by the NASUWT, amongst others, in recent years.</p> <p> All of this action reflects the fact that online abuse - and cyber bullying in particular &ndash; has fast become the bindweed of the internet.</p> <p> No matter where you cut it off, it always seems to creep its way back onto computer screens and wrap itself around children&rsquo;s lives &ndash; and as a result, it&rsquo;s become a hugely, hugely damaging phenomena.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve seen young people targeted in virtual gaming environments &ndash; we&rsquo;ve seen them targeted on sites like Facebook and Twitter. We&rsquo;ve seen them targeted through mobile phones and email.</p> <p> It is, in short, a very 21st century problem &ndash; and also a particularly nasty, particularly virulent one.</p> <p> It is the nameless, faceless, witless kind of bullying that is such a unique feature of cyberspace. The kind of bullying where a child comes home from school and finds a rumour splashed all over a website - or opens up an email to discover a doctored picture of themselves distributed to everyone in their address book.</p> <p> In this respect, the computer, phone, tablet and games console have the potential to become like a Trojan horse, smuggling provocation, innuendo and rumour into the home in a way that no other generation has ever had to contend with.</p> <p> For any of us who are parents, that kind of threat is of course hugely concerning. It&rsquo;s bad enough in the playground or in the classroom, but when it infiltrates your home, it can make it impossibly difficult to know how to protect your children.&nbsp;</p> <p> We think the time has come to restore the balance of power back in favour of parents &ndash; and to ensure that the opportunities that technology brings are managed both effectively and sensibly.</p> <p> Can that be done through legislation? By increasing regulation? Or by policing every website from the centre of Government? We don&rsquo;t think so &ndash; simply because the internet is impossibly fast moving and no one individual, group or organisation can realistically tackle it on its own.</p> <p> Instead, we know it has to be a joint effort, with government, industry, business, retailers, schools and parents all taking responsibility to stamp out abuse in the system wherever we see it.</p> <p> As an example of how this can work, I was at an event at Google a few months ago where the &lsquo;Fix my street&rsquo; website was mentioned.</p> <p> For anyone who hasn&rsquo;t heard about it, it&rsquo;s basically a site where people can go to report anything that might need attention in their communities &ndash; like pot holes in the road or broken street lights.</p> <p> Over the years, it&rsquo;s been pretty successful &ndash; and it&rsquo;s now got to the point where we&rsquo;ve even seen an Australian spin-off being launched &ndash; called, in the best of Aussie traditions: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s Buggered Mate&rsquo;.</p> <p> Now, the reason why I think these sites have worked is because they rely on the idea of collective responsibility. The idea that we should all take a stake in the issue, rather than rely on others to take it for us.</p> <p> In the case of cyberbullying, that means encouraging the fantastic work that&rsquo;s being done by cyber-mentors through the Beatbullying charity; it means parents reporting abuse; it means teachers alerting education technology providers to any potential risks; it means those in industry reacting quickly and decisively to protect children; and &ndash; finally &ndash; it means Government creating the conditions where all of these things can happen effectively.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why my colleagues on the UK Council for Internet Safety, which I now co-chair, want to move increasingly towards tough self-regulation. With internet service providers having more responsibility for managing potentially harmful sites - and parents and children having greater power to report abuse.</p> <p> At the same time, we are also discussing how we give those same parents the most up-to-date advice and guidance on new technologies, so that they are empowered enough to spot and prevent abuse at the first opportunity. Too often parents are not properly factored into the equation.</p> <p> As many of you will know, we are currently in discussion with representatives in the sector about how all of this is going to happen. And there&rsquo;s now a very clear, very determined commitment within the industry towards developing a robust and effective self-regulatory framework, that will combat cyberbullying and keep children safe.</p> <p> A promising move I think, and we&rsquo;re pleased that this is being backed up by organisations like Facebook and Microsoft, who are playing a vital role through their own membership of the Council.</p> <p> Indeed, I am delighted to be able to announce today that BSI has just awarded its first ever kitemark for parental control software to Net Intelligence, which we will be handing over shortly.</p> <p> A fabulous achievement on their part, and a hugely important one for two reasons in particular.</p> <p> Firstly, because it lets us take advantage of the opportunities that technology brings and minimise the risks.</p> <p> Secondly, because it allows us to place technology at the centre of educational reform in the future &ndash; a crucial point I think, because while we are doing fantastically well in terms of bringing technology into the classroom, we sadly aren&rsquo;t doing anything like as well when it comes to educating our children and young people to reach their full potential.</p> <p> We know, for instance, that we&rsquo;ve been slipping further and further behind our global competitors over the last few years, with the OECD international performance tables showing that since the year 2000, we&rsquo;ve fallen from 4th to 16th in science, from 7th to 25th in literacy, and from 8th to 28th in maths.</p> <p> And we also know that there is now an historically high divide in attainment between those from the poorest backgrounds, and those from the wealthiest.</p> <p> This drift cannot be allowed to continue. It&rsquo;s unfair on children who only get one chance of a good education, it&rsquo;s unfair on their families, and it&rsquo;s unfair on our society and the businesses who form the backbone of our economy.<br /> Fortunately however, technology does provide a unique opportunity to help us regain that competitive edge by supporting us to deliver the improvements we need to make.</p> <br /> <p> And in our recent schools White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, we set out a comprehensive programme of reform for schools to allow us to build that truly world-class education system.</p> <p> That includes paying greater attention to improving teacher quality, granting greater autonomy to the front line, modernising curricula, making schools more accountable to their communities, harnessing detailed performance data, and encouraging professional collaboration so that we can become one of the world&rsquo;s top performers&nbsp; - and close the gap between rich and poor.</p> <p> That is the challenge facing us &ndash; and technology &ndash; we think &ndash; will play a critical supporting role in meeting it.</p> <p> Indeed, you only have to have a quick wander around the exhibition area here to see some of the brilliant ways that technology-based learning can enrich the curriculum.</p> <p> For example, I&rsquo;ve been incredibly impressed with how video games like the Sims Series and Civilisation can be used for education purposes. My daughters certainly spent hours on it when they were younger.</p> <p> And I know many of you will also have seen the fantastic games that have been developed by mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy, which have shown how children&rsquo;s imaginations can be harnessed to allow a deep understanding of even the most complex ideas.</p> <p> However, in order to derive the maximum benefit from this kind of innovation, education leaders have to have the final say over what technology they use, and when they use it.</p> <p> We don&rsquo;t think that teachers or school business managers should come to BETT with a shopping list from central government. The world of technology is simply too fluid for Whitehall to be able to decree what should, or shouldn&rsquo;t be in the classroom.</p> <p> Instead, schools should come ready to make procurement decisions that are based on a detailed knowledge of their own pupils - and be ready to draw up their own wish list of technologies that will inspire young people.</p> <p> That might mean introducing voting technology into the classroom, which has happened so successfully in many schools already &ndash;&nbsp; &lsquo;democratizing&rsquo; the learning experience and making it more interactive.</p> <p> It might mean installing a recording studio, it might mean setting up video links with schools around the world, it might mean using 3D TV.</p> <p> Whatever it is, and however it works, we know that if we want to be truly, truly ambitious about maintaining a technological edge in this country, we have to give teachers and school leaders that flexibility and power to make their own choices &ndash; and we also have to free up as much investment as we can for them to spend on technology.</p> <p> None of this, however, means that schools are being asked to work in isolation.</p> <p> Over the coming months and years, government will continue to play a crucial supporting role &ndash; helping education leaders by taking on procurement and support for special educational needs; by supporting schools to achieve value for money in things like bulk software licensing; by identifying and sharing best practice as it evolves in the classroom, and by supporting suppliers to ensure value for money.</p> <p> The straightforward reality though, is that schools, teachers and industry know the best way to extract value from technology in education.</p> <p> And it seems to me that the BETT exhibition is a perfect example of how those freedoms can be used most effectively to help teachers raise standards in our schools - and to take full advantage of the opportunities that technology creates.</p> <p> To end, let me just thank Dominic again for hosting this fantastic conference - and thank his team for all their incredibly hard work in setting up the exhibition.</p> <p> The future of education in this country depends on how well we equip young people to go on and succeed in their lives. And all of us know that if we are serious about achieving that ambition, it has to include giving them access to the very best that technology has to offer.</p> <p> The time has come to take advantage of that opportunity by encouraging school leaders to come along to exhibitions like this, and decide for themselves what pupils need.</p> <p> The time has come to ensure that children and young people are able to take advantage of the wonders that technology brings &ndash; without the dangers.</p> <p> The time has come to place technology at the absolute centre of our aspirations for a world class education sector.</p> <p> So, thank you all once again. It has been a huge pleasure to be here today and I hope you enjoy both the rest of the conference, and the exhibition itself &ndash; which is such a wonderful advert for some of the truly outstanding British educational technology that is being used in classrooms right across the world.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0073443/tim-loughton-to-the-bett-education-leaders-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the BETT Education Leaders’ Conference Education 2011-01-13 BETT Exhibition, Olympia
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <h2> Introduction</h2> <p> A fair society needs people of passion, energy and conviction to stand up for the most vulnerable.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Reverend Frank Buttle was just such a person.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> He devoted his ministry in the last century to children and families in strife &ndash; particularly the homeless, orphaned and deprived of the East End.</p> <p> And his vocation and moral purpose lives on today through Gerri [McAndrew &ndash; Chief Executive] and the Trust&rsquo;s work.</p> <p> So I&rsquo;m delighted to be here.</p> <p> I want to pay tribute to your excellent work over the last 70 years.</p> <p> And in particular, I want to thank you for your drive and commitment in opening up education for young people who would otherwise miss out.</p> <p> The pioneering Quality Mark you&rsquo;ve developed is a huge step forward in encouraging universities, and now colleges, to recognise and address the very specific needs of care leavers.</p> <p> And so I back wholeheartedly what you are doing in this area.</p> <p> But today, I want to argue that we shouldn&rsquo;t just be relying on the Trust, higher and further education to deal with this alone.</p> <p> The strength of our society, as Frank Buttle recognised, must be judged by how we help those most in need.</p> <p> And so we should all be concerned, outraged even, that tens of thousands of children go through the state-funded care system but never fully realise their talents or potential.</p> <p> Because the truth is that every single young person, in care or not, needs the same basic pillars before even considering a degree or college course:</p> <ul> <li> the motivation to do well at school and get the right qualifications</li> <li> determination and aspirations to go on to further study</li> <li> emotional and financial stability at home.</li> </ul> <li> the motivation to do well at school and get the right qualifications</li> <li> determination and aspirations to go on to further study</li> <li> emotional and financial stability at home.</li> <p> And so we need look at and address the broader and deeper underlying causes of why last year, just 460 &ndash; or one in 14 &ndash; care leavers were at university, and fewer than a third were at college.</p> <p> By challenging and overcoming the wider, entrenched poverty of ambition for young people in care.</p> <p> And by making sure that the state does far better to equip them for life, work and study after they leave care and take their first tentative steps into adulthood.</p> <h2> Culture of high aspirations and expectations</h2> <p> That means firstly, infusing the entire care system with a culture of aspiration, hope and optimism for each young person &ndash; because without it, anything else we do will have limited impact.</p> <p> Children leave care every day with promising futures thanks to the dedication of social workers and foster families acting as the pushy parents which we would expect &ndash; but I&rsquo;ve been clear, both in opposition and now in government, that the system still fails too many others.</p> <p> It is a scandal that in one of the richest countries of the world, there remains an enormous and widening attainment gap throughout the schools system &ndash; with four times fewer children in care getting five good GCSEs, including English and maths, than their peers.</p> <p> And it is plain wrong that those who have been in state-funded care are statistically far more likely to be long-term unemployed, have poorer physical and mental health, abuse drugs and alcohol, be teenage parents, and enter the criminal justice system.</p> <p> But these challenges and barriers do not mean we should bury our heads and write off these young people &ndash; as too many still do.</p> <p> Just like the Frank Buttle Trust does, it means we have to redouble our efforts, give them a second chance when things don&rsquo;t quite go as expected, and never turn our back on them when the chips are down.</p> <p> I was shocked when a young man, in the group of care leavers I meet regularly, said he had been told to get a job instead of going to university. And when he was offered a place at Cambridge, was told it was a &lsquo;nuisance&rsquo; as studying there was bound to be more expensive.</p> <p> What sort of message does that give? Why doesn&rsquo;t a talented care leaver deserve the same chance to go to one of our top universities as anyone else? Why deny young people in care the same educational opportunities we would want for our own children?</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not going to stand here and say there is a magic wand we can wave &ndash; particularly given the financial pressures over the next few years.</p> <p> Nor do I underestimate the obstacles. Children enter care at different ages, often for very complex reasons, and many are left facing deep-rooted damage from years of unchecked neglect and abuse.</p> <p> But we need a more ambitious and sophisticated approach to care and think smarter about how we support these children as they grow up.</p> <p> Because care is not just a question of economics: spending X does not necessarily achieve Y.</p> <p> It is about improving the quality of parenthood by the state. We need to put the right structures and values in place, so we don&rsquo;t simply care for these children, but we care about them &ndash; before, during and after their time in the care system.</p> <p> Care is not a one-way ticket to a lifetime of underachievement &ndash; it must be the solution and the route out of it.</p> <p> We bring children into care for two reasons. One: to rescue them from danger. And two: we can do a better job than if they were left with their own parents.</p> <p> So being ambitious for all children is the key to it succeeding &ndash; not treating those in care like second-class citizens.</p> <h2> Stable placements = stable education</h2> <p> And so secondly, education must stop being an afterthought in the care system.</p> <p> Getting into university is rightly a competitive process &ndash; and it rests on young people having a solid home background so they can get the most out of school.</p> <p> That means making sure young people in care get quality, stable placements, with the continuity of their education up to 16 a key consideration &ndash; just as any parent would do for their children.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we are overhauling school funding to get a fairer deal for looked-after children.</p> <p> Our entire school reform programme is geared around driving up teaching standards and giving them more autonomy and power to get on with the job &ndash; because the longer a child is exposed to high-quality teaching over their 11-plus years at school, the better their results are.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why the Pupil Premium will target initially an extra &pound;430 directly at the children that need it most over the coming year, including those in care &ndash; so teachers can offer them the one-to-one tuition, after-school classes, extra-curricular provision and personal mentoring they need.</p> <p> And the Premium will build up significantly over the next four years, so that by 2015, an additional &pound;2.5 billion will be invested each year on top of core funding.</p> <p> But all this is undermined if children in care are continually moving in and out of different schools.</p> <p> I hear too many stories about young people, already facing multiple problems, being suddenly moved out of their care placements midterm or in the run-up to and even during their actual GCSEs. Often they are moved to the other side of the local authority, to a different school from their friends, and they have to start again.</p> <p> It backs up the thought provoking <cite class="publication">In loco parentis </cite>report by the think tank Demos last year.</p> <cite class="publication">In loco parentis </cite> <p> The authors found that care leavers who go on to higher education are more likely to have had stable care experiences and to have been actively pushed and supported in their studies by their natural parents and foster carers.</p> <p> It showed that looked-after children with a poor, unstable quality of care can cost children&rsquo;s services a startling &pound;32,000 a year more per child than a positive care experience.</p> <p> And it set out how a young person who leaves care at 16 with poor mental health and no qualifications could cost the state over five times the amount of one who leaves care with good mental health and strong relationships, goes on to university and finds a job.</p> <p> So local authorities have a vested interest to spend the time and money to get this right.</p> <p> Because poor placements are not just personal tragedies for the young people involved because they disrupt their lives and damage their education &ndash; they cost society more in the long run.</p> <p> So we must start seeing better and earlier commissioning of long-term, high-quality care places right across the board.</p> <p> There are too many emergency placements with providers who offer a less-than-adequate service and too many foster parents getting little ongoing support.</p> <p> So that&rsquo;s why we need a care system that&rsquo;s quicker on its feet and more responsive to children&rsquo;s needs &ndash; not one weighed down by bureaucracy and short-term penny pinching.</p> <p> The number one gripe I have heard continually from professionals in child protection, foster families and those in the care system is about the red tape, form filling and box ticking they face.</p> <p> This cannot be right.</p> <p> Not only does it place more pressure on caseloads, but it actually denies staff the chance to do the job they&rsquo;ve been trained for.</p> <p> They need to spend much more time at the sharp end, working with our most troubled young people and families.</p> <p> I can no more see the sense in a highly skilled social worker filling out Excel spreadsheets, or a foster carer recording everything they do to support a child, than I could see the sense in asking a top barrister to stand by the photocopier all day. Or have a GP mopping the surgery floor.</p> <p> So we&rsquo;ve commissioned Professor Eileen Munro to look at how to free up social workers to intervene earlier to protect the most vulnerable and start to get their lives back on track.</p> <p> This is not a review driven by knee-jerk reactions to appalling crimes, like the deaths of Victoria Climbie or Baby Peter Connelly.</p> <p> This is a chance for us to step back coolly and to take stock of where the social work profession and the job of child protection has ended up after years of reactive policy and ever-growing bureaucracy.</p> <p> And it is an excellent opportunity to put the care system on a surer footing for the future and make it work better for young people &ndash; a better chance of stability and a better chance of going into higher education.</p> <h2> Better support and transition to adulthood</h2> <p> The third and the most important step in helping more care leavers go on to further study is to make the transition to adulthood as smooth as possible &ndash; from living in care as a child, to living independently as a man or woman.</p> <p> Society has changed.</p> <p> Most young people are no longer ushered out the door by their parents at 18 to make their own way in the world.</p> <p> High house prices and rents, the tight youth jobs market and the cost of further and higher education means that families are supporting their children emotionally, financially and practically for far longer than ever before &ndash; and the average age young people leave the home of their birth parents is now 24.</p> <p> So something is badly wrong when a fifth of those in care leave at 16 and almost of all them by two years later.</p> <p> These are young people who need the most help &ndash; yet too many are forced to leave care prematurely and have to live as an adult almost overnight.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s no surprise that the Demos report found that a significant proportion of those leaving care find it traumatic, are ill-equipped, and fall into the trap of poverty and joblessness.</p> <p> We shouldn&rsquo;t underestimate the barriers that children leaving care face going on to further or higher education &ndash; lack of information or advice when choosing courses; anxiety about accommodation during term time and vacations; feeling alone during early weeks and uncertainty about available grants and financial support.</p> <p> The Quality Mark is designed to address some of these issues.</p> <p> But the wider care system rightly has a much broader role to play.</p> <p> The &lsquo;cliff-edge&rsquo; process of leaving care is often far too sudden and poorly planned. And for many young people, it takes too little account of how quickly they are growing up and fails to give them a proper safety net if things fall apart when they reach 18, 19 or 20.</p> <p> There is much outstanding work going on to help care leavers &ndash; but it is far too patchy.</p> <p> It is not right that their prospects differ according to where they live &ndash; with the proportion in education, employment or training ranging from almost 90 per cent in some areas to barely a third in others. Or for some areas like Ealing to do brilliantly with almost a fifth of children in the care system go on to higher education, when the national average is only 7 per cent.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why despite the very tight public finances, we&rsquo;ve worked hard to protect those young people, particularly in care, who have the ability to attend universities or colleges but who might otherwise be deterred by the costs.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve made clear that local authorities must comply with their clear existing legal duty to pay a bursary of &pound;2000 to all care leavers in higher education &ndash; no ifs, no buts.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re replacing the Education Maintenance Allowance with much better targeted financial support for 16- to 19-year-olds who need it most, including a great many children from the care system. It is right for schools and colleges themselves to judge where that additional cash will be the difference between students carrying on studying or dropping out.</p> <p> <br /> And we are developing the &pound;150 million National Scholarship Programme to help talented and gifted young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into top universities, with an emphasis on children in the care system.</p> <br /> <p> So in those universities who want to charge over &pound;6000 a year for tuition, we are looking at the Government paying first-year tuition fees, matched by the final year paid by the institution itself &ndash; so students who stay the course are rightly rewarded.</p> <p> And we also want to help those who may have had poor advice and sat the wrong A Levels to get on the most competitive courses, like law or medicine. So we are looking if we can waive the fees for a foundation or professional scholarship year, so they can get the qualifications they need to get up to speed.</p> <p> But it&rsquo;s not just a question of getting the financial support right.</p> <p> We want local authorities to learn from each other so they give care leavers the emotional and practical help they deserve and need. I am always surprised, when I go around the country and see really good projects, how bad we are at disseminating that practice. We need to get far better at it.</p> <p> That means, from April we expect local authorities provide a personal advisor on financial, accommodation and studying issues, for care leavers staying in education up to the age of 25.</p> <p> We want local authorities to look at using short-time placements and retainers where viable &ndash; so students can come home to foster families when they need to. That&rsquo;s as well as consulting them properly about their accommodation after leaving care &ndash; so their choice of college or course is taken fully into consideration.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve provided every area with funding so local authorities can make sure more young people stay with their carers up to the age of 21, using the Staying Put model we&rsquo;ve been piloting. This gives young people the chance to live at home full time while studying, or the comfort of a bed and roof over their heads during student holidays &ndash; giving them far more freedom over where they study and gradually gaining independence at their own pace.</p> <p> We are continuing to fund the From Care2Work programme, which goes from strength to strength &ndash; with more than 3,500 education or training opportunities now in place or being planned to give care leavers a head start.</p> <p> And we expect local authorities to look carefully at &ndash; as I have &ndash; and mirror outstanding projects like the New Horizon Youth Centre off the Euston Road, where young people can get advice and help to plan ahead for independent living or going on to further study.</p> <p> Together &ndash; these approaches mean that young people can consider college and university courses without worries over basic funding and accommodation issues, which their peers take for granted.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> So I hope you have a constructive day at today&rsquo;s conference &ndash; and really get under the skin of the issues around care leavers.</p> <p> Universities and colleges have a deep-rooted moral purpose in opening up education to people who might never have had the chance even a few years ago.</p> <p> The tough decisions we have had to take on education funding over the next few years are driven by the need to get the country back on a firm economic footing.</p> <p> But they also lay down a clear challenge to us, and to universities and colleges, in making sure we can still widen access to our most disadvantaged communities &ndash; through the Quality Mark and other programmes.</p> <p> And so I want to leave you with a clear pledge that whatever else happens, we&rsquo;ll make sure the care system will aid you far better to do that job &ndash; to reach out to young people, to realise their talents, and help make them masters of their own destiny.</p> <p> The scandal of outcomes for people in the care system is a scandal that has been ignored for too long. And I am determined that it won&rsquo;t go on for any longer.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0072287/tim-loughton-to-the-frank-buttle-trust-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Frank Buttle Trust Conference Education 2011-01-11 London
<img src="http://media.education.gov.uk/mediacache/website/22/-1235974425.gif" class="primaryimage" alt="Michael Gove to the Education World Forum" /> <p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <h2> Education for economic success</h2> <p> <br /> There could be no better way to start 2011 for me than by welcoming you all here to London.</p> <br /> <p> Because this second decade of the twenty-first century will be characterised by uniquely daunting challenges &ndash; but it also holds out amazing opportunities.</p> <p> The challenges are so daunting because they are global in scope and as testing as any our generation has known.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> But the opportunities are even greater because there is the chance &ndash; in this generation &ndash; to bring freedom, opportunity, knowledge and dignity, material plenty and personal fulfilment to many more of our fellow citizens than ever before.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> The great Italian Marxist thinker once enjoined on his followers an attitude he defined as pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.</p> <p> What he meant was that we should be clear eyed about the difficulties we face, but undaunted, determined and resolute in our belief they can be overcome.</p> <p> Our world does face huge problems.</p> <p> A resurgent wave of ideologically motivated terrorism and renewed conflicts between peoples threaten millions. Our global environment is threatened by resource depletion and thoughtless exploitation. A dramatically growing, and increasingly youthful, world population chafes against constraints which deny millions the chance to live their dreams. Economic growth has been spread inequitably and nations which are adjusting to reality after years of folly are finding the process, inevitably, painful.</p> <p> But bumpy, indeed turbulent, as the journey ahead might be, we are also fortunate in knowing what the best route not just to safety, but to plenty, will be.</p> <p> It is the pursuit of knowledge.</p> <p> Nothing is so effective a solvent of hatred and prejudice as learning and wisdom, the best environmental protection policy to help the planet is a scientific innovation policy which rewards greener growth, the route to fulfilment for the next generation is dedication to study, hard work and restless curiosity and the single most effective way to generate economic growth is invest in human and intellectual capital &ndash; to build a better education system.</p> <p> So, in that sense, in talking to those who lead the world&rsquo;s education systems I have the unique privilege of talking to those who will lead the world out of the dark valley we are currently navigating and onto sunlit uplands where opportunity beckons.</p> <p> It is, certainly, a special privilege to be involved in shaping education policy at the moment. Because as well as laying the foundations for a world which is better, we are also ensuring that we live in societies which are fairer.&nbsp;</p> <p> For most of our history people have been victims of forces beyond their control.</p> <p> Accidents of birth &ndash; like where individuals were born, both geographically and in class terms, as well as what their parents did for a living &ndash; proved overwhelmingly likely to dictate people&rsquo;s future.</p> <p> But education is the means by which we can liberate people from those imposed constraints. It allows individuals to choose a fulfilling job, enrich their inner life and become authors of our own life stories.</p> <p> And that is why education reform is the great progressive cause of our times.</p> <p> The Education World Forum is so important because it demonstrates our shared belief that we can educate our children to an ever higher standard and achieve the levels of fairness and social mobility that have long eluded us.</p> <p> In the coming days, we have an opportunity to talk in detail about the issues that we face, share our expertise and strengthen the bonds between our countries. I&rsquo;m also delighted that many of you will have the chance to see for yourselves the very best of the British education system.</p> <p> I am pleased that so many young people in Britain today are enjoying a superb education &ndash; and pleased that in many areas we have made progress over the years. In particular, I am overjoyed that we have so many great teachers and headteachers who are playing an increasingly important part in transforming our system for the better.</p> <p> But I am also conscious that in the world of education, by definition, the quest to improve never ends.</p> <p> Education is a process of continual learning, of crossing new boundaries, exploring new territory, restless curiosity and perpetual questioning.</p> <p> And as I have been in this job one of the things I have learned is that we can only improve our own education systems if we make them as open to new thinking, as free to learn, as flexible and innovative, as possible.</p> <p> Because with every year that passes we are privileged to enjoy new insights about how best to organise schools, how best to inspire pupils, how to use new technology, how the brain absorbs knowledge, how teachers can best motivate, how parents can better support, how governments can best invest.</p> <p> And we are uniquely fortunate that speaking at this conference are two men who have done more than any others to help us understand what works in the world of education. And by listening to them we can see how much further we all have to go.</p> <p> Yesterday, you heard from a man I recently have described as the most important man in the British education system &ndash; but he could equally be the most important man in world education.</p> <p> Later this morning, you will hear from the man who is vying with him for that accolade.</p> <p> Neither will teach a single lesson this year, neither are household names, neither &ndash; unsurprisingly &ndash; are education ministers &ndash; but both deserve our thanks and the thanks of everyone who wants to see children around the world fulfil the limit of their potential.</p> <p> They are Andreas Schleicher and Michael Barber.</p> <p> Andreas Schleicher is a German mathematician with the sort of job title that you wouldn&rsquo;t wish on your worst enemy &ndash; head of the indicators and analysis division (directorate for education) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.</p> <p> On the face of it, a job description like that might seem like the title of the bureaucrat&rsquo;s bureaucrat &ndash; but in truth Andreas is the father of more revolutions than any German since Karl Marx.</p> <p> Because Andreas is responsible for collating the PISA league tables of international educational achievement. He tells us which nations have the best-performing education systems and then analyses that data to determine why that is the case.</p> <p> When the first PISA league tables were published they demonstrated, to the amazement of the German political classes, that their education system was nowhere near the position of world leadership they had fondly imagined.</p> <p> The phenomenon of discovering just how relatively poorly the German education system performed was termed &lsquo;Pisa-Schock&rsquo; and it stimulated a furious debate about how Germany could catch up.</p> <p> In the US, education experts described the 2006 PISA report as our generation&#39;s &lsquo;Sputnik moment&rsquo;.</p> <p> The evidence that 15-year-olds in the Far East were so comfortably outperforming American pupils in maths and science sent the same shockwaves through the West as the Soviet Union&#39;s surprise satellite launch in 1957, an event which prompted a radical reform of science education in the US.</p> <p> But just because you come top in PISA these days doesn&rsquo;t mean you rest on the laurels Andreas fashions for you. Far from it.</p> <p> What characterises those nations which are themselves top performers &ndash; such as Singapore and Hong Kong &ndash; is that they are restless self-improvers.</p> <p> They have also eagerly examined every aspect of Andreas&rsquo;s research to see what their principal competitors are doing with a view to implementing further changes to maintain their competitive edge.</p> <p> Sir Michael Barber is another visionary educationalist.</p> <p> In the early part of the last decade, he played a direct role in shaping the English education system as a leading advisor to Tony Blair&rsquo;s government. As a result of policies that he helped introduce &ndash; including an uncompromising focus on literacy, floor standards for school performance and higher standards for teacher performance &ndash; improvements were undoubtedly made.</p> <p> But, rather like Tony Blair, Michael has arguably had an even bigger influence globally than at home in recent years. His seminal 2007 report, <cite class="publication">How the world&rsquo;s best-performing school systems come out on top</cite>, which he produced for McKinsey provided those nations that were serious about education reform with a blueprint of what they needed to do to catch up.</p> <cite class="publication">How the world&rsquo;s best-performing school systems come out on top</cite> <p> And his recent report, <cite class="publication">How the world&rsquo;s most improved school systems keep getting better</cite>, provides further invaluable insights for all nations aspiring to improve their education system or hoping to remain amongst the best.</p> <cite class="publication">How the world&rsquo;s most improved school systems keep getting better</cite> <p> No nation that is serious about ensuring its children enjoy an education that equips them to compete fairly with students from other countries can afford to ignore the PISA and McKinsey studies.</p> <p> Doing so would be as foolish as dismissing what control trials tell us in medicine. It means flying in the face of the best evidence we have of what works.</p> <p> And just as the evidence that Andreas and Michael has gathered has influenced education reformers in North America, Asia and Scandinavia, so it is influencing the Coalition Government here in Britain.</p> <p> Not least because it shows that we are falling further and further behind other nations. In the last ten years, we have plummeted in the world rankings from 4th to 16th for science, 7th to 25th for literacy and 8th to 28th for maths.</p> <p> These are facts from which we cannot hide. But while they may encourage a certain pessimism of the intellect, the examples of transformed education systems which Andreas and Michael have highlighted, certainly encourages optimism of the will.</p> <p> From Shanghai to New Orleans, Alberta to Hong Kong, Singapore to Helsinki, nations which have been educational back markers have become world leaders.</p> <p> And our recently published schools White Paper was deliberately designed to bring together &ndash; indeed, to shamelessly plunder from &ndash; policies that have worked in other high-performing nations.</p> <p> It was accompanied by a detailed evidence paper, <cite class="publication">The case for change</cite>, that draws on the insights generated by successive PISA studies and McKinsey reports.</p> <cite class="publication">The case for change</cite> <p> And it is based on the three essential characteristics which mark out the best performing and fastest reforming education systems in the landmark PISA and McKinsey studies.</p> <h2> Importance of teaching</h2> <p> First, the most successful education nations recruit the best possible people into teaching, provide them with high-quality training and professional development, and put them to work in the most challenging classrooms.</p> <p> Our schools White Paper was called <cite class="publication">The importance of teaching </cite>because nothing matters more in improving education than giving every child access to the best possible teaching and ensuring that every moment of interaction between teacher and student yields results.</p> <cite class="publication">The importance of teaching </cite> <p> We are committed to raising the quality of new entrants to the teaching profession by insisting they are better qualified than ever before, we are determined to improve teacher training by building on intellectual accomplishment and ensuring more time is spent in the classroom acquiring practical teaching skills, and we plan to establish new centres of excellence in teaching practice &ndash; teaching schools modelled on our great teaching hospitals &ndash; so that new and experienced teachers can learn and develop their craft throughout their careers.</p> <p> We have learnt from Finland &ndash; a consistently strong performer in PISA studies &ndash; about the importance of attracting the very best graduates into teaching, which is why we are expanding our principal elite route into teaching, Teach First, as well as providing extra support for top graduates in maths and science to enter teaching.</p> <p> And we are increasing the number of national and local leaders of education &ndash; superb heads who lend their skills to raise standards in weaker schools &ndash; so that the best support the weak in a concerted effort to improve education for all children, not just some.</p> <p> The principle of collaboration between stronger and weaker schools, with those in a position to help given the freedom to make a difference, lies at the heart of our whole approach to school improvement.</p> <h2> Greater autonomy</h2> <p> The PISA and McKinsey reports clearly show that the greater the amount of autonomy at school level, with headteachers and principals free to determine how pupils are taught and how budgets are spent, the greater the potential there has been for all-round improvement and the greater the opportunity too for the system to move from good to great.</p> <p> The Coalition Government agrees that headteachers and teachers &ndash; not politicians and bureaucrats &ndash; know best how to run schools.</p> <p> That is why we&rsquo;ve announced a review of our National Curriculum with the aim of reducing prescription and are taking action to shed all unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on schools.</p> <p> It is also why we&rsquo;re freeing schools from central and local bureaucratic control by inviting them to become academies.</p> <p> Schools are taking up our offer because they recognise the huge benefits that being an academy brings &ndash; more autonomy, more resources, less bureaucracy and an opportunity to thrive, free from interference from government.</p> <p> Since the start of the school term in September, more than one school has converted to become an academy every working day. As of last week, more than 400 academies are now open and enjoying many of the same freedoms which are enjoyed by schools in the best-performing education systems. And many more are in the pipeline.</p> <p> Alongside this, we are also further extending autonomy and choice by making it easier for teachers, parents, academy sponsors and other groups to start their own free schools.</p> <p> In Sweden, free schools have driven up standards in those schools but also in neighbouring schools too.</p> <p> And as the OECD points out, two of the most successful countries in PISA &ndash; Hong Kong and Singapore &ndash; are among those with the highest levels of school competition.</p> <p> But while increased parental choice can help tackle &lsquo;the soft bigotry of low expectations&rsquo;, which continues to blight the life chances of many children from deprived backgrounds in particular, it does not need be the enemy of cooperation.</p> <p> Our plans foresee schools collaborating on a scale that has never been witnessed before, which is why all new academies are also working with weaker schools to help them improve.</p> <p> And this week will see a major advance in that drive.</p> <p> We will identify those of our schools most in need of support &ndash; those where attainment is poor and where students are not making progress.</p> <p> These are the schools whose children most need our help &ndash; those underperforming institutions where opportunity is restricted.</p> <p> We will work with these schools &ndash; all of which have great potential and all of which will have staff ready to accept the challenge to improve.</p> <p> We will provide them with extra resources.</p> <p> But on condition they work with us to develop tough, rigorous, immediate plans for improvement.</p> <p> Those plans will involve weaker schools being taken under the wing of high-performing schools, entering academy chains, changing the way they work, implementing reforms to the curriculum and staffing and putting in place new, tougher approaches to discipline and behaviour.</p> <p> This drive will be led by an inspirational former headteacher &ndash; Liz Sidwell &ndash; who has experience of the state and private sector and who has helped turn round underperforming schools as well as setting a benchmark for excellence in the state system.</p> <h2> Proper accountability</h2> <p> The reason we&rsquo;re able to identify great heads like Liz &ndash; and the schools which need her help &ndash; is that we have, over time, developed ways of holding schools, and education ministers, accountable for the money they spend.</p> <p> Because the other, central, insight from the PISA and McKinsey reports into what makes great education systems so successful is that they all use data to make schools accountable and drive improvement.</p> <p> Data allows us to identify the best so we can emulate it, and diagnose weaknesses so we can intervene before it&rsquo;s too late.</p> <p> I know that some in the education profession fear that data has been used &ndash; perhaps I should say abused &ndash; to constrict the autonomy which we know drives improvement.</p> <p> But the lesson from PISA is that autonomy works best when it&rsquo;s combined with intelligent accountability. That means making comparisons which are fair. And trying to limit the extent to which measurements can be &lsquo;gamed&rsquo; by those in the system.&nbsp;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s because it&rsquo;s so important that the public can make fair comparisons between schools that we are revamping performance tables to place more emphasis on the real value schools add as well as the raw attainment results they secure.</p> <p> Pupils need qualifications to succeed in life, so I won&rsquo;t shy away from saying we expect more and more young people to leave school with better and better qualifications. That is non-negotiable.</p> <p> But we must also recognise that schools succeed when they take children from challenging and difficult circumstances and ensure they exceed expectations and progress faster than their peers.</p> <p> And because we want to limit the extent to which accountability mechanisms are &lsquo;gamed&rsquo; we will also ensure much more information is put into the public domain so that schools can be compared on many different criteria.</p> <p> That will help schools which believe they have special qualities, undervalued by current performance tables, to make the case for their particular strengths.</p> <p> And I expect that we will see new performance tables drawn up, by schools themselves, by active citizens and by professional organisations which will draw attention to particular areas of strength in our school system.</p> <p> In this year&rsquo;s performance tables we are introducing a new measure &ndash; the English Baccalaureate &ndash; which will show how many students in each school secured five good passes in English, maths, science, languages and one of the humanities.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s been introduced this year to allow us to see how the schools system has performed in the past &ndash; in a way which manifestly can&rsquo;t have been gamed.</p> <p> And I expect it will reveal the way in which past performance tables actually encouraged many many great schools and great heads to offer certain non-academic subjects rather than more rigorous academic subjects.</p> <p> I am open to arguments about how we can further improve every measure in the performance tables &ndash; including the English Baccalaureate.</p> <p> But I am determined to ensure that our exam standards match the highest standards around the world.</p> <p> And in other high-performing nations there is an expectation that children will be tested in a wide range of subjects at 16.</p> <p> In Singapore children sit compulsory O Levels in their mother tongue (which will be Chinese, Malay or Tamil), in the English language, in maths, in combined humanities, In science and in at least one other subject.</p> <p> In Germany graduation to sixth form follows on from passing exams in German, maths, English and three other subjects.</p> <p> In Alberta there are compulsory tests at age 15 in maths, science, English, French and social studies.</p> <p> In France the brevet diploma is awarded at age 15 depending on performance in tests of French, maths, history, geography, civics, computer science and a modern foreign language.</p> <p> In Japan there are tests at age 15 in Japanese, social studies, maths, science and English.</p> <p> In the US at age 17 there are exam requirements in English, maths, science and social studies.</p> <p> And in the Netherlands at 16, 17 or 18 students are expected to pass tests in Dutch, English, social studies and two other subjects &ndash; such as science, classical culture or a second modern foreign language.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> England&rsquo;s current expectation that only English and maths be considered benchmark expectations at 16 marks us out from other high-performing nations.</p> <p> I am delighted to have a debate about how we both broaden and deepen our education system, but we cannot be in any doubt that while reform accelerates across the globe no country can afford to be left behind.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m in no doubt that what we are attempting in England adds up to a comprehensive programme of reform for schools here &ndash; but if we are to learn one thing from the groundbreaking work done by Andreas Schleicher and by Sir Michael Barber, it is that whole-system reform is needed to every aspect of our education system if we are to build a truly world-class education system.</p> <p> It is only by paying attention to improving teacher quality, granting greater autonomy to the front line, modernising curricula, making schools more accountable to their communities, harnessing detailed performance data and encouraging professional collaboration that a nation can become one of the world&rsquo;s top performers.</p> <p> The evidence shows us it can be done.</p> <p> And the challenge facing us in 2011 is to follow the path which the evidence, so patiently acquired by Andreas Schleicher and by Sir Michael Barber, tells us can liberate our children.</p> <p> What better New Year&rsquo;s resolution could any of us make this week.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0072274/michael-gove-to-the-education-world-forum Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to the Education World Forum Education 2011-01-11 Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> The timing of the conference could not be better, with the White Paper published at the end of November and the Education Bill to be published shortly.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And the theme &#39;Our World, Our Future&#39; could not be more appropriate.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> The context in which this conference is held is dominated by global factors &ndash; the growing dominance of the emerging economies of China and India; the global economic crisis; and the indebtedness of nations that during the boom years overspent and are now on the brink of financial collapse, as the global capital markets no longer regard them or sovereign debt as risk-free investments.</p> <p> Greece and Ireland are still teetering as they struggle with their structural deficits. And it is to avoid that fate that the Coalition Government has had to take some very difficult decisions.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s not comfortable being a minister in a spending department in the midst of these problems, having to take decisions to reduce and refocus programmes on those in most need &ndash; programmes such as the Education Maintenance Allowance. And I know it isn&#39;t comfortable either for those involved in local government, facing similar pressures.</p> <p> But it would be far worse to see our country&#39;s economy plunge into crisis, as would happen if we failed to tackle our massive structural deficit. This year alone will see &pound;156 billion added to our national debt, with an interest charge of &pound;120 million every single day &ndash; enough to build 10 new primary schools.</p> <p> The independent Office for Budget Responsibility reports that without any further action to tackle the deficit, interest payments would rise to a staggering &pound;67 billion a year by 2014-15. That&#39;s almost two years&#39; total spending on schools: twice what we spend on the salaries of every teacher in England, twice what we spend running every state school in the country &ndash; just to pay the interest on the debt.</p> <p> And that all assumes, of course, that the capital markets would be willing to lend us these huge sums, which the experience of Greece and Ireland demonstrates that they would not. The longer the economy languishes in crisis, the later the economic recovery and the jobs that are so desperately needed, particularly for young people &ndash; the group who bear the brunt of a stagnant economy as companies freeze recruitment.</p> <p> But the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury do understand the importance of education to that recovery and to the long-term prosperity of this country.</p> <p> Education is a key priority for the Government which is why the Department for Education secured one of the best settlements in Whitehall.</p> <p> Spending on schools will remain at flat cash per pupil over the course of the spending review period, which means there will be extra cash for demographic increases in the school population.</p> <p> And on top of this will be the Pupil Premium, extra money for each pupil who qualifies for free school meals. This will amount to &pound;430 per pupil in this coming financial year but will rise significantly over the next four years, to some &pound;2.5 billion a year by 2014-15.</p> <p> But although we have secured the best possible settlement it still requires us to find cuts in the overall departmental budget of 3.4 per cent by 2014-15.</p> <p> Our approach has been to ensure we protect school budgets, while devolving as much autonomy as we can to headteachers by collapsing numerous funding streams into the main schools grant. We&rsquo;re also giving local government far greater autonomy &ndash; streamlining 45 local government grants into just four funding streams.</p> <p> To ensure schools do receive this cash, we have had to take some difficult decisions over centralised programmes and ask ourselves this question: given that we have secured the very best possible settlement we could hope to have achieved from the Treasury and given the budget deficit, do we continue with a particular central programme and slice off a little from the amount we want to give to schools? Or do we end the programme and ensure that schools have that cash?&nbsp;</p> <p> Each programme has its supporters. Most of these programmes achieve things. Some &ndash; but not all &ndash; are good value for money.</p> <p> The problem is that the money isn&rsquo;t there.</p> <h2> Greater autonomy</h2> <p> Our approach to spending &ndash; devolving as much control over limited resources as possible to the front line, to headteachers in particular &ndash; is the same approach that we take to education policy generally.&nbsp;</p> <p> Research from the OECD cites autonomy, combined with rigorous and objective external accountability, as the essential characteristics of the highest-performing education jurisdictions in the world.</p> <p> That&#39;s the reasoning behind our drive to increase the autonomy of schools through expanding the academies programme and giving teachers and headteachers more control over their own destiny.</p> <p> We have always supported Labour&#39;s Academy programme and pay tribute to the energy and commitment of Lord Adonis as Schools Minister in developing this policy and transforming so many schools.</p> <p> In the seven months since we came into office we&rsquo;ve doubled the number of academies and hundreds more schools have applied to convert later in 2011.</p> <p> And we will support teachers, charities, parent groups and education foundations who have the vision and drive to open Free Schools where there is parental demand, particularly in areas of deprivation where poor provision is especially acute.</p> <p> And I hope that we can persuade some of the trade unions that Free Schools offer a real opportunity for teachers to put their professional expertise into practice. We would be delighted to see one or more of the teaching unions setting up their own Free Schools. They would certainly have our active support if they sought to do so.</p> <h2> The case for change</h2> <p> At the end of November we published our White Paper, entitled <cite class="publication">The Importance of Teaching</cite>, reflecting the earnestness of our desire to raise the status of the teaching profession and to return teaching to the centre of what happens in our schools.</p> <cite class="publication">The Importance of Teaching</cite> <p> The theme of this conference, &#39;Our World, Our Future&#39; is the right theme for an education conference, reflecting, as it does, the way today&#39;s education system will determine the society we will have in 20 or 30 years&#39; time. It is a clich&eacute; to say that we live in a global economy. But like most clich&eacute;s it reveals a truth, that young people will now be competing for jobs and income with the best-educated people not just in this country but from around the world.&nbsp;</p> <p> Which is why we need an education system that is on a par with the best in the world. And although we have some of the best schools in the world, the truth is that we also have too many that are still struggling.</p> <p> The attainment gap between rich and poor remains enormous &ndash; a gap we are determined to narrow and ultimately close; there are still too many weak schools in deprived areas; and teaching is rated by Ofsted as no better than satisfactory in half our schools.</p> <p> In 2010, 54.8 per cent achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths. But of those eligible for free school meals just 30.9 per cent achieved this standard. And the gap between these two figures has remained stubbornly constant in recent years.</p> <p> In the OECD international performance table we&#39;ve fallen from 4th in the year 2000 to 16th in science, from 7th to 25th in literacy, and from 8th to 28th in maths. The survey also showed that 15-year-olds in Shanghai, China, are two years ahead of our children in maths, and that 15-year-olds in Finland are two years ahead in literacy.</p> <p> Studies undertaken by Unicef and the OECD tell us that we have one of the most unequal education systems in the world, coming 55th out of 57 countries for educational equity and with one of the biggest gulfs between independent and state schools of any developed nation.</p> <p> And so our White Paper reform programme, and the Education Bill implementing that programme, is geared around the same simple truth that all leading systems share &ndash; that high-quality teaching is the single biggest determinant of a pupil&#39;s achievement.</p> <p> The latest McKinsey report, <cite class="publication">Capturing the Leadership Premium </cite>about how the world&#39;s top school systems are building leadership capacity, cites a number of studies from North America, one of which found that:</p> <cite class="publication">Capturing the Leadership Premium </cite> <blockquote> <p> &hellip; nearly 60 per cent of a school&rsquo;s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25 per cent and teachers 33 per cent of a school&rsquo;s total impact on achievement.</p> </blockquote> <p> &hellip; nearly 60 per cent of a school&rsquo;s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25 per cent and teachers 33 per cent of a school&rsquo;s total impact on achievement.</p> <p> Also in the McKinsey report, there&#39;s an analysis of Ofsted inspection reports which concludes that:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> For every 100 schools that have good leadership and management, 93 will have good standards of student achievement. For every 100 schools that do not have good leadership and management, only one will have good standards of achievement.</p> </blockquote> <p> For every 100 schools that have good leadership and management, 93 will have good standards of student achievement. For every 100 schools that do not have good leadership and management, only one will have good standards of achievement.</p> <p> This is why the constant theme of the White Paper is the central importance, above all else, of the teaching profession and what we can do to ensure every child has access to the best possible teaching.</p> <p> Every single one of our reforms should be judged on how it equips teachers to do their job better &ndash; expanding the academy programme; encouraging new providers to galvanize and innovate; rigorous recruitment and training; strong discipline powers; a slimmed-down curriculum; robust assessment and inspection; and the Pupil Premium.</p> <h2> Greater freedom</h2> <p> We have some of the best headteachers and teachers working in our schools. But too often they say they&#39;re constrained by needless bureaucracy, central targets and guidance, and an overly prescriptive curriculum that dictates, for example, that lessons should be in three parts, with a beginning, middle and end.</p> <p> We will slim down the National Curriculum. At present, the National Curriculum contains too much that is not essential, too much that is unclear and too much prescription about how to teach. Instead, it needs to be a tighter, more rigorous model of the knowledge which every child should be expected to master in core subjects at each key stage, to be a benchmark against which schools can be judged rather than a prescriptive straitjacket into which education is squeezed.</p> <p> Alongside greater control over budgets, we&#39;ve scrapped the burdensome Self Evaluation Forms for school inspections and the overly bureaucratic Financial Management Standard in Schools.</p> <p> We are also committed to reducing central bureaucracy still further, cutting down on unnecessary data collection burdens and reforming Ofsted so that inspection is more proportionate, with fewer inspection criteria: instead of the 17 we will have just four &ndash; leadership, teaching, achievement and behaviour.</p> <h2> Reading</h2> <p> What underlies an effective education is the ability to read.</p> <p> Despite the hard work of teachers there are still too many children who fail to master this basic skill to a level that gives them the key to secondary education.</p> <p> 15 per cent of seven-year-olds don&#39;t reach the expected level in reading at Key Stage 1. One in five 11-year-olds leave primary school still struggling with English.</p> <p> And I&#39;ve been to too many secondary schools where heads tell me that a significant minority of their intake has a reading age below nine or eight or sometimes six or seven.</p> <p> We need to identify early on those children who are struggling so they don&rsquo;t slip through the net and so that schools can give those children the support and help they need.</p> <p> That is why we are introducing a new light-touch, phonics-based reading check for six-year-olds to ensure all children are on track with literacy at an early age.</p> <h2> School improvement</h2> <p> And because we understand why schools might have felt that the system &ndash; and Government &ndash; hasn&#39;t been on their side in the past, there are also new measures in the White Paper to improve the exclusions process; ensuring that violent children cannot be reinstated against the wishes of the school, while improving alternative provision &ndash; and measures to protect teachers from malicious allegations by pupils and parents; including anonymity until charged with an offence.</p> <p> We want to move away from the top-down approach to education policy. That&#39;s why we&#39;re now giving schools the primary responsibility for their own improvement.</p> <p> This is not cutting schools adrift to let them sink or swim, as some claim. We will still set high minimum expectations for schools. For secondary schools, this means, at least 35 per cent of pupils with 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths. And for primary schools, 60 per cent of the cohort achieving level 4 in English and maths combined and where progress is below the expected level. Crucially, both of these new floor standards will involve a progression measure as well as the raw attainment figure.</p> <p> But the onus should be on heads themselves to drive up standards, working together and drawing on the own wealth of expertise, experience, leadership and capacity within the system &ndash; without needing central government to mandate it through continual targets, ring-fenced grants and field forces.</p> <h2> A culture of collaboration</h2> <p> We believe that collaboration between schools and within the profession is a better and more effective means of school improvement than the top-down approach.</p> <p> The very best school leaders are characterised by their refusal to put a cap on aspiration for children and, consequently, tend to be those who are working in more than one school.</p> <p> This might mean that they&rsquo;re an executive head in a federation where they lead two or more schools.</p> <p> It might now mean they&rsquo;re an academy principal in an outstanding school working with another school to help them improve.</p> <p> Or it might mean they&#39;re a national or local leader of education. I&#39;m a huge admirer of all those heads who are NLEs or LLEs. They&#39;re demonstrating that they want to go the extra mile to improve standards; not just for the children in their own schools, but in other schools too.</p> <p> That&#39;s why we want to double the number of NLEs and will designate 1,000 over the next four years.</p> <p> We&#39;re building a network of teaching schools.</p> <p> And we&#39;re putting in place incentives for schools to work together &ndash; with a new &pound;110 million Education Endowment Fund to encourage innovative approaches and inviting applications from schools and local authorities.</p> <p> We will also establish a new collaboration incentive worth &pound;35 million a year to help schools support weaker schools.</p> <h2> Role of local government</h2> <p> I&#39;ve been asked many times about the role of local authorities in a more autonomous school system, particularly as the number of academies continues to grow.</p> <p> We are clear that local authorities have a crucial role to play &ndash; as champions of children and parents, to ensure the school system works for every family; using their democratic mandate to challenge underperformance; and to ensure fair access to all schools for every child through the admissions system.</p> <p> The Secretary of State has established a ministerial advisory group with representatives from local government and education to work through what this means in practice &ndash; that local authorities would take action if there are concerns about the performance of any school in the area, using their intervention powers to act early to secure improvement in their own maintained schools.</p> <p> And where a local authority has concerns about an academy, it will be able to ask Ofsted to inspect the school and will, as now, be able to pursue those concerns with the Secretary of State.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> There is a lot more I could talk about.</p> <p> But what I hope I have been able to demonstrate today is the seriousness with which we take education reform.</p> <p> And that at the core of that reform is the objective of closing the attainment gap between those from the wealthiest and poorest backgrounds.&nbsp;</p> <p> Deprivation should not mean destiny and it is ending that link that lies behind the urgency of our reforms.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0072204/nick-gibb-to-the-north-of-england-education-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the North of England Education Conference Education 2011-01-07 Blackpool
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <h2> Introduction</h2> <p> I am delighted to be here today. Sheila Lawlor and Politeia have been and remain hugely influential in steering public policy debate gently in a right of centre direction, particularly in social policy areas such as education.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> I studied Latin at secondary school in the state sector, to O level &ndash; the grade you don&rsquo;t need to know. &nbsp;But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It equipped me for life. And it is for this reason, that the decimation of the teaching of Latin in the state sector over the last few decades is so alarming.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> So I thank you &nbsp;for putting on today&rsquo;s conference &ndash; about how schools can take advantage of the new freedoms that the Government is giving to teachers, to bring Latin to more state schools and to primary schools in particular.&nbsp;</p> <p> And I thank Professor Pelling and Dr Morgan for their pamphlet and for the passion of their arguments and the growing groundswell of support for Latin all of you are leading.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h2> Latin&#39;s importance</h2> <p> Latin is important.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Ed Hirsch talks about the importance of cultural literacy and the importance of knowledge in building upon knowledge. Latin is so prevalent in our culture, in our political and legal systems; in our religious and spiritual institutions and thinking; in medicine, botany and horticulture; and in our art and architecture. The Roman Empire is around us every day - from the way our towns are laid out to the literature we read.&nbsp;Virgil and Ovid should be seen as the start of a great tradition of Western literature leading to Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats and Eliot. Latin gives us a direct link to our own past &ndash; and dare I say it, an insight into how politics and power have always worked.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> And Latin shows us how the mechanics of language works. The English we speak today descends in part from the Vulgar Latin spoken by workers, merchants and legionaries. English is so riddled with exceptions to the rule that we need Latin to bring sense, order and structure to grammar. Latin gives us the skills to learn not just Romance languages like Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French - but the aptitude and confidence to learn new tongues beyond Western Europe.&nbsp;</p> <p> So when people urge schools to teach a modern language rather than Latin, there need not be an either/or. Learning an ancient language equips you to learn a modern language and vice versa. And learning any language, new or old, helps give young people the academic hunger, thirst and confidence to keep on exploring the world around them.&nbsp;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s what makes the decline in the studying of languages at GCSE-level such a tragedy.&nbsp;</p> <p> The numbers studying Latin at GCSE in state schools, remain pitifully small - just 2,868 this year. Overall there were just 9,360 GCSE entries for Latin - 70% of them taken in the independent sector, where just seven per cent of pupils are educated.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> And the proportion studying a modern language overall has fallen from 79% in 2000 to just 44% in 2009 - and when you take out the independent sector that 44% falls to 39%.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> This is all at the precise moment when globalization is demanding that we need to keep up with the rest of the world. Business continues to complain about the paucity of foreign language skills amongst school leavers and graduates. Ignorance of languages breeds insularity and it means an integral part of the brain&rsquo;s intellectual function remains undeveloped.&nbsp;</p> <h2> Reform - creating opportunities for Latin&nbsp;</h2> <p> That&rsquo;s something we&rsquo;re determined to put right.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Our White Paper has a clear vision at its heart &ndash; that high quality teaching is the single biggest determinant of a pupil&rsquo;s achievement.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> All the evidence from different education systems around the world shows that the most important factor in determining how well children do is the quality of teachers and teaching.&nbsp;</p> <p> And the latest McKinsey report just published, entitled &ldquo;Capturing the Leadership Premium&rdquo; - about how the world&rsquo;s top school systems are building leadership capacity - cites a number of studies from North America, including one saying that:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> &hellip; nearly 60 per cent&nbsp;of a school&rsquo;s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25 per cent&nbsp;and teachers 33 per cent&nbsp;of a school&rsquo;s total impact on achievement.</p> </blockquote> <p> &hellip; nearly 60 per cent&nbsp;of a school&rsquo;s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25 per cent&nbsp;and teachers 33 per cent&nbsp;of a school&rsquo;s total impact on achievement.</p> <p> This is why, when you read the White Paper, you will see that its constant theme is the importance of the profession and helping to liberate that profession from over-centralised initiatives, from over-prescription and from too much bureaucracy and red tape.</p> <p> &nbsp;And in that liberty lies opportunity for those who believe in promoting Latin.&nbsp;</p> <p> You will already have noted our determination to increase the autonomy of schools through expanding the Academies programme and giving teachers and headteachers more control over their own destiny. The OECD cites autonomy combined with rigorous and objective external accountability as the two key factors that high performing jurisdictions have in common. Again, in that autonomy lies opportunity - as the proposed West London Free School is doing. It intends to make Latin compulsory for all at age 11-14 &ndash; exactly the sort of freedoms which these reforms have opened up.&nbsp;</p> <p> But also in the six months since the new Coalition Government was formed, we&rsquo;ve already begun to take forward a series of reforms to bear down on unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy - granting schools greater freedoms; extending teachers&rsquo; powers to enforce discipline; more classroom autonomy; rigorous qualifications, valued by universities and employers; and the right targets and measures, which don&rsquo;t create perverse incentives to shy away from academic subjects.&nbsp;</p> <p> These are the freedoms that should assist professionals who wish to reintroduce Latin into the curriculum.&nbsp;</p> <p> We will slim down the National Curriculum. At present the National Curriculum has in it too much that is not essential or which is unclear and there is too much prescription about <em>how </em>to teach.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <em>how </em> <p> We need a new approach to the National Curriculum so it specifies a tighter, more rigorous model of the knowledge which every child should be expected to master in core subjects at every key stage.&nbsp;</p> <p> It is our view that in a school system that moves towards a greater degree of autonomy, the National Curriculum will increasingly become a benchmark against which schools can be judged rather than a prescriptive straitjacket into which education is squeezed &ndash; a straitjacket which has been squeezing Latin out.&nbsp;</p> <p> We will be launching the Curriculum Review very shortly &ndash; but it will, of course, be looking at languages in primary schools as well as secondary schools. We made it very clear when we announced that we would not be implementing the recommendations in the Rose Review that those primary schools that had made preparations for the introduction of languages at Key Stage 2, or were already teaching languages, should continue to do so. Languages are hugely important and under this government will become more so, not less.&nbsp;</p> <p> We are also introducing the new English Baccalaureate, to recognise pupils who achieve good GCSEs in English; maths; science; a humanity, such as history or geography; and a foreign language &ndash; modern <em>or </em>ancient.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <em>or </em> <p> Reintroducing the importance of a broad range of academic subjects as a measure of standards in our schools will provide an incentive for schools to refocus on encouraging more young people to study a language. And since we include ancient languages in that measure, this is a real opportunity for the Latin lobby to promote the teaching of Latin in schools.&nbsp;</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> One of the overriding objectives of the Government is to close the attainment gap between those from wealthier and poorer backgrounds.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> The fact that the opportunity to learn Latin is so rare in the state sector is one of a range of factors that has led to the width of that gap. Spreading these opportunities is part and parcel of closing that attainment gap and helping to create a more equal society.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> So when people say that Latin is an elitist subject that shouldn&rsquo;t be taught in the state sector they are contributing to the widening of that gap and to the very elitism they rail against.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0069268/nick-gibb-to-the-politeia-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the Politeia Conference Education 2010-11-30 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, Nick, and thank you for allowing me to speak today rather than yesterday, when we were launching our White Paper. The least I could do in return for causing you the inconvenience of re-jigging your conference agenda was to get up at the crack of dawn, catch the early train up from London and be here by 9.15am!</p> <p> But I am delighted to be here again and to have this opportunity straight away to discuss the contents of the White Paper and the detail of the policy direction behind it.</p> <p> The White Paper itself is entitled <em>The Importance of Teaching</em>, reflecting the earnestness of our desire to raise the status of the teaching profession and to return teaching to the centre of what happens in our schools.</p> <em>The Importance of Teaching</em> <p> It&rsquo;s also called the <em>Importance of Teaching</em> because many of its policies have been influenced by leading teachers and headteachers, as well as organisations such as the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.</p> <em>Importance of Teaching</em> <p> In my speech at this conference last year, I talked about how we were listening to what schools had told us about the need to cut bureaucracy, to increase autonomy and to improve behaviour.</p> <p> And most importantly that if we were elected, our approach to education policy would be based not on ideology but on the things that the evidence tells us works and the things that headteachers tell us work.</p> <h2> The case for change</h2> <p> As the introduction to the White Paper says: &#39;All the evidence from different education systems around the world shows that the most important factor in determining how well children do is the quality of teachers and teaching.&#39;</p> <p> The latest McKinsey report, just published, entitled <em>Capturing the Leadership Premium</em>,&nbsp;about how the world&rsquo;s top school systems are building leadership capacity, cites a number of studies from North America, one of which found that:</p> <em>Capturing the Leadership Premium</em> <blockquote> <p> &hellip; nearly 60% of a school&rsquo;s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25% and teachers 33% of a school&rsquo;s total impact on achievement. (p7)</p> </blockquote> <p> &hellip; nearly 60% of a school&rsquo;s impact on student achievement is attributable to principal and teacher effectiveness. These are the most important in-school factors driving school success, with principals accounting for 25% and teachers 33% of a school&rsquo;s total impact on achievement. (p7)</p> <p> Also in the McKinsey report, an analysis of Ofsted inspection reports concludes that:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> For every 100 schools that have good leadership and management, 93 will have good standards of student achievement. For every 100 schools that do not have good leadership and management, only one will have good standards of achievement.</p> </blockquote> <p> For every 100 schools that have good leadership and management, 93 will have good standards of student achievement. For every 100 schools that do not have good leadership and management, only one will have good standards of achievement.</p> <p> This is why, when you read the White Paper, you see that its constant theme is the central importance, above all else, of the profession, and what we can do to ensure every child has access to the best possible teaching.</p> <p> You will already have seen &ndash; and I hope been part of &ndash; our drive to increase the autonomy of schools through expanding the Academies programme and giving teachers and headteachers more control over their own destiny. Alongside teacher quality, research from the OECD cites autonomy, combined with rigorous and objective external accountability, alongside teacher quality, as the other essential characteristics of the highest-performing education jurisdictions.</p> <p> This is just one of the series of reforms that we&rsquo;ve begun to take forward over the past six months to bear down on unnecessary burdens, to grant schools greater freedoms and to extend teachers&rsquo; powers to enforce discipline.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;ve done so because our education system, as a whole, is still some way short of achieving its potential.</p> <h2> Still a long way to go</h2> <p> We have some of the best schools in the world,&nbsp;but the truth is that we also have too many that are still struggling.</p> <p> We have some of the best headteachers and teachers working in our schools,&nbsp;but too often they say they&rsquo;re constrained by needless bureaucracy, central targets and guidance, and an overly prescriptive curriculum that dictates, for example,&nbsp;that lessons should be in three parts, with a beginning, middle and end.</p> <p> More young people now stay on in education &ndash; but some learn skills and earn qualifications that aren&rsquo;t as highly valued by employers and universities as we would wish.</p> <p> And we simply aren&rsquo;t doing enough to ensure there really is, as the title of this conference suggests, excellence for all, by supporting the education of the most disadvantaged and helping them to overcome life&rsquo;s lottery.</p> <p> This is really brought home by the OECD international table of performance, in which we&rsquo;ve fallen in recent years from&nbsp;fourth to 14th in science,&nbsp;seventh to 17th in literacy,&nbsp;eighth to 24th in maths.</p> <p> Studies undertaken by Unicef and the OECD tell us that we have one of the most unequal education systems in the world, coming 55th out of 57 countries for educational equity and with one of the biggest gulfs between independent and state schools of any developed nation.</p> <p> Michael Gove used to cite the unacceptable fact that of 80,000 GCSE students qualifying for free school meals, just 45 went on to Oxford and Cambridge a few years later. He&rsquo;s had to stop using that figure because the latest year&rsquo;s figure is that just 40 go on to Oxbridge &ndash; a drop of 12.5 per cent.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why the challenge facing us is to reform the whole schools system.</p> <p> That is the challenge that our White Paper will allow us to meet.</p> <p> And we want to do so by making the catalysts that have driven improvement in the country&rsquo;s best state schools available to all schools.</p> <p> Greater freedom</p> <p> Over the past decade, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust has played an important role in raising standards, promoting greater innovation and improving the life chances of hundreds of thousands of&nbsp; pupils.</p> <p> The near universal network of specialist schools attests to what can be achieved when schools are allowed to innovate and have the freedom to develop their own distinct character and ethos.</p> <p> And it has also demonstrated that if you trust headteachers and the profession, the benefits accrue faster.</p> <p> It is because specialism is now so firmly rooted in our schools that we&rsquo;ve decided that it&rsquo;s the right time to give schools greater freedom to make use of the opportunities offered by specialism and the associated funding.</p> <p> And just so that we&rsquo;re all clear, we&rsquo;ve not removed the funding &ndash; all of that money will continue to go to schools &ndash; but we have removed all the strings attached to it so that schools have the freedom to spend it on, and buy in, the services they want and need without central prescription.</p> <p> And while this will naturally also remove the need for schools to re-designate, I hope that the SSAT, and in particular the National Head Teacher Steering Group, will continue to provide a loud and influential voice on behalf of all of its membership.</p> <p> Alongside greater control over budgets, we&rsquo;ve scrapped the burdensome self-evaluation forms for school inspections and the overly bureaucratic Financial Management Standard in Schools.</p> <p> We are also committed to reducing central bureaucracy still further, cutting down on unnecessary data collection burdens and reforming Ofsted so that inspection is more proportionate with fewer inspection criteria: instead of the&nbsp;17 we have now, just four &ndash; leadership, teaching, attainment and behaviour.</p> <p> And we will slim down the National Curriculum. At present the National Curriculum contains too much that is not essential, too much&nbsp;that is unclear and too much prescription about how to teach.</p> <p> We need a new approach to the National Curriculum so that, to quote from the White Paper, it:</p> <blockquote> <p> &hellip;specifies a tighter, more rigorous model of the knowledge which every child should be expected to master in core subjects at every key stage. (p 10)</p> </blockquote> <p> &hellip;specifies a tighter, more rigorous model of the knowledge which every child should be expected to master in core subjects at every key stage. (p 10)</p> <p> It is our view that in a school system that moves towards a greater degree of autonomy, the National Curriculum will increasingly become a benchmark against which schools can be judged rather than &#39;a prescriptive straitjacket&#39; into which education is squeezed.</p> <p> What underlies an effective education is the ability to read. Despite the hard work of teachers there are still too many children who fail to master this basic skill to a level that gives them the key to secondary education.</p> <p> &nbsp;Fifteen per cent of seven-year-olds don&rsquo;t reach the expected level in reading at Key Stage 1. One in five 11-year-olds leave primary school still struggling with English. And I&rsquo;ve been to too many secondary schools where the head tells me that a significant minority of their intake has a reading age below&nbsp;nine or&nbsp;eight or sometimes&nbsp;six or seven.</p> <p> This is unacceptable, which is why we are introducing a new light-touch, phonics-based reading test for&nbsp;six-year-olds, to ensure all children are on track with literacy at an early age.</p> <p> We need to identify early on those children who are struggling so they don&rsquo;t slip through the net and so that schools can give those children the support and help they need. We want all children to acquire that basic decoding skill early on in primary school so they can spend the remaining&nbsp;five or&nbsp;six years reading to learn, developing their vocabulary and comprehension and a love of books. It can&rsquo;t be right for children to spend&nbsp;seven years of primary education continually struggling with this basic educational tool.</p> <p> And because we understand why schools might have felt that the system &ndash; and Government &ndash; hasn&rsquo;t been on their side in the past, there are also new measures in the White Paper to improve the exclusions process, further strengthening schools&rsquo; powers to ensure heads have the confidence they need to use them &ndash; including by ensuring the anonymity of teachers facing allegations from pupils or their parents.</p> <p> We believe these measures will help all schools to innovate and allow headteachers and teachers to focus on teaching &ndash; but the schools that will reap the greatest benefits from our attack on bureaucracy will be the academies.</p> <h2> Greater autonomy</h2> <p> Of course, academies are already free from central control and aren&rsquo;t constrained by choice of specialism or the need to re-designate.</p> <p> They are the schools in which headteachers have been given the greatest autonomy to shape their own curriculum,&nbsp;to insist on tougher discipline,&nbsp;to set their own staff pay and conditions,&nbsp;and to extend school terms and school hours.</p> <p> And they&rsquo;re also the schools that have improved the fastest. Last year the rate of improvement in academies was twice that of other schools, and some individual academies, such as Burlington Danes Academy in central London, have delivered incredible improvements of between 15 and 25 percentage points in just one year.</p> <p> In this year&rsquo;s Ofsted annual report, published earlier this week, 26 per cent&nbsp;of academies were rated outstanding compared to 13 per cent&nbsp;of secondary schools nationally.</p> <p> Back in 2005, the former Prime Minister promised that all schools would be able to enjoy academy freedoms &ndash; but many of these freedoms were curtailed. An artificial ceiling of 400 academies was placed on the programme and primaries were refused entry.</p> <p> The Academies Act removed both of these barriers to the rapid expansion of the programme by giving all schools the chance to take on academy status &ndash; starting with those rated outstanding by Ofsted.</p> <p> Since the start of this school year, 144 academies have opened and a further 70 are due to open in the coming months. There are now 347 open academies, with more opening every week.</p> <p> Just under half of these replaced failing schools and we will continue to challenge schools that are underperforming with converting to academy status under a strong sponsor as one of the options available to deliver improvement.</p> <p> Last week we began the next phase of the expansion of the Academies programme, which will mean that schools that need to improve can join academy trusts where they will be supported by some of our best leaders in education.</p> <p> We expect all of the outstanding schools that have converted so far to use their new-found powers and freedom to support weaker schools, and we&rsquo;ve now extended the invitation to convert to academy status to schools judged by Ofsted as &#39;good with outstanding features&#39;.</p> <p> So the result of the Academies Act will be greater autonomy within a culture of collaboration, where the bonds between schools are strengthened and there is a further step-change in system-led leadership.</p> <h2> A culture of collaboration</h2> <p> In the late 1980s and 1990s, grant-maintained schools were allowed to opt out of local government control. Many enjoyed great success in doing so &ndash; but the mistake made then was that people felt that their autonomy created a &lsquo;them and us&rsquo; culture.</p> <p> But in my experience, the very best school leaders are characterised by their refusal to put a cap on aspiration for children and, consequently, tend to be those who are working in more than one school.</p> <p> This might mean that they&rsquo;re an executive head in a federation where they lead two or more schools.</p> <p> It might now mean they&rsquo;re an academy principal in an outstanding school working with another school to help them improve.</p> <p> Or it might mean they&rsquo;re an NLE or LLE. I&rsquo;m a huge admirer of all those heads who are NLEs or LLEs. They&rsquo;re demonstrating that their aspirations have no bounds and that they want to go the extra mile to improve standards &ndash;&nbsp;not just for the children in their own schools, but in other schools too.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we want to double the number of NLEs and will designate 1000 over the next four years.</p> <p> We all have a duty to ensure there are minimum standards of performance through the school system. It isn&rsquo;t acceptable to any of us that we have so many schools in which two-thirds of children fail to secure five good GCSEs.</p> <p> Minimum standards have certainly risen in recent years, in line with the increased aspirations of parents and communities and thanks to the hard work of school leaders.</p> <p> But given the quickening pace of school improvement across the globe, it&rsquo;s essential that we demonstrate that we are raising the bar for all schools. And that is why our White Paper sets new floor standards that will apply from January next year once we&rsquo;ve verified final examination data from last summer. For secondary schools, this will be at least 35 per cent&nbsp;of pupils with&nbsp;five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and Maths &ndash;&nbsp;and for primary schools, 60 per cent&nbsp;of the cohort achieving level 4 in English and Maths combined and where progress is below the expected level. Crucially, both of these new floor standards will involve a progression measure as well as the raw attainment figure.</p> <p> In doing that, we also want to avoid the errors of the past when some schools felt unfairly labelled as failing by Government.</p> <p> That is why on top of the pupil premium, which will tackle disadvantage at root by providing additional money to schools to extend opportunity to the poorest pupils, we&rsquo;ve created a new education endowment fund worth &pound;110 million to drive improvement in the most underperforming schools.</p> <p> But the biggest shift in our White Paper is in how we support teachers.</p> <p> It is widely recognised around the world that nothing matters more than teaching and that the most important thing we can do is recruit the best, train them well and help them and the teachers we already have to develop throughout their professional careers.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re expanding Teach First and introducing other new high-quality routes into teaching.</p> <p> Teachers also want the capacity to be able to learn from other teachers if they are to grow as professionals, which is why we are removing the rules preventing classroom observation and why we intend to designate the best schools led by the best heads as teaching schools.</p> <p> In the NHS, teaching hospitals have become centres of excellence in their local areas by training current and future generations of doctors and nurses while also providing excellent medical care.</p> <p> We want teachers to have the same opportunities so teaching schools will work with other schools and with universities to deliver excellent initial teacher training, ongoing professional development and leadership development, while also providing an excellent education to pupils.</p> <p> And as well as ensuring that high-quality training is available, teaching schools will become engines of school improvement themselves because a vital part of their role will be to identify the best leaders and deploy them in a way that will allow them to support those schools that need to improve.</p> <p> But most importantly, teaching schools recognise that the biggest asset in schools is its people.</p> <p> They have to be our focus if we&rsquo;re to achieve excellence for all.</p> <p> Excellence for all is a fitting title for this conference because it is, I know, what all professionals strive to achieve every single day.</p> <p> It is what we are striving for too.</p> <p> And with our White Paper, the reforms that I&rsquo;ve spoken about today and the continued leadership of the SSAT and its members, it is finally a realistic ambition.</p> <p> Thank you very much.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0068867/nick-gibb-to-the-ssat-national-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the SSAT National Conference Education 2010-11-25 Birmingham
<p> * Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <h2> Introduction</h2> <p> My colleague, the Schools Minister Nick Gibb, spoke to you in June and set out the main principles of the Coalition&rsquo;s education reforms:</p> <ul> <li> freedom from bureaucracy and central diktat</li> <li> tackling inequality and disadvantage</li> <li> trusting professionals</li> <li> fairer funding</li> <li> putting in place rigorous standards and accountability.</li> </ul> <li> freedom from bureaucracy and central diktat</li> <li> tackling inequality and disadvantage</li> <li> trusting professionals</li> <li> fairer funding</li> <li> putting in place rigorous standards and accountability.</li> <p> Since then we&rsquo;ve started overhauling the 16-to-19 funding system, had the Spending Review in October, and published our White Paper yesterday.</p> <p> So it seems a good time to come here today to bring up you to date on where we have got to.</p> <p> But I want to start by paying tribute to all of you, for your hard work, commitment, passion and success in transforming young people&rsquo;s lives.</p> <p> You&rsquo;ve long set the pace for the rest of the 16 to 19 sector &ndash; higher rates of students going on to university, more creative teaching, stronger leadership, and better targeting for support the most disadvantaged students.</p> <p> You&rsquo;ve rightly got a great reputation for exactly the sort of motivated and committed staff and students I met this morning &ndash; just up the road at Joseph Chamberlain College.</p> <p> So today I want to reaffirm again our commitment to your future, to helping you meet the demands of students, parents, universities and employers.</p> <p> And I want to set the wider challenges ahead and answer some of your concerns head-on:</p> <ul> <li> your place in post-16 education</li> <li> how we&rsquo;re getting out of your hair so you can get on with what you do best &ndash; with less red-tape and more freedom</li> <li> how we plan to create a far more even playing field in funding terms, for you to compete fairly with schools and colleges</li> <li> and how now we think there are now opportunities for you, as our reform programme seeks to open up the system.</li> </ul> <li> your place in post-16 education</li> <li> how we&rsquo;re getting out of your hair so you can get on with what you do best &ndash; with less red-tape and more freedom</li> <li> how we plan to create a far more even playing field in funding terms, for you to compete fairly with schools and colleges</li> <li> and how now we think there are now opportunities for you, as our reform programme seeks to open up the system.</li> <h2> Challenges ahead</h2> <p> Our country faces a unique combination of challenges today.</p> <p> We are having to face up to the demands of world economic fluctuations, while keeping pace with our international competitors &ndash; all with tighter reins on the public finances.</p> <p> And they pose the toughest question for us in Government and for you in education.</p> <p> Are we equipping young people with the skills, knowledge, motivation and aspirations that employers and universities are demanding?</p> <p> And we&rsquo;ve got to be honest about the answer.</p> <p> The truth is that too many young people still don&rsquo;t get the right skills and qualifications for work and further study.</p> <p> Too many are staying on in education and training to get qualifications which aren&rsquo;t valued by higher education and employers.</p> <p> Too many, particularly from the poorest backgrounds, are turned off learning at an early age, fall back and then get left behind &ndash; we have&nbsp;almost a million young people under 24 still not in education, employment or training.</p> <p> And overall, we have a growing gap in terms of academic achievement between rich and poor &ndash; with only 40 children of the 80,000 on free school meals going on to study at Oxbridge.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re keeping the commitment to raise the participation age to 18 by 2015 &ndash; so everyone gets the high-quality education and skills they need to thrive in university and the world of work.</p> <p> And sixth form colleges are at the heart of this &ndash; making post-16 education&nbsp;as strong as possible and making sure we keep pace with the best systems in the world.</p> <h2> Reform = freedom</h2> <p> Nick said in June that sixth form colleges show why giving principals more autonomy led to better results.</p> <p> He&rsquo;s right. You show&nbsp;us how having freedoms over pay and conditions means you can the best out of your staff.</p> <p> There has to be far more trust in the frontline. We&rsquo;ve got no interest in constantly breathing down your neck &ndash; micromanaging every budget, every college and every class.</p> <p> But the challenge is that these freedoms will come with stronger accountability &ndash; to the young people you teach and the communities you serve.</p> <p> All the international evidence we have seen shows us that this combination of autonomy and accountability is the way that the best-performing educational systems are going. And it&rsquo;s our approach at the heart of the White Paper.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve made a start reforming and freeing up the system.</p> <p> Firstly, strengthening qualifications.</p> <p> Over the last two decades, vocational and academic qualifications have been forced to have some kind of uneasy equivalence when actually we should just be making sure that they are all high quality.</p> <p> So our White Paper plans will give universities and employers more say over developing A Levels &ndash; to keep them robust and&nbsp;rigorous, and to&nbsp;keep pace with the best systems around the world. We have said to Ofqual that we want them to look at our exam qualifications and compare them to&nbsp;the best in the world.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve asked Professor Alison Wolf to lead an independent review of vocational education, so colleges and schools have more freedom to offer qualifications that meet higher education&#39;s and the labour market&rsquo;s demands.</p> <p> We want to cut the bureaucracy around qualifications, including removing the need to offer every single Diploma subject in all schools and colleges. And we want to work with you further, to make them even simpler to teach and award.</p> <p> Secondly, I want to give you more freedom to get on with your job.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve already ended Ofsted inspections for outstanding colleges, scrapped legal requirements to do learner surveys, and stopped in-year funding adjustments.</p> <p> But we want to go further.</p> <p> So today I can also confirm we will repeal a whole series of other overly prescriptive statutory duties which weigh you down:</p> <ul> <li> having regard to promoting economic and social wellbeing</li> <li> having regard to guidance about consultation with actual and potential students and employers</li> <li> cooperating with children&rsquo;s trusts to improve children&rsquo;s wellbeing, and</li> <li> principals being forced to go through prescriptive development programmes instead of leading their schools.</li> </ul> <li> having regard to promoting economic and social wellbeing</li> <li> having regard to guidance about consultation with actual and potential students and employers</li> <li> cooperating with children&rsquo;s trusts to improve children&rsquo;s wellbeing, and</li> <li> principals being forced to go through prescriptive development programmes instead of leading their schools.</li> <p> We&rsquo;re not saying that consulting with students and working with other colleges is not important &ndash; but it&rsquo;s down to you to call the shots. You run high-quality institutions. You directly engage with their pupils and their parents and play an active role in their local communities. I don&rsquo;t think that you need to be told by central government how to run yourselves.</p> <h2> Spending review &ndash; hard choices</h2> <p> I know that you are concerned about the future of funding.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;ve had to take some difficult decisions.</p> <p> The Coalition set itself the toughest of tasks in the Spending Review &ndash; balancing urgent action to cut the deficit and protecting education as far as possible.</p> <p> And we secured the best possible deal in the wider economic and political climate &ndash; meaning we can commit to full participation to 18 and fund a record 1.6 million places for young people by 2015, including an increase in Apprenticeships.</p> <p> But we&rsquo;ve also had to be realistic.&nbsp;Some programmes would no longer be affordable in their previous form. That&rsquo;s for example why we had to end Building Schools for the Future.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s also why we&rsquo;re replacing the EMA, with an increased and better targeted scheme of discretionary funding, where schools and colleges themselves judge how to spend it.&nbsp;</p> <p> We didn&rsquo;t take this decision lightly. But the evidence seems clear that around nine out of&nbsp;ten students would have gone to college or sixth form regardless of whether or not they got the EMA &ndash; leaving it unjustifiable and unsustainable in the current economic climate.</p> <p> Our job now is to make sure we get the new fund right,&nbsp;working with you here today and others over the coming weeks on making sure it helps overcome the hardships faced by the poorest students &ndash; including extending its existing remit to cover transport costs.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;ve had to take other hard decisions.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s right to ask for even more efficient finances in colleges and schools, so we can afford to fund places young people need in post-16 education. The taxpayer is rightly looking at how every penny is spent.</p> <p> Across the public sector, we all have to take responsibility for investing public funds wisely. We&rsquo;ve all got to get the best deal possible from our procurement, our back office functions, our overheads, and how we work.</p> <p> And in the face of a very tight capital settlement, we must target investment where it is most needed while cutting out wasteful design and procurement processes. That&rsquo;s why we set up our independent review to get much better value for money out of all our building programmes, which will report to us shortly.</p> <p> I know that you are anxious to hear about wider capital funding beyond March 2011. I intend to set out our longer-term building plans shortly but I want to reassure you that we have been listening very carefully to your arguments.</p> <p> And I want to reassure you that your needs are being considered in detail and equally alongside all our building investment in&nbsp;Early Years and schools &ndash; to make sure there is funding available to meet refurbishment costs and&nbsp;pupil numbers.</p> <h2> Fairer and more transparent funding</h2> <p> I also know that one of the biggest concerns you have is to have a fairer funding system so you can compete on a level playing field with school sixth forms.</p> <p> So ahead of the overall 16-to-19 settlement in December and your final allocations next year, I am today reiterating our commitment to end the sharp funding disparities you face.</p> <p> The wider school funding system we&rsquo;ve inherited is a mess. It is hideously complex, with little transparency or clarity and with historic, unresolved anomalies meaning there are huge disparities across the country for schools with similar intakes.</p> <p> For colleges, the unfairness is particularly stark. You have suffered in comparison with school sixth forms for years &ndash; getting &pound;280 per pupil less on average, meaning a difference of over half a million pounds for a medium-to-large college.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why yesterday&rsquo;s White Paper commits us in black-and-white to ending this inequity and bringing all funding into line with the most efficient providers &ndash; in other words, with sixth form and FE colleges.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also why we have brought in a much clearer funding system, to allocate and target funding, since we got into power &ndash; meaning the money actually follows the students you recruit.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s why we are giving you direct responsibility for securing your own borrowings, without it getting bogged down and holding up essential investment by having to be cleared with local authorities.</p> <p> We will work with you to get these changes right and to introduce them as carefully as possible.</p> <h2> Playing&nbsp;a bigger role</h2> <p> And in return for cutting bureaucracy and helping you compete with schools and general FE colleges, we&nbsp;want you to play a bigger part in our reform programme.</p> <p> Our reforms give you the chance to expand and secure your future.</p> <p> All young people should have access to high-quality sixth forms wherever they live &ndash; so we want a far more responsive market.</p> <p> That could mean new sixth form colleges opening where there is a clear demand &ndash; something we will always explore in detail.</p> <p> But equally, it could mean you seizing the initiative by partnering or sponsoring new academies and Free Schools, working with the new generation of university technical colleges that Lord Baker is pioneering, or taking the lead in federations with existing schools.</p> <p> You&rsquo;ve got so much to give your communities. You are among the best, if not the best, providers of A Level education, so I welcome suggestions as to how you can put your experience to work to benefit even more children.&nbsp;Tell us what you think you can do and we will listen.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> We are facing challenging times in the education sector.</p> <p> Sixth form colleges will always have a central role to play &ndash; raising aspirations for all, driving up teaching standards, and making leadership stronger.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve got a long way to go but we&rsquo;ve got the basics right, giving you more of what you want: greater freedoms, stronger qualifications, and fairer funding.</p> <p> And in return, I look forward to working with you over the coming months and years,&nbsp;to help us create a world-class education system and to keep sixth form colleges as the jewel in the 16-to-19 crown.</p> <p> Thank you for your time.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0068930/lord-hill-to-the-sixth-form-colleges-forum Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the Sixth Form Colleges Forum Education 2010-11-25 Birmingham
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> The Government has a lot to be thankful for that organisations like the London Voluntary Service Council exist. We need critical friends like you &ndash; organisations who are prepared to challenge us, to work with us, to hold us to account, but also to make sure that you do that in a constructive way.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m very pleased to be here today to speak about issues that are very close to my heart as a minister and as an MP representing a constituency like Brent Central &ndash; tackling poverty in our city and promoting social inclusion.</p> <p> I thank you for the hard work you all you do with our Child Poverty Unit, through the London Child Poverty Delivery Group.</p> <p> And I thank you so much for your work you do on the ground, with the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in our society &ndash; dealing with the sort of issues that I see in my own constituency.</p> <p> I see how poor families struggle to cope every day &ndash; when some of the wealthiest in the country live a few streets away.</p> <p> I see how young people never achieve their full potential or fulfil their talents because of the barriers thrown up in their way &ndash; when their neighbours clear the same hurdles with ease.</p> <p> And I see the unacceptable reality in London today &ndash; that in the twenty-first century, a child born in Harlesden, in my constituency, is still expected to die more than ten years before one born a few miles down the road in Kensington.</p> <p> We have a moral duty to change this &ndash; that&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re committed to ending child poverty by 2020.</p> <p> Breaking that cycle of disadvantage; building a fairer society; ending the inequality we see in this great city, and beyond, are the uniting passions of all of us in the coalition.</p> <p> Today I want to set out the task we face; the foundations we&rsquo;ve begun to lay; and how our education, early years and welfare reforms, with the voluntary sector, are going to be vital to ending not just material poverty but the poverty of ambition in our society.</p> <h2> The task ahead &ndash; results are all</h2> <p> We need to start with asking ourselves&nbsp;hard questions.</p> <p> Why, after a decade or more of booming economic growth and public investment, are we still such an unequal society?</p> <p> Why has social mobility largely stalled since the 1970s?</p> <p> Why is there still a yawning attainment gap between rich and poor at five, which gets wider as they get older?</p> <p> Why does work still not pay for families wanting to escape a life on welfare?</p> <p> Disadvantage in Britain today too often gets passed from one generation to another. Birth still dictates your fate. Your parents&rsquo; income still predicts how well you do at school, your job, your expectations and hopes for your own children.</p> <p> One in five children still lives in poverty nationally. In inner London it is closer to one in three and in the area we are today, in Tower Hamlets, it is six out of ten. Almost two million children live in households where no one is in paid work. Almost two million live in poor housing &ndash; crowded rooms, squalid conditions, dangerous buildings. Just a quarter of our poorest children reached the most basic GCSE benchmark. And young people from poorer backgrounds are less than twice as likely to go to university as those from richer backgrounds.</p> <p> No one doubts the good intentions and hard work of the previous government of trying to deal with poverty. But you can&rsquo;t judge your efforts simply by the billions you&rsquo;ve thrown at tax credits. You have to judge it by results.</p> <p> Too much time and effort has been spent trying to move poor households across an arbitrary income line, without focusing on whether it actually transformed people&rsquo;s life chances.</p> <p> Nobody is saying income isn&rsquo;t important &ndash; it clearly is. If you don&rsquo;t have enough money to feed or clothe yourself properly or put a roof over your head, then life is unimaginably tough, no matter what else you&rsquo;re doing.</p> <p> But in the long term, the best way to tackle poverty is to break down the barriers so families can escape it: entrenched worklessness, economic dependency, and educational failure.</p> <h2> Coalition &ndash; laying foundations</h2> <p> So we&rsquo;ve begun to set out our stall in the Spending Review &ndash; dealing with the mess in the public finances and sowing the seeds of economic recovery, while making sure we don&rsquo;t burden future generations with the legacy of our mistakes.</p> <p> There is nothing fair about leaving our children and their children with unsustainable debts, higher taxes and public services stripped bare for decades, because we weren&rsquo;t brave enough to deal with deficit now.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve had to take hard decisions in the national interest, while making the economic, social and moral case for protecting and strengthening the poorest as far as we can.</p> <p> Our budget in June and the Spending Review last month are not the whole story. We need more than investment &ndash; we have to deepen and broaden our thinking on how we tackle poverty.</p> <p> The fact is, we can only truly achieve success by giving people the chance to break free from their parents&rsquo; income and background; by equipping them with the right incentives, know-how, aspirations and skills to leave poverty behind.</p> <p> Firstly, through radical welfare reform &ndash; to make sure work always pay.</p> <p> And secondly, through unlocking social mobility by giving young people the best start in life &ndash; giving young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential.</p> <h2> Welfare reform</h2> <p> Taking the first. The welfare bill has almost doubled since 1997 and the system still creates few real rewards for people to get back into work.</p> <p> It can&rsquo;t be right that tens of thousands still lose 90p out of every extra pound they earn, when they move back into work and their benefits are phased out.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s unacceptable that tens of thousands of part-time workers are no better off in employment than on benefit &ndash; so see no incentive in increasing their hours.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s a sign of an unfair society &ndash; burdening the poorest with the cost of our failure to face up to welfare reform.</p> <p> So we have set out a radical programme to ensure that work pays and gets people out of the poverty trap.</p> <p> Reforming the welfare system is not easy but we have made it clear that we will protect the most vulnerable by making sure that benefits are well targeted and fair.</p> <p> The Universal Credit will not reduce the level of support. It will make the system simpler and more efficient, with fewer benefits, fewer layers of bureaucracy and with financial support firmly focused on rewarding work.</p> <p> And all told, it will help reduce the number of workless households by around 300,000 within two or three years.</p> <h2> The best start in life &ndash; Early Years and schools</h2> <p> But we can&rsquo;t stop there. Escaping from poverty is not just about income. It is about giving every single the person the chance to make real choices about their future without it being dependent on their background.</p> <p> And the keys to this are high-quality education and Early Years provision.</p> <p> Despite the state of the public finances, we made a very clear commitment in the Comprehensive Spending Review to focus what resources we have on education and on investing in the early years.</p> <p> I know many of you are anxious about funding. But in terms of education, we secured the best possible settlement given the circumstances:</p> <ul> <li> Sure Start children&rsquo;s centres protected and accessible to all &ndash; but better targeting those with the greatest needs;</li> <li> free childcare for all three- and four-year-olds to 15 hours a week, with it extended to all disadvantaged two-year-olds for the first time;</li> <li> School funding cash protected, with a Pupil Premium on top, for children from the lowest income families that need the most support in class &ndash; an extra &pound;2.5 billion by 2015.</li> </ul> <li> Sure Start children&rsquo;s centres protected and accessible to all &ndash; but better targeting those with the greatest needs;</li> <li> free childcare for all three- and four-year-olds to 15 hours a week, with it extended to all disadvantaged two-year-olds for the first time;</li> <li> School funding cash protected, with a Pupil Premium on top, for children from the lowest income families that need the most support in class &ndash; an extra &pound;2.5 billion by 2015.</li> <p> These changes can make a real difference to children&rsquo;s lives.</p> <p> Michael Gove will be setting out a radical reform programme for schools this week &ndash; setting out in particular how we can attract the best teachers to the most deprived areas. The Pupil Premium will play a central role, meaning that from next September, teachers will have the funding they need to help our most disadvantaged children in the way they think is best &ndash; with one-to-one tuition, after school support, mentoring and coaching, instead of that cash being sucked elsewhere, as it is too often.</p> <p> But we also believe that we must also look much earlier than the start of school to really help families escape poverty.</p> <p> So over the last few months, I&rsquo;ve been looking at how the poorest can get high-quality Early Years&rsquo; provision and family support.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;ve decided to enshrine in law that all disadvantaged two-year-olds will get the free childcare entitlement from 2013. That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re going to make Sure Start far better at reaching out to the poorest families in future &ndash; backed by an extra 4200 health visitors. That&rsquo;s why we are breaking down the barriers which stop families giving their children the best &ndash; with more flexible working and shared parental leave. And that&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re focusing on supporting families who have a disabled child, to make sure that they get the best possible support.</p> <h2> Getting the structure right</h2> <p> We want a shift in focus, right across Government and local government towards early intervention and a much greater role for the voluntary sector.</p> <p> Two very important views will inform the Government&rsquo;s work in this area.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve asked Frank Field to look at a new measure of life chances and how we can tackle poverty best. And we&rsquo;ve asked Graham Allen to do a review of best practice around early intervention.</p> <p> We recognise that every area is different and so we want a very different relationship with local authorities.</p> <p> We want to get away from an approach where Government tells local authorities exactly what they must do on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and what order they must do it in. Tower Hamlets is very different to Brent. And they are both certainly very different to Surrey or Yorkshire.</p> <p> We need to be able to give freedom to local authorities to make decisions on the ground and to decide how best to target resources. That&rsquo;s why when we set out the details of the new Early Intervention Grant next week, every area will have the freedom to get on with the job.</p> <p> We do want councils to focus much more on outcomes, not just the numbers of people that have gone through their system. And we will use payment by results to try and drive that process.</p> <p> We won&rsquo;t tell councils exactly how to work with the people on the ground. But we believe that the voluntary sector is often the key to tackling the most disadvantaged groups. It has enormous expertise but at the moment it is not utilised enough. We&rsquo;re determined to open up the market to make sure it can be better involved in delivering services for young people, Sure Start and families with multiple problems.</p> <p> We will use the Localism Bill to try and drive this process. So if the voluntary sector, for example, thinks it can run a children&rsquo;s centre or is better placed to tackle some of the most difficult, hard-to-reach groups in their local area, we will allow it the right to challenge local authorities to put those services out to tender. We will be announcing more about that very soon.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> So I&rsquo;ve tried to lay out some of the main themes around the Government&rsquo;s policy on tackling poverty and inequality over the next few years. I want to work much more closely with the voluntary sector in shaping that vision. So I say again, we need organisations like you that challenge us, that focus our attention to make sure we stick to the pledges we make, and judge us by our results.&nbsp;</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0068696/sarah-teather-to-the-london-voluntary-service-council-conference-closing-the-gap-inequality-in-london Sarah Teather MP Sarah Teather to the London Voluntary Service Council conference - Closing The Gap: Inequality in London Education 2010-11-23 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Good morning everyone and thank you Geoff for that warm welcome.</p> <p> The more observant among you will by now have realised that I&rsquo;m not Michael Gove, who unfortunately has been called away at the last minute. He has asked me to apologise on his behalf and to say how sorry he is not to be here. I know that he is a big fan of studio schools, a great admirer of the pioneering work done by the Young Foundation, and a keen supporter of the Studio Schools Trust, which he recently described as &lsquo;superb&rsquo;.</p> <p> But I am delighted to be here in his place because it gives me the chance &ndash; less eloquently than Michael no doubt &ndash; to put on the record my own support for the work of the Studio Schools Trust and my appreciation for what you do.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> I have been lucky enough to go to Barnfield College in Luton, shortly after it opened one of the first two studio schools in September. And last Friday I was at Futures Community College in Southend-on-Sea &ndash; not a studio school but doing something similar around practical training.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> I am the new kid on the block, but you don&rsquo;t have to be a rocket scientist to get the point.</p> <p> Switched-on, positive children working hard and learning practical skills.</p> <p> Switched-on, positive employers telling me how brilliant it was for them.</p> <p> Academic and vocational teaching being offered side by side; learning tailored to pupils&rsquo; individual needs; aspirations raised, so that going to university or getting a good job becomes a realistic prospect for children in families where aspiration and expectation has been very low.</p> <p> So I want to thank them, as well as everyone at the Netherhall Learning Campus in Kirklees, the Studio Schools Trust and the Young Foundation for the enormous amount of work they&rsquo;ve done to push the boundaries forward and make the argument for why we need to offer young people the chance of acquiring high-quality practical and technical skills, as well as high-quality academic qualifications.</p> <h2> The challenges</h2> <p> I came to this new job not having worked in education. For the last 12 years, I ran my own business. It has meant I have had &ndash; and still have &ndash; a steep learning curve, but coming to something fresh is not without advantages.</p> <p> It means you have to approach things from first principles and you have to ask lots of questions.</p> <p> Questions like: are enough of our children leaving primary school able to read and write properly?</p> <p> Are we equipping young people with the skills, knowledge and aspirations employers and universities are demanding?</p> <p> Have we got an exam and qualification system to which we have confidence? Have league tables and equivalents led to gaming of the system?</p> <p> Are we motivating and enthusing the workforce of tomorrow &ndash; so they fulfil their potential and have the confidence to succeed? Or, at the very least, know how to turn up on time, work in a team, or take direction from a manager?</p> <p> Is vocational and practical training strong enough so we can compete internationally &ndash; or even be able to fill jobs at home without having to recruit from overseas?</p> <p> How do we measure up against best practice internationally?</p> <p> To which, my answers are: no, up to a point, not really, yes, not well enough, no and it&rsquo;s a very mixed picture.</p> <p> The truth is that too many young people still don&rsquo;t get the right skills and qualifications for work and further study.</p> <p> Too many young people are turned off learning at an early age, fall behind and then get left behind.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s not good enough for more young people to be staying on in education if the qualifications they&rsquo;re working towards aren&rsquo;t valued by future employers.</p> <p> I also can&rsquo;t help feeling that out of a well-intended desire to give vocational and academic skills parity of esteem &ndash; which is right &ndash; we have ended up undervaluing both.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve forced vocational and academic qualifications to have some kind of uneasy equivalence, when actually we should just be making sure that they are all high quality and do what universities and employers need. And above all that they should be tailored to what individual children need.</p> <p> So, what are we doing about it?</p> <p> The top line is that we are trying to get out of the hair of professions to allow them to get on with what they do best. To come up with ideas of their own &ndash; like studio schools &ndash; as to how they can best cater for their children.</p> <p> We also want to stop directing and prescribing quite so much, I hope leaving more space for professionals to learn from each other, forming partnerships, spreading good practice and raising standards through collaboration and the sharing of experience.</p> <h2> Reform</h2> <p> More specifically, we have a number of clear aims.</p> <p> First, to strengthen qualifications so they are more robust, rigorous and teach the economically valuable skills that employers demand to keep pace with the rest of the world.</p> <p> We will also give universities and employers more say over developing A Levels. It&rsquo;s right that those with the strongest interest in making sure young people have the right skills have a louder voice.</p> <p> Second, we&rsquo;ve asked Professor Alison Wolf to lead an independent review of vocational qualifications. Alison&rsquo;s review isn&rsquo;t about creating yet another set of Whitehall-designed, top-down qualifications &ndash; it&rsquo;s about giving colleges and schools the flexibility to offer qualifications that meet the labour market&rsquo;s constantly shifting demands and higher expectations.</p> <p> Third, we want to raise the quality of careers guidance.</p> <p> Fourth, we are expanding the number of Apprenticeships.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s sobering that only eight per cent of employers in England offer Apprenticeships &ndash; compared with 24 per cent in Germany. And of businesses with at least 500 employees, it&rsquo;s just 30 per cent here compared with more than 90 per cent across in Germany.</p> <p> Fifth, we are trying to put the right structures in place through our wider reform programme.</p> <p> People sometimes say to me: why are you making these structural changes? Surely its teachers who make the difference? Stop messing around and concentrate on the teachers.</p> <p> I agree totally that it always comes down to people &ndash; and we will be saying more about that in our White Paper to be published shortly. But the point of the structural changes is to give those people more space and it provides the opportunity for new ideas to bubble up from below.&nbsp;</p> <p> So we&rsquo;re expanding the Academies programme and we&rsquo;re ensuring that new providers including parents, community groups and businesses can come together and open new Free Schools where there&rsquo;s demand &ndash; bringing outside expertise and experience into the state sector.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we back Lord Baker, who through the Baker-Dearing Trust that he set up with the late Lord Dearing, is doing a fantastic job in pioneering a new generation of University Technical Colleges.</p> <p> They will offer high-quality technical qualifications&nbsp; &ndash; all as autonomous institutions, sponsored by leading local businesses and a local university.</p> <p> The JCB Academy in Staffordshire is already open &ndash; offering hard practical learning alongside academic GCSEs.</p> <p> The new UTC in Birmingham will specialise in engineering and manufacturing when it opens in 2012 &ndash; with students working with Aston University engineering staff and students, as well as local business and colleges.</p> <p> And Ken has ambitious plans to open many more in cities across the country.</p> <h2> Studio schools &ndash; the way forward</h2> <p> And it&rsquo;s in that same spirit that we are right behind the studio schools movement and keen to see it grow, and we hope that the wider education system sits up and takes note of your distinctive philosophy and ethos.</p> <p> We think that studio schools have huge potential, and it&rsquo;s not just us who think so. I gather that there is a great deal of interest from overseas.</p> <p> Studio schools have a fresh and new culture for young people at risk of dropping out elsewhere. They are all ability, have high aspirations for all pupils and make sure young people get the strong qualifications they need to get into employment or university, whether that&rsquo;s GCSEs, A Levels, Diplomas, BTECs or NVQs.</p> <p> But they also give them the practical skills employers demand in trades like construction, hospitality, plumbing and engineering, as well as softer skills like team working, communication, initiative and punctuality &ndash; exactly the kind of intangibles that businesses want but often can&rsquo;t find in school leavers.</p> <p> Studio schools show us how to go beyond so-called &lsquo;traditional&rsquo; teaching by using some of the most innovative teaching methods like personal mentoring and coaching, project-based learning which cuts across subjects, and rooting lessons in practical, real-life situations. And they use smaller classes to back up high-quality staff, allowing them to focus more attention on pupils who might have been at risk of falling behind or switching off.</p> <p> And one vital point: this doesn&rsquo;t mean dumbing down &ndash; it&rsquo;s about making sure young people are inspired and excited to invest the time and effort in their own futures.</p> <p> They mustn&rsquo;t be seen as some kind of halfway house between mainstream provision and PRUs, as some sort of sticking plaster. This is exactly the kind of false label, often attached to vocational education, which we need to squash. It doesn&rsquo;t do justice to the teachers teaching or the pupils learning in them. And it misses the point about the enormous potential that studio schools have.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> By bringing employers into the classroom, it&rsquo;s a win-win for them and the children.&nbsp;</p> <br /> <br /> <p> Young people are doing real work in real business environments &ndash; the over-16s are paid a proper wage, but above all they are getting the chance to work alongside professionals on real commercial projects.</p> <p> I like the fact that employers involved in studio schools recognise that there is not much value in making noises-off about the quality of skills, while not actually working in schools directly. So it is absolutely right they are reaching out to young people directly and taking them under their wing.</p> <p> By working together, I know we can spread the word about the studio school approach. And I would urge everyone here who thinks they might be interested to talk to the Studio Schools Trust.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> Today is a celebration of the launch of the first two studio schools, but I hope it also heralds more to come.</p> <p> It is extremely important that the pioneers do well, not just for the children you are teaching, but because of the role models you can be.</p> <p> Showing that it is possible to break down the long-standing divide between academic and vocational qualifications that has existed in our country for too long. Showing that it is possible to re-engage young people and get them to set their targets higher.</p> <p> And showing that we can give more young people real choice in their lives.</p> <p> I believe that studio schools can help achieve all of that.</p> <p> And I hope this is just the start of things to come.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0068272/lord-hill-to-the-national-launch-of-studio-schools Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the national launch of studio schools Education 2010-11-18 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> I am delighted to have the opportunity to be here today. As you know, I&rsquo;m a firm advocate of care professionals spending as much time as possible with children and families &ndash; but learning and development is also important, so I&rsquo;d like to thank Community Care for organising this event once again.</p> <p> I&rsquo;d just like to say at the outset I am proud to be Minister for Children&rsquo;s Social Care, and I want to make it clear that I am your minister. Over several years in opposition and now in Government too, much of my time is spent on the front line talking to your colleagues at the sharp end and to the children and families they work with &ndash; I make a point of that. Officials in Whitehall advise me, but your contribution is crucial. With it, I am able to challenge accepted wisdom and make sure that your concerns are heard and taken up. This is really important.</p> <p> For instance, when I visited one city last year I accompanied social workers who mentioned that they were not provided with mobile phones when visiting very challenging families. The senior officials and councillors accompanying me were also unaware of this.</p> <p> Everyone in this country who cares about child protection owes social workers and other care professionals a great debt of gratitude. Every day you work with the most vulnerable, often in highly challenging circumstances. Your commitment makes a huge difference to our society. It is vital you are treated and respected on an equivalent basis to nurses, police, doctors, teachers and other crucial professionals.</p> <p> It is precisely because we value the work you do so highly that we are already reforming and improving the child protection system, and we have moved urgently in the first 100 days on child protection. Our aim is to remove any obstacles standing in the way of you making well-informed judgements in the best interests of children, and free you&nbsp;from the&nbsp;unnecessary bureaucracy&nbsp;that has grown exponentially in recent years.</p> <p> Much of the groundwork for our approach was done whilst in Opposition. In the years I spent shadowing this role I set up and chaired the Commission on Children&rsquo;s Social Work, which produced the report in 2007, <em>No More Blame Game</em>. I responded on the commission&rsquo;s behalf to Lord Laming&rsquo;s 2009 report and spoke at the Victoria Climbi&eacute; Foundation, where we launched our policy paper, <em>Back to the Front Line,</em> specifically on children&rsquo;s social work in February 2010.</p> <em>No More Blame Game</em> <em>Back to the Front Line,</em> <p> This is something we haven&rsquo;t just plucked out of the air but stems from a long-term commitment to the importance of an effective, motivated and well-trained social care workforce at the heart of protecting our most vulnerable children and families.</p> <p> So when the Government took office, we were able to hit the ground running.</p> <p> As part of that commitment, I spent a week in Stockport with social workers on the front line, visiting families, attending the out-of-hours service, adoption panels and local children&rsquo;s safeguarding boards. It was a real privilege to work with the team and see first hand the pressures they are facing.</p> <p> I want to talk through the changes we&rsquo;ve already made in the last six months and our future plans. And more importantly, I want to listen to your views and answer your questions.</p> <p> Despite the best endeavours of social workers and the best intentions of government, in recent years public confidence in the child protection system has been severely undermined &ndash;&nbsp;not least since the Peter Connolly case. And the people at the front line have been increasingly weighed down by rising numbers of referrals and ever-increasing rules and regulations.</p> <p> There has been too much major structural upheaval and it is clear that the bureaucracy around child protection &ndash; which in some cases has become an industry in itself &ndash; must be reduced.</p> <p> So in June, Professor Eileen Munro was asked by the Secretary of State to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of child protection to identify the real obstacles to effective practice at the front line, and to find ways of liberating professionals to spend more time with vulnerable children and families.&nbsp;That is what social workers went into the profession to do.</p> <p> It is essential that the work is complementary to that of Moira Gibb&rsquo;s &ndash; chair of the Social Work Reform Board. I am clear that the valuable work already underway in reforming the training and professional support for social workers needs to carry on the excellent work already done by Moira and the Social Work Reform Board.</p> <p> Unlike previous investigations into your work, the Munro review has not been commissioned as a knee-jerk reaction to a public crisis. Eileen has a broad remit and is free to examine the issues and recommend as she sees fit. But I know that she relies on you at the front line to provide her with material and the learning from your own experience. So this review is really driven by your contributions.</p> <p> This represents two differences, a halving of the rule book, and it is not a knee-jerk reaction.</p> <p> Professor Munro published her scoping report last month. In it, she describes a system which I am sure you recognise:</p> <ul> <li> Professionals complying with rules and regulations and spending less time assessing children&rsquo;s needs.</li> <li> A target-driven culture with social workers unable too often to exercise their professional judgement and professionals feeling demoralised over time.</li> <li> Too much emphasis on identifying families and not enough attention to putting children&rsquo;s needs first. A culture which has built up on risk aversion and box ticking. In short, doing the right thing rather doing what is right.</li> <li> Serious case reviews concentrating only on errors when things have gone wrong, rather than looking at where things have worked well and sharing good practice and continually reflecting on what could be done better.</li> </ul> <li> Professionals complying with rules and regulations and spending less time assessing children&rsquo;s needs.</li> <li> A target-driven culture with social workers unable too often to exercise their professional judgement and professionals feeling demoralised over time.</li> <li> Too much emphasis on identifying families and not enough attention to putting children&rsquo;s needs first. A culture which has built up on risk aversion and box ticking. In short, doing the right thing rather doing what is right.</li> <li> Serious case reviews concentrating only on errors when things have gone wrong, rather than looking at where things have worked well and sharing good practice and continually reflecting on what could be done better.</li> <p> I know from meetings with you that court proceedings are an area of concern and that delays in the family court system have an impact on the welfare of children. Eileen&rsquo;s review is happening in tandem with the reviews of the Family Justice Review under David Norgrove, which will report next autumn but with an interim report in April to coincide with Professor Munro&rsquo;s final report, particularly concentrating on log-jams in the family courts.</p> <p> As I mentioned, Eileen&rsquo;s initial report also describes concerns with serious case reviews.&nbsp;It is imperative that these are efficient exercises which are tightly focused on learning lessons.</p> <p> In Opposition we pledged to publish the full reports of serious case reviews and we quickly took the decision when we took office to carry out that commitment in line with a drive for greater openness and transparency.</p> <p> I know this is controversial and some of you won&rsquo;t agree, but I would say that the biggest beneficiaries of full publication of serious case reviews are indeed social workers themselves. It will help the public to understand the work you do every day, rather than have social workers panned on the front page of tabloids when the full story reveals something else and a wider apportionment of responsibility.</p> <p> And we have asked Eileen Munro to develop some more effective &ndash; and less bureaucratic &ndash; models for learning from serious incidents, and indeed from good practice.&nbsp;This must not be about apportioning blame &ndash; it must be about better, more sustained, and more widely shared learning:</p> <ul> <li> transparency to restore public confidence and confidence in the profession</li> <li> serious learning exercises</li> <li> identify responsibilities &ndash; not a blame game</li> </ul> <li> transparency to restore public confidence and confidence in the profession</li> <li> serious learning exercises</li> <li> identify responsibilities &ndash; not a blame game</li> <p> In short, I want social workers to have the confidence to make the wrong decisions occasionally but more likely&nbsp;make the right decision based on well-informed value judgements taken at the sharp end where it really matters.</p> <p> Another swift action we took was to scrap ContactPoint. We have opposed this since it was first proposed in the Children Act of 2004. I believe it was an unwieldy and expensive system that didn&rsquo;t meet the needs of supporting vulnerable children and families.</p> <p> I am working with officials on developing an alternative signposting approach which is better focused on genuinely vulnerable children, especially those moving between local authority boundaries.</p> <p> I would rather the &pound;224 million spent setting up ContactPoint had instead been spent on 7500 more social workers at the front line. It is professionals, not computers, that intervene to save children.&nbsp;And whilst better information sharing is vital, it is the means to an end &ndash;&nbsp;not the end in itself in order to tick a box.</p> <p> In fostering and residential care, we are revising regulations, statutory guidance and national minimum standards, to strip out unnecessary proscription and give professionals the flexibility to operate within a child-focused and fit-for-purpose framework.</p> <p> I want to make all guidance sharper, shorter and more accessible; for example, I removed 7000 words from the leaving care guidance &ndash; people don&rsquo;t want to wade through lengthy tomes of government prescription, and they shouldn&rsquo;t have to.</p> <p> People working with children deserve our thanks and recognition for changing lives and helping children achieve their potential. This is one reason why I will be publishing a charter for foster care. This will show what support foster carers can expect from their fostering service and local authority, and what is expected of them &ndash;&nbsp;a common-sense approach that has, as its default position, that they should treat foster children as any good parent would treat their own birth children.</p> <p> The charter will make clear that local authorities should involve foster carers in care planning and support carers to make everyday decisions about their foster child. We know from children how important this is to them.</p> <p> The Government wants to see all local authorities performing to the level of the best: more looked-after children adopted where this is in their best interests, less delay, and all based on the premise that the most important factor identifying a suitable adoption placement for a suitable child &ndash; whether they can offer a stable, safe, loving family environment, whether on not they are the perfect ethnic match, smoke, or are overweight.</p> <p> We also want to see more collaborative working between local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies so that adoption services are enhanced and adoptive families&nbsp;found for the most difficult to place children. That is why I have set up an advisory group on adoption to provide expert advice on how to remove barriers to adoption and reduce delay in placements.&nbsp;And we need to work closely with courts too, and have discussions with Sir Nicholas Wall of the Family Court Division to establish a better dialogue between family judges and adoption panels.</p> <p> I am aware that the social work profession has been in semi-crisis over the past few years. Demoralised social workers, high vacancy rates and high caseloads all add to the stress of an already stressful job. You are dammed if you do and dammed if you don&rsquo;t. I&rsquo;m keen to address these issues by helping social workers to have a stronger voice, improving recruitment and exploring new ways of organising social work services. At the heart of all this, though, is the objective to free up the time of social workers and other professionals at the front line.</p> <p> I am pleased to see progress being made in establishing an independent college of social work. A strong professional body for social workers will help to ensure that changes in social work practice will continue to be rooted in the experience of the front line and give professional gravitas as well.</p> <p> In order to give children the best service, we need social work teams to be fully staffed, highly trained and well-supported. I am grateful to the Social Work Reform Board for&nbsp;its work to date in addressing this. It is crucial we ensure that quality graduates enter the system, that they receive effective support from their employers and that they remain in the profession.</p> <p> My department is funding a range of support programmes for social workers, such as the Newly Qualified Social Worker scheme, and we have recently released a further &pound;23 million&nbsp;social work improvement fund to local authorities, to help them address local social work priorities. I recently visited Chester University to explore the Step Up to Social Work programme. Again, this shows the commitment this Government has in persuading high-calibre graduates to choose social work as a long-term career choice. We need new people to come into the profession &ndash; committed&nbsp;and motivated.</p> <p> Some of you will be involved in the social work practice pilots. These present a unique opportunity to explore new ways of delivering services and they are already showing positive benefits for children and social workers.</p> <p> It is therefore right that we extend the Social Work Practices model so that every LA in the country will have an opportunity to participate. I am pleased that my colleague, the Health Secretary, sees the same exciting potential in this approach and is trialling it in adult social services as well.</p> <p> Obviously questions of funding hang over any speech made by a minister these days. The Spending Review took the tough decisions to reduce the deficit run up by the previous Government. I know that you and your colleagues working on the front line in public services are concerned about what this will mean.</p> <p> We have given local authorities greater freedoms in the way they organise children&rsquo;s services, but be under no misapprehension that child protection remains an absolute priority. There will also be no more major structural upheaval diverting valuable time and resources away from the front line.</p> <p> We have made clear the importance of early intervention and there will be funds available to support this through the early intervention grant. We have told local authorities that failing to intervene early is a false economy. The cost of failure is huge, both in financial and in social terms.</p> <p> You will have heard yesterday that as part of the Government&rsquo;s arm&#39;s length body review and ongoing commitment to channel as much resource as possible directly to the front line, my colleague, Children&rsquo;s Minister Sarah Teather, announced that the Department is withdrawing NDPB status&nbsp;from the Children&rsquo;s Workforce Development Council and bringing its ongoing functions into the Department for Education. We want to build on the expertise and progress of CWDC, working very closely and constructively with them.</p> <p> As I have mentioned, the work of the Munro review and the Social Work Reform Board will provide a strong framework to train and support social workers. We will work closely with CWDC to make sure that the momentum they have built in recent years on children&rsquo;s social care isn&rsquo;t lost.</p> <p> Over ten years ago Victoria Climbie met a horrific fate. The report that followed triggered a deluge of legislation, regulation and direction by central government telling you how to do your jobs.</p> <p> Much of that was helpful, but I don&rsquo;t believe &ndash; despite the very best intentions of the previous Government &ndash; vulnerable children today are appreciably safer than they were ten years ago.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve got to get it right. Over the next few years, we need to see a new child protection system emerge. What this will look like is largely up to you. But there are some things I am hoping to see:</p> <ul> <li> social workers and other professionals freed from bureaucracy and able to spend most of their time with vulnerable children and families on the front line. More time spent proactively working to keep families together rather than too often reacting when it&rsquo;s too late</li> <li> more high-quality graduates choosing social work as a first career of choice</li> <li> a&nbsp;social work profession that has the confidence to take risks in&nbsp;its work. And the confidence to make the wrong decisions, occasionally, but based on sound, well-informed value judgements taken at the sharp end &ndash; not chained to a computer screen.</li> </ul> <li> social workers and other professionals freed from bureaucracy and able to spend most of their time with vulnerable children and families on the front line. More time spent proactively working to keep families together rather than too often reacting when it&rsquo;s too late</li> <li> more high-quality graduates choosing social work as a first career of choice</li> <li> a&nbsp;social work profession that has the confidence to take risks in&nbsp;its work. And the confidence to make the wrong decisions, occasionally, but based on sound, well-informed value judgements taken at the sharp end &ndash; not chained to a computer screen.</li> <p> As I said at the beginning, I am your minister and we have an exciting and challenging few years ahead. We have the chance to re-cast child protection and ensure that we can take better care of the children who need help the most, for years to come &ndash;&nbsp;learning from the best, not trying to reinvent the wheel, trusting the professionals and not adding volumes of proscriptive regulations and guidance.</p> <p> Finally, I&rsquo;d like to say a word of thanks to you all:</p> <ul> <li> for your dedication to your job in recent years in difficult circumstances</li> <li> for the way you work with the most vulnerable children and families every day.</li> </ul> <li> for your dedication to your job in recent years in difficult circumstances</li> <li> for the way you work with the most vulnerable children and families every day.</li> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0068117/tim-loughton-to-community-care-live Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to Community Care Live Education 2010-11-17 Business Design Centre, Islington
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Anand,&nbsp;can I thank you very much for inviting me today &ndash; it is a great pleasure to be here.</p> <p> And can I begin by offering my congratulations to Maggie Darling on her appointment as Chair. I&rsquo;ve worked with Maggie before and I know she has been a long supporter of this organisation so I wish her well in what I know will be a demanding and challenging, but very exciting, time of work.</p> <p> As Anand said, this is your last conference before your 25th birthday and I do hope that you do feel extremely proud of the work that you have done over the last 25 years.</p> <p> But if I can add another thank you on top of the things that Anand said just a minute ago:&nbsp;I want to thank you for your help in working towards a good settlement in the Spending Review last month. Now, as Anand outlined just a few minutes ago, at a time of real difficulty in public finances, to get the good settlement that we did &ndash; the good settlement on Sure Start, the increased investment in the Early Years &ndash; was by no means inevitable.</p> <p> And it is really thanks to the campaigning work that the sector did over a long period of time to raise awareness of the importance of Early Years and arguing for the moral, the political and the economic reasons for investing in Early Years, is what made it easier for ministers such as myself to make those arguments inside government.</p> <p> So I want to say thank you for the work that you did. Without the work that you did there is absolutely no way I would be able to stand here today with the settlement that we have &ndash;&nbsp;so a huge thank you.</p> <p> But of course the challenge is to build on that, and to make sure that that investment counts. And walking away waving a promissory from&nbsp;the Treasury is a good start, but we&rsquo;ve now got to live up to the expectation that we&rsquo;ve made with the Treasury &ndash; and we&rsquo;ve made our bid for Early Years.</p> <p> From the Government&rsquo;s perspective, I hope that greater clarity about our objectives will help with that. In the past I think there have been many competing objectives around the importance of investing in Early Years. Why should we invest in Early Years? What&rsquo;s it for?&nbsp;Is it about welfare to work? Is it about childcare?&nbsp;Is it about women&rsquo;s equality?</p> <p> Well of course all of those things do matter but the Government has made a clear decision to prioritise child development, and we&rsquo;ve done that because we see what a difference that can make in the long term around social justice and on social mobility.</p> <p> Successive governments have tried to tackle the issue of poverty and have spent billions trying to fix it. But this Government thinks the only way to sustainably make a difference on disadvantage is to focus on social mobility and on opportunity &ndash;&nbsp;trying to change life chances,&nbsp;not just moving people across an arbitrary income line.</p> <p> Disadvantage in Britain today is too often passed from one generation to another, like a genetic trait. The parents&rsquo; income predicts how well you do at school; how well you do at school predicts your income. And so we go round and round. And we have to find a way of breaking out of that devastating loop.</p> <p> We also know that the gaps between the rich and the poor set in long before children actually get to school. And we are absolutely determined to break that link.</p> <p> This Government thinks that your birth should not equal your fate, and critical to that is investing in the Early Years. That is why I announced the extension of the three- and&nbsp;four-year-old entitlement to 15 hours in the summer. And it&rsquo;s why the Comprehensive Spending Review prioritised investment in disadvantaged&nbsp;two-year-olds.</p> <p> Now I announced this week that the Government intends to legislate to make sure it is a free entitlement for disadvantaged&nbsp;two-year-olds and make that an actuality by 2013. In the meantime, money will be available next year to continue to provide for&nbsp;two-year-olds at the current level. And after that, financial support will rise rapidly to &pound;300 million by the end of the Comprehensive Spending Review period.</p> <p> Sure Start is also &ndash; absolutely &ndash; at the heart of what the Government wants to do around early intervention and tackling disadvantage. Now Anand spoke a few minutes ago about the decision to remove the ringfence on Sure Start. What we&rsquo;ve done is&nbsp;put the money for Sure Start into a new grant called the Early Intervention Grant, because we want councils to think much more about early intervention and&nbsp;to prioritise early intervention across the piece, from Early Years, but also the work they do with families.</p> <p> But Sure Start children&rsquo;s centres are going to be at the heart of what we do, and when we have the report through from Graham Allen &ndash; who&rsquo;s doing a report for the Government on early intervention and best practice &ndash; we&rsquo;re going to need Sure Start centres to deliver that work and deliver the best practice that Graham Allen advises on.</p> <p> But I want more diverse, more flexible centres &ndash;&nbsp;much more voluntary sector involvement as well. Which is why I announced also that we&rsquo;re going to use the Localism Bill to try and drive forward that change so that voluntary sector organisations have the right to challenge local authorities so that they would put those services out to tender, and so that voluntary sector organisations might be much more involved in running centres &ndash; as well as, of course &ndash; involved in providing services from centres, which many already are.</p> <p> But I want to lift the burdens on children&#39;s centres to allow them to be more responsive to local need. At the moment it doesn&rsquo;t make sense for all children&#39;s centres to provide full day care in disadvantaged areas if there is not the take up to make use of it. Money ends up being diverted from interventions that might otherwise make a real difference, such as family support, or co-financing extra speech and language therapy. So I can announce today that we will remove that requirement.</p> <p> However, we are still expecting centres to provide high-quality early education to meet local need. Some centres will want to go on providing full day care, but only if that demand is available locally, and I want them to be able to make that decision based on local need.</p> <p> We are expecting centres to tailor what they provide to their local area. Now in that context, if centres are not providing full day care, we don&rsquo;t want to be as prescriptive as we have previously been in expecting them to employ both a QTS and an EYP. So we will remove that requirement. However, we hope that Sure Start children&rsquo;s centres will want to play a leadership role in their area &ndash; driving forward the policy on Early Years and having good graduates in centres is vital to do that.</p> <p> The final announcement I want to make today is about the work of the Children&rsquo;s Workforce and Development Council. The Government is committed to improving the quality of the Early Years workforce, which is at the heart of the reforms I&rsquo;ve spoken about today and the reforms that we will speak about over the coming months. However we do want to free up resources for front-line staff, so we will be taking the work of this body back in to the Department.&nbsp;CDWC has done some fantastic work but we want to reduce the layers within government that the sector has to deal with.</p> <p> All of these changes have been about supporting the overriding ambition of child development &ndash; a principle that we feel is too important to ignore;&nbsp;a principle that recognises that while you can make the case for saying children are born equal in this country,&nbsp;they are not all born lucky. It&rsquo;s up to us to load the dice in their favour.</p> <p> By reducing bureaucracy, by giving local authorities greater independence, by trusting Early Years professionals to do their job, and by freeing up more resources for the front line, we are in a far better position to do that.</p> <p> My thanks goes to the Daycare Trust, and the wider sector, for giving us that sense of direction and purpose &ndash;&nbsp;and for ensuring that the commitment to Early Years is a long-term one and will benefit children and families for many years to come.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0068159/sarah-teather-to-daycare-trust-annual-conference Sarah Teather MP Sarah Teather to Daycare Trust annual conference Education 2010-11-16 Westminster, London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> I am delighted to be here this morning and particularly pleased to have the chance to thank you all &ndash; and the National Society generally &ndash; for the wonderful contribution you make to education in this country.</p> <p> Now I am sure that ministers of all parties come along and start their speeches like that, but for what it is worth, I say it as someone who likes choice and variety; is drawn to a patchwork quilt of provision rather than some neat and tidy &ndash; and soulless &ndash; uniformity, and; is instinctively mistrustful of the state.</p> <p> All of which makes me a natural fan of Church of England schools, even before citing any evidence that Church of England schools get excellent results and are extremely popular with parents.</p> <p> And yet &ndash; somewhat to my surprise &ndash; I find myself having to stick up for faith schools. It is something I am very happy to do, but it is perhaps indicative of how secularist parts of society have become.</p> <p> It is also all the more extraordinary when one reflects on what the National Society has done for children in this country since its foundation in 1811.</p> <p> It is astonishing to think that, in the forty years to 1851, the Church of England established 17,000 schools in parishes up and down the land. Free Schools, eat your heart out.</p> <p> Decades before the state stepped in, in 1870, it was the Church that taught the poor and needy to read and write &ndash; spreading knowledge and enlightenment where before there had been ignorance.</p> <p> I know it is the same moral purpose which drives you today.</p> <p> Like us, you worry about the gap in achievement between rich and poor, and are anxious to extend opportunity to those in poorest areas.</p> <p> And I am sure that it was because of that great moral purpose &ndash; and in keeping with your historic mission &ndash; that the Church of England was among the first to recognise the importance, and potential, of the Academies programme and, of course, became one of the first sponsors.</p> <h2> Academies</h2> <p> Now, academies are a subject close to my heart. On my second day in the House of Lords, I had to introduce the Academies Bill and, for two rather crazy months, I did little else but think and, I&rsquo;m sad to say, dream about the Bill.</p> <p> Some people accused us of rushing it through, of reaching for the legislative lever too quickly &ndash; but my view was, and is, that it was vital to give schools the chance to have these freedoms on behalf of their children as soon as possible.</p> <p> Children only get one crack at education and we have to give them the best possible chance to succeed. So, yes, the Secretary of State and I were impatient to get on with doing so.</p> <p> But that brings me to an extremely important point about our overall approach. It is permissive, not coercive. Some schools might not want, ever, to go down the academy route. They might feel that their relationship with their local authority is so good that they don&rsquo;t want to lose it. Or that greater freedom and control over their budgets, staffing and the curriculum aren&rsquo;t going to help them give children the best possible chance to succeed.</p> <p> If that is the case, we fully respect that. We are not seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on every school. If you believe in freedom, I think you should allow people to exercise it &ndash; or not &ndash; as they think fit.</p> <p> So we are also introducing greater freedom for all schools. That is why we&rsquo;ve abolished the self-evaluation form, reduced the data collection burden and told Ofsted to slim down its inspection criteria. We will also be slimming down the National Curriculum, making governance simpler and financial management less onerous. All of these steps will give schools more freedom to concentrate on their core responsibilities &ndash; teaching and learning.</p> <p> Our schools white paper, to be published later this month, will set out a comprehensive reform programme for this Parliament to raise the bar for every school, close the gap between rich and poor, and ensure our education system can match the best in the world.</p> <p> When you look at the statistics you can see how urgent the need for reform is.</p> <h2> Still a long way to go</h2> <p> In the last ten years we have fallen behind other countries in the international league tables of school performance &ndash; falling from fourth in the world for science to fourteenth, seventh in the world for literacy to seventeenth and eighth in the world for maths to twenty-fourth.</p> <p> And at the same time, studies such as those undertaken by UNICEF and the OECD underline that we have one of the most unequal educational systems in the world, coming near bottom out of 57 for educational equity with one of the biggest gulfs between independent and state schools of any developed nation.</p> <p> The huge numbers of talented young people who still do not achieve as they should means we need to change.</p> <p> And so too does the fact that other nations have been forging ahead much faster and further when it comes to improving their education systems.</p> <h2> Global race for knowledge</h2> <p> Across the globe, other nations &ndash; including those with the best-performing and fastest-reforming education systems &ndash; are granting more autonomy for individual schools.</p> <p> In America, President Obama is encouraging the creation of more charter schools &ndash; the equivalent of our Free Schools and academies.</p> <p> In Canada, specifically in Alberta, schools have been given more control over budgets and power to shape their own ethos and environment. Alberta now has the best-performing state schools of any English-speaking region.</p> <p> In Sweden, the system has opened up to allow new schools to be set up by a range of providers. Results have improved, with the biggest gains of all where schools have the greatest freedoms and parents the widest choice.</p> <p> And in Singapore, often cited as an exemplar of centralism, dramatic leaps in attainment have been secured by schools where principals are exercising a progressively greater degree of operational autonomy.</p> <p> These governments have deliberately encouraged greater diversity in the schools system and, as the scope for innovation has grown, so too has their competitive advantage over other nations.</p> <p> The good news in England is that there are already some great success stories here to draw on. In the five or so years after 1988, the last Conservative Government created 15 city technology colleges. They are all-ability comprehensives, overwhelmingly located in poorer areas, but they enjoy much greater independence than other schools.</p> <p> They have also been a huge success. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals in CTCs who achieve five or more good GCSEs A* to C is more than twice as high as for all maintained mainstream schools.</p> <p> These results were replicated by the group of schools that were turned into academies under the last Government.</p> <p> I am delighted that so many parents and school leaders have seen how academies can improve performance, with academies securing improvements at GCSE level twice as fast as other schools and the best academy chains doing much, much better than that.</p> <p> Back in 2005, the white paper promised that all schools would, in time, be able to enjoy academy freedoms &ndash; but sadly these freedoms were curtailed. A ceiling of 400 academies was placed on the programme and primaries were refused entry.</p> <p> The Academies Act removed both of these barriers to the rapid expansion of the programme by giving all schools, including special schools, the chance to take on academy status &ndash; starting with those rated outstanding by Ofsted.</p> <p> Since the start of this school year, 144 academies have opened &ndash; more than one for every working day of the term. A further 70 are due to open in the coming months.</p> <p> Just under half of these replaced failing schools, and we will continue to challenge schools that are struggling; either they improve fast or they will have their management replaced by an academy sponsor, or an outstanding school, with a proven track record.</p> <p> That is why the Secretary of State wrote to local authorities earlier this month confirming that we want to work with them to consider whether there are schools in their areas where attainment and pupil progression are both low and where they lack the capacity to improve themselves. And we have also actively encouraged sponsors to work directly with local authorities to do so too.</p> <p> All of the schools that have converted now have the freedom to shape their own curriculum; they are at liberty to insist on tougher discipline, pay staff more, extend school hours, and develop a personal approach to every pupil.</p> <p> Crucially, all of the outstanding schools that have already converted have also said that they will use their new-found powers and freedom to support weaker schools. For instance, Seaton Academy in Cumbria is looking to employ more specialist staff to support students with additional needs. St Buryan Primary Academy in Cornwall is reducing class sizes by taking on an extra teacher. Urmston Grammar School in Manchester is looking forward to bringing back after-school services now that it has control over its own budget.</p> <p> We also have schools coming to us talking about forming clusters &ndash; clusters of primaries, or primaries and secondaries, working together to raise standards and share costs. That is why I believe the result of the Academies Act will be autonomy within a culture of collaboration, where the bonds between schools are strengthened and there is a further step-change in system-led leadership.</p> <p> It seems to me that this combination of autonomy and partnership is a very strong one, and one that is likely to appeal to the Church of England. I know that one of your concerns early on was that the Government was somehow turning its back on the moral purpose of the Academies programme and that the converting academies might become islands within the broader educational framework.</p> <p> In fact, what is happening is rather different.</p> <p> In the coming days, in the next stage of the expansion of the Academies programme, we will also explain how the next wave of schools &ndash; those that are good with outstanding features &ndash; will be able to apply for academy freedoms.</p> <p> I particularly look forward to welcoming more Church of England schools into academy status. And I&rsquo;d like to say how grateful I am for the Church&rsquo;s support in encouraging more of their schools to follow suit.</p> <p> At the moment, some 320 Church of England schools have registered an interest in becoming an academy, and 24 of these have so far submitted a formal application to convert.</p> <p> As we&rsquo;ve worked through the conversion process with the first wave of converters, a number of practical issues have come to light &ndash; for instance, around pension or land ownership. For church schools in particular, land ownership is often complicated and there have been questions about what role the diocese will have once schools have converted to academy status.</p> <p> I completely understand these concerns and I think that the National Society has been absolutely right to want clarity. Politicians and governments come and go. The Church has been around a lot longer than any government and you are right to be sceptical about government promises. I am sceptical about government promises too. But I hope I have been clear from the outset that my intention is simply to maintain the status quo in terms of the relationship between the Church of England and the state. And I do sympathise with the National Society&rsquo;s desire to get that understanding down in black and white and close any loopholes.</p> <p> So I am very pleased that we now have an agreed set of model documentation for single academy trusts, and a model funding agreement.</p> <p> We have also agreed a supplemental agreement, to be signed by the Secretary of State, which will set out the Department&rsquo;s underpinning relationship with the Diocese.</p> <p> I know that some of you have faced delays while the drafting has been going on, for which I apologise, but I believe we now have a solid foundation on which Church of England schools can move forward to academy status.</p> <p> Although I have been keen to press ahead, it is important to get things right &ndash; and that I think is what we have now done.</p> <p> The Church has always played an important part in providing choice and quality in this country&rsquo;s education system.</p> <p> You&rsquo;ve always worked hard, often behind the scenes, collaborating with other education partners and sponsors to drive improvements.</p> <p> I very much look forward to continuing and building on our relationship with the Church and taking our collaborative partnership to the next level &ndash; because we need your energy, commitment and experience to be at the fore of school improvement if we are to achieve that shared moral purpose.</p> <p> Thank you very much.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0067751/lord-hill-to-the-church-of-england-academy-family-conference Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the Church of England Academy Family Conference Education 2010-11-16 Lambeth Palace
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Rob, thank you very much. Can I start by saying what a pleasure it is to be here this morning and by passing on my gratitude for the faith that the Fatherhood Institute has shown by inviting me along today. When I told my wife I was doing this speech, she asked why you couldn&rsquo;t get a &lsquo;real&rsquo; expert on fathers in, which was a little crushing, certainly being an MP is not the most family friendly job to be in.</p> <p> I also quickly wanted to pay tribute to Rob, who I can honestly say must be one of the most dedicated, professional &ndash; and agile chief executives in the country. I spoke at a dozen fringe events at this year&rsquo;s Conservative party conference, and somehow Rob managed to sprint between rooms to see nearly all of them. In fact he has become my stalker.</p> <p> Fathers can be great resources where families go right and where families go wrong. This is the first real opportunity I&rsquo;ve had to speak publicly about fathers specifically since the Coalition was formed in May, and I wanted to use it as an opportunity to thank both the Fatherhood Institute and all of you here for your work over the last few years.</p> <p> Slowly but surely, it feels as if the campaigning that you have been doing &ndash; along with a more general shift in attitudes amongst fathers themselves &ndash; is helping to change the way society thinks about dads, with a far greater understanding generally of the role that they play in their children&rsquo;s upbringing.</p> <p> More people now know, for instance, that children who grow up with a supporting father are less likely to suffer from mental ill health, are less likely to perform poorly at school, and are less likely to get into trouble with the police.</p> <p> Meanwhile scientists and psychologists are repeatedly telling us that fathers, or the absence of fathers, has a profound impact on a child&rsquo;s general development,&nbsp;with various studies showing that girls are more likely to become teenage mothers if their dad is absent and that sons are more likely to display lower intimacy and self esteem in the absence of a father figure.</p> <p> I think that starts before birth as well. It starts from the ante-natal and the delivery ward &ndash; fathers should be part of the process of giving birth and not left out by the midwife. The new Government want to support parents but not tell them what to do. It is the state&rsquo;s role to support parents, not supplant them &ndash;&nbsp;especially fathers.</p> <p> Men&rsquo;s role is far more influential and wide-ranging than we would ever have imagined even just 30 years ago. We need to formulate policy based on the realities of life now &ndash;realities with which you are only too familiar. For example, figures on the amount of time fathers spend with their children reflect our country&rsquo;s social development. Compared to thirty years ago, men spend eight times as much time with their children. Parents in general spent four times as much time on childcare in the year 2000 than they did in 1960s.</p> <p> In the 1970s, fathers of young children spent less than a quarter of an hour per day involved in child-related activities. The EOC records that on average, fathers of the under fives now spend one hour and 20 minutes on child-care activities during the week and two hours and 30 minutes a day at the weekend.</p> <p> In families where women work, fathers now carry out one third of the parental care. This one third is a greater amount of time than the child spends in any professional childcare setting.</p> <p> These figures reveal that cultural changes and developments in Britain over the last half a century have produced a generation of fathers who are more eager than ever to play a central role in the daily lives of their children, to the point where it seems almost unimaginable that someone like Margaret Mead could write now what she wrote back in the &#39;60s and &#39;70s about &#39;fathers being biological necessities &ndash; but social accidents&#39;.</p> <p> However, what has not changed over all that time is that two parents are better than one wherever possible.</p> <p> Even if we manage to achieve all of that, I bet that none of us will achieve the level of family involvement of the Aka pygmy fathers. The Aka pygmies are a hunter-gatherer tribe from northern Congo in central Africa and they have been branded the best fathers in the world. Aka pygmy fathers spend forty-seven per cent of their time in close contact with their infants, even letting them suck their nipples. As you can see &ndash; we still have a long way to go!</p> <p> Nevertheless, there is a big difference here between what is generally understood, and what is generally practised. So, while the scientists and psychologists keep on reinforcing the argument and going to ever greater extremes to show how important fathers are, it seems to me that there is still a real risk here that dads will continue to be passively discriminated against by public services unless we take action.</p> <p> We already know, for instance, that many men are left feeling somewhat disenfranchised by child health and family services. But I&rsquo;d suggest that it goes a little deeper than that &ndash; to the point where we very often forget fathers altogether when we are dealing with family issues.</p> <p> Very recently, for example, I went up to Stockport to shadow social workers for the week. On one visit we went to see a single mum with four sons between the ages of 12&nbsp;and three, three&nbsp;with&nbsp;different fathers but none of them anywhere to be seen. The state of the flat was something to behold &ndash; with no carpets or furniture, and piles of clothes heaped on the floor.</p> <p> The social worker I was with told me that one of the children had been suffering terrible toothache for weeks, which had left him writhing on the floor in agony. And yet, despite repeated advice, his mother had failed to book him an appointment to see the dentist. However, while we were there the mum herself developed toothache and immediately called for an appointment &ndash;&nbsp;without mentioning her son at the same time.</p> <p> I remember walking away from there and telling the social worker that I would have had no hesitation in pulling those children out of the house into care &ndash; only to be gently reminded by the worker that the mum absolutely doted on her children and that they loved her deeply.</p> <p> Never though, in all that time, did it occur to me to question where the various fathers were, or to consider their own failings and responsibilities to their children &ndash; and it is, rightly, something Rob pulled me up on at the&nbsp;party conference. Particularly as I suspect that if it had been a single dad looking after those children, the first question on all our lips would&nbsp;be: &lsquo;where is mum?&rsquo; And in some of the high-profile cases involving child abuse, such as Baby P, was enough work done to see where the birth father fitted in and whether he could be part of a solution? We need to think smarter about non-resident fathers and at every chance continually challenge assumptions about non-resident fathers.</p> <p> So, what is the answer? How do we reverse the decades, or most probably centuries, of tradition relating to the respective roles of mothers and fathers, to reflect modern thinking on dads and their importance to child development?</p> <p> Clearly that&rsquo;s not an easy ask &ndash; but it can be done, and in some places is being done helped by organisations such as the Fatherhood Institute. Much of it comes down to ensuring everyone involved in the public sector becomes better promoters and advocates of fathers than has been the case in the past.</p> <p> In part, that means each of us &ndash; including fathers &ndash; taking greater responsibility. In part it means providing&nbsp;more supportive government. In part, it is simply a question of working smarter.</p> <p> I have seen,&nbsp;for instance,&nbsp;some fabulous examples of projects where fathers have either been encouraged to take greater responsibility or where volunteers have given up their own time to act as a father figure. In my own constituency down in Sussex, we have a scheme in which young people from single-parent families &ndash;&nbsp;many of who are on the verge of being excluded from school &ndash;&nbsp;get the opportunity to go down to the fire station and work alongside the fire fighters there. And it has had incredibly positive effects on the young people who go through that programme.</p> <p> The Big Society, which will involve many young people, is a good opportunity for this kind of work to be taken further and wider, with fathers playing a fuller role in their local communities and being encouraged to get involved in their schools, children&rsquo;s centres and youth clubs far more than has been the case in the past.</p> <p> In terms of providing a more supportive government, it means working harder to ensure fathers are recognised in public policy-making, and it means making life easier for the professionals who have to engage them. So, not only are we now looking at how parental leave might be better shared in future so that couples have greater flexibility over child care,&nbsp;we are also undertaking two major reviews that should begin to change the way that both the justice system and the social care system approach fathers.</p> <p> The first of these is our review of family justice, which will look at how the courts manage cases involving children and at how we ensure that families reach easy, simple and efficient agreements that are in the best interests of the children when families break down. Whilst &ndash; critically &ndash; we are also looking at how best to support contact between grandparents and non-resident parents, who will often, of course, be fathers.</p> <p> The second is the review of child protection that we have asked Professor Eileen Munro to undertake on our behalf &ndash; with the very clear direction that her team reduces the huge amount of bureaucracy that social workers currently have to deal with, giving them more reflective time to be able to seek out the non-resident fathers. That reports back in the spring, and we fully expect it to free up social workers so that they can spend far more time on the frontline eyeballing families &ndash; and crucially, give them the chance to find non-resident fathers and involve them better. Which is, I know, something that Rob has been talking about this week.</p> <p> As to the third and final point around thinking smarter: This is simply a matter of working out what is excellent in the sector and making sure it happens everywhere. When there is a children&rsquo;s centre in one part of the country getting dads involved by organising a football team,&nbsp;why is it not happening more routinely elsewhere? And when one local community is encouraging dads-and-lads reading, why is it not happening everywhere?</p> <p> Similarly, we know that Family Group Conferences, which bring wider family members together to decide on plans of action for children at risk,&nbsp;are working wonders in some parts of the country,&nbsp;saving local authorities money and &ndash; more importantly &ndash; giving vulnerable children, fathers and grandparents far more say over their future. In nine areas alone, we estimate that some &pound;11 million has been saved by local authorities as children have been prevented from going into care, or have been moved out of the care system back into the family home.</p> <p> However, this is still only happening in around 70 per cent of local authorities, and even then it is not necessarily happening routinely. In short, there is still a huge amount of scope for local authorities, voluntary agencies, charities and government to share what works, so that fathers are routinely involved in family issues, and so that there are no excuses for not doing so.</p> <p> To end, let me just thank the Fatherhood Institute once again and let me repeat that central message around the better promotion of fathers.</p> <p> If you can imagine the flamboyant, if controversial, Don King promoting one of his boxing matches, you wouldn&rsquo;t expect him to throw out a quick press release to the waiting world with nothing more than the height and weight of his boxer. He&rsquo;d make sure everyone knew about the fight and that everyone bought into it.</p> <p> In much the same way, we can&rsquo;t simply rely on statistical evidence of the importance of fathers &ndash; or the work of scientists. We need to all become promoters of dads. It is a shared responsibility and one that will &ndash; I hope &ndash; become a reality in the Big Society. And I want to see fathers be a major and vociferous part of that.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;m delighted to help in a small way today by presenting the Fatherhood Institute&rsquo;s fantastic &lsquo;Dads Included&rsquo; award.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0067212/tim-loughton-to-the-fatherhood-institute Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Fatherhood Institute Education 2010-11-11 Royal Horticultural Halls, London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Can I start by saying how delighted and privileged I am to be asked to give the 20th Edith Kahn Memorial Lecture? My association with the excellent organisation that is CSV goes back to 2001 when I became a trustee, and whilst I regretfully and reluctantly had to give up that position after the election this year, that does not mean that my respect and association with the charity should be any less enthusiastic. And can I thank, on behalf of CSV, all the supporters &ndash;&nbsp;many of them represented here today &ndash; for all that you do to make the work of the CSV possible?</p> <p> This year we are in the House of Lords &ndash; a slightly ominous development given the not-entirely apocryphal anecdote about graffiti in one of our noble colleagues&rsquo; loos here which poses the question &ndash; &lsquo;What do you call 2 MPs at the bottom of the ocean?&#39; &ndash; to which has been added the answer: &ndash; &#39;a good start!&#39; It is gratifying, however, that politicians are still invited to address such august audiences after everything that has passed.</p> <p> It is a truth universally acknowledged that a voluntary organisation in possession of a good idea and in want of a meeting with a minister will use the buzz phrase &lsquo;Big Society&rsquo; before breakfast, lunch and dinner &ndash; to open with a cacophonous car-crash of mixed misquotes. But it does seem that every time I receive a letter or email requesting a meeting, let alone the subsequent meeting itself, there is something of a target quota system operating to see how many times &#39;Big Society&#39; can be inserted into the dialogue.<br /> The trouble is that most people don&rsquo;t know what the Big Society really means, least of all the unfortunate ministers who have to articulate it. What actually is the Big Society, let alone is it good or not? Exactly how big is it now or is it going to be? Is it, in fact, Anne Widdecombe? Is it a very British thing? Or is it another American import?</p> <br /> <p> In America, the Big Society can, of course, mean something completely different, as a recent survey showed that one in three Americans weighs more than the other two put together &ndash; a statistic that gave rise to a recent Sun headline to an article on an environmental report that&nbsp;&lsquo;Fatties cause global warning&#39;.</p> <p> More appropriately, however, we perhaps heard early rumblings of what it meant when President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke in 1964 of America&rsquo;s &lsquo;opportunity to move not only towards the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the great society&#39;. His predecessor John Adams, however, the second president of the US, warned more ominously that &lsquo;the happiness of society is the end of government&#39;.</p> <p> On the other side of the Channel, Rousseau put it more desperately:&nbsp;&lsquo;Nature makes man happy and good but society corrupts him and makes him miserable&rsquo;.</p> <p> So is there anything more British about the Big Society? Well, of course Britishness is something of a movable feast these days. Being British these days is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home via an Indian restaurant or grabbing a Turkish kebab on the way, to enjoy a TV supper sitting on Swedish furniture, watching American shows on a Japanese television.</p> <ul> <li> Only in Britain can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.</li> <li> Only in Britain do supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the shop to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.</li> <li> Only in Britain do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet coke.</li> <li> And only in Britain do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.</li> </ul> <li> Only in Britain can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.</li> <li> Only in Britain do supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the shop to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.</li> <li> Only in Britain do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet coke.</li> <li> And only in Britain do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.</li> <p> Clearly then, to be born British is to be born into a world of contrast and contradiction,&nbsp;where eccentricity and manners,&nbsp;faith and cynicism,&nbsp;tradition and modernity, have all conflated to create this collective sense of identity that is framed far more by its ambiguities than its consistencies.</p> <p> And yet, through some quirk of anthropology, those same great ambiguities also combined to create one of most enduring, and famed, of all national characteristics &ndash;the British sense of fair play &ndash;&nbsp;with the nation both admired and mocked, in almost equal measure, for its strict codes of social conduct and propriety, which Sir Malcolm Bradbury once jokingly described as &#39;the most rigid system of immorality in the world&#39;.</p> <p> Now, in part, you could argue that that reputation was never much more than a fig leaf, conceived of on the playing fields of Eton. But in reality, the British sense of social justice and generosity goes far deeper than that, with an extraordinarily rich catalogue of great names and moments that have helped shape, and distinguish, our communities over the years. Whether that was the first time William Wilberforce stood up in the House of Commons to make the case for the abolition of slavery. Whether it was Mary Seacole setting sail from Jamaica to volunteer as a nurse during the Crimean War, or whether it was the RAC volunteers who gave up their cars to take men and women to hospital during the blitz, and the continued, unabated acts of charity by organisations like the British Red Cross, Barnardos and &ndash; of course &ndash; CSV. Each, in their own right, helping to define what it now means to be British.</p> <p> Increasingly however, volunteering and acts of charity have become a less and less visible feature of our national conscience, largely forgotten and bypassed by successive governments who have tended to ignore the good and focus on the bad when they design and institute policy. Which explains, perhaps, why we&rsquo;ve seen so many governments attempt to muscle in on family and community life over the last 30 or so years &ndash; in a well intentioned but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make up for the fact that families have become increasingly nuclear, and communities increasingly fragmented.</p> <p> Sadly, as we all know, this approach has largely failed &ndash; and many of the gravest problems we today associate with those social changes are, in fact, greater than ever,&nbsp;with the UK suffering from some of the highest levels of drug and alcohol abuse amongst young people anywhere in the world, having the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, stubbornly high levels of child poverty, and more than a million young people suffering from some kind of mental health condition.</p> <p> So today I wanted to argue the case for a return to social policies that reinforce and support communities rather than supplant them. And a return to the kind of governance that promotes the work of organisations like the CSV, and its workers and volunteers, and helps families and local communities to tap into the spirit of generosity that&rsquo;s such an important hallmark of British life. That is the starting point for the Big Society.</p> <p> Because the simple reality, as I see it, is that although our society has changed in many ways, our nature hasn&rsquo;t. For as long as humans have stalked the Earth, we have been distinguished by our altruism and sense of community. When hunter gatherers emerged from the tree line some 12,000 years ago,&nbsp;dragging their knuckles behind them,&nbsp;they didn&rsquo;t survive by bashing each other over the heads with their clubs; they survived because they offered each other support. Altruism was, to put it bluntly, crucial to their social cohesion &ndash; precisely because a cohesive group was more likely to survive in interactions with other groups.</p> <p> Even now, scientists argue over why that is &ndash; with many of the most eminent claiming it must be an evolutionary mistake and others, like Richard Dawkins, famously saying, &#39;we have to teach generosity because we are born selfish&#39;. But for the rest of us, it is, perhaps, simply enough to know that altruism does indeed exist. And that its benefits to our communities are vast, as,&nbsp;in fact,&nbsp;are its psychological and practical benefits to individuals. We know, for instance, that volunteering stimulates the reward centres in our brains. It helps people access social networks, provides opportunities for learning and developing skills, and gives us the satisfaction of making a contribution. In the case of CSV research, we notoriously know, of course, that 17 per cent&nbsp;of 18- to 24-year-old volunteers also claim that volunteering improves their sex lives.</p> <p> In short, not only is being nice good for others &ndash; it is also personally rewarding and&nbsp;likely to be reciprocated. Conversely, of course, being selfish or unpleasant is likely to reap its own rewards.</p> <p> A lesson&nbsp;was vividly highlighted to me on the train the other day by my private secretary, who told me a story about the late Alan Clark &ndash; who, although a wonderful politician and writer, had something of a reputation for his fiery personality. Apparently, whilst he was in government, one of his speechwriters decided to get his own back after a series of particularly bruising encounters &ndash; just before Clark was due to deliver an address at a major conference on employment law.</p> <p> The speechwriter presented Clark with the draft just before he went on stage. The first page said something like,&nbsp;&lsquo;Good morning. I&rsquo;m delighted to be here. Today I will run you through seventeen complex issues in employment law, which are in desperate need of reform&#39;. On the second page, the speechwriter had simply scrawled the words, &lsquo;You&rsquo;re on your own now, you bastard&hellip;&#39;</p> <p> I restocked the jelly babies I keep on my desk for officials almost immediately after hearing that story.</p> <p> The fact is, we are healthier, happier, safer, and more socially cohesive when we are at our most altruistic &ndash;&nbsp;a point that has long been recognised by&nbsp;many of our greatest leaders,&nbsp;both past and present &ndash;&nbsp;with Churchill once famously saying that, &lsquo;we make a living by what we do but we make a life by what we give&#39;,&nbsp;and Barack Obama making the point, when he launched his new age of responsibility in the States, that people who join together &lsquo;do amazing things&rsquo;.</p> <p> Nevertheless, I&rsquo;ve heard the somewhat disingenuous arguments that the Big Society is either a way of providing public services through the back door or that it&rsquo;s profoundly over-optimistic about the scale of change it can deliver.</p> <p> The first is, perhaps, the most important to counter, because it makes the tacit &ndash; and frankly rather discredited assumption &ndash; that public services are like a glorious medicine chest of potions, lotions and tablets that have the capacity to cure all social problems. The simple reality is that too much government frequently adds to problems rather than solve them&nbsp;&ndash; by stripping away individual accountability and responsibility. That is what Rousseau was talking about. And by supplanting the family and community support structures that give each and everyone one of us our mental resilience, adaptability and strength.</p> <p> As to the second charge against the Big Society, around the scale of its ambition, the answer is,&nbsp;I think,&nbsp;all around us. It&rsquo;s in the work of great, great organisations like the CSV and its members. It&rsquo;s in the continued commitment of the 22 million plus volunteers who support their communities. And it&rsquo;s in the growing interest of business in corporate social responsibility &ndash; as we heard so strikingly from a previous Edith Kahn memorial lecturer, the Chief Executive of Timberland, who has been in the vanguard of corporate employee volunteering schemes. In short, no matter where you look,&nbsp;kindness, generosity and community activism are on display.</p> <p> The London Olympics, for example, has already attracted well over 100,000 volunteers who want to help out for those two weeks in 2012 &ndash;&nbsp;huge numbers of people who have put their names forward despite the fact that most of them know they&rsquo;re not going to be handing Usain Bolt his tracksuit top or marshalling the Opening Ceremony, but are instead doing it because they know that volunteering is something special.</p> <p> In business there is a growing realisation amongst chief execs that the promotion of volunteering and social responsibility amongst staff has potentially huge benefits for both morale and balance sheets. I was at an event hosted by News International recently to mark its decision to allow each member of its staff to take up to&nbsp;four days off work for volunteering each year,&nbsp;which is then posted on their pay slip. Their scheme has been modelled on that of Timberland and I am delighted that it was CSV who helped broker that sharing of best practice.</p> <p> Perhaps this is really a new manifestation of older schemes and even older notions &ndash; philanthropy, particularly local philanthropy. When I think back to my own constituency and the town of Worthing, many of the municipal good works that marked a period of frenetic development in the early nineteenth century when we officially became a town were instigated not from central government but from local businessmen and community-minded residents. The theatre, assembly rooms, baths and circulating library all have their origins in this period, and later the town&rsquo;s drainage system, as Worthing promoted itself in contrast to nearby Brighton as &lsquo;a nice place for nice people&#39;.</p> <p> Last week I joined a group of business leaders in Blackburn working with the founders of the Bolton Lads and Girls Club &ndash; the best youth club in the UK &ndash; to establish a network of similar youth facilities across the North West. Complimented by some seed corn public funds, they are looking to build state-of-the-art facilities for young people; help run and maintain them with volunteer time from their employees; develop them as hubs for other voluntary organisations, educational and other activities; and&nbsp;use them to train and bring on young people as potential recruits. This surely is a microcosm of what the Big Society is all about, with Government as enabler and supporter, and surely that contributes to a good society.</p> <p> Elsewhere in our communities there are countless thousands of smaller projects, organisations and volunteering opportunities in action &ndash; whether that is acting as a &lsquo;toad warden&rsquo; and helping toads across the road, or whether it&rsquo;s taking the simplest of civic responsibilities in your community. Just a few weeks ago, for example, I was at an event at Google headquarters in London, where the &lsquo;Fix my Street&rsquo; website was mentioned,&nbsp;which if you haven&rsquo;t seen it online already, basically gives people the opportunity to report anything and everything from broken street lights, to pot holes on their road. I&rsquo;m told it is now so successful that there&rsquo;s even an iPhone app for it, and an Australian spin-off called &ndash; in good old Aussie fashion &ndash; &lsquo;It&rsquo;s Buggered Mate&rsquo;.</p> <p> The point is surely this:&nbsp;we&rsquo;re all volunteers, even if we don&rsquo;t realise it. It might not be the grandest gesture, or even a life-changing experience, but we all have that deeply ingrained understanding of the benefits of altruism and reciprocity.</p> <p> And, as one of my old opponents, the former Home Secretary and longstanding CSV supporter, David Blunkett, once pointed out, this spirit of generosity should be a cornerstone of any good government. Or, in his own words: &#39;People coming together on a voluntary basis to achieve common aims is a key feature of a dynamic democracy ... Volunteering empowers people ... it strengthens the bonds between individuals which are the bedrock of strong civil society&#39;.</p> <p> How right he was. And the Big Society is about harnessing this understanding and using the enormous pool of goodwill, sense of fair play and desire for social justice that we know exists in this country, to help create, as Matthew Parris has called it, a &#39;big-hearted society&#39;.</p> <p> Does that mean Government wriggles out of its responsibilities? Does it mean Whitehall has no role to play in family and community life? The simple answer is no, absolutely not. A Big Society remains a supported society, where government has a hugely important role to play.</p> <p> But I see our job as one of making it easier for the voluntary and community sector to step in&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;to provide that help &ndash;&nbsp;part of which is making sure organisations like CSV have the advice and support they need to develop and grow. Part of which is providing greater financial support and the policies to unlock volunteering and community action.<br /> The Big Society bank, for instance, which formed one of the main compacts in the Coalition Agreement, will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds worth of new finance, using unclaimed assets to finance and sustain the voluntary sector.</p> <br /> <p> We are also giving neighbourhoods the ability to take greater ownership of local projects. Whether that&rsquo;s helping parents to open new schools so that they have greater control over their children&rsquo;s education, or whether it&rsquo;s giving communities the opportunity to take over local amenities such as parks and libraries that are under threat.</p> <p> However, I do also think there is a trade-off in the sense that the voluntary sector itself needs to become more savvy about the way it works &ndash; particularly where it is being supported by government money. And we in turn, need to think smarter about how we use the voluntary sector in local services.</p> <p> This is one of the reasons why we want to offer every young person in the country the opportunity to take part in an experience &ndash; through the National Citizen Service &ndash; that will help their personal development, strengthen their sense of identity, and give them the opportunity for community service. But&nbsp;provide it through civil society organisation rather than through an almost inevitably less effective, and less inventive, government programme.</p> <p> In addition, we are encouraging local councils in particular to consider how they might use outstanding voluntary and community organisations to provide services for young people in particular.</p> <p> We are providing neighbourhood grants for the UK&rsquo;s poorest areas,&nbsp;with that money going to charities and social enterprises to work with new and existing groups in the most deprived and broken communities.</p> <p> And we are establishing national centres for&nbsp;community organising that will train thousands of independent community organisers who can then, in turn, help communities to tackle the individual social challenges they face &ndash;&nbsp;a project that has, I must add, already been hugely successful in US cities like Chicago.</p> <p> There is, though, another aspect to the Big Society because it is not just a one-way street where government withdraws and frees up local energy and talent and generosity to get on with it. Government &ndash;&nbsp;national and local &ndash;&nbsp;needs to do its bit too. Back in 1992 when I first stood for Parliament against David Blunkett in Sheffield and narrowly lost by 22,681 votes on the day, one innovation was the Citizen&rsquo;s Charter and in particular, the Tenant&rsquo;s Charter. Council tenants who did their bit and looked after their properties only to bang their head against a brick wall when it came to help from the Council with essential repairs, were empowered to have the work done privately and then send the bill to the Council. Yet even when tenants did join together and look after their own properties and even their neighbourhoods, there was no recognition of this and no two-way street when help was required.</p> <p> This was self-defeating and the Big Society must mean that good citizens who do their bit must be recognised, and the local authority must do its bit in return. When you play to the strengths of people we know that many of them will step forward and go beyond their responsibilities. It&rsquo;s cheaper, quicker and just better. Many innovative housing associations, such&nbsp;as the Irwell Valley in Salford, have been practising this for years. Tenants who look after their properties, keep the environment tidy and&nbsp;discourage anti-social behaviour in their localities are rewarded with a gold card discount scheme, faster repairs and preferential tenancies for their children. The Big Society has much to learn from Irwell Valley and its counterparts.</p> <p> The point is, this is a new kind of governance that can adapt to the changes in society we have seen over the years, but takes as its starting point one of the most fundamental building blocks of our cultural development&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;altruism. Everyone can be part of it,&nbsp;although a bit of motivation and energy is preferable. Even those who might claim that they are not so much lazy but rather &lsquo;blessed with a lack of ambition!&rsquo;</p> <p> Our society was not made great by big government; it was made great by big communities and individuals &ndash;&nbsp;with people willing to share, trade, help, cooperate and support each other &ndash;&nbsp;whether that is a man like Wilberforce, a woman like Seacole, or an organisation like the CSV. History remembers those who have given back to their communities rather than those who have taken from them.</p> <p> So whilst it is true that the recession has made the case for radical reform greater and more urgent, the Big Society has never been an idea born of economic expediency. It is an idea based on optimism and on the example of great, great organisations like the CSV, its members and its volunteers. It is an idea based, at its most beautifully simple, on human nature.</p> <p> So maybe everything I have spent the last half an hour articulating was academic and unnecessary, occasionally boring and occasionally irreverent. Because surely one of the starkest manifestations of the Big Society is right in front of me &ndash; CSV. Led by what we can call a one-woman Big Society in the form of Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, who in the 45 years she has run this wonderful organisation has been ahead of the game in promoting, in practical terms, what the Big Society is all about &ndash; and surely that has been, and is, an undeniably good thing.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0067097/tim-loughton-delivers-the-edith-kahn-memorial-lecture Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton delivers the Edith Kahn Memorial Lecture Education 2010-11-09 House of Lords
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, Clare, for that kind introduction and thank you for inviting me here today.</p> <p> Your timing is impeccable &ndash; what with this conference today coming shortly after the Spending Review and shortly before we publish our first schools white paper.</p> <p> I have to tell you that not much keeps me in London on a Saturday. In fact, I&rsquo;m not sure that I&rsquo;d have stayed here for anyone else other than the NGA.</p> <p> I said yes for one very simple reason: I believe that school governors are the unsung heroes and heroines of our education system.</p> <p> And I wanted to come here to say a huge thank you through you to all of the 300,000 school governors up and down the land who slog away, for hours on end, in their own time, often at the end of a long and busy day, to help their local schools improve, to give something back to their local communities, and to do their bit in the common endeavour in which we are all engaged &ndash; driving up standards so that all children have the chance to aim high, achieve their potential and get on in life. I cannot think of a better embodiment of volunteering and of civil society&nbsp;than the work that governors do, and I want you to have the recognition that I believe you deserve.</p> <p> I know that the theme of your conference today is funding &ndash; and I will say a few words about that because it is obviously very important.</p> <p> But I want to start by talking about some thing which I think is even more important &ndash; school governors.</p> <h2> Nature of school governance</h2> <p> Since I began doing this job and as a result of the discussions I&rsquo;ve had with the NGA and others, I&rsquo;ve been thinking about the nature of school governance and how we can make it easier for people like you to become governors and make a difference, which I know is what you all want to do.</p> <p> I started by thinking about the broad principles that guide the Coalition Government&rsquo;s approach to public services, as well as our approach to education more specifically.</p> <p> What do I mean by that?</p> <p> Well, we want to devolve more power and responsibility down to the lowest possible level &ndash; away from Whitehall, towards schools, hospitals and local communities.</p> <p> We want to spread autonomy and trust professionals to get on with the job.</p> <p> We want to bear down on needless bureaucracy, targets and paperwork.</p> <p> In short, we want to get out of people&rsquo;s hair &ndash; but provide support where they want support and encourage professionals to share good practice and learn from each other.</p> <p> If those are the principles that guide our approach, how does the current system of school governance stack up against them?</p> <p> The answer, I am afraid, is not terribly well.</p> <p> We have a very prescriptive model of who can be a governor.</p> <p> We have an approach which is applied regardless of individual need or circumstance.</p> <p> We have a lot of central guidance, direction and legislative requirements.</p> <p> Far too many governors tell me that they spend hours in meetings discussing what are, frankly, relatively trivial issues, when they could be concentrating on strategic leadership and making a difference. And the recent NGA report on bureaucracy raised a series of important issues that we need to address.</p> <p> So it is a testament to the dedication of governors that despite these obstacles, Ofsted says that governance is good or better in 70 per cent&nbsp;of schools.</p> <p> If those are the core principles, and if you share the analysis &ndash; which I hope you do &ndash; where does that leave us? What conclusions can we draw as we prepare our white paper?</p> <p> First, it is absolutely clear to me that the most important decision-making group in any school is the governing body.</p> <p> Second, governing bodies should set the overall strategic direction of a school, hold the headteacher to account and have a relentless focus on driving up standards &ndash; but not get dragged into micro-managing the school or the minutiae of its day-to-day activities.</p> <p> Third, we need to ensure that governing bodies have the best possible people, with the right mix of skills and expertise, rather than just because they are there wearing a particular hat.</p> <p> Fourth, all schools are different and need different things at different stages of their development &ndash; so school governance needs to be more flexible.</p> <p> Fifth, we must mount an energetic and sustained attack on the culture of guidance and paperwork &ndash; a lot of it issued by my Department &ndash; that tells you how to do your job. I know it&rsquo;s all meant to be helpful &ndash;&nbsp;and I am sure some of it is useful &ndash;&nbsp;but if you are serious about trusting people, you have to start trusting them.</p> <p> And finally, we need &ndash; even in these straitened times &ndash; to find ways of supporting governors, especially chairs of governors, including by providing access to high-quality training and also making it easier to see a wide range of information and data about the performance of local schools.</p> <p> In the white paper, I hope that we will provide a real boost to school governance by setting out how we will take forward a range of measures in each of those areas. There will be much more detail to come and we will, of course, work with the NGA and with all of you to help you perform your vital roles.</p> <p> As well as strengthening school governance, the white paper will set out a comprehensive reform programme for this Parliament to raise the bar for every school, close the gap between rich and poor and ensure our education system can match the best in the world.</p> <h2> The global race for knowledge</h2> <p> In the last ten years, we&rsquo;ve fallen well behind other countries in the international league tables of school performance &ndash; falling from&nbsp;fourth in the world for science to fourteenth, seventh in the world for literacy to seventeenth and eighth in the world for maths to twenty-fourth.</p> <p> And at the same time, studies such as those undertaken by Unicef and the OECD underline that we have one of the most unequal educational systems in the world, coming near bottom out of 57 for educational equity with one of the biggest gulfs between independent and state schools of any developed nation.</p> <p> Across the globe, other nations &ndash; including those with the best performing and fastest reforming education systems &ndash; are forging ahead much faster and much further when it comes to improving their education systems.</p> <p> In America, President Obama is encouraging the creation of more charter schools &ndash; the equivalent of our free schools and academies &ndash; which are giving school leaders and governors more autonomy and transforming the life chances of the poorest pupils.</p> <p> In Canada, specifically in Alberta, schools have been given more control over budgets and power to shape their own ethos and environment. Alberta now has the best performing state schools of any English-speaking region.</p> <p> In Sweden, the system has opened up to allow new schools to be set up by a range of providers. Results have improved, with the biggest gains of all where schools have the greatest freedoms and parents the widest choice.</p> <p> And in Singapore, often cited as an exemplar of centralism, dramatic leaps in attainment have been secured by schools where principals are exercising a progressively greater degree of operational autonomy.</p> <p> These governments have deliberately encouraged greater diversity in the schools system and, as the scope for innovation has grown, so too have their competitive advantage over other nations.</p> <p> We want to ensure that schools in our country can enjoy the same kind of autonomy that has served schools in America, Canada, Sweden and Singapore so well.</p> <h2> Academies</h2> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve invited all schools &ndash; including primaries for the first time and special schools &ndash; to apply for academy freedoms &ndash; starting with those rated outstanding by Ofsted.</p> <p> Since the start of the school year, more than one academy has opened for every working day of the term &ndash; that&rsquo;s more than 80 in total &ndash; and they all now have the freedom to shape their own curriculum, pay staff more, extend school hours, and develop a personal approach to every pupil. We have got more coming down the track each month and I expect this to continue and spread.</p> <p> Crucially, they&rsquo;ve also committed to using their new-found powers and freedom to support weaker schools.</p> <p> In the coming weeks,&nbsp;with the next stage of the expansion of the Academies programme, we will also explain how the next wave of schools &ndash; those that are good with outstanding features &ndash; will be able to apply for academy freedoms.</p> <p> One of the exciting things that is emerging is the appetite for groups of schools to come together in clusters &ndash; clusters of primaries or groups of primaries and secondaries, so that we get the combination of freedom and partnership which hits at the heart of our reforms.</p> <p> Some of you might already be governors of academies. Some of you might be governors of schools that have been amongst the first to convert this term. I hope the rest of you will talk to your leadership teams about whether academy freedoms will enable you to improve your schools.</p> <p> I realise that many of you will have questions about finance, staff pensions, land transfer, premises, the model document and, of course, governance.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m determined to do all that I possibly can to answer those questions and to support you, which is why I&rsquo;ve written to all chairs of governing bodies setting out the further help and advice available &ndash; including the guidance on our website, first-hand advice from many of the schools that have been amongst the first to convert and dedicated project leads within the Department to support you if you decide to move forward.</p> <p> Of course, some of you might not want, ever, to go down the academy route. And that is also absolutely fine, because our approach overall is to be permissive and not coercive.</p> <p> If that is the case, I fully respect that &ndash; and we will still do all&nbsp;we can to support you. That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve already abolished the self-evaluation form, reduced the data collection burden and told Ofsted to slim down its inspection criteria. We will also be slimming down the National Curriculum and making financial management less onerous.</p> <p> I wanted to talk about our white paper because it is so important, but my speech today was titled &lsquo;Funding for schools over the next three years&rsquo; and funding is the theme of your conference, so let me now turn to that.</p> <h2> Funding</h2> <p> Since the Coalition Government was formed, we&rsquo;ve set to work to restore our finances, reduce the massive deficit we inherited and put public services on a sustainable footing.</p> <p> That has involved making tough choices &ndash; and I don&rsquo;t for one second underestimate that there will also have to be equally tough choices made in every school in every part of the country.</p> <p> The biggest part of our budget is spent on schools and I&rsquo;m delighted that the schools budget will rise from &pound;35 billion to &pound;39 billion over the next four years. This means that all money allocated for grants, from the Every Child programmes to grants for specialisms, will still go to schools. The ring-fences and strings attached to that money will also be removed so that headteachers and governors have complete freedom over how to spend it.</p> <p> Of course, schools have been finding &ndash; and continue to need to find &ndash; greater efficiencies. We believe that the best way to help you do that is by giving you freedom and allowing you to decide where the savings can best be made. But we do want to ensure you have all the information and tools you need to secure the best possible value for money.</p> <p> To ensure you do, there is a range of materials available on our website that we&rsquo;ll be updating and adding to over the next few weeks. One of the things that we&rsquo;ll be adding are case studies of where schools have made efficiencies that we believe other schools might be able to follow, including in procurement.</p> <p> Because procurement is an obvious area to try to find savings, we&rsquo;ll help ensure that schools know&nbsp;more about the best deals on offer and, if needed, seek out new, cheaper deals for schools to take advantage of.</p> <p> These efficiencies, combined with the real-terms overall increase in funding and the greater freedom, should enable that schools can meet the increasing basic need demand for places and still also deliver a &pound;2.5 billion pupil premium to support the education of disadvantaged children.</p> <p> The pupil premium is designed to tackle disadvantage at root by attaching extra money to young people from deprived backgrounds, which will be clearly identified to their parents.</p> <p> Once again, schools that benefit from this additional cash will not be told exactly how to use it &ndash; but we will expect them to ensure that children struggling with the basics get the extra support they need so they don&rsquo;t fall irretrievably behind their peers.</p> <p> One further funding area that I know concerns you &ndash; and me &ndash; is the disparity that you often find between the amount schools receive even when they have similar costs, are achieving similar results and are located in areas of similar deprivation. That&rsquo;s why one of the objectives of the white paper will be to move to a fairer, more transparent funding system.</p> <p> The capital budget will also bear its share of the reductions. I realise this will be disappointing for many of you&nbsp;but we will still spend almost &pound;16 billion over the next four years to meet demographic pressures and rebuild or refurbish 600 schools, which is more than each of the first eight years under the last Government.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> I do not pretend that it is all going to be plain sailing. There will be difficult decisions ahead. But I think that there is also an opportunity to move to a system where schools are more autonomous, where professionals are trusted and given more respect, and&nbsp;where funding is fairer, more rational and more transparent.</p> <p> Central to all of this will be the role played by governors, which is why I end how I started &ndash; by thanking you for all that you do and by saying that I will do all I can to support you in that role.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0066938/lord-hill-to-the-national-governors-association-conference Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the National Governors' Association Conference Education 2010-11-06 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, Shireen, and thank you Marion, for your very kind introduction.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a special pleasure to be here in Manchester:&nbsp;home of one of our greatest football clubs &ndash;&nbsp;Manchester City,&nbsp;home of one of our most amazing schools &ndash; Manchester Academy,&nbsp;and home to one of the most striking examples of urban regeneration in the country &ndash; Manchester&rsquo;s revived city centre.&nbsp;All of them evidence that when local people, local institutions and local government are given a broader canvas on which to operate, their ambitions can exceed anything imagined.</p> <p> I want to say a little bit today about the ambitious agenda the Coalition Government has for education &ndash; and children&rsquo;s services. And in particular I want to outline how, working together, we can be more ambitious about what children and young people can achieve in Britain.</p> <h2> A power shift and a horizon shift&nbsp;</h2> <p> It&rsquo;s been six months since the new Coalition Government was established as a partnership between two parties determined to work together in the national interest to resolve the big problems our country faces.</p> <p> Since the Government was formed we&rsquo;ve set to work to restore our finances, reduce the massive deficit we inherited and put public services on a sustainable footing. We have started to reform our political system to make it fairer, more accountable and more transparent; embarked on reforms of education, health and welfare to promote social justice; and taken steps to accelerate economic growth by improving vocational training, investing in science and lifting the bureaucratic burden on business.</p> <p> Our reform programme is driven by two principles shared across the coalition parties. We believe in shifting power down from central government to the lowest possible level &ndash; to local authorities, schools, mutuals and co-ops, GP consortia, community groups, families and individuals. And alongside this power shift, we believe in setting policy with a determined eye on the long-term. Whether it&rsquo;s reforming higher education, taking radical action on energy efficiency or investing more in pre-school learning for our two-year-olds, the Government believes in a horizon shift where tough decisions are taken now so the country can enjoy a more sustainably prosperous future.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a challenging agenda.&nbsp;But then again it needs to be, because&nbsp;our country can&rsquo;t afford &ndash; literally cannot afford &ndash;&nbsp;not to change radically.</p> <p> The economic mess we find ourselves in means we need to change.</p> <p> The huge numbers of talented young people who still do not achieve as they should means we need to change.</p> <p> And the new demands from the public that we deliver services much more efficiently means we need to change.</p> <p> Changing does not mean rejecting the gains we have already made as a society. It&#39;s&nbsp;quite the opposite &ndash; unless we change we will not be able to generate the wealth and opportunities, we will not be able to provide the security and comfort, that we have grown used to expecting.</p> <p> I am an unreserved admirer of many of the advances we&rsquo;ve made as a country over the last few decades. In the eighties we put the days of relative economic decline behind us. In the nineties we became a more tolerant, compassionate and open nation. And over the last decade there&rsquo;s been a renewed emphasis on spreading opportunity more widely.</p> <p> Specifically, there&rsquo;s been a growing sense that we must ensure our taxpayer-funded public services are as responsive to individual demands and as efficient in their operations as those private sector organisations&nbsp;that have benefitted from innovation and competition.</p> <p> Together, these forces and trends have driven progress. But even as we look back and see how far we&rsquo;ve come, it is much more important that we look around us and see how fast others are going.</p> <p> Across the globe other nations are modernising their economies, reforming their ways of working, challenging vested interests, demanding better performance, transforming public service, and&nbsp;making power more accountable, government more transparent and opportunity more equal. And the pace of change is everywhere accelerating. In East Asia, millions more are being educated to a higher level than ever before every year. In Scandinavia, taxes are being cut and technological change is driving new business growth. In North America, new ways of providing public services are being pioneered which put the empowered citizen in control.</p> <p> We cannot ignore, or resist, these trends. It&rsquo;s in the nature of our world that jobs, investment, innovation and growth will migrate to those jurisdictions with the best trained workers, the best educated citizens, the most efficient governments, the most responsive services, the most civilized public square. If we are to ensure our citizens enjoy a civilized future, with the economic growth which will sustain a prosperous and comfortable future for all, then we must accelerate reform here. We have to keep pace with the world&rsquo;s innovation nations. And, sadly, at the moment we are falling behind.</p> <h2> The fierce urgency of the need for education reform</h2> <p> In the last ten years we have fallen behind other countries in the international league tables of school performance &ndash; falling from fourth in the world for science to fourteenth, seventh&nbsp;in the world for literacy to seventeenth,&nbsp;and eighth&nbsp;in the world for maths to twenty-fourth.</p> <p> If we are to raise attainment for all children, turn round underperforming schools where students have been poorly served for years, close the gap between rich and poor and make opportunity more equal, we need to work at every level to accelerate the pace of change.</p> <p> Local authorities have a central role to play. The services you provide are critical to our shared mission of giving every child, and young person, the best possible start in life. From the support given in the earliest years, through Sure Start and other settings, to the effective policing of admissions rules to guarantee fair access for all students; from the expertise required to support children with special educational needs to the challenge which underperforming schools require to improve, local authorities are our essential partners in the fight to extend every child&rsquo;s opportunities.</p> <p> I am grateful for all the support, advice and encouragement I have received from colleagues in local government, councillors from all parties and officials at every level, and the Schools White Paper we plan to publish later this year will reflect the conversations I have had with local government colleagues as well as outline new and exciting ways of working together.</p> <h3> Increased autonomy for local authorities</h3> <p> I have been influenced by the growing sense among the most innovative leaders in the public sector that we will only secure the progress we need to make as a country if we continually drive responsibility and decision-making down to the lowest possible level.</p> <p> Progress depends on encouraging creativity, making services more responsive to individual citizens, allowing valid comparisons between different providers to be made and using transparency &ndash; not central direction&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;to drive value for money.</p> <p> There are huge opportunities here for local government.</p> <p> As we shift power downwards, there is massive potential for the creative use of greater autonomy on the part of those who lead both schools and local authorities.</p> <p> We propose to give local authorities progressively greater freedoms as they become strategic delivery partners. At the moment there are countless targets, onerous inspection regimes and a stultifying culture of compliance, with a proliferation of ring-fences, an overkill of regulations and a burgeoning thicket of guidance. All of these centrally-driven interventions have made government less local.</p> <p> That is why we are stripping them away. By removing comprehensive area assessment and ending local area agreements, we have begun to remove the bureaucratic burdens that have been applied by central government to local government.</p> <p> The space has been cleared for local authorities to be more daring and imaginative in how they provide services and deploy resources.</p> <p> Today I am going a step further to liberate local authorities by announcing the ending of statutory requirements on&nbsp;them to set and then police a whole range of externally imposed performance targets on schools and Early Years settings.</p> <p> Instead, local authorities will be able to develop their own plans to improve the quality of Early Years provision. And you will be free to develop new and innovative ways of supporting the vulnerable across your local areas. With the additional resources we are making available for the education of the poorest two-year olds, the schooling of all poorer children and early intervention to help those most in need, you will have the funding, and the freedom, to make a real difference.</p> <h3> Sharper accountability for underperforming schools</h3> <p> As well as granting local authorities greater autonomy, the Coalition Government is also making good its commitment to grant schools greater autonomy. I am grateful for the constructive way in which local authorities have worked to ensure we can offer all schools the promise of greater control over their destiny.</p> <p> We have extended the opportunity to all schools to move towards academy status, with outstanding schools leading the way. One new academy has been created every working day of this new school term.</p> <p> Those schools have used their new freedoms to help others. And all schools, whether or not they are making the journey towards academy status, are being given greater freedoms from central government.</p> <p> We have abolished the self-evaluation form, reduced the data collection burden and told Ofsted to slim down its inspection criteria. We will be slimming down the National Curriculum, making governance simpler and financial management less onerous. All of these steps will give school leaders more freedom to concentrate on their core responsibilities &ndash; teaching and learning.</p> <p> Different schools will go down different paths,&nbsp;at different paces. Some will want to move rapidly to academy status; others will follow, perhaps as part of a broader trust or federation. Yet others will want to maintain their current status.</p> <h2> A partnership for good</h2> <p> And because there will be a diversity of paths, so there will be a different role for local authorities with respect to schools.</p> <p> We want all local authorities to play a central role as guardians of social justice, ensuring admissions are fair.</p> <p> We expect all local authorities to discharge an essential role as providers of support for children with special educational needs.</p> <p> We will work with all local authorities to ensure there is sufficient high-quality alternative provision.</p> <p> And we will encourage all local authorities to be champions of educational excellence &ndash; challenging individual schools to improve, encouraging great schools to share their expertise, putting underperforming schools on notice if they are not improving.</p> <p> But we anticipate, and will welcome, a more diverse approach to the provision of school improvement services.</p> <p> The success of the work of National Leaders of Education, the National College of School Leadership, and trusts led by great school leaders such as Mike Wilkins or Barry Day, demonstrates that school-to-school improvement generates great results.</p> <p> I expect that local authorities will want to make more use of NLEs, and encourage the creation of more federations to drive improvement.</p> <p> If local authorities believe they can provide a strong school-improvement service themselves, they should be free to do so by offering their service to schools on a level playing field to other providers. That could mean some local authorities offer school-improvement services to schools beyond their own geographical borders. Greater diversity, and contestability, can only help drive up standards and I know that is our shared goal.</p> <h2> Addressing disadvantage head on</h2> <p> Because I know that all of you, like me, have as one of your top priorities turning round the performance of our most challenging schools.</p> <p> We all have a duty to ensure there are minimum standards of performance through the school system. It can&rsquo;t be acceptable to have so many schools in which two-thirds of children fail to secure five good GCSEs.</p> <p> Minimum standards at GCSE have risen in recent years, in line with the increased aspirations of parents and communities. Those school leaders and local authorities who have driven the fastest improvements deserve special credit.</p> <p> But given the quickening pace of school improvement across the globe, I believe it&rsquo;s now essential that we demonstrate that we are stepping up our reform programme.</p> <p> I will therefore be finalising details of new floor standards shortly, for inclusion in my forthcoming Schools White Paper. These will apply from January 2011, when we have the verified and final summer 2010 examination data.</p> <p> In setting new standards I want to be clear that we are determined to tackle underperformance, but I want to avoid the errors of the past which meant some felt unfairly stigmatised. That is why we will be offering support first. On top of the pupil premium, and in addition to other financial support for those in greatest need, I have announced the creation of a new education endowment fund worth &pound;110 million. Local authorities should be among those bidding to use this additional money to raise attainment in our most challenging schools.</p> <p> We will identify the schools in the most challenging circumstances in the fairest and most rigorous way possible. The measures we use will recognise the need for schools to improve both their levels of attainment and the progress they make with their pupils.</p> <h3> Academy sponsors and underperforming schools</h3> <p> Central to our approach to school standards, especially in tackling the most significant areas of underperformance, will be our Academies programme.</p> <p> I am delighted that so many local authorities and school leaders have seen how academies can improve performance, with academies securing improvements at GCSE level twice as fast as other schools and the best academy chains doing much, much better than that.</p> <p> I want to expand the programme in three important areas.</p> <p> First, we should be looking to spread the experience of academies to tackle underperformance in the primary sector, which is why we will have clear floor standards for primaries.</p> <p> Second, the central role of some academies in federations of schools and more extended networks is demonstrating the potential for academies developed through clusters of schools within a local area.</p> <p> And most important of all, too many underperforming schools that were above the minimum threshold we inherited have not received sufficient attention and support.</p> <p> I want the Department to work with sponsors and local authorities to consider solutions to a wider range of underperforming schools. I have been encouraged by my conversations with many local authorities, which have confirmed the potential for further progress. I would like local authorities to consider more schools for academy status, where both attainment and pupil progression are low and where schools lack the capacity to improve themselves.</p> <p> In particular, I want to focus our shared attention on how to improve schools where:</p> <ul> <li> attainment is low and pupils progress poorly</li> <li> the most recent Ofsted judgement is that the school is eligible for intervention or is merely satisfactory (the latter is included to reflect wider issues in the school such as its capacity to improve, or in key areas such as leadership and governance)</li> <li> there is a record of low attainment over time &ndash; whether or not the most recent results have crossed a minimum threshold, we should be looking at whether the previous results indicate those increases are sustainable</li> <li> and pupils in secondary schools achieve poorly compared to schools with similar intakes.</li> </ul> <li> attainment is low and pupils progress poorly</li> <li> the most recent Ofsted judgement is that the school is eligible for intervention or is merely satisfactory (the latter is included to reflect wider issues in the school such as its capacity to improve, or in key areas such as leadership and governance)</li> <li> there is a record of low attainment over time &ndash; whether or not the most recent results have crossed a minimum threshold, we should be looking at whether the previous results indicate those increases are sustainable</li> <li> and pupils in secondary schools achieve poorly compared to schools with similar intakes.</li> <p> The minimum standards on attainment and progression will be set out in the white paper. But these should be regarded as guidelines, not rigid criteria. Where schools fall outside these benchmarks but local authorities consider that schools would still benefit from the involvement of sponsors, I would encourage you to make proposals for the conversion of those schools.</p> <p> However, where schools are facing challenges across the board, decisive action is clearly needed.</p> <p> Some of the most successful academy sponsors have been deepening their relationships with local authorities and with groups of schools, to consider how they might bring new solutions to other underperforming schools without the initial involvement of the Department.</p> <p> I have actively encouraged sponsors to work directly with local authorities in this way.</p> <p> Equally, we are seeing an increasing number of local authorities proposing the development of new academies and making links directly with sponsors, which I also very much welcome. Officials from the Department will continue to support and facilitate the brokering of new academies between schools, local authorities and sponsors. I see this as a continuation of the collaborative approach that has been fostered over the years to secure the replacement of such schools with academies. I very much want that partnership approach to continue.</p> <p> For some years, we have also had powers on the statute book for the Secretary of State to intervene directly in failing schools. The new Academies Act enables me to make an Academy Order in respect of any school that is eligible for intervention. This includes, specifically, schools that Ofsted has judged to require special measures or significant improvement or which have failed to respond to a valid warning notice.</p> <p> I will be ready to use this power in the months ahead where I judge that academy status is in the best interests of an eligible school and its pupils, and where it has not been possible to reach agreement on a way ahead with the local authority, the school or both. Of course, I would hope that I do not need to use these powers extensively as I fully expect local authorities to use their own extensive intervention powers to bring about change in poorly performing schools that are failing to improve. But where there is a lack of decisive action or a reluctance to consider the necessary academy solution, then I will not hesitate to act.</p> <p> Officials in the Department will be talking both to local authorities and to sponsors, to identify the best opportunities for progress.</p> <h2> Children at the heart of everything we do</h2> <p> Because publication of our Schools White Paper is imminent, I have concentrated so far today on the work we can do together to improve education.</p> <p> But I am critically aware that your responsibilities extend far beyond the school gate.</p> <p> From reforming child protection to protecting child and adolescent mental health services, from safeguarding the provision of play facilities to enhancing youth services, from supporting Sure Start to improving careers advice for school leavers, your responsibilities are also my priorities.</p> <p> And the same principles, and vision, which drive our approach to schools guide us in all these areas.</p> <p> We believe in trusting professionals more, just as much when they are social workers as when they are teachers, which is why we have commissioned Eileen Munro to review how we can better support social work professionals.</p> <p> We believe in opening up the provision of services to new providers with new ideas and anticipate we can improve support for the vulnerably by harnessing the dynamism of civil society.</p> <p> We believe transparency aids good government and makes decision-making better, which is why we have asked for serious case reviews to be published.</p> <p> We believe that nothing is more important than overcoming barriers to social mobility, which is why we are investing more in getting Early Years education right.</p> <p> And we are convinced that young people deserve to have their horizons broadened and aspirations raised beyond the expectations of previous generations, which is why we will reform careers advice and guidance.</p> <p> I appreciate this is change at a pace and across a range of policies which is nothing if not demanding.</p> <p> But I believe that the world in which we live means we have no option but to embrace change and take control of the future. If we do not shape global forces they will shape us.</p> <p> And it is, above all, my desire to grant individuals the right to shape their own future, which drives me. Education is, for me, about freeing people from imposed constraints, liberating them from the accidents of birth, allowing them to acquire the knowledge, skills and qualifications which allow them to choose the satisfying job they have always aspired to and the rich inner life which brings true fulfilment.</p> <p> Everything we are arguing for, and all the changes we hope to make, are about giving more children and young people the power to decide their own fates, to become authors of their own life stories.</p> <p> I know you all share that ambition, and every time we meet I am continually impressed by the energy, ambition and idealism you bring to the mission of improving all our children&rsquo;s lives &ndash; which is why it is such a pleasure to work with all of you and to be with you today.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0066543/michael-gove-to-the-national-conference-of-directors-of-childrens-and-adult-services Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to the National Conference of Directors of Children's and Adult Services Education 2010-11-04
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thanks Janet &ndash; it&rsquo;s a pleasure to be invited along today to the second Annual Leaving Care Conference as a guest of the Care Matters Partnership and&nbsp;the Care Leavers Association. I want to take a moment to thank you all for the great work the sector has been doing to improve the lives and outcomes of care leavers and children in care. I spent Tuesday of this week in Haringey with social workers, committed and hardworking, and it only reinforced that while the papers only focus on the negative, we need to start seeing social workers as part of the solution. The vast majority of what they do is invaluable to the lives of our young people in care.</p> <h2> Introduction</h2> <p> In coming along this morning, I wanted to start by paying my thanks, in person, to both you and your teams for the incredible amount of work that&rsquo;s been done over the last few years. It&rsquo;s sometimes easy to forget, particularly in the midst of this or that media maelstrom, that almost every day there is a child leaving care in this country who has been handed a promising future by the professionals supporting them.</p> <p> And it is equally easy to forget that many of those same professionals are operating under the most intense of pressures. With a system that has been creaking and straining under the weight of Government targets, red tape, bureaucracy, rules and regulations for far too long now. And a caseload of work that &ndash; as we all know &ndash; often throws them into incredibly pressured situations.</p> <p> Just this month, in fact, I shadowed social workers up in Stockport for the week. I was, needless to say, pretty knackered by the end of that week. And yet social workers are tirelessly doing that job&nbsp;seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year. I witnessed some truly horrific conditions in which the Stockport frontline workers needed to operate, and it was a firm reminder of the resilience and energy which would be required to carry out the role day in and day out. The whole experience was a real eye opener for me I have to say.</p> <h2> System change can work where excessive spending has failed</h2> <p> So, what I didn&rsquo;t want to do this morning was stand up and pretend that there is some quick fix, or that supporting children in care and care leavers is in any way a straightforward issue for us to deal with. It quite clearly isn&rsquo;t &ndash; particularly given the fact that many of you have been asked to tighten the purse strings for more than a few years now, with more financial challenges ahead.</p> <p> But at the same time, we have reached the point where we simply have to become more ambitious, more smart about the kind of support we offer our care leavers, and think rather more imaginatively about how we do it. I&rsquo;m not convinced, for instance, that it is as simple as saying if you spend x, you achieve y. That sort of governance has been tried and tested in the past, and it has proved to have a pretty limited impact on many of the toughest social problems we face today. Outcomes for care leavers are still woefully poor compared to their peers, with many being vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse, becoming teenage parents, or becoming part of the long-term unemployed.</p> <p> This is not, therefore, a routine question of economics or accountancy. It is, I think, far more about the mechanics. It&rsquo;s about the way we go about our business and about the scale of ambition. And there are, quite simply, some very urgent systemic changes that need to be made to ensure that children in care have access to a good education, to good health care, good support and good advice. And the economic mess that we&rsquo;ve all inherited has &ndash; in many ways &ndash; simply underlined the importance of making those changes now.</p> <h2> Reducing red tape</h2> <p> So, in the brief time I have &ndash; I&rsquo;d like to run through the three priority areas as I see them. Beginning, if I can, with how we make it easier for councils and staff to support children in care and care leavers. And, in particular, how we reduce the morass of red tape that has engulfed councils over the years.</p> <p> During my time as both a minister and shadow minister, this has been the number one gripe of all the staff I have talked to, with constant complaints about the amount of time social workers, in particular, spend filling out forms, staring at computer screens, ticking boxes. This cannot be right. Not only does it place more pressure on caseloads, but it actually denies staff the chance to do the job they&rsquo;ve been trained for. They need to have the time and the reserves to spend much more time at the sharp end, eye-balling vulnerable families. I can no more see the sense in a highly skilled social worker filling out excel spreadsheets, or a foster carer recording everything they do to support a child, than I could see the sense in asking a top barrister to stand by the photocopier all day. Or have a GP mopping the surgery floor.</p> <p> So, if we want to make it easier for councils, we have to make it easier for their staff as well, and reduce the bureaucracy, the red tape and the regulation &ndash;&nbsp;and do it as soon as possible. Which is one of the reasons why, as you know, we have asked Professor Eileen Munro to look at how we might be able to free up the profession.&nbsp;Her team is due to report back with their findings in the spring. I have given Professor Munro one destination &ndash; to end up in a place where we are able to free up social workers&rsquo; time to spend much more time on the front line. This is not a review driven by a knee-jerk reaction to a horrendous incident, such as we had with Baby Peter. But rather, this is a chance for us to step back and take stock of where the profession of social work and the job of child protection has ended up after years of reactive policy and ever-growing bureaucracy. This review will see Professor Munro rip-up the regulations with a hope of transforming the working lives of social workers, allowing them to focus on the job in hand &ndash; namely protecting vulnerable children.</p> <p> In addition of course, we&rsquo;ve been stripping away and streamlining the regulations and guidance that surrounds looked-after children. The care leavers part of this is being published today, and thanks to your support and input it is far better &ndash; and substantially shorter;&nbsp;seven thousand words shorter in fact. It also allows much more flexibility for frontline staff to use their judgement to make decisions based on young people&rsquo;s needs. And has cut bureaucracy so you have more time to work directly with children.</p> <p> Now, those new regulations come into force next April, and bring together the key responsibilities to give children in care the right support as quickly as possible. And we are, I must stress, particularly keen to see that local areas reduce the number of &lsquo;out of authority&rsquo; placements they make, and that they meet their new sufficiency duty to commission local placements. In particular, we have to stop the significant flows of children from many inner city authorities to seaside towns like Thanet in Kent or Worthing</p> <h2> Better quality placements</h2> <p> The second point I wanted to look at relates to quality. The temptation when people want to save a fast buck is to think short term. But children in care desperately need us to make the economic case for instituting quality, evidence-based practice in order to save money down the line. It is, in effect, nothing more complicated than the old &lsquo;stitch in time saves nine&rsquo; principle that I suspect nearly every grandparent has passed on to the grandchild sitting on their knee at some point or another.</p> <p> So &ndash; we must start to see better commissioning of placements right across the board. There are too many emergency placements and contracts with providers who offer a less than adequate service for children in care. In particular, too many foster carers receive little ongoing support. With the inevitable consequence that the resulting placement will breakdown, and cost the council far more than it would have done to seek a high quality one from the start.</p> <p> And for those of you who haven&rsquo;t yet had the chance of reading it, I would certainly recommend looking at the Demos report that was released earlier this year &ndash; with its case study highlighting the hypothetical journeys of child&nbsp;A and child B, and its very persuasive research, which showed that significant savings can be made by improving placement stability.</p> <p> In a similar vein, it is vital that we drive up quality by using properly designed programmes of intensive support, like the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care, which has been proven to help children with the most complex needs to turn the corner. The annual MTFC report, which was published today, showed &ndash; again &ndash; that there are substantial savings to be made on individual children&rsquo;s placements.</p> <p> And these are hugely important tools for those of you who have to make the case for funding in areas with lots of children in care. Whilst for those authorities with fewer children who require such intensive support, the challenge is how they can work with their neighbours to introduce and maintain quality&nbsp;&nbsp;&ndash; evidence-based approaches.</p> <p> Because it is only through achieving this, that we can begin to improve placements right across the board, with the MTFC having huge potential, in particular, to upskill foster carers, who often play such a critical role in helping children in care to achieve their potential. Which is one of the reasons why we are also developing a Foster Charter, which will contain a clear statement of the vital role that foster carers play, and the contribution they make. It will set out specifically:</p> <ul> <li> what foster carers should expect from local authorities</li> <li> what local authorities should expect of foster carers,&nbsp;and</li> <li> what foster children should expect of both.</li> </ul> <li> what foster carers should expect from local authorities</li> <li> what local authorities should expect of foster carers,&nbsp;and</li> <li> what foster children should expect of both.</li> <p> It will be a compact of good practice.</p> <p> In addition, I have set up two advisory groups with young people, both in the care system and those leaving care. The first meeting with the care leavers group, as you know, was filmed, and is now up on the Children &amp; Young People Now website. I will be meeting with that group on a quarterly basis, with the next meeting in December. I am also meeting quarterly with groups of young foster children, adoptive children, and those in the care system, with the Children&rsquo;s Rights Director, Roger Morgan. These opportunities are invaluable, offering me the opportunity to have insightful conversations with really very astute young people directly affected by issues on the ground.</p> <h2> Fairness</h2> <p> The third, and final point I wanted to raise today is the simple question of fairness. The fact is, there was more than an element of truth in the comments made by Conner, the teenager in the BBC&rsquo;s recent <em>Panorama</em> investigation on social work in Coventry, when he described children in the care system as living like &lsquo;second class people&rsquo;.</p> <em>Panorama</em> <p> How else do we explain the fact that some 21 per cent of care leavers were 16 when they left home, while 24 is the average age for the rest of our children to leave the family home? And how else do you explain the fact that just 15 per cent of looked-after children are achieving&nbsp;five or more good GCSEs &ndash; as compared to some 70 per cent of children nationwide? And this gap has widened.</p> <p> This is why it is crucial that a child&rsquo;s education is properly considered when deciding on placements, and in particular that moves are not made during crucial periods such as preparing for GCSEs. And it is why we will also be introducing the Pupil Premium, which will help ensure that children in care are given every chance to succeed at school.</p> <p> Whilst for care leavers specifically, it means taking a far more flexible approach than we have done in the past. There are not many parents nowadays who usher their children out of the door when they hit 18 &ndash; least of all 16. And we have to be sensitive to the fact that different children grow and develop at very different speeds.</p> <p> Furthermore, I would argue that it is self-evidently unfair that the area you live in determines how likely you are to leave care and find a placement in education, employment or training. With local authorities varying in performance from 34 per cent of care leavers in the system at the worst performer, to nearly 88 per cent at the best.</p> <p> Although even in that discrepancy, there is hope for those of us with rose-tinted spectacles, because we know that learning from best practice can bring all LAs up to a higher standard. And I&rsquo;m delighted that the FromCare2Work programme is now going from strength-to-strength &ndash; with more than 3500 opportunities now in place or planned. I was also very interested to hear more regarding our Staying-Put Pilots, which produced an interim report in September. I believe it is so important that our children in the care system have that same safety net enjoyed by other young people &ndash; whose average age of leaving home now is 24, and rising. While many teenagers in the care system may feel they are ready to face the world at 16, and some may well be ready, it&rsquo;s possible that things could fall apart when they are 17/18. Their housing could fall through, they could lose their job. Essentially there needs to be much more flexibility in the system to ensure care leavers have the support to fall back on should they need it.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> So, these are the three main areas that we know can help us ensure that care leavers get a better deal in the future. Making it easier for councils to support, focusing on quality over making a fast buck, and by institutionalising fairness in the way we operate. All mechanical changes &ndash; rather than economic ones.</p> <p> To end, I know there has been a lot of talk following the Spending Review about us &lsquo;all being in this together&rsquo; &ndash; and that remains the case. But there are some very honourable exceptions to that rule &ndash; and in particular children in care and care leavers. As the collective corporate parents of these children, it is our responsibility to ensure they get the start in life they deserve. They cannot, and should not, be expected to pay the price for mistakes they have played no part in causing. They deserve a second chance at a stable family life after a traumatic experience.</p> <p> Not only would that be grotesquely unfair &ndash; it would also be a false economy of epic proportions. So, as you make the case for the children in care in your area, we will support you in every way we can, wherever we can, through making it easier to provide services, by giving you far greater autonomy over budgets and by ensuring fairness is the cornerstone of all policy we institute.</p> <p> Thank you so much for your time today.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0066068/tim-loughton-to-the-annual-leaving-care-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Annual Leaving Care Conference Education 2010-10-28 London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you for inviting me here today and for your report, which is an extremely important contribution and I know is a culmination of a long piece of work and research. It is particularly useful ahead of next week&rsquo;s spending review.</p> <p> I absolutely agree with your analysis. If we want to build any kind of society, let alone a big one, it needs to be built on units. The fundamental building block is family &ndash; families of all sizes, big, small, families that extend up through generations and horizontally too. All the elements of society exist in them. Many of society&rsquo;s problems begin there and pass through generations. But so too are many of the solutions.</p> <p> As you say, families are a great untapped resource.</p> <p> So, if we are to build a big society, critical to our discussion is how we support families so they flourish and thrive. We need to look at removing the barriers that stop families thriving.</p> <p> This is the time for including families, and this is particularly true for the most vulnerable families.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s the reason why so much of our focus has been and will continue to be on how we can support the most disadvantaged families. That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re making Sure Start children&rsquo;s centres work better to help more families, recruiting extra health visitors, reforming the special educational needs system &ndash; because disabled children and their families have particularly important needs that can put a strain on family relationships, or making work pay to encourage people back into work.</p> <p> But the relentless top-down approach from Whitehall has not yielded all the results we want. People&rsquo;s experience is of services being done to them and not taking account of them. They have been offered the wrong kind of help and there is a sense that they&rsquo;re not being listened to. You can&rsquo;t reach the most alienated families from a Whitehall office &ndash; we can&rsquo;t do everything from the centre.</p> <p> We need to design services in a radically different way and encourage councils to think more innovatively. We need a different relationship with local government to fundamentally reshape the way we think about working with children and families. By removing ring fences on funding, changing how we deliver things and involving the voluntary sector more.</p> <p> This is especially important in Sure Start, where there is much more room for voluntary sector involvement.</p> <p> Penn Green, the children&rsquo;s centre research centre I visited last week, has a fantastic track record of involving the community, and particularly parents. This is a model we need to learn from.</p> <p> But it is more than just about services. It is something bigger in vision &ndash; more difficult to achieve outright. Social capital is at the heart of what the Big Society is all about. It&rsquo;s the links you have with others, the informal networks you are a part of that matter. Informal relationships offer people information, connections to work, sources of support.</p> <p> When relationships in your family get tough it&rsquo;s the informal support networks that are key. Having somebody to talk to, other people who know what you are going through.<br /> <br /> The more disadvantaged you are, the fewer of those social links you have. Resilient families is what really matters. Building resilient families is partly about putting in place professional support and also about trying to create a society where people are less isolated &ndash; building communities &ndash; or putting in place the things that are needed so they build themselves, so that families of all types make connections with others.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> We need to create a society where people are less isolated &ndash; that&rsquo;s the big vision. Children&rsquo;s centres are at the heart of that, as well as churches, mosques, local clubs and even pubs &ndash; all provide ways to get to know people.</p> <p> Localising power down to local communities is not about getting things done for free, but about giving communities more power to find the solutions that are right for them.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0065287/sarah-teather-to-the-4children-conference Sarah Teather MP Sarah Teather to the 4Children conference Education 2010-10-13
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, Father [Michael] O&rsquo;Dowd, for that introduction.</p> <p> With the Spending Review imminent, members of the Cabinet are locked in rooms across Westminster this week. But Michael asked me to pass on his best wishes to you for your conference and I&rsquo;m delighted to be here to share our vision for education with you.</p> <p> The last time that I saw many of you was at St Mary&rsquo;s University College in Twickenham for the Big Assembly with His Holiness Pope Benedict [XVI].</p> <p> First and foremost, it was an extremely successful event and I&rsquo;d like to congratulate Oona [Stannard] and the Catholic Education Service on the leading role that it played in organising it.</p> <p> There were some of the very best choirs that I&rsquo;ve ever heard, which is testament to the importance that Catholic schools place on the wider development of pupils through extra-curricular activities.<br /> <br /> But above all, it was a fantastic celebration of the role that the Catholic Church plays in our education system and the perfect way to mark the start of the Year of Catholic Education.</p> <br /> <br /> <p> In his speech, His Holiness said:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> As the relative roles of church and state in the field of education continue to evolve, never forget that religions have a unique contribution to offer.</p> <p> Faith schools have been part of the English education system since it began.</p> <p> The historian Nicholas Orme traced this back as early as the 7th century when he described churches and cathedrals as &#39;centres of literacy&#39;.</p> <p> By the 15th and 16th centuries, the Church had become one of the most important providers of education in local communities.</p> <p> And when Catholicism re-established itself in the mid-19th century, the establishment of Catholic schools was prioritised so that children had places to learn.</p> <p> Faith organisations have just as important a role to play in education in the 21st century.</p> <p> Today, around a third of maintained schools in England are faith schools and, despite operating in some of the poorest areas of the country, they are consistently outperforming other schools.</p> <p> At a pupil level, 6 per cent&nbsp;more pupils in secondary faith schools achieved 5 A* to C GCSEs including English and mathematics than the national average, while 6 per cent&nbsp;more pupils in primary faith schools reached the expected level in English and mathematics. When you look just at Catholic schools, both of these figures increase further still to 7 per cent.</p> <p> At a school level, almost half of the 200 best-performing secondary schools in the country are faith schools, while 64 per cent&nbsp;of the 200 best-performing primaries are faith schools &ndash; of which nearly a quarter are Catholic.</p> <p> And as well as having more diverse intakes than other schools, Ofsted recognises that faith schools are more successful than non-faith schools at promoting community cohesion.</p> <p> A few weeks ago, I visited St Gregory&rsquo;s Catholic Science College in Harrow.</p> <p> It was the first school I visited when I became a minister and I was delighted to be asked back because I was blown away by my first visit there.</p> <p> Last summer, 66 per cent&nbsp;of pupils achieved five A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics. But I was struck most by the strong ethos that the headteacher has instilled, the emphasis on aspiration and, as tends to be the case with the happiest and most industrious schools, how I could tell just walking through the gates that there was a culture of respect and good behaviour.</p> <p> If we could replicate schools like St Gregory&rsquo;s, there would&nbsp;be no need to have a schools minister or a Department for Education. But while we do have some of the best schools in the world in our country, we also have too many which are still struggling.</p> <h2> Still a long way to go</h2> <p> As we saw from the Key Stage 2 progression statistics published last week, there are hundreds of primary schools where the majority of children fail to get to an acceptable level in mathematics and English.</p> <p> The majority of children leave those schools without the knowledge and skills required properly to follow the secondary school curriculum and make a success of the rest of their time in education.</p> <p> Overall, four in ten pupils don&rsquo;t meet basic standards by the age of eleven, and only about half manage at least a &lsquo;C&rsquo; in both English and mathematics GCSE.</p> <p> What makes this so much worse is that poor performance is so powerfully concentrated in the areas of the greatest disadvantage.</p> <p> It is enormously demoralising to track the progress of the poorest pupils.</p> <p> The stark report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission earlier this week showed that only a third of children eligible for free school meals reach a good level of development by the age of five, compared to more than half who are not.</p> <p> This gap then continues through primary and secondary school until, aged 16, pupils entitled to free school meals are over half as likely to achieve five good GCSEs and more than twice as likely to be permanently excluded.</p> <p> By the time they reach university, just 45 children out of a cohort of 80,000 on free school meals make it to Oxbridge.</p> <p> It is because deprivation still far too often dictates destiny that we are introducing a pupil premium. It will provide extra funding for schools with the poorest pupils to pay for smaller classes, extra tuition and the best teachers.</p> <p> But we are also determined to learn from the other nations that have been much more successful recently in getting more and more people to be educated to a higher level.</p> <p> The most recent PIRLs study of 10-year-olds saw England fall from 3rd out of 15 countries in 2001 to 15th out of 40 countries in 2006.</p> <p> While the PISA study showed that only 2 out of 57 countries have a wider gap in attainment between the highest and lowest achievers.</p> <h2> Three pillars of reform</h2> <p> There are three essential characteristics which mark out the best performing and fastest reforming education systems.</p> <p> First, they are guided by the principle that more autonomy for individual schools helps drive up standards.</p> <p> Second, the highest performing education nations invariably also have the best teachers.</p> <p> Third, there is rigorous external assessment based on a curriculum that provides a deep and rich learning experience.</p> <p> The coalition government is determined to implement all of these lessons in our country and I will reflect on how we intend to do so today.</p> <h2> Greater autonomy</h2> <p> One of the first things we did was to offer all schools &ndash; including primary schools for the first time &ndash; the chance to take on academy status &ndash; starting with those rated outstanding by Ofsted.</p> <p> In recent years, academies have consistently outperformed other schools. Last year, their rate of improvement was twice that of other schools, with some individual academies posting incredible improvements of between 15 and 25 per cent. Those in some particularly challenging areas, such as Burlington Danes on London&rsquo;s White City estate, run by the charity ARK, and the Harris Academies in South London, have all secured dramatic gains.</p> <p> In his memoirs, Tony Blair gave an excellent description of why they&rsquo;re so effective:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> [An academy] belongs not to some remote bureaucracy, not to the rulers of government, local or national, but to itself, for itself. The school is in charge of its own destiny. This gives it pride and purpose. And most of all, freed from the extraordinarily debilitating and often, in the worst sense, political correct interference from state or municipality, academies have just one thing in mind, something shaped not by political prejudice but by common sense: what will make the school excellent.</p> <p> Whether it&rsquo;s new approaches to the curriculum, to assessment, to discipline and behaviour, to pastoral care, to careers guidance, to sport, the arts and music, new ways of gathering data on pupil performance, new ways of supporting teachers to improve their practice, new ways of tackling entrenched illiteracy and new ways of ending the culture of low expectations, it is that single-minded focus on what will work for them that we want all schools to have.</p> <p> Over 140 outstanding schools have already taken up our offer and will lead the way &ndash; and I hope that many more will follow, including faith schools.</p> <p> I am grateful to Oona and to the CES for the constructive dialogue that we&rsquo;ve had over the past few months about the involvement of faith schools in the Academies programme.</p> <p> In that spirit of partnership, let me also say that you have been right to raise concerns about the potential impact that conversion would have on land, on governance, on the curriculum, amongst other things.</p> <p> I want us to work through all of these issues and that is why we were pleased to provide a small amount of funding to help develop a model funding agreement for Catholic schools.</p> <p> And I do want to be 100 per cent&nbsp;clear that it would be wrong for us to expect faith schools converting to academies to do anything differently. That is why faith designation will continue into academies and, while they must of course comply with the School Admissions Code so that they are inclusive, academies will be able to continue to give priority to children of their faith.</p> <p> I believe that, in time, faith schools can play the same kind of leading role in the Academies programme as they do in the wider schools system, not least because they have so much to offer in working with other schools that need more support to improve.</p> <p> As well as expanding the Academies programme, we&rsquo;re helping teachers, charities, churches and parent groups to start new free schools.</p> <p> Bishop McMahon pointed out earlier this year that free schools are about local communities getting together, pooling their resources and supporting the needs of the local community, and how this resonates with the way that so many Catholic primary schools were founded.</p> <p> Despite the robust approach that we&rsquo;re taking to assessing proposals, we&rsquo;ve already announced the first sixteen projects that are progressing to the next stage of development and want to be up and running next September.</p> <p> Given that it typically takes between three and five years to set up a new school, it is a tribute to the incredible energy and commitment of these pioneering groups that they have already reached such an advanced stage.</p> <p> Encouragingly, there are already a number of proposals from faith groups and, while the door of course remains open for faith groups to establish new schools through the existing voluntary-aided route, I hope you will look at this route as a means of increasing the number of faith places available.</p> <p> While I&rsquo;m on the subject of new schools, let me also say that I understand why some communities were disappointed by the announcement to end the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.</p> <p> Sadly, we inherited a scheme that was characterised by massive overspends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy so we had to take action.</p> <p> The end of the BSF programme does not mean the end of school rebuilding. I believe we can build more schools more efficiently and more quickly in the areas that need it the most in the future and that is what we&rsquo;ve asked our review team to deliver.</p> <p> Similarly, Oona has been lobbying on your behalf recently about the removal of home to school transport, which I understand is an important consideration for you and for parents.</p> <p> Parents have the right to bring up their children in the way that they see fit and, if they adhere to a faith, to bring up their children with respect to the tenets of that faith.</p> <p> Our education system must reflect that choice and LAs must respect a parent&rsquo;s wishes.</p> <p> Every council&rsquo;s budget is under pressure but their primary responsibility is to spend taxpayers&rsquo; money in a way that meets local needs and, if you or parents don&rsquo;t believe that&rsquo;s happening, I have no doubt that you will let them know.</p> <p> While the drive towards greater autonomy is an essential part of our plans, it is only part of a comprehensive programme of reforms to make us truly competitive internationally and to close the gap between rich and poor.</p> <h2> Comprehensive programme of reform</h2> <p> Our first Education White Paper, to be launched later this year, will set out the whole-system improvement needed to improve standards and close the gap between rich and poor.</p> <p> Teachers and other education professionals will be at the fore because everything we want to achieve starts with, and flows from, the quality of the workforce.</p> <p> In the White Paper, we will unveil a whole range of further proposals to ensure we attract the best possible people into education and, perhaps even more critically, provide those teaching now with the support, professional development and security they need.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve already doubled the size of the Teach First programme so that more highly skilled graduates come in to help us with our mission, and we will also make it easier for experienced, talented people to change career and move into teaching.</p> <p> To ensure they get off to the best possible start, we will look at how we can improve the quality of initial teacher training and, in particular, strengthen phonics and mathematics training for primary teachers.</p> <p> And because the best teachers apply their passion for learning to their own careers as well as to their pupils, we will make it easier and more rewarding for teachers to acquire deeper knowledge and new qualifications, including postgraduate and management qualifications.</p> <p> As crucial as recruitment and training will be, there is nothing more dispiriting for teachers than dealing with a grinding load of bureaucracy and nothing more likely to put them off completely than dealing with bad behaviour,</p> <p> We are determined to lift burdens on teachers so that they can get on with their jobs, and to build on the action that we&rsquo;ve already on ill discipline by simplifying the use of force guidance and protecting teachers against false and malicious allegations from pupils and parents.</p> <p> Once teachers are secure and able to develop their professional skills, we then have to create more room for them to use them.</p> <p> So we will develop a new National Curriculum that excites and challenges young people. It will be informed by teachers and experts, but based on the best global evidence of what knowledge and concepts can be introduced to children at different ages.</p> <p> We will set out more details in the White Paper but I can assure you that I believe that RE is an important part of the curriculum.</p> <p> RE is thought provoking, allows pupils to develop a greater understanding of the communities they live in and, importantly, it is valued by parents.</p> <p> Finally, hand in hand with curriculum reform comes the need to restore confidence in our battered qualifications system.</p> <p> So we will legislate to strengthen Ofqual and we will also ask it to evaluate how our exams compare with those in other countries so that we know how well our children stand against those from the countries with whom we are increasingly competing.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> I&rsquo;m proud to call myself a supporter of faith schools &ndash; and Catholic schools in particular &ndash; because they have such a strong track record of building strong communities that work together to help one another and of supporting the most disadvantaged.</p> <p> We want to learn from you and are committed to working with you as we take forward the far-reaching reform programme that I&rsquo;ve set out.</p> <p> Because, just like the Catholic Church, we want to ensure that all children get the best possible chance to succeed.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0065262/nick-gibb-to-the-catholic-education-service-diocesan-school-commissioners-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the Catholic Education Service Diocesan School Commissioners Conference Education 2010-10-13
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Professor Bellis, thank you. It is a genuine privilege to be here today as a guest of the World Health Organisation and Safety 2010&rsquo;s other sponsors.</p> <p> Can I repeat the thanks of Earl Howe again, on behalf of the UK Government, to all delegates at the conference this week, many of whom have &ndash; I know &ndash; travelled an incredibly long way to share their knowledge and expertise with colleagues from around the world.</p> <p> It is our pleasure to welcome you all to London and I sincerely hope the next three days are both useful and interesting. As you know, we are honoured to have an incredible number of extremely eminent academics, experts, policymakers and professionals attending and speaking at the conference. Can I pass on my thanks to them also? As well as to Liverpool John Moores University, to the Department of Health, the European Union, the Health Protection Agency and everyone else who was involved in getting this fantastic event up and running.</p> <p> Over the last week or so, there have been some very public reminders in the UK about the importance of the work you do to prevent injury, with the tragic death of two girls from London &ndash; one in a boat accident and another in a fall from a block of flats &ndash; reinforcing to all of us who are parents that the things we love most can be stolen away from us at terrible speed. And reminding us also, I think, that there&rsquo;s very little in life that&rsquo;s more important to us than the kind of inner security that comes from knowing your family is safe when you leave them to go into work. Of feeling confident enough to walk down the street without glancing over your shoulder to see who&rsquo;s behind you. Or simply, perhaps, of believing tomorrow will be much the same as today.</p> <p> As you know, however, such confidence can be illusory and is not earned easily. It requires us as citizens to feel empowered, to feel in control of our environment and to feel prepared to face those &lsquo;known unknowns&rsquo; &ndash; to quote Donald Rumsfeld. Most of all though, it depends on our assessment of risk &ndash; the extent to which we measure the likelihood of something going wrong &ndash; and the degree to which we fear loss.</p> <p> The question I&rsquo;d like to answer today is the extent to which Government can give its citizens that greater confidence &ndash; and more specifically, how we should approach that issue of risk. On the face of it at least, there is a huge amount of danger in our lives. Whether it is risk from violence, accidental injury, disease, bullying or any number of other aspects of the society we live in. In the UK, as with much of the world, the traditional means of minimising that risk has sometimes been characterised as one of knee-jerk reaction. Something happens and the government of the day hastily introduces a brand spanking new programme, law or organisation to deal with the perceived threat. Sometimes &ndash; undoubtedly &ndash; that action was necessary and appropriate, sometimes not. But the point is that by its very nature it tends to be reactionary. Partly because it is politically very difficult not to be seen to be doing something. Partly because it is in all our natures to fear risk and attempt to minimise it.</p> <p> Many of you will, I&rsquo;m sure, have read Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner&rsquo;s book Freakonomics. In one of the chapters they talk about the &lsquo;perfect parent&rsquo; and make the point that families are bombarded with very different, and often contradictory advice about how to bring up their children and minimise risk to them. They include a quote from the American risk consultant Peter Sandman, who says: &lsquo;Risks that you control are much less a source of outrage than risks that are out of your control&rsquo;.</p> <p> They also make the point that there is often a huge discrepancy between the risks we perceive as being of the greatest threat, and the risks that actually offer up the gravest threat. Levitt and Dubner use the example of swimming pools in the States and gun ownership. They say that the chances of your child dying in a house with a swimming pool are far greater than the chances of your child dying in a house with a gun. As they put it, the &lsquo;likelihood of death by pool and death by gun, isn&rsquo;t even close&rsquo;.</p> <p> We are, in other words, generally speaking, very poor risk assessors. The fact is, swimming pools are more of a threat to our children than guns &ndash; but we fear guns far more. And we sometimes find it difficult to assess risk simply because we are given too much information. We have access to so much advice &ndash; from so many sources &ndash; that it is almost impossible for us to gauge the best way of avoiding injury or accident. For example, if a study from New Zealand is to be believed, if you drive a silver car you are far less likely to be involved in a serious accident than the driver of a white, black, red or green car. Or, if you are lucky enough to be a Hollywood star, you might be worried to hear that being nominated for an Oscar runs its own risk. Apparently, those who are nominated but don&rsquo;t win, have an average life expectancy that is two years less than those who are nominated and do win.</p> <p> In the UK, some of those disparities in risk are, however, altogether more serious. Poorer children, for example, are much more likely to be involved in accidents. With young people from the most deprived families 13 times more likely to die from accidents, and 37 times more likely to die in a fire than the children of professionals.</p> <p> The sad fact is that, as a result of these hugely complex relationships between risk and general information overload, governments have not always got it right when they try to improve safety. Rather than listening to experts, professionals and academics, they&rsquo;ve often targeted resources poorly by basing decisions on the fear of risk itself, rather than the evidence.</p> <p> Here in the UK for instance, we have produced huge great rule books and guidance seeking to cut a path through that miasma of information, but we haven&rsquo;t really done enough to think about how accessible it all is. That has led, unfortunately, to perhaps even greater fear and concerns over whether childhood in particular has become too &lsquo;bubble wrapped&rsquo;. With society so risk averse that the rough and tumble has been taken out of children&rsquo;s play, making us less resilient and less attuned to recognise the real dangers than actually surround us. This despite the fact that we know risk aversion is actually a problem in itself. With scientists telling us it blinds us to the real dangers around us, and that overprotective parenting can actually hamper a child&rsquo;s cognitive development rather than encourage it.</p> <p> Symptomatic of this counterproductive risk aversion was, I think, ContactPoint, a UK database of all 11 million children in the country, which was designed to alert social workers and other professionals to where a child might be in danger. We decided to close it down because it treated the collection and computerisation of data almost as an end in itself &ndash; even when it then impedes the time and capacity of the professionals to interpret and act on that data, and make the interventions that make the real difference to a vulnerable family.</p> <p> I would argue that huge systems like Contactpoint &ndash; which provide little tangible benefit and often only lead to a false sense of security and complacency &ndash; have the potential to do far more harm than good. Instead, Governments should be looking to use the best scientific evidence, and best possible analysis, to manage risk rather than to try and do the impossible by taking responsibility for every citizen&rsquo;s personal safety. That approach has been tried &ndash; and it&rsquo;s failed time and time again &ndash; precisely because it encourages individuals to slough personal responsibility for their actions, and in the process actually exposes them to far greater danger.</p> <p> You know better than I do that we cannot, unfortunately, create a risk-free society. What we can do though is equip citizens to protect themselves from harm by providing better information, better systems and better procedures. In short, by empowering and trusting individuals to take control of their lives and by being smarter about risk and how we handle it from a public policy perspective.</p> <p> This is why the UK Government is taking a new direction: stressing both the importance of personal responsibility and of making the right interventions, rather than making decisions based on fear itself. Most importantly, we are encouraging greater personal and community freedom among citizens through our Big Society plans, which stress the importance of individuals taking more control over the world around them &ndash; but also highlight the need for each of us to be vigilant and aware of potential dangers.</p> <p> In addition, we are carrying out a review of health and safety law through Lord Young, which will look at how we protect people without wrapping business in red tape. That report is due out very soon, and is expected to look at how we can curb the very worst excesses of the compensation culture that has grown up in the UK, with, for example, the possibility that schools might no longer be liable for injuries to children on school trips unless there has been a reckless disregard for safety.</p> <p> We are also undertaking a review of social work practice in the UK, which will set out the obstacles preventing improvements and consider how we can get better early intervention, how we can trust professionals more, and how we can remove unnecessary bureaucracy from their jobs.</p> <p> And, finally, we are radically changing the way we engage with families. Recruiting thousands more health visitors, who can work with parents at both the pre- and post-natal stages. Helping them to manage risk sensibly and without the fear, by empowering them with professional, knowledgeable advice on parenting.</p> <p> This help will be particularly targeted at the most vulnerable communities &ndash; a point that is, I know, of particular importance to this conference and its focus on equity.<br /> But it remains important nevertheless, to recognise that risk, and the fear of risk, is something we all feel. Our job in Government is to try and make sure every community feels safer by giving greater support and better quality information, so that all families are equipped and resilient enough to protect themselves.</p> <br /> <p> The work that you are all doing is putting that goal within reach for perhaps the first time. On behalf of my Department and the UK Government, let me thank you again for the incredibly valuable work you are doing, and for raising the profile of this most important of areas right around the world.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0064996/tim-loughton-to-the-safety-2010-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Safety 2010 conference Education 2010-09-21 QE2 Conference Centre, London
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Good morning and thank you Kevin. It really is a very genuine pleasure to be here today as a guest of the EESI project.</p> <p> Now, Kevin has outlined some of the uncertainties facing the voluntary sector as we lead up to the spending review next month. And, of course, the difficulties that our own West Sussex EESI project has been dealing with as its Big Lottery funding comes to an end after Christmas.</p> <p> It is, clearly, absolutely vital that that funding challenge is resolved, and resolved quickly. And I&rsquo;m delighted that the CVS network has been coming together to help make sure that the project can continue to deliver its services to community groups in the constituency.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s patently obvious when you hear about the work that the project has been involved in, and about the quality of its advice, that it is a hugely valuable commodity for our local services and organisations. Helping, among others, the West Sussex fire service. Along with a vast range of our local charities, from drug addiction organisations through to heritage societies. And, of course, any number of community groups.</p> <p> The question I wanted to ask today is whether we have done enough in the past to promote that kind of work and volunteering more generally? My own feeling is that we haven&rsquo;t. Volunteering and community groups have always been valued, yes. But they&rsquo;ve very rarely been trusted to lead change. Instead, they&rsquo;ve been marginalised by the architecture of big government. With quangos, arm&rsquo;s-length bodies, bureaucrats and goodness knows who else, often crushing the capacity of local communities to take power into their own hands, despite what have often been very well-intentioned Government interventions.</p> <p> The problem, as I see it, is that that approach hasn&rsquo;t really worked. Successive governments have desperately tried to patch over the effects of the changes we have seen in society over the last 40 or so years &ndash; frittering away billions of pounds in the process on x, y, z glitzy Whitehall initiatives. Unfortunately, like a used car salesman who promises a &lsquo;nice little runner&rsquo;, but delivers an old banger that conks out a few metres from the showroom, we have all too often been left feeling a little cheated, with a series of underperforming programmes rolling off the shelves that have never quite lived up to the marketing hype.</p> <p> The fact is: society has changed hugely. Families have become more nuclear, and communities more fragmented, and the UK has had to face up to the consequences of that change, with some of the highest levels of alcohol and drug use amongst its young people in the developed world, the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, and more than a million of our children suffering from some kind of mental health disorder.</p> <p> Unfortunately, over the years, successive governments assumed that the best way of addressing those issues was to supplant local communities rather than support them, acting as a surrogate parent. A policy that makes the rather depressing assumption that in the modern world we don&rsquo;t really care enough about each other to be trusted. But the simple reality is that although society has changed, our nature hasn&rsquo;t. For as long as humans have stalked the earth, we have been distinguished by our altruism and sense of community.</p> <p> And while scientists argue over why that is &ndash; with many of the most eminent claiming it must be an evolutionary mistake, and others like Richard Dawkins famously saying: &lsquo;we have to teach generosity because we are born selfish&rsquo; &ndash; the rest of us are left to say that it is, perhaps, simply enough to know that altruism does indeed exist. And that its benefits to our communities are vast, as in fact are its psychological and practical benefits to individuals. We know, for instance, that volunteering stimulates the reward centres in our brains. It helps people access social networks, provides opportunities for learning and developing skills, and gives us the satisfaction of making a contribution.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve seen, however, as I&rsquo;m sure we all have, the somewhat disingenuous argument that volunteering is a way of providing public services through the back door. But that totally misses the point, I think. As Barack Obama said when calling for a new age of responsibility in the States, people who join together can &lsquo;do amazing things&rsquo;.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s not something Government can conjure up through the traditional mechanisms of Whitehall. That has been tried and it&rsquo;s failed. It is, instead, something that is done by properly supporting our 22 million plus volunteers to address the things that are important to them.</p> <p> Indeed, one of my old opponents, the former Home Secretary David Blunkett, once said: &lsquo;People coming together on a voluntary basis to achieve common aims is a key feature of a dynamic democracy ... Volunteering empowers people ... it strengthens the bonds between individuals which are the bedrock of strong civil society.&rsquo;</p> <p> How right he was &ndash; and it is that understanding that goes to the heart of the Coalition&rsquo;s Big Society plans. The idea that big communities are based on the altruism and expertise of great individuals &ndash; not on big government.</p> <p> In essence, the Big Society is about turning less often to central government to provide all the answers, and instead supporting local communities and volunteers to build their own solutions, helping projects like EESI to carry on the great work they are doing.</p> <p> It does, though, challenge everyone to think differently. It involves a new relationship and partnership between the voluntary, private and statutory sectors. One where social entrepreneurs, charities and others collaborate in the design and delivery of complementary services and initiatives.</p> <p> We know it works because we can see it operating with our own eyes, from the smallest community projects in Worthing, to the biggest worldwide events. Just this week, for instance, London 2012 launched its campaign to recruit 70,000 volunteers for the Olympics. Huge numbers of people are expected to apply, despite the fact most of them know they are not going to be handing Usain Bolt his tracksuit top or marshalling the opening ceremony. Instead, they are doing it because they know that volunteering is something special.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s not always just about helping others; it can be just as empowering to take individual responsibility for improving your own environment or circumstances rather than relying on others. I was at an event at Google in London the other day where the &lsquo;Fix my Street&rsquo; website was mentioned. If you haven&rsquo;t seen it, it basically gives people the opportunity to report anything and everything from broken street lights to potholes on their road. It&rsquo;s proving so successful there&rsquo;s even an iPhone app for it now, and an Australian spin-off called &ndash; in good old Aussie fashion &ndash; &lsquo;It&rsquo;s Buggered Mate&rsquo;.</p> <p> The point surely is that in an age where information flows more quickly than ever before, when people are in greater control of their lives than ever before, and where we are more sceptical than ever before of attempts at large-scale social engineering, communities want and expect to have greater say over their own local priorities.</p> <p> This is why we want to make volunteering and community groups the cornerstone of villages, towns and cities across the country through the Big Society. Using what might be perceived as the &lsquo;old-fashioned&rsquo; virtue of altruism, to effect a thoroughly modern type of government. And, at the same time, to make those &lsquo;amazing things&rsquo; happen that Barack Obama talked about.</p> <p> Does that mean Government wriggles out of its responsibilities? Does it mean Whitehall has no role to play in family and community life? The simple answer is no. Government still has a vitally important part to play, and will of course always have a duty to protect citizens and promote their welfare. But that role should always be to support, rather than supplant our local communities.</p> <p> I see our job as one of making it easier for the voluntary and community sector to step in. To provide that help, part of which is making sure organisations have the advice and support they need to develop and grow, part of which is providing greater financial support and the policies to unlock volunteering and community action.</p> <p> The Big Society bank, for instance, which formed one of the main compacts in the Coalition Agreement, will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds worth of new finance. Using unclaimed assets to finance and sustain the voluntary sector, whilst we are already giving neighbourhoods the ability to take greater ownership of local projects, whether that&rsquo;s helping parents to open new schools so that they have greater control over their children&rsquo;s education, or whether it&rsquo;s giving communities the opportunity to take over local amenities such as parks and libraries that are under threat.</p> <p> In addition:</p> <ul> <li> We have committed to provide greater information to local communities on what is being spent by central government in their area, and they&rsquo;ll be given the power to influence how this money is spent.</li> <li> Communities will be provided with detailed, street-by-street, crime data, enabling residents to hold the police to account.</li> <li> We will provide neighbourhood grants for the UK&rsquo;s poorest areas. With that money going to charities and social enterprises to work with new and existing groups in the most deprived and broken communities.</li> <li> We will establish &lsquo;National Centres for Community Organising&rsquo; that will train thousands of independent community organisers who can then, in turn, help communities to tackle the individual social challenges they face. A project that has, I must add, already been hugely successful in US cities like Chicago.</li> <li> And, finally, we&rsquo;re introducing the National Citizen Service, which will provide a programme for 16-year-olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, to mix with people from different backgrounds, and to start getting involved in their communities.</li> </ul> <li> We have committed to provide greater information to local communities on what is being spent by central government in their area, and they&rsquo;ll be given the power to influence how this money is spent.</li> <li> Communities will be provided with detailed, street-by-street, crime data, enabling residents to hold the police to account.</li> <li> We will provide neighbourhood grants for the UK&rsquo;s poorest areas. With that money going to charities and social enterprises to work with new and existing groups in the most deprived and broken communities.</li> <li> We will establish &lsquo;National Centres for Community Organising&rsquo; that will train thousands of independent community organisers who can then, in turn, help communities to tackle the individual social challenges they face. A project that has, I must add, already been hugely successful in US cities like Chicago.</li> <li> And, finally, we&rsquo;re introducing the National Citizen Service, which will provide a programme for 16-year-olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, to mix with people from different backgrounds, and to start getting involved in their communities.</li> <p> The point is, this is a new type of government that can adapt to the changes in society we have seen over the years, but that takes as its starting point one of the most fundamental building blocks of human nature: altruism.</p> <p> Our society was not made great by strong government and weak communities. It was made great by the strength of its communities. With people willing to share, trade, help, cooperate and support each other.</p> <p> In Worthing and West Sussex, we have some of the most profound examples of how volunteering and community spirit can create strong networks of anywhere in the country. Much of that is down to the resilience and support of organisations like the EESI project. I can promise you today, both as a constituency MP and a Government minister, that the Coalition is determined to build on that success and place volunteering and social responsibility at the very heart of British society.</p> <p> The Big Society should mean a very big future for EESI, and the partners it supports so brilliantly.</p> <p> Thank you</p> <p> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0064784/tim-loughton-to-eesi-effective-efficient-supported-and-independent-third-sector-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to EESI (effective, efficient, supported and independent third sector) conference Education 2010-09-16
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <h2> It&rsquo;s not simply an academic question &ndash; why we need radical reform of vocational education</h2> <p> It&rsquo;s a special pleasure to be here at this Edge event. No organisation has done more to champion the cause of vocational education and never has your clear, consistent, challenging voice been required more than now.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s particularly pleasing to be here alongside my colleague John Hayes. No-one in Parliament has done more to champion the importance of vocational education than John. Over the last five years he has developed a coherent programme of reform for further education, he has made a compelling case for elevating the practical in our education system and I am delighted he is now a joint Department for Education and BIS Minister responsible for vocational learning. John is an old friend of mine and I am, frankly, jealous that he has a new admirer in Vince Cable, but so valuable is he that I am more than happy to live with a situation where there are three of us in this relationship.</p> <h2> A historical problem</h2> <p> Most new governments tend to complain about problems they inherited from their predecessors. And given our own inheritance it&#39;s not surprising that we should be the same. Today I want to address head-on a problem that we&rsquo;ve been bequeathed by the previous Government &ndash; of Lord John Russell. Lord John Russell was Prime Minister between 1846 and 1852. As the leader of a coalition of Whigs and Radicals there is much to recommend him. But it was on his watch that we as a nation first tried, and failed, to solve a problem which bedevils us still.</p> <p> The problem is our failure to provide young people with a proper technical and practical education of a kind that other nations can boast. It was a problem identified by the German-born Prince Albert, the driving force behind the Great Exhibition of 1851, and it was a problem the Royal Commission of 1851 was designed to address.</p> <p> Although Britain had been the first country to industrialise, and although, with the abolition of the Corn Laws, we were poised to benefit from the massive expansion of free trade, we were already falling behind other nations in our capacity to inspire and train the next generation of engineers, technicians, craftsmen and industrial innovators.</p> <p> Whether in Germany or America, new competitors were eroding our inherited advantage. But while the problem was correctly identified as far back as 1851, the steps necessary to address this failing were not sufficiently radical. Ever since then there have been a series of failed governmental interventions, too numerous to list, none of which got to the heart of the matter.</p> <p> 160 years after the Great Exhibition was planned, the same problems which inspired its creation remain. Our international competitors boast more robust manufacturing industries. Our technical education &ndash; which the original Royal Commission and endless subsequent commissions and reviews identified as the fundamental problem &ndash; remains weaker than most other developed nations. And, in simple terms, our capacity to generate growth by making things remains weaker.</p> <p> My colleagues George Osborne and Vince Cable have both made the case, with force, coherence and intelligence that our economic recovery depends on a manufacturing renaissance. Given the devastation wrought on our economy by the events of the last three years the need to drive private-sector growth is urgent and overwhelming. And that depends on a reform of our education system which addresses our long-term weakness in practical learning.</p> <p> At crucial moments in the development of our education system the opportunity to embed high-quality technical routes for students was missed.</p> <p> As Corelli Barnett has persuasively argued, the prevailing intellectual orthodoxy at the time of educational expansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was disdainful of the practical and technical. While our competitors were ensuring that engineers, technicians and craftsmen were educated to the highest level, British &ndash; and specifically English &ndash; education reflected an inherited aristocratic disdain for trade. The highest goal of education was the preparation of young men for imperial administration, not the generation of innovation.</p> <p> But as Barnett has argued, a neglect of the type of education which sustains economic growth and technical progress fatally weakened the empire which was the administrative elite&rsquo;s pride and joy. Barnett&rsquo;s analysis of Britain&rsquo;s historic decline relative to its competitors gathers force as he surveys the decisions taken after the Second World War. We failed to modernise economically in those years. And we failed to make all the changes we should have in education.</p> <p> In particular, one of the most promising potential reforms envisaged by the last coalition Government was neglected. The visionary wartime education minister Rab Butler appreciated the importance of technical education and hoped to see the creation of a new generation of technical schools in the postwar years. But underinvestment and a plain lack of elite interest meant hardly any technical schools were ever opened. Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard have argued &ndash; in their insightful book on the class system &ndash; that this represented one of the gravest errors in the history of the English education system.</p> <p> Anyone looking at the decline of manufacturing in the postwar years, the spectacular failure of Britain to match the level of technical innovation in the countries we defeated and the continuing low levels of achievement of those outside the academic elite could not but conclude that we had failed as a nation.</p> <h2> The missed opportunity</h2> <p> The seeds of a solution were put in place by the last Conservative Government with the introduction of a modern apprenticeship programme &ndash; a programme this Coalition Government wants to grow rapidly. But under the last Government practical and technical education lost its way. And that is because, despite all the rhetoric, their heart wasn&rsquo;t in it.</p> <p> By heart I mean a passionate understanding of, and commitment to, the joy of technical accomplishment, the beauty of craft skills, and the submission to vocational disciplines which lie at the heart of a truly practical education.</p> <p> Instead of celebrating the particular, instead of respecting the unique value of specific skills, instead of working with the grain of both human nature and recognising the differing difficulties inherent in acquiring mastery of certain processes, practical education has been robbed of its specialness.</p> <p> The result was a system that was pasteurised, homogenised, bureaucratised and hollowed out. Everything was reduced to fit tables of achievement. Narrow metrics meant that everything practical was brigaded into specific silos and success was judged on the sheer number of young people who could be processed through the system rather than giving proper attention to what they had learned.</p> <p> The dangerous preoccupation with quantity over quality was most evident in the response to the Leitch Review. The Review envisaged a demand-led system in which young people and employers together set the pace for the growth in proper training, in a way which met both their needs. But the response to this invitation to let go was a whole new suite of national targets for the quantity of qualifications taken.</p> <p> One of the dangers of this approach was that by ignoring the value of skill in itself they fell into the trap clearly identified by the philosophers Matthew Crawford and Richard Sennett in their wonderful books <cite class="book">The Case for Working with Your Hands </cite>and <cite class="book">The Craftsman</cite>. That was ignoring the inherent value of craftsmanship; what Crawford calls the &lsquo;intrinsic richness of manual work &ndash; cognitively, socially, and in its broader physical appeal&rsquo;.</p> <cite class="book">The Case for Working with Your Hands </cite> <cite class="book">The Craftsman</cite> <p> And at the same time very little time was devoted to thinking about what young people on vocational courses actually learn. Some qualifications that were called vocational are actually pseudo-academic: attempting to recreate the cognitive skills associated with the accumulation of abstract knowledge rather than developing the entirely different but equally rich cognitive skills associated with practical and technical learning.</p> <p> Insecurity about the real value of craft meant that vocational learning was, in some people&rsquo;s eyes, legitimised by being made academic.</p> <p> Qualifications, once tailored to the requirements of employers have become increasingly detached from their needs and, instead, driven by the preoccupations of public policymakers. That needs to change.</p> <p> The last Government also fell into the trap of assuming that globalisation meant that in an economy like ours, hard and practical craft skills were being remorselessly superseded by abstract knowledge working. But the development of information technology does not mean that every job is digitised and the future for everyone is Orange as an employer.</p> <p> As the economist Alan Blinder argues, the crucial distinction in the labour market in the future will be between &lsquo;personal services&rsquo; that require face-to-face contact or are inherently tied to a specific site and &lsquo;impersonal&rsquo; services that can be provided from anywhere. He points out that many knowledge-worker jobs such as accountancy, computer programming, even radiography can be outsourced to companies in far-off countries. These professional jobs are increasingly vulnerable while practical employment is increasingly secure. As he puts it, &lsquo;you can&rsquo;t hammer a nail over the internet&rsquo;. Nor indeed take blood, serve a Michelin-starred meal, look after a deeply disabled child, or repair a &pound;2000 mountain bike.</p> <p> Because, as well as providing us with the technicians, industrial innovators and craftsmen and women of the future, proper vocational education also needs to provide us with the courses and qualifications to underpin the future success of chefs and childcare workers, beauticians and care assistants, landscape gardeners and fashion photographers. And our current education system has, far too often, not been providing the right courses and qualifications. The growth in what are called vocational qualifications in our schools has actually, in many cases, been an inflation in the number of quasi-academic courses.</p> <h2> Growth or inflation?</h2> <p> A superficial look at the statistics would suggest a renaissance in vocational learning over the last few years unprecedented in human history. In 2004, 22,500 vocational qualifications were taken in schools. By 2009 this had risen to 540,000 &ndash; mostly at age sixteen &ndash; a 2,300% increase. But looking behind these figures we discover that many of these qualifications are not quite the hard, practical, immersion in the craft and technical skills or the skilfully designed preparation for the modern world of work some of us might have imagined.</p> <p> And looking at the timescale over which this massive surge has occurred it is striking that it all follows the decision of the last Government to fix the value of some of these qualifications so they counted in league tables. Since I have been Education Secretary I have been struck by the concern among many employers, many higher education institutions, many parents and many headteachers that the rapid growth in the take-up of some of these qualifications is indeed less a reflection of their inherent worth than a function of the value they have been given for league table purposes.</p> <p> Some of these qualifications badged as vocational enjoy a ranking in league tables worth two or more GCSEs, making them attractive to schools anxious to boost their league table rankings. And that has meant that some schools have been tempted to steer students towards certain qualifications because it appears to be in the school&rsquo;s interests even when it&rsquo;s not in the student&rsquo;s.</p> <p> This has to be changed. Qualifications do not gain prestige simply by having a Government minister announce that they are a good thing. And the labour market does not have much respect for the ability to answer multiple-choice tests dealing with ephemeral facts about some occupational field &ndash; the sort of thing which has become far too common in our over-regulated education and training system. Employers do, and for good reason, value a whole range of practical skills, and practical experiences, which go far beyond the confines of the most demanding A Level papers.</p> <p> Indeed one of the unhappy trends which actually grew in force over the past 13 years was the assumption that the purely academic route was really always the preferred one &ndash; and unless you&rsquo;d secured a place on leaving school to study at university for three years you were somehow a failure.</p> <p> These assumptions undermine social cohesiveness because, in a big society, unless each feels valued and all feel valued, then the conferral of value is imperfect. And they also limit opportunity.</p> <h2> The benefits of the practical</h2> <p> The truth is that there are practical routes &ndash; workplace courses, apprenticeships &ndash; which are far more secure routes to success than many university courses and which are, understandably, hugely popular with savvy learners.</p> <p> The best apprenticeships programmes are massively oversubscribed. BT typically has 15,000 applicants for 100 places each year. Rolls-Royce has ten applicants for every place and Network Rail is similarly oversubscribed. There is far greater competition for some of these courses than there is for places at Oxford or Cambridge. And there&rsquo;s good reason for this. These types of courses offer a route to good salaries and quick promotion at world-beating firms.</p> <p> Whenever I meet the bosses of firms like these they tell me that their employees who trained as apprentices first perform better and secure promotion faster than their colleagues who arrive fresh from university. What&rsquo;s more, many of the best courses &ndash; like those offered by BT &ndash; hold open the door for further study in higher education at a later point during their career, if they want to. At BAE 65% of their apprentices go on to higher learning and 10% go on to higher education.</p> <p> And irrespective of whether these apprentices go on to higher education in due course, they are powering the success of the businesses on which our economy depends. However seductive marketing, advertising, sales, promotion or corporate social responsibility work may be for the academically inclined, these roles don&rsquo;t exist unless there is something hard to market, advertise, sell, promote or be responsible about.</p> <p> And that depends on making things. Which we won&rsquo;t do in the future unless we train more people to master practical and technical skills at the highest level. What we need are more apprenticeships which follow the model of Rolls-Royce, BT and BAE rather than the rebadging of classroom courses and less rigorous work experience schemes as apprenticeships.</p> <p> That is why I am so delighted that Vince Cable, David Willetts and John Hayes have secured additional funding to help the private sector grow the number of high-level apprenticeships and it&rsquo;s also why I am working with John to ensure we can reduce the bureaucracy which employers have to negotiate before they can take on more new apprentices.</p> <p> But if we are to ensure more and more students are capable of benefitting from a growth in apprenticeship numbers we have to take action to improve vocational education before people leave school. We have to have courses, qualifications and institutions during the period of compulsory schooling which appeal to those whose aptitudes and ambitions incline them towards practical and technical learning.</p> <h2> Reform in every area to elevate the practical</h2> <p> We&rsquo;re already using our radical schools reform programme to promote new institutions designed to support high-prestige technical education with a clear link to employment and further study.</p> <p> The university technical colleges &ndash; a model developed by my great reforming predecessor Lord Baker and the late Lord Dearing &ndash; tick all the boxes.</p> <p> The idea is very straightforward: technical colleges will offer high-quality technical qualifications in shortage subjects like engineering. They will do so as autonomous institutions &ndash; legally they will be academies &ndash; sponsored by at least one leading local business and a local university.</p> <p> The pattern for their success has already been set by the new JCB Academy in Staffordshire, which I was privileged to be able to visit earlier this year. It combines hard practical learning &ndash; with courses in technical subjects involving applied work of the most rigorous kind &ndash; alongside a series of academic GCSEs &ndash; including maths, English, science and a foreign language.</p> <p> If one looks at those countries around the world that have the best technical education systems, core academic subjects are taught and assessed alongside &ndash; not in place of &ndash; technical learning until students reach 15 or 16. To take the example of Holland where children can move onto a technical route at twelve &ndash; all 16-year-olds are assessed in foreign languages, arts, sciences, maths and history. Our country is sadly unique in the poverty of its aspiration for all young people.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why earlier this week I floated the idea of an English Baccalaureate &ndash; a new certificate for all children who achieve a good GCSE pass in English, maths, a science, a modern or ancient language and a humanity like history or geography. It would also act as a new league table measure to encourage schools to give all young people a broad and rounded base of knowledge. I was deeply alarmed to discover that just 15% of children would currently achieve this set of five good GCSEs. We have to do better.</p> <p> But it&rsquo;s crucial to note that securing this core base of knowledge would not preclude the study of technical or vocational subjects as some have suggested. It&rsquo;s not either/or but both/and. I&rsquo;m absolutely clear that every child should have the option of beginning study for a craft or trade from the age of 14 but that this should by complemented by a base of core academic knowledge.</p> <p> And the new generation of university technical colleges &ndash; by taking students from other schools at the age of 14 &ndash; will help secure this route. When we open a new UTC in Aston in 2012 pupils will specialise in engineering and manufacturing alongside core academic GCSE subjects. Crucially, students will have the opportunity to work with Aston University engineering staff and students as well as local businesses and further education colleges.</p> <p> Our aim is to open at least twelve UTCs with a minimum of one in each major city. And we know there is huge demand out there for this kind of institution from local authorities and businesses who understand the benefits that this type of school would bring to their community. Lord Baker has also done a fantastic job of winning over major international firms and universities, creating a real head of steam behind the model.</p> <p> UTCs are a fantastic innovation but they aren&rsquo;t the only type of institution that will benefit from our radical reform plans.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m also incredibly excited by the studio schools movement. The first two studio schools &ndash; based on groundbreaking work by the Young Foundation on employability &ndash; have just opened in Kirklees and Luton.</p> <p> These schools will offer both academic and vocational qualifications and are explicitly designed to break through the traditional divide by providing an aspirational but practical pathway that will offer a broad range of qualifications and a clear route either to employment or university. Our Free Schools programme will allow communities across the country &ndash; supported by the superb Studio Schools Trust &ndash; to bid to open this type of institution.</p> <p> And we anticipate many more Free School proposals will come forward which focus on offering high-quality vocational and technical education. In Sweden, post-15 practical education has been the fastest growth area for Free Schools in recent years.</p> <p> So there are already many things this Coalition Government is doing to boost vocational education. But we want to apply these same principles &ndash; a focus on the quality of qualifications and courses as well as quantity and the prioritisation of clear progression routes to further education or employment &ndash; to the wider system.</p> <p> Which is why I&rsquo;m absolutely delighted today to be able to announce that Alison Wolf &ndash; the Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King&rsquo;s College London &ndash; has agreed to lead a review into pre-19 vocational education. She is probably the leading expert in the country on skills policy and has advised, among others, the OECD, the Royal College of Surgeons, the Ministries of Education of New Zealand, France and South Africa, the European Commission and the Bar Council.</p> <p> This review will be very different from previous efforts. It is not going to lead to yet another set of unwieldy, Whitehall-designed and short-lived qualifications, or a new set of curriculum quangos. Instead, we want to establish principles, and institutional arrangements, which will encourage flexibility and innovation. We want qualifications to respond easily to changing labour market demands &ndash; and to demand excellence in ways which are true to the skills and occupations concerned.</p> <p> Finding ways to achieve these goals has never been more important. As the pace of globalisation quickens the ability to offer a genuine and high-quality technical education to young people in this country is no longer simply a desirable social goal but a pressing economic necessity.</p> <p> It won&rsquo;t happen by inflating league tables or setting new central targets but only by investing in institutional and structural solutions which provide clear routes to good jobs and further educational opportunities.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s asking a lot of Alison, Lord Baker, the Studio School Trust and Edge to help solve a problem that generations of politicians and policymakers &ndash; from Lord John Russell onwards &ndash; have been unable to grasp. Though I cannot think of any other team I would like to see rising to one of the greatest historical failings of our education system than one led by Alison and Ken.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0064364/michael-gove-to-the-edge-foundation Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to the Edge Foundation Education 2010-09-09
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> There is no profession more noble, no calling more vital, no role more important than teaching. Far and away the best part of my job is spending time with teachers&nbsp;&ndash; watching and admiring, listening and learning, being uplifted and inspired.</p> <p> Whether it was the brilliant young head of History at Lampton School, Hounslow, the English lesson I observed at ULT&rsquo;s fantastic Manchester Academy, the superb science teaching I was privileged to glimpse at Urmston Grammar in Trafford or the wonderful primary lesson I so much enjoyed when I visited Durand Primary in Brixton, each of these encounters with great teaching left me feeling more optimistic about the future.</p> <p> I believe we have the best generation of teachers ever in our schools, and one of the most dynamic factors behind that has been the phenomenal impact of Teach First.</p> <p> The single most enjoyable evening I&rsquo;ve had in politics was spent at the Teach First annual awards, celebrating the brilliant and inspirational work of young people like Manjit More and Ed Watson, teachers whose passion for their subject and sheer enjoyment in learning are life enhancing, indeed for those they teach, life changing.</p> <p> And one of the reasons I&rsquo;m here at Westminster Academy today is that Teach First teachers are playing their part, alongside so many other gifted professionals, in changing the lives of young people immeasurably for the better. This school, like many other great schools is generating impressive results for children from a challengingly diverse range of backgrounds.</p> <p> But one of the tragedies of the last thirteen years is that, despite record spending, there still aren&rsquo;t enough of these good schools.</p> <p> While we have some of the best schools in the world, we also have too many which are still struggling.</p> <p> There are hundreds of primaries where the majority of children fail to get to an acceptable level in maths and English.</p> <p> The majority of children leave those schools without the knowledge and skills required properly to follow the secondary school curriculum and make a success of the rest of their time in education.</p> <p> For many of those children who have not reached an acceptable level of literacy by the end of primary, their time at secondary is marked by defiance and disruption. We have hundreds of thousands of persistent truants and thousands of pupils are excluded for disruption and assault.</p> <p> Overall&nbsp;&ndash; as a country&nbsp;&ndash; about four in ten do not meet basic standards by the age of eleven and only about half manage at least a &lsquo;C&rsquo; in both English and maths GCSE.</p> <p> What makes this situation so much worse, indeed indefensible, is that poor performance is so powerfully concentrated in areas of disadvantage. In our education system it is still far too often the case that deprivation is destiny.</p> <p> The gap in attainment between rich and poor, which widened in recent years, is a scandal. For disadvantaged pupils, a gap opens even before primary school. Leon Feinstein&rsquo;s research has shown that the highest early achievers from deprived backgrounds are overtaken by lower achieving children from advantaged backgrounds by age five.</p> <p> Schools should be engines of social mobility&nbsp;&ndash; the places where accidents of birth and the unfairness of life&rsquo;s lottery are overcome through the democratisation of access to knowledge. But in the schools system we inherited the gap between rich and poor just widens over time.</p> <p> The poorest children in our school system are those eligible for free school meals. There are about 80,000 children in every school year who are eligible. Tracking their progress through school we can see they fall further and further behind their peers by the time they reach the end of primary. At secondary the gulf grows wider still. By sixteen, a pupil not entitled to free school meals is over 3 times more likely to achieve five good GCSEs as one who is entitled. By the time they reach university age just 45 children out of a cohort of 80,000 on free school meals make it to Oxbridge.</p> <p> On a moral level, this waste of talent, this blighting of individual lives, is an affront to decency. And in economic terms, as we face an increasingly competitive global environment, it&rsquo;s a tragedy.</p> <p> Other nations have been much more successful recently in getting more and more people to be educated to a higher level. With capital so footloose, labour needs to be better educated and trained than ever before. But while we have been moving backwards with education reform over the last few years, as Tony Blair has pointed out, other nations have been forging ahead much faster and further when it comes to reforming and improving their education systems.</p> <p> The international comparisons are stark.</p> <p> Under the last Government in the most recent PISA survey &ndash; the international league tables of school performance &ndash; we fell from 4th to 14th in science, 7th to 17th in literacy, 8th to 24th in maths.</p> <p> And at the same time studies such as those undertaken by Unicef and the OECD underline that we have one of the most unequal educational systems in the world, coming near bottom out of 57 for educational equity with one of the biggest gulfs between independent and state schools of any developed nation.</p> <p> Governments often choose to compare the present with the past and say: haven&rsquo;t we come far. But the entire human race is progressing at an accelerating pace&nbsp;&ndash; technologically, economically and educationally.</p> <p> Especially educationally. And we are falling behind. As a nation instead of comparing ourselves with the past, we should compare ourselves with the best.</p> <p> And those who want to stay the best, or be the best, are changing fast.</p> <p> There are three essential characteristics which mark out the best performing and fastest reforming education systems.</p> <p> Rigorous research, from the OECD and others, has shown that more autonomy for individual schools helps drive higher standards.</p> <p> Landmark work by Professor Michael Barber for McKinsey, backed up by the research of Fenton Whelan, has shown that teacher quality is critical: the highest performing education nations have the best qualified teachers.</p> <p> And research again from the OECD underlines that rigorous external assessment&nbsp;&ndash; proper testing you can trust&nbsp;&ndash; helps lever up standards.</p> <p> And these lessons are being applied with vigour and rigour in other nations.</p> <p> In America, President Obama is pressing ahead with radical school reform to close the gap between rich and poor. And he&rsquo;s implementing all three policies to generate lasting improvement.</p> <p> He is promoting greater autonomy by providing cash and other incentives to encourage more charter schools, the equivalent of our free schools and academies.</p> <p> He has offered extra support to programmes designed to attract more great people into teaching and leadership.</p> <p> And he has encouraged states and school districts to provide greater accountability through improved testing and assessment. In other ambitious countries, the drive for greater autonomy is generating great performance.</p> <p> In Canada, and specifically in Alberta, schools have also been liberated, given the autonomy enjoyed by charter schools in the US. Headteachers control their own budgets, set their own ethos and shape their own environments.</p> <p> In Calgary and Edmonton, a diverse range of autonomous schools offer professionals freedom and parents choice.</p> <p> And the result?</p> <p> Alberta now has the best performing state schools of any English-speaking region.</p> <p> In Sweden, the old bureaucratic monopoly that saw all state schools run by local government was ended and the system opened up to allow new, non-selective, state schools to be set up by a range of providers.</p> <p> It has allowed greater diversity, increased parental choice and has seen results improve &ndash; with results improving fastest of all in the areas where schools exercised the greatest degree of autonomy and parents enjoyed the widest choice.</p> <p> In Singapore, often cited as an exemplar of centralism, dramatic leaps in attainment have been secured by schools where principals are exercising a progressively greater degree of operational autonomy. The Government has deliberately encouraged greater diversity in the schools system and as the scope for innovation has grown, so Singapore&rsquo;s competitive advantage over other nations has grown too.</p> <p> The good news in England is that a new Government committed to following this path to success already has great examples here to draw on.</p> <p> Granting greater autonomy has already generated some great success stories here. In the five or so years after 1988 the last Conservative Government created fifteen city technology colleges. They are all-ability comprehensives, overwhelmingly located in poorer areas, but they enjoy much greater independence than other schools.</p> <p> They have been a huge success. Now the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals in CTCs who achieve five or more good GCSEs A* to C is more than twice as high as for all maintained mainstream schools.</p> <p> These results are now being replicated by the small group of schools that were turned into academies under the last government &ndash; and which were modelled on the CTCs.</p> <p> As a group they improved three times faster than other schools this year and some individual academies posted incredible improvements of 15 to 25%. Those in some particularly challenging areas, such as Burlington Danes on London&rsquo;s White City estate, run by the charity ARK and the Harris Academies in South London secured dramatic gains.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s absolutely clear that academies and CTCs succeed because of their autonomy. Heads are given the freedom to shape their own curriculum; they are at liberty to insist on tougher discipline, pay staff more, extend school hours, and develop a personal approach to every pupil. In his memoirs published last week Tony Blair gave an excellent description of why they&rsquo;re so effective:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> [An academy] belongs not to some remote bureaucracy, not to the rulers of government, local or national, but to itself, for itself. The school is in charge of its own destiny. This gives it pride and purpose. And most of all, freed from the extraordinarily debilitating and often, in the worst sense, political correct interference from state or municipality, academies have just one thing in mind, something shaped not by political prejudice but by common sense: what will make the school excellent.</p> <p> These freedoms were curtailed. But this Government trusts teachers to control the classroom and trusts parents to choose schools.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re offering all schools the chance to take on academy status &ndash; starting with those rated outstanding by Ofsted. Already over 140, and counting, of the best state schools have taken up our offer of academy freedoms &ndash; in just three months. All of these schools have committed to using their new found powers and freedom to support weaker schools.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also why we&rsquo;ll continue to challenge schools that are struggling; either they improve fast or they will have their management replaced by an academy sponsor, or an outstanding school, with a proven track record.</p> <p> There was an artificial ceiling of 400 such academies placed and the programme was not refused to primaries. But I am removing both of these barriers to the rapid expansion of the programme.</p> <p> And we&rsquo;re helping great teachers, charities, parent groups and some existing academy sponsors, to start new Free Schools. This morning we&rsquo;ve announced the very first batch of 16 projects that are ready to progress to the next stage of development and are keen to be up and running in a year&rsquo;s time.</p> <p> Given that it typically takes three to five years to set up a new school I&rsquo;m incredibly impressed that just ten weeks after launching the policy there are already projects at this advanced a stage. It&rsquo;s a tribute to the incredible energy and commitment of these pioneering sixteen groups and the immense hard work and commitment of a superb team of civil servants who&rsquo;ve been helping them.</p> <p> Following their lead are hundreds of other groups, each with innovative and exiting proposals, in active contact with the Department and the New Schools Network.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m particularly excited that amongst this first batch are projects proposed by outstanding young teachers like Sajid Hussein &ndash; who&rsquo;s King&rsquo;s Science Academy will be located in one of the poorer areas of Bradford and Mark Lehain - another state school teacher who sees the potential for Free Schools to help students who&rsquo;ve been let down by the current system.</p> <p> One of the reasons I&rsquo;m so attracted to the Free Schools policy is the experience of the KIPP schools &ndash; which started with two Teach for America graduates in Houston with an incredible vision for transforming the life chances of some of their city&rsquo;s poorest young people.</p> <p> Now parents queue round the block for a chance to get their child into a KIPP school and there are almost hundred across the US &ndash; their results are astonishing and almost all their pupils get to a top university. Only by allowing new providers to set up schools will this kind of innovation breath life into our education system.</p> <p> And only by allowing new providers into the system will we meet the growing demand for new primary school places in those parts of the country where the population is increasing.</p> <p> Under the old bureaucratic system of controlling education it could take five years or more to get a new school up and running. But we have real and pressing demographic pressures which demand the creation of more good school places in the next few years.</p> <p> I don&rsquo;t believe that enough was done to prepare schools, especially primaries, for this pressure. The way that capital was allocated was much too bureaucratic and slow moving, primaries weren&rsquo;t prioritised properly and local authorities were given the wrong sums of money. We&rsquo;re taking steps now to put that right &ndash; and one of those crucial steps is helping new schools to become established in areas where there&rsquo;s a growing demand for school places.</p> <p> While this drive towards a more autonomous school system is an essential part of our plans it is only part of a wider series of reforms necessary to make us truly competitive internationally and to close the gap between rich and poor.</p> <p> Our first Education White Paper, to be launched later this year, will lay out a programme of reform for this parliament that will not only lead to a more autonomous school system led by professionals but will also</p> <ul> <li> increase the number of great teachers and leaders in our schools</li> <li> give teachers the power to tackle poor discipline</li> <li> create a fairer funding system so that extra funds follow the poorest pupils who need the most support</li> <li> introduce a simpler, more focused National Curriculum</li> <li> restore faith in our battered qualifications system.</li> </ul> <li> increase the number of great teachers and leaders in our schools</li> <li> give teachers the power to tackle poor discipline</li> <li> create a fairer funding system so that extra funds follow the poorest pupils who need the most support</li> <li> introduce a simpler, more focused National Curriculum</li> <li> restore faith in our battered qualifications system.</li> <p> Teachers and other education professionals will be at the front and centre of the White Paper because everything else we want to achieve flows naturally from the quality of the workforce. And that is the second great principle of education reform - nothing matters more than having great teachers - and great headteachers.</p> <p> In the 1990s a series of in-depth studies conducted by American academics revealed a remarkably consistent pattern. The quality of an individual teacher is the single most important determinant in a child&rsquo;s educational progress. Those students taught by the best teacher make three times as much progress as those taught by the least effective.</p> <p> And the effect of good teaching isn&rsquo;t ephemeral but cumulative, with students exposed to consistently effective teaching making faster and faster progress than their contemporaries, while the effect of bad teaching isn&rsquo;t just relative failure but regression in absolute terms.</p> <p> Research in the Boston school district of the US found that pupils placed with the weakest maths teachers actually fell back in absolute performance during the year - their test scores got worse.</p> <p> Indeed, wherever we look across the globe, a crucial factor which defines those countries whose schools are most successful is the quality of those in the teaching profession.</p> <p> In Finland teachers are drawn from the top ten per cent of graduates. In the two other nations which rival Finland globally for consistent educational excellence &ndash; Singapore and South Korea &ndash; a similar philosophy applies. Only those graduates in the top quarter or third of any year can go into teaching.</p> <p> In South Korea the academic bar is actually set higher for primary school teachers than those in secondaries, because the South Koreans, quite rightly, consider those early years to be crucial.</p> <p> Of course academic success at university doesn&rsquo;t automatically make you a good teacher. You need emotional intelligence as well as the more traditional kind. The best teachers demonstrate that indefinable quality of leadership which springs from enjoying being with young people and wanting to bring out the best in them.</p> <p> And the reason why Teach First has been so incredibly successful in this country is that they have not only recruited some of our most gifted graduates from our top universities, they have rigorously sifted them to identify those with the leadership and personal qualities that make the best teachers.</p> <p> Thanks to Teach First, more and more of our most talented young graduates have gone on to teach in some of our toughest schools. In 2002, only four graduates from Oxford University chose a career teaching in a challenging school; in 2009/10, 8% of finalists applied to teach in a challenging school through Teach First, and the programme is now 7th in the Times&rsquo; 100 top graduate recruiters. The impact on schools has been incredible. An evaluation by the University of Manchester found that challenging schools which take Teach First teachers have seen a statistically significant improvement in their GCSE results and that the more Teach First teachers were placed in a challenging school, the bigger the improvement.</p> <p> With programmes setting up in dozens of countries from Lebanon to Australia it is now a global success story.</p> <p> And many Teach First alumni are now getting involved with Free School and Academy projects &ndash; applying the entrepreneurial spirit that won them places on the programme to the new powers and freedoms that we&rsquo;re offering to professionals.</p> <p> All of this explains why one of the first decisions I took in office was to increase Teach First&rsquo;s grant by &pound;4 million to enable them to double their number of recruits each year; expand across the whole country and for the first time into primary schools.</p> <p> In the White Paper we will unveil a whole range of proposals alongside the growth in Teach First to ensure we attract the best possible people into education to help in our mission.</p> <p> And alongside that we will, perhaps even more critically, ensure that we help those teaching now to do their jobs even better by providing them with the support, additional professional development and security they need to fulfil their full potential and help their pupils do the same.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ll be announcing new policies which will make it easier and more rewarding for teachers to acquire new skills and additional qualifications. We will make it easier for teachers to deepen and enhance their subject knowledge, ensuring teachers are seen, alongside university academics, as the guardians of the intellectual life of the nation.</p> <p> We need to act because not enough good people are coming to teaching, or staying in teaching.</p> <p> Teachers who have left the profession tell me that the grinding load of bureaucracy which has been piled on them has been a major factor in walking away from a job so many entered with such high hopes and idealism. One of the best headteachers I&rsquo;ve ever met told me during the election that he yearned to be free from a Government which had baseball-batted him over the head with bureaucracy. So we will be tackling bureaucracy at source, stripping out unnecessary obligations placed on hard-pressed teachers and overworked governors, simplifying the Ofsted inspection regime and tackling health and safety rules which inhibit out-of-classroom learning and have undermined competitive team sports.</p> <p> But, crucial as reducing bureaucracy will be, nothing is a bigger barrier to getting more talented people to become teachers, and stay teachers, than discipline and behaviour. Among undergraduates tempted to go into teaching the reason most commonly cited for pursuing another profession, well ahead of concerns about salary, is the fear of not being safe in our schools.</p> <p> There are massive problems with violence and disruption in our most challenging schools. There are over 300,000 suspensions per year and about a quarter of a million persistent truants. Thousands of teachers every year are physically attacked and about one in three teachers have been subject to false accusations.</p> <p> We will never get more talented people into the classroom; we will never give disadvantaged children the inspiration they need to succeed, unless we solve this problem.</p> <p> In our first months we&rsquo;ve already taken action to give teachers more power to deal with discipline problems. First, we&rsquo;ve removed the ban on same-day detentions, giving heads and teachers a stronger deterrent against poor behaviour. Previously, teachers had the power to put pupils in detention, but only if the school gave their parents 24 hours&rsquo; notice in writing. In future each school will be able to decide what notice to give and how to inform parents.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve also increased teachers&rsquo; powers to search troublemakers.</p> <p> Previously teachers could only search, without consent, anyone who was suspected of carrying a knife or other weapon.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve significantly extended this list to include: Alcohol, controlled drugs, stolen property, personal electronic devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players and cameras, legal highs, pornography, cigarettes and fireworks.</p> <p> In the White Paper we will outline further changes including the clarification and simplification of use of force guidance and crucially how we&rsquo;ll protect teachers against false and malicious allegations from pupils and parents. This growing problem acts as a huge deterrent to teachers &ndash; especially male teachers in primary schools.</p> <p> Newly released figures show that 28% of primary schools now have no male teachers at all &ndash; which can make it even hard to provide a supportive and safe environment for disruptive boys.</p> <p> So the message is clear.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re on the side of teachers, we&rsquo;re determined to restore order and we&rsquo;re not going to be deflected from laying down lines which the badly behaved must not cross.</p> <p> But just as we need to be clear about the need for order we also need to be clear about the pressing, urgent, need to improve provision for those disruptive, difficult and damaged children who need special help.</p> <p> In the White Paper we&rsquo;ll lay out plans to radically improve the environment in which disruptive and excluded pupils are educated and we will ensure that those organisations with a proven track record in turning young lives round are given the opportunity to do more.</p> <p> And, of course, we need to tackle the deep-rooted causes of educational disaffection that leads so many young people to be disruptive in the first place. At the heart of our White Paper plans for a simpler, fairer funding system is the Pupil Premium.</p> <p> This will see extra money attached to young people from deprived backgrounds - which will be clearly identified to their parents.</p> <p> Schools that benefit from this additional cash will not be told exactly how to use it &ndash; but we will expect them to ensure that children struggling with the basics get the extra support they need so they don&rsquo;t fall irretrievably behind their peers.</p> <p> And to help ensure money is spent wisely right at the beginning of schooling we will take radical action to get reading right.</p> <p> Children cannot read to learn before they have learned to read. Without that secure foundation even the most gifted and innovative teacher will struggle to inspire and inform.</p> <p> We know that, whatever else may work, teaching children to read using the tried and tested method of systematic synthetic phonics can dramatically reduce illiteracy.</p> <p> So we will make sure that teacher training is improved so every new primary teacher - and every teacher in place - is secure in their grasp of phonics teaching. We will ensure teachers have the best reading materials to help embed great phonics teaching.</p> <p> I am clear that we need that solid foundation, but we also need to create room for greater flexibility once the basics are secure. That is why we will develop a new National Curriculum that excites and challenges young people while giving teachers the space to develop their own pedagogy. I will be saying more over the coming weeks about our plans for a curriculum review but it&rsquo;s crucial that the expectations we set of what children should know will be more ambitious and based upon global evidence concerning what knowledge can be introduced to children at different ages.</p> <p> In particular we have to move beyond the sterile debate that sees academic knowledge as mutually exclusive to the skills required for employment; and rigour as incompatible with the enjoyment of learning.</p> <p> The most exciting curriculum innovations in development at the moment are those which find ways to trigger the curiosity inherent to young minds towards intellectual tough material.</p> <p> To take one example, the computer games developed by the brilliant mathematician Marcus du Sautoy show children&rsquo;s imaginations can be harnessed to a deep understanding of the most complex ideas.</p> <p> Hand in hand with curriculum reform is the need to restore faith in our exam system. Qualifications are the currency of education &ndash; and just like with the money markets &ndash; confidence is everything.</p> <p> Over the past few years there has been a growing and justified concern, from parents and from teachers.</p> <p> Last month the exams regulator Ofqual acknowledged that the GCSE science exams were not set at a high enough standard. I&rsquo;ve been saying this for years &ndash; backed by learned institutions like the Royal Society for Chemistry.</p> <p> But my warnings were ignored and the status quo retained despite the fact that it was actively damaging the education of hundreds of thousands of children a year.</p> <p> Critical to restoring confidence in our exams system is a much more assertive and powerful regulator. We will legislate to strengthen Ofqual and give a new regulator the powers they need to enforce rigorous standards.</p> <p> We will ask Ofqual to report on how our exams compare with those in other countries so we can measure the questions our 11, 16 and 18 year olds sit against those sat by their contemporaries in India, China, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.</p> <p> Our young people will increasingly be competing for jobs and university places on a global level and we can&rsquo;t afford to have our young people sitting exams which aren&rsquo;t competitive with the world&rsquo;s best.</p> <p> And for A Levels we&rsquo;ll give those institutions with the greatest interest in maintaining standards &ndash; universities &ndash; more power to shape exams and determine their content.</p> <p> As well as reforming exams to make them more rigorous we need to change league tables to make them more effective.</p> <p> One thing I&rsquo;m determined to do is publish all the exam data held by the Government so that parents, schools and third parties can use web-based applications to create many new and bespoke sorts of tables.</p> <p> This will mean they&rsquo;re not dependent on the measures that Government decides to use; and also that there is complete transparency about the qualifications our young people are taking.</p> <p> But Government still needs key measures of secondary school performance to ensure that the reforms we&rsquo;re putting in place are having a real impact on performance in our schools and are closing the gap between rich and poor.</p> <p> Over the next few months &ndash; before the publication of the White Paper&nbsp;&ndash; there&rsquo;s the opportunity for a real debate about what we, as a nation, should expect of young people at the age of 16. And so what these key measures should be.</p> <p> I think most people would agree that English and maths GCSE are an irreducible core that nearly all young people should be expected to achieve at 16.</p> <p> But I believe there is an argument that the vast majority of young people should take a wider range of core academic GCSEs: an English Baccalaureate that would ensure that all children &ndash; especially those from less privileged backgrounds &ndash; have a chance to gain a base of knowledge and a set of life chances too often restricted to the wealthy.</p> <p> So I&rsquo;m proposing that the Government look at how many young people in each secondary school secure five good GCSEs including English, maths, a science, a modern or ancient language and a humanity like history or geography, art or music.</p> <p> Such a broad yet rigorous suite of qualifications would allow students here the chance to secure a school-leaving certificate which shares many of the virtues of the European baccalaureate approach. I am a great admirer of the already existing International Baccalaureate and am determined to support a wider take-up of that qualification. But the GCSE is a popular and resilient qualification, well understood by employers, teachers and students.</p> <p> It seems to me that one of the best ways of capturing the breadth and rigour of the IB while making the most of the strengths of the GCSE is to create special recognition for those students who secure good passes in a balanced range of rigorous qualifications.</p> <p> An English Bac could incentivise schools and students to follow the courses which best equip them, and us as a nation, to succeed.</p> <p> I am deeply concerned that fewer and fewer students are studying languages, it not only breeds insularity, it means an integral part of the brain&rsquo;s learning capacity rusts unused.</p> <p> I am determined that we step up the number of students studying proper science subjects. Asian countries massively outstrip us in the growth of scientific learning and they are already reaping the cultural and economic benefits.</p> <p> And I am passionately concerned that we introduce more and more young people to the best that has been thought and written, which is why I lament the retreat from history teaching in some of our schools and believe also that we should incentivise deeper knowledge of our shared cultural heritage.</p> <p> I believe that a change in how we measure and grade schools, to reward those who have pupils who succeed in all these areas, and a special recognition of student achievement with the award of a Baccalaureate certificate to those pupils who secure these passes, could reinvigorate the culture of learning in this country.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not suggesting this would or should be the only measure used but I do believe that this is a valid expectation of most young people in the 21st century.</p> <p> It also would not preclude the study of other GCSEs outside of this core or any vocational qualifications that would be of genuine benefit for student&rsquo;s progression to post-16 education and employment.</p> <p> But it would dramatically strengthen the position of core academic subjects in our schools and stop the shift to less challenging courses driven by the current perverse accountability system.</p> <p> And it would align us with the expectations other advanced countries have of their children.</p> <p> In nearly every other developed country in the world children are assessed in a range of core academic subjects at 15 or 16 even if they are on a &ldquo;vocational&rdquo; route.</p> <p> This is true in Europe, where for example in France all children take the Brevet des Colleges which assesses French, maths, history/geography/civics and a modern foreign language.</p> <p> In places like Holland that have separate vocational routes from the beginning of secondary school all children are still typically assessed on the core academic subjects (in Holland this is languages, arts, science, maths and history).</p> <p> In Finland &ndash; the best-performing country in Europe according to international league tables&nbsp;&ndash; all children are assessed in maths, Finnish, history, science and art/music at GCSE age.</p> <p> In Asia there is typically assessment of the whole core curriculum at GCSE level. In Singapore, for example, all pupils must take English, another language, maths, science, humanities,&nbsp;plus one other subject (of course they also still use O Levels in Singapore).</p> <p> And in the States nearly all schools have mandatory assessment during high school in maths, English, science and social studies (including history and politics).</p> <p> We are extremely unusual in having no requirement to study anything academic apart from English, maths and science after 14 (and only English and maths have to be assessed using GCSE).</p> <p> Taken altogether, the changes we want to make represent a formidable reform programme. A more autonomous school system led by professionals; a new generation of brilliant teachers; a new era of discipline in our schools; a fairer funding system; a simpler and more challenging curriculum and a qualifications system that restores standards rather than diminishing them.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m under no illusions about how tough it will be to drive this programme through but the scale of the challenge is such that we have no choice but to be this radical and this ambitious. There is no option but to push ahead on all fronts as quickly as possible.</p> <p> Children only have one chance - and I am impatient to ensure that my children &ndash; that all children&nbsp;&ndash; get the best possible chance to succeed in our state schools.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0064281/michael-gove-to-westminster-academy Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to Westminster Academy Education 2010-09-06
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <h2> Introduction</h2> <p> I was very keen to come along today first to congratulate you on your Report, but also to thank the CBI, you individually, and through you business more generally for what you are already doing to support the Government&rsquo;s efforts to help raise educational standards and prepare young people for work.</p> <p> The Report has lots of excellent case studies which reflect the very wide range of ways in which employers are making a major contribution, and for all of those a very big thank you.</p> <p> It also looks at ways that business might be able to do even more in future, and I would like to say a few words about that. It is a huge area, so in the time I have, I would like to concentrate on just five areas where I think that business can help us raise educational standards.</p> <p> The first way I think you can help is to run your businesses well, make profits, pay dividends and pay your taxes. To my mind, that is your most important task. Without a flourishing private sector, we cannot provide good public services. I know it sounds like a statement of the obvious, but I think it is a crucial and fundamental point of principle that merits restating.</p> <p> I also believe that the most powerful reason for you to become involved in education is because it is in your business interest to do so, not because you think Government expects it of you.</p> <h2> Education debate</h2> <p> The second way business can help is by becoming more involved in the educational debate and speaking up &ndash; as you are doing in your Report.</p> <p> I have heard employers say in the past that they don&rsquo;t want to be too outspoken on education in case they come across as &lsquo;too political&rsquo;. Well, I think you should be outspoken. Of course education is about a lot more than giving young people skills for the workplace. If that was all that education was about, it would be a deeply depressing, impoverished vision of education.</p> <p> I have always believed that education is a good in itself, not simply a means to an end. But that said, employers are the people in the front line, who see what our schools and universities are producing, and what those young people have learned. You know whether candidates can read and write fluently, turn up on time, and know what it is to work in a team or take instructions from a manager. You get particular insight into what children are learning at school.</p> <p> So you should make your views known, tell us what you think about the curriculum, about STEM subjects, modern languages, our exams system, and so on. We may not always do what you want, but we want to make sure that we know what you think.</p> <h2> Academies</h2> <p> The third way in which I think business can play an even bigger role in education is, as your Report argues, through a greater engagement with academies and Free Schools. There have been some outstanding examples of individual businessmen (and women) doing wonderful things to transform the life chances of thousands of young people. I am thinking of figures like Phil Harris and his academies or the outstanding Ark Academies.</p> <p> They have made an enormous contribution to improving people&rsquo;s lives; but of course their example also acts as a spur to youngsters looking for role models beyond the usual footballers and TV celebrities.</p> <p> When they first became involved with academies, I know there was a lot of suspicion, and indeed hostility, towards the notion that successful business people could possibly know anything about education. Some questioned their motives.</p> <p> But today there are thousands of young people &ndash; students at academies &ndash; who have every reason to be grateful to them, as I am. The benefits to pupils can be measured by improved school results &ndash;&nbsp;three times faster this year at GCSE than maintained schools&nbsp;&ndash; and improved life chances. So yes, there is a big role that employers can play in becoming academy sponsors.</p> <p> And here I want to pay tribute to the previous Government and to one of my predecessors, Lord Adonis, in particular for the work they did in establishing the Academies programme. I am happy to say that we are building on what they started &ndash; and Tony Blair&rsquo;s autobiography is very interesting on academies by the way.</p> <p> One part of the Academies Act is to do with converting outstanding schools to academies, and that is where a lot of media and political attention has been focused. We have got off to a good start with 140 schools already lined up to convert to academy status in a few short weeks. But the Act also made it easier for us to convert underperforming schools to academy status, and before long we will be setting out next steps on that. Those schools will provide a major new opportunity for business to become involved either as lead or co-sponsors. I would very much like to talk to the CBI and to individual businesses to discuss how you might become involved.</p> <p> Some of you might like to think in particular about getting involved with the new University Technical Colleges being championed by Lord Baker and the Baker-Dearing Trust. UTCs will give 14- to 19-year-olds the opportunity to take a high-quality, rigorous technical course of study. The Secretary of State and I are great fans of the idea and I think it is the kind of marriage between business and education that I think we all want to see.</p> <p> On the specific point in the Report about federations: yes, we welcome federations. Schools supporting each other and learning from each other in a federation is a thoroughly positive thing, as is the scope for economies of scale and the provision of central services. So I see a big opportunity there for business to become involved as I do in their becoming providers of educational services to new Free Schools, just as they are already major providers of services&nbsp;to maintained schools and LAs. The Academy Trust itself though must not be profit-making.</p> <p> That brings me to the fourth way in which I believe the world of business can help the world of education, and that is by having your say on how we should allocate schools capital in the future. You are experienced at getting difficult jobs done quickly and cost effectively, which is one of the reasons why the world of business is well represented on the Capital Review team. If any of you have views on capital, please let us have them.</p> <p> The end of Building Schools for the Future does not mean the end of school capital, although I hope it will mean the end of a process which was slow, bureaucratic and &ndash; I am afraid &ndash; wasteful.</p> <h2> Individual contribution</h2> <p> My fifth and final point relates to the way in which your staff individually can contribute &ndash; either by mentoring, by working directly with schools, or by becoming a school governor. I know how much individuals contribute already as mentors and governors, and how much they themselves feel enriched by the experience &ndash; quite apart from the good they do for children and schools.</p> <p> And I am particularly keen to see what more we can do to attract people with business experience onto the governing bodies of local schools. What barriers are there are present? Are there changes we need to make so that becoming a governor seems more attractive or manageable? How can we help governors focus on the strategic issues of running a school and not get bogged down in too much detail or box-ticking? Answers please on a postcard to me.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> The title of your Report, &lsquo;Fulfilling Potential&rsquo;, is a fair description of the business we are all in. Anyone involved in education knows that the most heartbreaking thing is seeing a child&rsquo;s potential squandered. And I know that people in business spend every day trying to maximise the potential of their ideas, their products, and their workforce.</p> <p> So we should work together, and I am very grateful for all the work the business community is already doing in education. Long may it continue.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s a great deal in this Report with which I wholeheartedly agree &ndash; and much food for thought on the subject of innovation, flexibility and continuous learning, among other things. I hope that in the coming months we will have many opportunities to talk about how we can work even more closely together, and please, let me have any suggestions as to how you think we could do better.</p> <p> Thank you.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0064267/lord-hill-to-the-cbi-at-the-launch-of-the-cbi-report-fulfilling-potential-the-business-role-in-education Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Lord Hill to the CBI at the launch of the CBI report 'Fulfilling potential: The business role in education' Education 2010-09-02
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thanks Mark for that introduction and thanks to the FPI for inviting me along this morning.</p> <p> And thanks Mark for reminding us that families come in all shapes and sizes and Government absolutely has to take account of that.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s wonderful to see this event so full, with so many people from across the sector.</p> <p> I&rsquo;d also like to say, that it was a pleasure to meet Dr Katherine [Rake] recently. While in opposition, I had great admiration for her in her time at the Fawcett Society, and she has brought the same energy to families.</p> <p> And I&rsquo;d also like to pay tribute to the Family and Parenting Institute. For ten years now, by spreading effective practice and through managing the Parenting Fund, you&rsquo;ve supported hundreds of voluntary sector organisations and tens of thousands of practitioners. And you&rsquo;ve enabled them to deliver help that&rsquo;s made a real difference to parents and families across the country.</p> <p> And of course, to all those other organisations here today &ndash; who provide vital support to our parents, grandparents, and children &ndash; to our babies, toddlers and teenagers &ndash; and to the most vulnerable in our society.</p> <p> I am truly honoured to be able to work alongside all of you. And I hope that in the months and years ahead, we can make a positive difference for some of the great challenges this country faces.</p> <p> And let me assure you, from the outset, that the renaming of our Department does not represent a shift in priority away from working with you and away from our children or families &ndash; in fact, in many ways, family policy has taken on greater priority in Government because of the Prime Minister&rsquo;s Task Force, which I&rsquo;ll speak more about later.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s so important because we all know the scale of the challenge we face. Despite the best intentions of the previous Government, and despite all the hard work that you, and frontline staff up and down the country do every day, our society is still deeply unfair.</p> <h2> A fairer society</h2> <p> In this country, over two million children live in poor housing, in crowded rooms and squalid conditions.</p> <p> Out of every five children, one is living in poverty.</p> <p> Just 21 per cent of children in care achieve 5 or more A to C grades at GCSE &ndash; compared to an average of 70 per cent.</p> <p> And, young people from poorer backgrounds are less than twice as likely to go to university than those from richer backgrounds.</p> <p> I see it for myself in my own constituency, just a few tube stops away in North London, where the consequences of that inequality, with wealthy and poor families living in the same area.</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve seen how some families have struggled to cope with the recession, and the rising anxieties about young people and their future.</p> <p> And it is absolutely unacceptable that a child from Harlesden, in my constituency, is expected to die more than ten years before one born in nearby Kensington.</p> <p> Now these are shocking facts and statistics. And we have a moral duty to do our utmost to change this situation, to narrow the gaps between rich and poor and to work as hard as we can to make our society fairer.</p> <p> But sadly, today we also have another moral duty, which has to be a priority for this Government.</p> <p> We have a responsibility to all our families to deal with the deficit now, and not let our children shoulder the burden for past mistakes. So we need to reduce the deficit and return this country to a sound financial position.</p> <p> But it makes no sense &ndash; economically, socially or morally &ndash; to abandon poorer children along the way. To abandon families in need. To abandon hope for a better future.</p> <p> So as a Government, we are committed to working with you to bring about sustained improvement and to make this country fairer.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ll be refocusing Sure Start, ring-fencing its budget for this year and introducing extra health visitors, dedicated to helping the most disadvantaged families.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why we are introducing the Pupil Premium &ndash; money targeted specifically to disadvantaged school pupils, to offer them that little bit of extra help for them to fulfil their academic potential.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ll be extending free child care for three- and four-year-olds to 15 hours a week and we&rsquo;ll fund early learning for more than 20,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds.</p> <p> So we remain committed to improving the lot of those in need in our society and dedicated to a vision of a country that is fair, free from debt and family friendly.</p> <h2> Removing barriers for families</h2> <p> And we are doing this because we understand just how important families are. They are the bedrock of our society.</p> <p> Evidence shows that the family setting has the biggest impact on children and their outcomes.</p> <p> And we believe that families need the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. They don&rsquo;t need Government to burden them with regulation after regulation, and restriction after restriction.</p> <p> Government&rsquo;s role, we believe, is to help foster the right environment in which families can thrive &ndash; to empower them and help reduce the pressures and stresses they may face.</p> <p> And we know that families consistently say, that friends and neighbours are the essential support. We know that informal support, and informal networks are just as vital &ndash; and Mark, you mentioned intergenerational support, which is absolutely vital too.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s why the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have set up a Childhood and Families Task Force. To tackle the barriers that prevent a happy childhood and a successful family life.</p> <p> The Task Force will be meeting for the first time, this week, to agree its programme of work so I don&rsquo;t want to pre-empt that. But to give you a flavour, the Deputy Prime Minister identified the sort of issues it could look at when he announced the Task Force a few weeks ago.</p> <p> For example, parents often say that they don&rsquo;t have enough time to spend together as a family. Many feel they still don&rsquo;t have their preferred working arrangements, and some are concerned that asking to work flexibly may have an adverse impact on their career.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re already committed to looking at a system of shared parental leave and extending the right to flexible working to all.</p> <p> We have work to do in terms of relationship support &ndash; helping families going through breakdown and supporting them in times of need. And also to support families with a disabled child. I know that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have a strong commitment to look hard into these challenges.</p> <p> So from the very top of Government, we are committed to tackling those barriers and restoring the culture of community and responsibility that is so crucial to the safety and success of our children and families.</p> <h2> Working with you</h2> <p> But of course, we know that Government alone cannot solve all of society&rsquo;s ills.</p> <p> And the Report Card published today, shows that clearly.</p> <p> It shows the importance of the neighbourhood and of the experience families have in their area, and is an example of just how important voluntary sector organisations are in boosting family relationships in the community.</p> <p> Because we cannot tell families how to lead their lives.</p> <p> And in this time of financial strain, we need to find creative methods to achieve our ambitions.</p> <p> So, we need to work even closer with our partners. We need to learn from your experience, your ideas and your expertise.</p> <p> We need to make it easier for those local experts and voluntary organisations which already do such great work, to play a bigger role, to work together with statutory agencies and make even more of a difference to families around the country.</p> <p> Because you here represent the very best of our vision for a Big Society &ndash; a society in which more people play their part and take responsibility for each other.</p> <p> So we recognise the need to work with you and to really, honestly, listen to your experience and your ideas.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> So I very much look forward to working with all of you in the months and years ahead, and I particularly look forward to reading the report FPI will produce as a result of this conference, and which they have promised to forward to me soon.</p> <p> I hope that together, we can see some real change for the better and create a fairer, stronger, safer society. Where those gaps we all talk about are narrowing, not widening. And where our families can prosper, even in difficult times.</p> <p> So in closing, let me say thank you for having me here today. Thank you once again for all the good work that you do for children and families in this country. And thank you for listening.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0063369/sarah-teather-to-the-family-and-parenting-institutes-conference Sarah Teather MP Sarah Teather to the Family and Parenting Institute’s Conference Education 2010-07-13
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Councillor David for that kind introduction.</p> <p> And thank you &ndash; not just for staying right until the very end of your conference for which I do owe you a special debt of gratitude, but also for the invaluable public service that you provide to your communities and the contribution that you make, in turn, to our country.</p> <p> So many of the services on which our citizens rely depend on the vision, leadership and sheer hard work of people in local government. And yet far too often local councillors and officials aren&rsquo;t recognised, thanked and applauded for their commitment to public service.</p> <p> No one becomes a councillor for the money, and no one works in local government for the glamour but without you our country would be less safe, less just and less civilised. So thank you all.</p> <p> Let me also thank the LGA for the leadership that it provides on your behalf.</p> <p> Under the chairmanship of Dame Margaret Eaton and in particular through the Children and Young People&rsquo;s Board led by Baroness Ritchie, the LGA has consistently campaigned for Whitehall to provide more support to councils to improve children&rsquo;s services, and also to relinquish more control to councils over education issues.</p> <p> The latest example is the excellent report, &lsquo;Local freedom or central control&rsquo;, which the LGA published on Tuesday. The examples of good practice it cites, and the evidence of great leadership you provide underline the crucial role you have to play in helping us all make opportunity more equal in our society.</p> <p> A commitment to extending opportunity, and greater social justice, is at the heart of what our new Coalition Government wants to achieve.</p> <p> And let me say that the confidence I have that our coalition can work successfully in the national interest stems from the proven success of the coalitions we have delivering for people in local Government. Whether in Birmingham or Leeds, coalitions &ndash; built on the principle of honest partnership &ndash; can bring real benefits. Policies can be explored and discussed more rigorously and a consensual style in town halls can generate a fruitful partnership beyond and across communities.</p> <p> And because this coalition Government has partnership at its heart I want to ensure the partnership between central and local Government is stronger than ever. We need to listen, and learn, from your experience. We need to consult with you as the people who deliver and champion you as the generators of success. That is why my department will set up new, robust, arrangements to allow local authority leaders &ndash; elected members and officials &ndash; a central role in helping to shape the future.</p> <p> And in that spirit of honest partnership, can I apologise to you as I apologised to the House of Commons yesterday for the confusion that arose following my statement about Building Schools for the Future on Monday?</p> <p> One of the reasons I wanted to change the way in which capital was allocated is because I believe the old BSF way shut out local communities, was insufficiently respectful of the expertise you have, and was wasteful of the limited resources you have at your disposal. It required you to invest in procurement costs and consultancy rather than bricks and mortar, teachers and classroom assistants. And I was aware even before we entered Government of the desire to have a system of capital allocation which placed much more power in local hands. That is what I have asked my review team to deliver.</p> <p> But in setting the direction of a new policy I believe is right and necessary I failed, and it was my failure, to provide totally accurate information on a school-by-school basis about which schools would be affected. I&rsquo;m the person responsible, and accountable, for that and I do apologise. I wish in particular to apologise to people in those local authorities such as Sandwell, who are doing such a great job, where schools were wrongly informed their rebuilding would proceed under BSF when, sadly, it will not. I want to apologise to them unreservedly.</p> <p> But I also want to stress that the end of this method of allocating capital does not mean the end of new school building. My department will work with you to identify how we can allocate capital more quickly and fairly in future, I have asked an experienced local Government chief executive, Barry Quirk, to help us and our thinking will be shaped by your needs. Many schools, including in areas where BSF has been halted, will receive capital in due course for refurbishment and rebuilding. Making sure that money was in your hands more effectively has always been my aim and that is the principle which will guide our policy-making.</p> <p> Children&rsquo;s services Whatever mistakes I may have made, or may make, one thing I&rsquo;m certain of is that I have a great team of ministers who are all, individually and collectively, doing a great job.</p> <p> Nick Gibb in the Commons and Jonathan Hill in the Lords lead for us on schools.</p> <p> And my deputy in the Department &ndash; with explicit responsibility for Children and Families &ndash; is Sarah Teather. Many of you may know Sarah, as a former councillor, great campaigner and thoughtful, sensitive shaper of policy.</p> <p> I count myself incredibly fortunate to have her dealing with some of the most sensitive, delicate and important issues with which our department deals.</p> <p> And I am really glad that alongside her we have Tim Loughton, another MP who has benefited from time in local government, who has devoted his career in the House of Commons to children&rsquo;s issues.</p> <p> Both of them appreciate that there is no more important or sensitive role in local government than exercising responsibility for children&rsquo;s services.</p> <p> Sarah is deeply committed to improving our support for families and ensuring that children get off to the best start in life.</p> <p> That is why she announced on Tuesday that Clare Tickell, the Chief Executive of Action for Children, will lead a review of the Early Years Foundation Stage that will aim to free up early years professionals in nurseries, children&rsquo;s centres and playgroups to work with young children.</p> <p> She has also announced that, this year, we will extend free childcare for three- and four year-olds to 15 hours a week year and announced that we will fund early learning and childcare for more than 20,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds.</p> <p> And we are determined to do more to target services at the poorest families, including by expanding the number of health visitors.</p> <p> Tim is leading our work to improve transparency across children&rsquo;s services and place greater trust in frontline professionals.</p> <p> We want to learn the lessons of what has gone wrong in the past so we can keep children safer in the future.</p> <p> That is why Tim has announced that Professor Eileen Munro will lead an independent review of children&rsquo;s social work and frontline child protection practice. It will build on the work undertaken by the Social Work Task Force under the leadership of Moira Gibb and will look specifically at how we can strengthen frontline practice by removing the barriers and bureaucracy which prevent social workers spending valuable time with vulnerable children.</p> <p> And while the safety of vulnerable children is, of course, paramount, we must take a measured approach that allows children to be protected but does not consider every person who comes into contact with them as a risk.</p> <p> That is why we will end ContactPoint as soon as is practicable and have also halted registration for the existing Vetting and Barring Scheme. New solutions that better support practitioners and the public will be developed in their place.</p> <p> In all of these areas, local authorities are playing the leading implementation role. Many are doing an excellent job, but it is also the case that some areas have been found wanting. While there are of course issues with the inspection framework that must be addressed, this is naturally concerning.</p> <p> But I am clear that the knowledge and expertise that we need to drive further improvement can only be found in the sector itself and our job is to ensure that it can be properly harnessed, including by continuing to bear down on bureaucracy and by helping you to increase your capacity for improvement through organisations like C4EO and the National College.</p> <h2> Local vision</h2> <p> And just as I believe strong local government leaders are the best people to drive improvement in local government children&rsquo;s services departments so I believe great leaders and teachers in our schools are the best people to lead the improvement drive we need in our education system. In the LGA report I mentioned earlier, Dame Margaret writes:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> Councils don&rsquo;t run schools and haven&rsquo;t done for many years. What local government does is make sure there are enough school places for all the children who need them. It makes sure the admissions process operates fairly so that every child gets a chance to go to a good local school, and oversees the distribution of funding in a cost-effective way. Councils provide support for all children with special education needs and are also the champions of children in care.</p> <p> And she is right.</p> <p> Local councils must be champions for parents and children in the local area. After all, that is the right role for any democratically elected council and it is the one that they are best placed to play.</p> <p> First, by &lsquo;holding the ring&rsquo; on admissions and exclusions.</p> <p> We believe that promoting greater parental choice helps to improve standards for all children and this means there needs to be sufficient school places.</p> <p> As you know only too well, making sure there are enough school places for every child this year, next year and in the years ahead will be a challenge.</p> <p> You have the primary role in ensuring that schools adhere to the admissions code and we want to do all that we can to ensure that you work closely with the Office of the Schools Adjudicator to ensure that fair admissions arrangements are in place in every area.</p> <p> You are also responsible for ensuring that schools take their fair share of the hardest to place pupils and for commissioning suitable alternative provision.</p> <p> Second, by being consistent local champions for social justice.</p> <p> Our first priority must be raising the attainment of the poorest.</p> <p> That is why I am proud that at the heart of our Coalition&rsquo;s programme for Government is a commitment to spending more on the education of the poorest through our pupil premium.</p> <p> Local government has the critical role in tackling disadvantage at root by advocating on behalf of children in care, supporting schools in strategies to make sure every child arrives to start the school day ready to learn, bringing together local partners and agencies to provide extra support and ensuring that the needs of pupils with special educational needs and their parents are met.</p> <p> Third, by taking ownership of school improvement across your local areas.</p> <p> The London Challenge and the Black Country Challenge drove improvement in education but some I know felt they were perhaps too prescriptively designed by the centre.</p> <p> When the National Challenge was launched, it maintained the impetus for improvement but again the feeling was that the centre was driving too much, leaving local communities out of the picture.</p> <p> I understand those concerns, although I also firmly believe that floor targets have helped to focus attention on driving improvement in the lowest achieving schools.</p> <p> I now want to see more ambitious expectations set for achievement in our education system. And those are not expectations that I will set centrally.</p> <p> You are the first in line to tackle failure where it exists. And we in the centre have a backstop power that means we will step in and take control of the worst-performing schools where there is no sign of improvement.</p> <p> But I want you to have a vision for improvement across all schools in your area, including those schools whose results seem perfectly acceptable on the surface but which are coasting.</p> <p> I would like to see Northamptonshire Challenges, or County Durham Challenges in which local communities agree the level and pace of improvement they want to see in the academic achievement of young people in their area.</p> <p> My job is to provide you with the right incentives. I am particularly attracted to the kind of approach taken by President Obama in America through the Race to the Top programme, under which states come forward with proposals for improvement that might include bringing in outside providers, stronger collaboration between schools or imaginative proposals on CPD for teachers, and rewards are offered to the best ideas.</p> <p> And we will look closely at how we can recreate this kind of competition in our country.</p> <h2> Dialogue</h2> <p> I know that the vision that I have set out raises questions. Questions about the powers that you need to fulfil your responsibilities. About funding. About the speed of travel, the inspection framework and how health services and other partners will support you.</p> <p> I can&rsquo;t answer all of these questions today. And nor is it right that I try to. None of them have easy answers and many of them have potentially serious implications for us, for you and for people around the country.</p> <p> I would rather we work through all the issues and answer them together. And that is why I intend to ask the LGA, the ADCS and SOLACE to take part in a new ministerial advisory group on the role of local authorities.</p> <p> In the coming months and, importantly, with input from elected members and officers, it will consider what further action should be taken to ensure that local government has the powers and support it needs to fulfil its strong, strategic role. And I hope you will take the chance to shape our thinking.</p> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> I won&rsquo;t deny that we have an ambitious agenda, nor that we are trying to achieve it in the most difficult and testing of circumstances. But as you know, there&rsquo;s no point being in politics, fighting elections and seeking office unless you&rsquo;re ambitious to make a difference.</p> <p> And I do believe that we have an opportunity to change our country, irreversibly, for the better. There is no task more urgent for government than securing the future of our country, whether that&rsquo;s by restarting the economy or getting education right. And there is no doubt that the best way for us to do achieve both if through all parts of government, central and local working together, working together, in partnership.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061806/michael-gove-to-the-local-government-association Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to the Local Government Association Education 2010-07-08
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> It&#39;s a huge honour and a privilege to be able to speak to you today.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s great to see so many Parliamentary colleagues, voluntary sector partners and disabled children and their families here supporting your campaign.</p> <p> And I&#39;m glad that I was able to hear others speak before making my response. So often, even in opposition, you&#39;re sometimes only able to stay for a short time at these kinds of events. This is exacerbated even further when you become a minister, but it&#39;s really important to listen to the views of parents and young people.</p> <p> What Gail said just a moment ago about the challenges facing families with disabled children encapsulates the experience of many families that I meet.</p> <p> As a constituency MP, I have met many families with disabled children. For some of these families, services are working well and meeting their needs. But for others, it can be a real battle to get the support that they need.</p> <p> And in my own constituency I have supported a number of campaigns locally on behalf of disabled children and their families.</p> <p> I&#39;ve got two key messages for you this afternoon.</p> <p> The first is this: disabled children are right at the heart of what this Government is doing. This is shown by the Childhood and Family Task Force which has recently been announced.</p> <p> Both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister will be taking part in that Task Force, so you can see that there is buy-in at the very highest levels of this Government to support disabled children and their families. And I&#39;m also pleased that I will be attending this Task Force to make sure that the voices of disabled children and their families are heard.</p> <p> The Task Force will look at the challenges that face disabled children and their families. Challenges like poverty and relationship breakdown.</p> <p> And I&#39;m glad that Gail also talked about the importance of participation.</p> <p> That&#39;s because I&#39;m pleased to announce to you today that I will be launching a Green Paper in the autumn that will look at a wide range of special educational needs and disability issues.</p> <p> Over the summer I want to work with the voluntary sector, experts on special educational needs and disability, and parents, to make sure that we get the questions to address right.</p> <p> Participation will be central to the success of this Green Paper.</p> <p> We&#39;ll be looking at things like parental choice. This will mean looking at ending the bias towards mainstreaming, but that does not mean limiting mainstream provision for children with SEN and disabilities. It&#39;s about recognizing that each child is different and individual.</p> <p> We will also need to look at educational attainment &ndash; how to support children and young people with a broad range of needs to raise their levels of achievement.</p> <p> There is also the area of transition for young people, where there has been too little work. We need to consider how to support better opportunities for young people in this stage of their life.</p> <p> Finally, we also need to look at assessment of disabled children and address the bureaucratic mess that families face to get their child assessed.</p> <p> But I&rsquo;d also like to respond to Lord Rix by reassuring you that we won&#39;t be dismantling everything in this area.</p> <p> So we will be moving forward with the Short Breaks duty that you mentioned. And I know that the Short Breaks duty is very much due to the hard work that you have been involved with over the last few years.</p> <p> Aiming High for Disabled Children is making a huge difference to disabled children and their families.</p> <p> As Lord Rix mentioned, we are also pleased to be investing more in Short Breaks from next year.</p> <p> I want to leave you with one final message.</p> <p> You will all be aware that these are difficult economic times &ndash; but I want to assure you that the needs of disabled children will be at the heart of this Government. We are committed to improving choice and experience of families with disabled children.</p> <p> I know that you will lobby hard and hold us in Government to account for improving the support to disabled children and their families. This is a crucial way in which many of the improvements that have been achieved so far have been realised.</p> <p> I hope, trust and expect that this will be the start of our conversations as you play a key role in helping to shape the Green Paper over the coming months.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061799/sarah-teather-speaking-at-the-house-of-lords-launch-of-every-disabled-child-matters-campaign Sarah Teather MP Sarah Teather speaking at the House of Lords launch of Every Disabled Child Matters campaign Education 2010-07-06
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Gordon. And my thanks also to the East of England DCS group for hosting today&rsquo;s conference.<br /> <br /> This is an event I&rsquo;ve been looking forward to for some time now &ndash; not least because my briefing note from officials tells me: &lsquo;The audience is expected to be friendly...&rsquo;<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m not sure whether that&rsquo;s genuine insight, or wild optimism. But either way, it&rsquo;s a pleasure to be here as your guest.<br /> <br /> And I wanted to start, if I may, by paying a very warm tribute to Gordon who, as you all know, retired yesterday as the longest running DCS in the UK<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d question how relaxed a start this is to your retirement Gordon &ndash; but it seems fitting that you&rsquo;re here &ndash; given your track record in helping children and young people not just in Cambridgeshire but also, of course, up in Stirling during what was a hugely challenging time in the aftermath of the Dunblane tragedy.<br /> <br /> In both posts, you&rsquo;ve distinguished yourself for your leadership, your expertise and your dedication to improving the lives of children.<br /> <br /> And it is with great sadness that we lose that experience.<br /> <br /> However, I know you leave behind an authority that is performing very well in many areas of children&rsquo;s services &ndash; and that the East of England, in general, is a region that can take an enormous amount of credit for the excellent work it does in partnership working between authorities, and in the development of best practice across the region.<br /> <br /> And that is, I think, a very strong reflection both on the quality of leadership here in the East, and on your commitment to creating fair, strong and effective family services for communities across all 11 authorities.<br /> <br /> Across the country more generally, however, there are broad social and structural problems at play &ndash; that make achieving that commitment much harder than it should be.<br /> <br /> We still, for instance, live in a society that is &ndash; despite the very best intentions of the previous government &ndash; less socially just than ever before. Inheriting a situation in which:</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <ul> <li> Just 21 per cent of children in care are achieving 5 or more A to C grades at GCSE &ndash; compared to an average of 70 per cent.</li> <li> Where young people from poorer backgrounds are less than twice as likely to go on to University as those from richer backgrounds.</li> <li> And where the life expectancy of children varies hugely depending on where you&rsquo;re born. In Harlesdon for example, in the constituency of my colleague Sarah Teather, a child is expected to die more than ten years before one born in neighbouring Kensington.</li> </ul> <li> Just 21 per cent of children in care are achieving 5 or more A to C grades at GCSE &ndash; compared to an average of 70 per cent.</li> <li> Where young people from poorer backgrounds are less than twice as likely to go on to University as those from richer backgrounds.</li> <li> And where the life expectancy of children varies hugely depending on where you&rsquo;re born. In Harlesdon for example, in the constituency of my colleague Sarah Teather, a child is expected to die more than ten years before one born in neighbouring Kensington.</li> <p> While in the east of England itself, boys born today in Great Yarmouth can expect to live over four years fewer than those in South Cambridgeshire.<br /> <br /> Quite clearly, something has gone very wrong. But the question for today is not really: &lsquo;How bad is the hole we find ourselves in?&rsquo;<br /> <br /> It is, I think: &lsquo;How do we cope with the situation and deal with it the best we can?&rsquo;<br /> <br /> Part of the answer lies, we believe, in overcoming the fatalism that so often engulfs the debate about children from deprived backgrounds.<br /> <br /> The sense that a young person&rsquo;s future is automatically written in the stars because their parent&rsquo;s postcode is CB22 instead of NR30.<br /> <br /> While part of the answer lies in facing up to the specific structural challenges that face local authorities in both the East of England and further afield &ndash; challenges like workload, bureaucracy and tougher economic settlements.<br /> <br /> We know, for instance, that there has been a steep rise of nearly a third in the number of child protection plans being processed over the last 24 months.<br /> <br /> That social workers are now spending the equivalent of 285 days a year at their desks &ndash; tearing their hair out over pointless bureaucracy when they want to get out and help families.<br /> <br /> And we know also, of course, that local authority spending has been constricted following the in-year adjustments to the Area Based Grants &ndash; that were announced in last week&rsquo;s emergency budget.<br /> <br /> One of the principle jobs of the Coalition will be to work with DCSs in the East, and other senior colleagues, to mitigate - as much as is possible &ndash; the impact of each of those pressures.<br /> <br /> And as such, I&rsquo;d like to offer assurance, from the outset, that the renaming of the Department for Education does not represent a shift in priority away from working with children&rsquo;s services leaders around the country.<br /> <br /> It would be easy to get hung up on titles, but the simple fact is, that we remain absolutely committed to improving children&rsquo;s lives.<br /> <br /> And that is reflected &ndash; clearly I think &ndash; in the fact that despite the incredibly tough financial times we find ourselves in, we have already announced we&rsquo;ll protect spending on Sure Start, schools and 16 to 19 funding.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Providing excellence in children&rsquo;s services</h2> <p> So &ndash; my first message for today, is that this coalition government is dedicated to providing excellence in children&rsquo;s services, and to working closely with you to achieve that aim.<br /> <br /> However, as Gordon has argued so persuasively in the past, the challenges we face will &ndash; I think &ndash; require some measure of &lsquo;re-imagining of children&rsquo;s services&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> What they will not require, I can assure you, is total reinvention or revolution.<br /> <br /> And I wanted to set out today how the three primary Coalition principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility will help us achieve that.<br /> <br /> Starting, if I can, with freedom - and our determination to reduce the morass of red tape that has grown up through well intentioned &ndash; but rarely well-instituted &ndash; programmes like Contact Point, the Integrated Children&rsquo;s System and the pointless form filling that now occupies some 80 per cent of social workers&rsquo; time.<br /> <br /> Whenever I meet those social workers, they tell me that they are itching to get back out on the beat.<br /> <br /> And yet it is the misuse of their days, as well of the misuse of their expertise, that is simply creating more work and expense for hard stretched local authorities.<br /> <br /> Before the election, for instance, a very frustrated council employee wrote to me saying:<br /> <br /> Additional tasks have been given to social workers in an attempt to safeguard children. All they do is ensure social workers spend further time in the office, and less time with clients.<br /> <br /> This is simply not, I think, a sustainable pressure to be applying to DCSs in the East or to their staff.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Stripping away bureaucracy</h3> <p> And while we are already, as you know, working hard to strip away similar levels of bureaucracy in our schools, we now need to repeat the trick in local authorities. And I&rsquo;d like to use today to ask leaders in the East of England to take the leading role in that process.<br /> <br /> Helping us to identify exactly where the bottlenecks are, where staff are being frustrated and where money is being wasted away on red tape.<br /> <br /> Whilst for our part, we will look to measure LA performance far more effectively, and far less intrusively, than has been the case.<br /> <br /> In particular, by placing greater emphasis on the quality of outcomes for children and families, rather than imposing arbitrary targets on councils for throughput.<br /> <br /> Certainly in the past I would contend that too much of what passed for evaluation of any particular process or project, was often not much more than a measurement of quantity.<br /> <br /> How many young people signed up for this or that particular scheme for instance, rather than a thoughtful analysis of what each individual may or may not have gained from the project.<br /> <br /> Did it have a life changing impact on them? And how did it improve their futures?<br /> <br /> Exactly the kind of questions we need to be asking if we&rsquo;re going to create a more socially just &ndash; and fairer &ndash; society.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Munro Review</h3> <p> And exactly the kind of questions that we&rsquo;ve already put to Professor Eileen Munro for her to consider in her review of social care, which is due to be completed by the Spring.<br /> <br /> That report will build on the work of both Lord Laming and Moira Gibb, by looking at how we can improve the lives of the most vulnerable children - within a far more effective, flexible system that is less onerous for local authorities to operate under.<br /> <br /> So, for instance, we&rsquo;ve specifically requested that Eileen considers how we can introduce more effective early intervention, and how we can spread good practice more widely.<br /> <br /> For the East of England, which is perhaps struggling more than some to reduce the effects of deprivation on outcomes, this could be particularly helpful.<br /> <br /> Not just because we know good early intervention promotes greater fairness, but also because it provides far more effective, and far more cost effective, services.<br /> <br /> For example, a reduction of just one per cent in the number of offences committed by children and young people, has the potential to generate savings for households and individuals of around &pound;45 million a year.<br /> <br /> Which is why projects like Action for Children&rsquo;s Intensive Fostering are so interesting - concentrating the expertise of highly trained and motivated foster carers on teenagers on the cusp of the youth justice system.<br /> <br /> And it&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m also very interested in the work that&rsquo;s going on in the Eastern region itself, in places like Suffolk, Southend and Hertfordshire which are, I know, doing a fantastic job in identifying and working with &lsquo;high demand&rsquo; and &lsquo;high cost&rsquo; families &ndash; and are also carrying out intensive work looking at the specific needs of young carers.<br /> <br /> A group of dedicated volunteers who have, incidentally, been far too neglected in the past. And I was absolutely delighted to be invited to their annual get together at Fairthorne Manor last weekend.<br /> <br /> Now, as regards best practice, I know this is an area where the East of England DCS group is particularly strong &ndash; and we would certainly want to roll out your model of partnership working right across the country.<br /> <br /> To look at how we can copy the kind of collaboration that was used by DCSs here to improve 16 to 19 commissioning in the region, with money diverted from the regional improvement and efficiency project.<br /> <br /> And also used to set up the Eastern Region Safeguarding Group, and bring together all the assistant directors of social care.<br /> <br /> More generally of course, promoting that kind of good practice helps us to analyse why some authorities, with no more resources and with similar populations, are more successful than others at improving the health, education and safety of young people in their care. Nottingham, Leicester and Haringey are in the top 20 most deprived local authorities, but have all seen improvements in reducing both youth crime and teenage pregnancy recently.<br /> <br /> With falls of between 16 and 22 per cent in the rate of teenage pregnancies, compared to a national decrease of just 0.2 per cent. And falls of up to 62 per cent in youth crime - compared to the England average.<br /> <br /> But by the same token, other local authorities can learn just as much from the East.<br /> <br /> Whether it&rsquo;s by looking at the innovative approach to the commissioning of children&#39;s services in Essex.<br /> <br /> Whether it&rsquo;s by looking at the excellent engagement and tracking of young people in Hertfordshire - that has seen it achieve the lowest NEET figures in the country.<br /> <br /> Or whether it&rsquo;s by looking at Bedford Borough&rsquo;s poverty strategy and its excellent use of data to drive performance improvement.<br /> <br /> In a strange way, there is a very encouraging message here. It means there are authorities out there doing really great work.<br /> <br /> It means we can re-imagine rather than reinvent. And it means there is scope to promote greater fairness despite the tough economic outlook.<br /> <br /> For which reason, Sarah Teather and I are looking to organise an event that gets together local authority lead members, and directors, to look at best practice, and discuss what might be transferable from one area to another.<br /> <br /> It needs input from both local authority elected members and officers, and I&rsquo;d certainly be interested to hear your own views on how we take that forward.<br /> <br /> Predictably, it won&rsquo;t be a case of funding all the good schemes we here about. What we will be doing is helping appropriate voluntary sector organisations to become part of the solution, by making it easier for them to work with statutory agencies.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Responsibility</h3> <p> And that brings me on to the final principle of the Coalition government that I wanted to mention today &ndash; responsibility.<br /> <br /> Because all of us - DCSs, professionals, Government, the voluntary sector and families themselves, need to work together to tackle the difficulties facing our country.<br /> <br /> That is what the Big Society is all about, and we shall be hearing a lot more about it over the coming months. And how it can empower the sector, local communities and individuals to take the lead, to pool and share their responsibilities.<br /> <br /> Included within that reform, we are looking at increasing the role of social enterprises, charities and co-operatives in public services &ndash; by giving public sector workers a new right to form employee-owned co-operatives and to bid to take over the services they deliver.<br /> <br /> And, where appropriate, by opening up public services markets to allow social enterprises, charities and co-operatives to bid to run public services.<br /> <br /> Clearly that will have implications for local authorities, and I will work very closely with children&rsquo;s services leaders as those plans are drawn up. But the key point for now is that we want local authorities and lead members to set the agenda for their communities.<br /> <br /> We simply cannot continue to operate a centrally led regime that fails to recognise the incredible skills and professionalism of those who work with children and families.<br /> <br /> Added to which, bureaucrats and politicians cannot possibly make knowledgeable decisions about priorities for each and every one of the 152 separate local authorities.<br /> <br /> Even within single regions, there are hugely differing communities and issues that require DCSs to have their own flexibility and freedoms.<br /> <br /> In the East, for example, it is likely that what works in the Broads or the Fens, is going to be different from what is needed in the urban sweep of Thurrock.<br /> <br /> Now, before I finish &ndash; and at the risk of losing that good will of the audience that my officials were so confident about &ndash; I would like to talk briefly about the financial position we are in.<br /> <br /> I cannot sugar coat the fact that the removal of 24 per cent of the Department&rsquo;s Area Based Grant does, of course, make life harder for local authorities.<br /> <br /> But what I can do, is say we are absolutely determined to ensure you have maximum flexibility and support to determine how you make those savings.<br /> <br /> This is why we took the decision not to impose a reduction in the formula grant - and it is why we have &lsquo;de-ringfenced&rsquo; a further &pound;1.7 billion of grants.<br /> <br /> But this is, of course, a two-way street. And the onus is as much on central as local government to think about how we make savings without effecting frontline services.<br /> <br /> I have, for instance, already talked about the need for better use of early intervention and the need to spread good practice out more widely.<br /> <br /> But there is also a good opportunity here to create longer term savings by responding to the Prime Minister&rsquo;s Spending Challenge, which was announced last week &ndash; and gives DCSs, and their staff, a real opportunity to tell us exactly where the long term, structural savings should come from.<br /> <br /> So, to end, I wanted to repeat my thanks again to the East of England DCS group for inviting me along today.<br /> <br /> It is important, I always think, not just to point the finger when you are in politics, but to congratulate as well. And in the work that the East of England DCS group does, there is &ndash; quite simply &ndash; a huge amount to congratulate.<br /> <br /> Whilst across the country generally, I know there is an incredibly talented, dedicated and skilled workforce in children&rsquo;s services, from top to bottom.<br /> <br /> We believe it is time to start trusting them to do their job by reducing bureaucracy, by devolving power from Westminster to the regions, and by giving communities back the fundamental right to set their own priorities and take responsibility for them.<br /> <br /> These are tough times, I know. But I also sense a genuine opportunity here to build a stronger, more flexible, autonomous and fairer future for children&rsquo;s services in this country.<br /> <br /> Thank you.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061475/tim-loughton-to-the-east-of-england-directors-of-childrens-services-conference Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the East of England Directors of Children’s Services conference Education 2010-07-02
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Andrew for your introduction and for giving me the opportunity to speak today. I greatly admire the work you and your colleagues do and, in the difficult economic times that this Government has inherited, Reform is, I believe, very well placed to have a real and lasting influence.<br /> <br /> Over the last decade Reform has developed a deep understanding of the problems facing Britain&rsquo;s public services and has brought together people of real experience from across the world to develop a practical agenda for their change.<br /> <br /> While you have recognised that investment can be part of the solution, you have argued that reform of the way money is spent can be just as or, sometimes even more, significant. This insight &ndash; always important &ndash; will be crucial in the years ahead.<br /> <br /> And you have taken a serious and independent approach. Reform&rsquo;s publications are based on firm research, and you&rsquo;ve worked with reform-minded politicians from across the political spectrum.<br /> <br /> In education you have, I believe rightly, argued for the extension of choice as a driver of improved standards but have also recognised the role government has to play to ensure greater concentration on academic rigour and the passing on of core knowledge.<br /> <br /> So as I start work as the Minister responsible for driving through significant changes to help raise standards in schools, I know that Reform will be a friend but, like the best friends, will never be afraid to tell us when you think we have got things wrong or could do better.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> The Government&rsquo;s aims</h2> <p> Like everything in the agreement that unites this coalition government, our education policies are guided by the three principles of freedom, responsibility and fairness. We&rsquo;re going to give schools greater freedom and parents more opportunity to choose good schools.<br /> <br /> We&rsquo;re going to place greater trust in professionals to give teachers more freedom to decide how to teach.<br /> <br /> And we&rsquo;re going to reduce bureaucracy so that schools can get on with their core business. In just one year, under the last Government, the Department produced over 6,000 pages of guidance for schools &ndash; more than twice the length of the complete works of Shakespeare but much less illuminating, and certainly less readable. We want to put an end to the reams of paperwork and bureaucratic burdens piled on to teachers and schools: not just the jargon-heavy instructions telling people how to do their jobs but the posters and DVDs that gather dust in supply cupboards.<br /> <br /> Outstanding schools will be freed from inspection to refocus Ofsted&rsquo;s resources on those schools that are coasting or struggling and which are failing to deliver the best quality education to their students.<br /> <br /> We agree with Reform that extending choice will drive up quality.<br /> <br /> Academies, introduced by the last government, have been very successful in raising standards and so we want to see many more. The Academies Bill, now going through the House of Lords, will allow more schools to benefit from the freedoms of Academy status &ndash; including, for the first time, primary schools and special schools.<br /> <br /> Academies are free from local authority control, can deploy resources as they deem best, and have the ability to set their own pay and conditions for staff. They have greater freedom over the curriculum and the length of terms and school days. Yet they operate within a broad framework of accountability which is designed to ensure that standards remain high, and consistent.<br /> <br /> In just one week, 1,100 schools expressed an interest in becoming an Academy, and those schools which have been rated outstanding by Ofsted will have their applications fast tracked so that some can be open this September.<br /> <br /> We are also making it much easier for parents, teachers and education providers to set up new schools, so that there is real choice in every area.<br /> <br /> The second coalition principle I mentioned is responsibility, and everyone must take their share in the education system.<br /> <br /> Government has a responsibility to ensure high standards; schools have a responsibility to promote an ethos of excellence and aspiration with opportunities for extra-curricula activities and sport. But it is the responsibility of pupils and their parents to ensure that their behaviour at school is of a standard that delivers a safe and happy environment in which children can concentrate and learn.<br /> <br /> We will support that by giving teachers and head teachers the powers they need to deal effectively with poor behaviour. And we are working to ensure that teachers are protected from the professional and social humiliation of false accusations.<br /> <br /> But the coalition principle I want to concentrate on this morning is fairness. Britain&rsquo;s school system today is, frankly, unfair. Too often, opportunity is denied in a lottery of education provision where geography or parental income determines outcomes rather than academic ability.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Scale of the problem</h2> <p> The figures are familiar but nonetheless shocking for all their repetition:</p> <ul> <li> The chances of a child who is eligible for free school meals getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths are less than one third of those for children from better-off families.</li> <li> 42 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals did not achieve a single GCSE above a Grade D in 2008.</li> <li> In the last year for which we have data more pupils from Eton went to Oxford or Cambridge than from the entire cohort of the 80,000 students eligible for free school meals.</li> </ul> <li> The chances of a child who is eligible for free school meals getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths are less than one third of those for children from better-off families.</li> <li> 42 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals did not achieve a single GCSE above a Grade D in 2008.</li> <li> In the last year for which we have data more pupils from Eton went to Oxford or Cambridge than from the entire cohort of the 80,000 students eligible for free school meals.</li> <p> This is simply unacceptable.<br /> <br /> I do not believe that less able children or those from disadvantaged backgrounds are not capable of having an academic education, or indeed that their parents necessarily hold lower ambitions for their children. I absolutely agree with Alan Milburn in his speech to the National Education Trust in March when he said:</p> <br /> <br /> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> It is sometimes argued that parents in the most disadvantaged areas are less aspirational for their children than those in better off areas. The figures on school appeals repudiate such assumptions, with a large number of parents in disadvantaged parts of the country using the appeals system to try to get their children out of poorly performing schools and into better ones.</p> <p> It is a natural instinct for parents to want the best for their children, and better opportunities than they had themselves. Britain&rsquo;s educational problems are not primarily the result of a lack of private aspiration, rather the state&rsquo;s failure to provide enough good schools.</p> <p> It is socially unfair, and economically damaging.<br /> <br /> As Reform has highlighted, England&rsquo;s performance in international educational league tables is now &lsquo;amongst the worst of large developed economies&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study of 10 year olds marks England&rsquo;s fall from 3rd out of 35 countries in 2001, to 15th out of 40 countries in 2006. And a PISA study shows that only 2 countries out of 57 have a wider gap in attainment between the lowest and highest achievers compared to England.<br /> <br /> I don&rsquo;t cite these figures in order to attack the last government or to criticise the fantastic work that is done in our schools by teachers and pupils alike. Rather, this issue highlights a fundamental ideological debate about education which runs much deeper than the decisions of ministers in the last few years.<br /> <br /> Indeed, I pay tribute to the work done by Andrew Adonis and Jim Knight, and to previous Conservative Secretaries of State such as Ken Baker and John Patten, who tried to tackle some of the underlying causes of the problems we face.<br /> <br /> On one side of the ideological debate are those who believe that children should learn when they are ready, through child-initiated activities and self-discovery &ndash; what Plowden called &lsquo;Finding Out&rsquo;. It is an ideology that puts the emphasis on the processes of learning rather than on the content of knowledge that needs to be learnt.<br /> <br /> The American education academic, E.D. Hirsch, traces this ideology back to the 1920s, to the Teachers College Columbia in New York and the influence of the educationalists, John Dewey and William Heard Kilpatrick.<br /> <br /> Added to that ideology is the notion that there is so much knowledge in the world that it is impossible to teach it all &ndash; and very difficult to discern what should be selected to be taught in schools. So, instead, children should be taught how to learn.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> The importance of knowledge</h2> <p> I believe very strongly that education is about the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next.<br /> <br /> Knowledge is the basic building block for a successful life. Without understanding the fundamental concepts of maths or science it is impossible properly to comprehend huge areas of modern life. With little or no knowledge of our nation&rsquo;s history, understanding the present is that much harder.<br /> <br /> Getting to grips with the basics &ndash; of elements, of metals, of Halogens, of acids; of what happens when Hydrogen and Oxygen come together; of photosynthesis; of cells &ndash; is difficult, but once learned you have the ability at least to comprehend some of the great advances in genetics, physics and other scientific fields that are revolutionising our lives.<br /> <br /> Once these concepts are grasped it opens up and develops the mind and takes you one tiny step further to understanding the complex world in which we live. Each new concept facilitates deeper understanding, and the ability to think more creatively and more independently about the way the world works, and about society.<br /> <br /> The facts, dates and narrative of our history in fact join us all together. The rich language of Shakespeare should be the common property of us all. The great figures of literature that still populate the conversations of all those who regard themselves as well-educated should be known to all.<br /> <br /> Yet to more and more people Miss Havisham is a stranger and even the most basic history and geography a mystery.<br /> <br /> These concepts must be taught. And they must be taught to everyone. Sadly, that is not always the case.<br /> <br /> Professor Derek Matthews&rsquo;s practice of quizzing his first year history undergraduates over a three year period shows depressing evidence of the state of teaching knowledge in history.<br /> <br /> Almost twice as many students thought Nelson rather than Wellington was in charge at the Battle of Waterloo and nearly 90 per cent couldn&rsquo;t name a single British Prime Minister of the 19th Century. And these were students at a university whose entry requirement is an A and two Bs at A level.<br /> <br /> Again, I do not intend to criticise Professor Matthews&rsquo;s students or, indeed, their teachers. These were bright young people who had achieved good exam results. What is to be criticised is an education system which has relegated the importance of knowledge in favour of ill-defined learning skills.<br /> <br /> So I want to spend the remaining few minutes setting out the approach that the Coalition Government plans to take to put knowledge and subjects at the centre of the curriculum.<br /> <br /> Professor David Conway in his fascinating paper, &lsquo;Liberal Education and the National Curriculum&rsquo; quotes Matthew Arnold&rsquo;s view of the purpose of education as introducing children to &lsquo;the best that has been thought and said.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> That must be the case for all children, not the privileged few, in an education system with fairness at its core.<br /> <br /> Children who come from knowledge and education rich backgrounds start school with an in-built advantage over those who do not. If the school then fails to make up the knowledge deficit, those divisions widen still further.<br /> <br /> Leon Feinstein&rsquo;s research has shown that low-ability children from wealthy backgrounds often overtake and outperform more able children from poorer backgrounds by age 5, with the differences between children&rsquo;s cognitive development related to parental social status emerging as early as 22 months.<br /> <br /> E.D. Hirsch, writes brilliantly about the importance of knowledge gained early on. He says, &lsquo;Just as it takes money to make money, it takes knowledge to make knowledge.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> He goes onto say:</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <p style="margin-left: 40px"> Those children who possess the intellectual capital when they first arrive at school have the mental scaffolding and Velcro to gain still more knowledge. But those children who arrive at school lacking the relevant experience and vocabulary &ndash; they see not neither do they understand.</p> <p> Which is why he believes, as I do, that: &lsquo;It is the duty of schools to provide each child with the knowledge and skills requisite for academic progress &ndash; regardless of home background.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> So we will introduce a Pupil Premium, which will direct resources to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who need it most. Headteachers will then have the freedom to decide how best to use that money &ndash; whether to reduce class sizes, provide extra tuition, or recruit the best teachers.<br /> <br /> But we need to sharpen our focus on the core business of teaching at every level, starting with the basics. In particular, reading.<br /> <br /> Twenty-five per cent of adults have literacy problems. But even after the literacy strategy in primary schools introduced in the late 1990s, we still have nearly one in five 11-year-olds leaving primary school still struggling with reading. Again, the ideologically-driven, child-centred approach to education has led to the belief that the mere exposure to books and text, and the repetition of high frequency words, will lead to a child learning to read &ndash; as if by osmosis.<br /> <br /> That Look and Say, or whole language approach to reading ignores the importance of teaching children the 44 sounds of the alphabetic code, and how to blend those sounds into words.<br /> <br /> Although phonics does play a part in the way reading is taught, as Ofsted has reported in their last annual report: &#39;&hellip; weaknesses in the teaching of literacy &hellip; remain&hellip; Inspectors continue to report a lack of focus on basic literacy for low attainers&hellip;&#39;.<br /> <br /> So we are determined to focus on ensuring that reading is taught effectively in primary schools and we will say more about this in the coming months.<br /> And it is because of that necessary focus on the basics, and our belief in giving teachers more flexibility, that we have decided not to proceed with the new primary curriculum as recommended by Sir Jim Rose.<br /> <br /> Instead, we want to restore the National Curriculum to its intended purpose &ndash; a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines.<br /> <br /> So we will slim down the National Curriculum to ensure that pupils have the knowledge they need at each stage of their education, and restore parity between our curriculum and qualifications, and the best world has to offer: whether that is Massachusetts, Singapore, Finland, Hong Kong, or Alberta.<br /> <br /> We will reform league tables so that parents have the reassurance they need that their child is progressing.<br /> <br /> And we must also restore confidence in our exam system. Pupils should be entered for qualifications that are in their best interests, not with a view to boosting a school&rsquo;s performance in the league tables.<br /> <br /> We have opened up qualifications unfairly closed off to pupils in state maintained schools &ndash; such as the iGCSE &ndash; to offer pupils greater choice, and to ensure that they are afforded the same opportunities as those who have the money to go to independent schools.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> Andrew, I have set out today an overview of how we intend to tackle some of the problems in our education system and how we intend to start to close the achievement gap between those from the richest and poorest in society. As you would expect from this Coalition Government it&rsquo;s based on a conservative belief in a liberal education.<br /> <br /> E.D. Hirsch writes that &lsquo;&hellip; an early inequity in the distribution of intellectual capital may be the single most important source of avoidable injustice in a free society.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> It is remedying that injustice that is the driving force behind this Government&rsquo;s education reforms.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061473/nick-gibb-to-the-reform-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the Reform Conference Education 2010-07-01
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you, Sir Paul. And thank you Christine for inviting me to speak to you today.<br /> <br /> C4EO is doing some really interesting and important work, which complements a lot of thinking in Government Departments across Whitehall, particularly in these financially challenging times. So I think this is a very good opportunity to talk about that approach, what we can learn from each other, and how to put those lessons into practice.<br /> <br /> But first it might be useful to put the current situation in context, and say something about the challenges facing all of us in the coming months and years.<br /> <br /> [Outline of the financial situation &ndash; how we got here, need for financial restraint, etc.]<br /> <br /> Last week the Chancellor&rsquo;s emergency budget set out the tough but fair measures that we need to take to tackle the country&rsquo;s budget deficit and bring spending back under control, in I think a measured and realistic way.<br /> <br /> The scale of the fiscal challenge is huge, and that does mean there will be very real and unavoidable challenges &ndash; and the Department for Education is not immune from them.<br /> <br /> Many families will face the challenge of hardship.<br /> <br /> There will be a strain not just on resources, but on relationships too. As pressure on families increases, so too will the pressure on children.<br /> <br /> One child in five in this country is currently living in poverty, and two million children live in poor housing.<br /> <br /> And we know about the links between economic recession and the effects on mental health in the family and, increasingly, in children.<br /> <br /> As they look to us, and to you, for support in these difficult times, we have to ensure that our services offer them what they need in the best possible way.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s why the coalition government has put the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility at the heart of our decision-making and our policies.<br /> <br /> We have already announced that we will protect spending on schools, Sure Start and 16-19 funding, while also announcing the introduction of a pupil premium that will allow us to tackle educational inequality by ensuring that additional money is provided to those who teach the most disadvantaged children. And we will refocus Sure Start on meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged families.<br /> <br /> But there&rsquo;s no doubt the landscape has changed, and when we&rsquo;re thinking about how to provide public services in future &ndash; whether that&rsquo;s childcare places, safeguarding vulnerable children, or school IT projects &ndash; we need to look first and foremost at quality outcomes as well as value for money, and do all we can to make sure that we get the maximum bang for our buck.<br /> <br /> That means looking at outcomes rather than, for example, throughput.<br /> <br /> Because in the past I would contend, too much of what passed for evaluation of any particular process or project was often not much more than a measurement of quantity &ndash; how many young people were signed up for this or that particular scheme, for instance &ndash; rather than a thoughtful analysis of what each individual may or may not have gained from the project. Did it have a life-changing impact for them? How did it improve their life chances?<br /> <br /> So we have to be smarter, we have to think about how children have actually benefited (or not) from our policies and investment; about the timeliness of interventions, and whether departments and agencies have done as much cross-cutting work as they can.<br /> <br /> In the coming years, all of our interventions must be targeted on the people who will benefit most, and provided in the way that will help them best.<br /> <br /> So I am really switched on to good practice. Where is it? And how do we learn from it?<br /> <br /> How do we discover the best models for public services in times like these?<br /> <br /> At the heart of the new government&rsquo;s approach is a determination to move away from a top-down, prescriptive approach, and to devolve more power and freedom to parents and professionals.<br /> <br /> Parents have the primary responsibility for raising children, and our policies should always recognise that. But even the best parents need support from time to time.<br /> <br /> So we need to make sure they have access to the professionals &ndash; whether state-provided or from the voluntary sector &ndash; who are experts in their respective fields.<br /> <br /> They are the people we need to trust, and it&rsquo;s their experience we need to share.<br /> <br /> Thousands of them are already doing excellent work, and formerly as an opposition front-bencher, and in the first month in my new job, I have visited some great examples of local schemes that are really making a difference.<br /> <br /> There are successful projects in every part of the country. In Kent, for example, an Early Talk programme has been set up in Ashford, at low cost, to help children with speech and language difficulties to develop their communications skills early on. It&rsquo;s a multi-agency approach, and it has resulted in over 90 per cent of those children making good progress in a mainstream primary school when in the past they would have needed specialist language provision. Poor speech development is often at the heart of poor learning, and the earlier it is detected and dealt with, the better a child&rsquo;s chance of keeping up both educationally and socially.<br /> <br /> And Kensington &amp; Chelsea&rsquo;s &lsquo;Virtual School&rsquo;, with its focus on attendance and attainment, is improving the educational outcomes of looked after children and young people in the borough, and making real reductions in the number who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).<br /> <br /> Or there&rsquo;s Tower Hamlets&rsquo; &lsquo;Parents as Partners in Early Learning&rsquo; scheme, where a system for sharing information between parents, teachers and others involved with the child&#39;s learning has resulted in a significant increase in children&#39;s communication and personal skills.<br /> <br /> So there&rsquo;s plenty of good practice going on out there. But there&rsquo;s no point having a brilliant idea and not telling anyone about it. That&rsquo;s why C4EO&rsquo;s work on improvement is so important. It allows local authorities to use the best evidence and research to improve local practice and drive up standards.<br /> <br /> Because knowledge is power &ndash; power to do good &ndash; but only if you share it.<br /> <br /> Travelling about the country, I have been struck by the number of times I&rsquo;ve heard about a scheme or initiative that&rsquo;s achieving excellent results in addressing a problem in one authority &ndash; but which is completely unheard of in the neighbouring area.<br /> <br /> We need to be smarter about using and disseminating good practice, and in future I see an important role for government in facilitating best practice. For instance, my ministerial colleague Sarah Teather and I are looking at organising an event that gets together local authority lead members and directors to look at best practice, and discuss what might be transferable from one area to another. It needs input from both local authority elected members and officers, and I&rsquo;d be interested to hear your views on how we take that forward.<br /> <br /> It won&rsquo;t be a case of funding all the good schemes we hear about. What we will be doing is helping appropriate voluntary sector organisations to become part of the solution, by making it easier for them to work with statutory agencies.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Families</h2> <p> The Government believes that families are the building blocks of society. We believe that in order to build strong communities, we need to nurture and support families of all kinds.<br /> <br /> That doesn&rsquo;t mean we think it&rsquo;s Government&rsquo;s business to lecture families about how to live their lives. That can be counter-productive. What we need to do is provide them with an environment in which they can thrive.<br /> <br /> That is why we are setting up a new Childhood and Families Task Force, to look at areas like parental leave and flexible working, the support we give children in the event of family breakdown, and how to help children avoid the pressures forcing them to grow up too quickly.<br /> <br /> The Task Force will be chaired by the Prime Minister, and again Sarah Teather will be playing a crucial role as our departmental representative.<br /> <br /> In recent years, services that take a &lsquo;whole family&rsquo; approach to helping families with multiple problems have grown rapidly, and here again there is a great deal of excellent local practice we can learn from.<br /> <br /> In Westminster, for example, the Westminster Family Recovery project is addressing the needs and behaviours of the families who place most demands on the local authority&rsquo;s public services &ndash; as well as having a high impact on the communities around them. By working intensively over a period of around a year with these families, the project aims to bring about long term inter-generational changes in behaviour. It&rsquo;s an approach that is already delivering good results: for example, 50 per cent of children in families who have been part of the project for six months or more have shown an improvement in their school attendance.<br /> <br /> From a financial and effectiveness perspective, it has to make sense to concentrate a holistic solution on those families whose problems are taking up a disproportionate amount of professional time and resources.<br /> <br /> And in Suffolk, agencies are also doing excellent work in identifying and working with their &lsquo;high demand&rsquo; and &lsquo;high cost&rsquo; families. They have also carried out some intensive work looking at the needs of Young Carers. They are another neglected army of dedicated volunteers, and I went to their annual get-together at Fairthorne Manor last weekend.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Early intervention</h2> <p> If we are serious about addressing the problems facing us, and doing it with scarcer resources, then it&rsquo;s essential we adopt new ways, smarter ways, of thinking and working.<br /> <br /> But one very old way of working &ndash; the &lsquo;stitch in time saves nine&rsquo; principle &ndash; can also stand us in good stead. Early Intervention is a key component of providing effective, and cost-effective, services.<br /> <br /> At just 22 months, a poor child&rsquo;s skills already lag behind those of a child of the same age from a better-off home. That disadvantage &ndash; if it is not tackled &ndash; will remain throughout life, with huge implications for choice of career, the limiting of opportunity, and even reduced life expectancy. A child born into one of England&rsquo;s poorest neighbourhoods today will die (if nothing changes) seven years before one born into the richest.<br /> <br /> The stitch in time approach saves lives &ndash; sometimes literally.<br /> <br /> It often saves money too.<br /> <br /> For instance, it&rsquo;s been estimated that a reduction of just one per cent in the number of offences committed by children and young people has the potential to generate savings for households and individuals of around &pound;45 million a year.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s why projects such as Action 4 Children&rsquo;s Intensive Fostering are so interesting, concentrating the expertise of highly trained and motivated foster carers on teenagers on the cusp of the youth justice system.<br /> <br /> I am well aware of C4EO&rsquo;s invaluable work on Early Intervention and cost-effectiveness, and we will study it closely as part of the work that we are currently carrying out on cost-effectiveness within the department.<br /> <br /> Incidentally, it seems to me that Early Intervention provides another argument against the reform of public services being driven by central government. If the solution to a problem has to wait until someone in Whitehall makes a decision, the chance for getting in early and sorting out trouble at its root is likely to have passed.<br /> <br /> And to encourage further that local approach, and to drive home the cost-effectiveness message, we will be investigating ways in which we can ensure that providers are paid partly by the results they achieve. That seems only right.<br /> <br /> Disparity of local authority outcomes &ndash; why are some LAs so much more successful than others?<br /> <br /> I believe that it&rsquo;s only by sharing knowledge and expertise that we will be able to tackle the scandalous disparity of local authority outcomes.<br /> <br /> Why are some local authorities, with no more resources and with similar populations, so much more successful than others at improving outcomes for young people?<br /> <br /> Nottingham, Leicester and Haringey are all in the top 20 most deprived local authorities, but have all seen improvements in reducing both youth crime and teenage pregnancy recently. These local authorities have seen falls of between 15.9 per cent and 21.5 per cent in the rate of teenage pregnancies, compared to the average decrease nationally of 0.2 per cent, where overall figures remain stubbornly high.<br /> <br /> They have also seen falls of between 18 per cent and 62 per cent in youth crime. Stoke-on-Trent &ndash; also in that top-20 most deprived category &ndash; managed to achieve a fall in its youth crime rate of over 70 per cent between 2006-7 and 2008-9.<br /> <br /> What can explain those statistics? And why aren&rsquo;t those results being replicated across the country? In large part it must be because less-good authorities are failing to learn from the best.<br /> <br /> And in a strange way, there&rsquo;s an encouraging message there. It means there are authorities out there doing really great work. It means we don&rsquo;t have to reinvent the wheel. Using good practice developed in one area to help other areas improve their services is a cost-effective way of helping all children and families to achieve good outcomes.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d like to give a plug here for the C4EO website. A good case study can be like gold dust, and C4EO&#39;s rigorous process of validation means that the case studies on your website are a fantastic resource for others seeking to provide better services for their own communities, and great scope for peer mentoring between authorities, ADCs and LGAs.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> All of us, whether in government or the voluntary sector, whether large organisations or individuals, need to work together to tackle the difficulties facing our country.<br /> <br /> That is what the Big Society is all about, and we shall be hearing a lot more about that. It&rsquo;s all about empowering the sector, local communities and individuals to take the lead, to pool and share their expertise.<br /> <br /> And I believe that far from being helpless in the face of global processes, we actually have the solutions in our own hands. We have the resources in our local hospitals and schools and community groups to make this a better country.<br /> <br /> By identifying programmes and organisations that can actually deliver the results we want to see, and using an empirical approach rather than one that is ideologically driven, we can create a pattern for working more intelligently in future.<br /> <br /> In that spirit, over the summer we will be looking at how the Government can best support improvement in children&rsquo;s services without stifling the very real innovation that&rsquo;s at the heart of the best local authorities and their children&rsquo;s services partners.<br /> <br /> I know C4EO and many of you here today will be monitoring our progress, and giving us the benefit of your experience. I look forward to working with you and hearing your views.<br /> <br /> Thank you.<br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061474/tim-loughton-to-the-centre-for-excellence-and-outcomes-in-children-and-young-peoples-services Tim Loughton MP Tim Loughton to the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services Education 2010-06-29
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you for that introduction, and thank you for inviting me to the Grammar Schools Heads Association conference. I&rsquo;m very pleased to have the opportunity to talk to, and hear from, the head teachers of so many excellent schools. Although most of my secondary school education was spent in comprehensive schools, I have very happy memories of my one year at Maidstone Grammar School. It was &ndash; and I know, under the leadership of Nick Argent, still is &ndash; a fantastic school, with a strong ethos and an emphasis on academic excellence and rigour.<br /> <br /> Grammar schools are renowned for their focus on standards, high quality of teaching, excellent results, and a culture of achievement. Last year, over 98 per cent of grammar school pupils achieved five good GCSEs including English and mathematics. Virtually all achieved&nbsp;two or more passes at A Level and equivalent, with over a quarter achieving three or more A grades. And on top of these achievements, the schools represented here today offer a vast array of extra-curricula activities and sport, helping to create well-rounded, as well as well-educated, young people.<br /> <br /> Your achievement is a great testament to the skill, dedication and professionalism of all staff and pupils, as well as to the hard work of the governing bodies that I know play an important role in supporting and developing the ethos of individual schools.<br /> <br /> This Government has a radical agenda to raise standards right across the education sector, to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged, to restore confidence in our qualifications and exams system, and to ensure that children leave school with the knowledge and the important skills they need to succeed in further and higher education and the world of work.<br /> <br /> But, if we are to affect real change, restore Britain&rsquo;s education system, and close the achievement gap between the richest and the poorest in our society, we have to raise aspiration and attainment. And the guiding principles we will follow are those that unite the coalition partners right across this government: freedom, fairness and responsibility.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Freedom</h2> <p> At the core of our approach to education policy is trusting professionals: leaving behind the top down prescription which was the flawed &ndash; albeit well-intentioned &ndash; approach of the previous government.<br /> <br /> We need to give teachers the freedom to decide how to teach, and to some extent what they teach, their pupils.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s why one of the first steps we took was to introduce the Academies Bill, now working its way through committee in the House of Lords before coming to the Commons next month. This Bill builds on the successful introduction of academies by the last Government, and will allow more schools to benefit from the freedoms and opportunities of academy status.<br /> <br /> Academies are free from local authority control, can deploy resources in the most effective way and have the ability to set their own pay and conditions for staff. They have greater freedom over the curriculum, and may also change the length of terms and school days. Yet they operate within a broad framework of accountability which is designed to ensure that standards remain high, and consistent.<br /> <br /> Our Academies Bill will allow more schools to benefit from these freedoms including, for the first time, primary schools and special schools. And we will enable teachers, parents and education providers to set and run new free schools.<br /> <br /> Schools rated outstanding by Ofsted &ndash; including grammar schools &ndash; that want to become academies will have their applications fast-tracked through the process, and ready to open this year if that is what they want to do.<br /> <br /> This is permissive legislation. We are not instructing schools to become academies unless their performance is a serious cause for concern. But many schools are keen to benefit from the additional freedoms that academies deliver.<br /> <br /> Indeed, so far, over 1770 schools have expressed interest. 870 are rated outstanding &ndash; including over half of all outstanding secondary schools in the country &ndash; so this is something that schools clearly want.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m also delighted that, of the 164 grammar schools, 75 have already expressed an interest in acquiring academy status which will allow them to enjoy these additional freedoms and to partner with at least one other school to help drive improvement across the board.<br /> <br /> The Admissions Code will continue to apply to all academies and to any new Free School being established by parents, teacher groups or other philanthropic organisations. So selection by ability will not be an option for those schools. But for grammar schools that opt to become academies, which already select pupils by general ability, they will be able to continue to do so.<br /> <br /> Freedom does not start and end with academy-status. It is also about sweeping away the reams of paper and bureaucratic burdens piled on to teachers and schools: the fortnightly delivery of lever arch files that languish unread in the supply cupboard but whose presence serves to undermine confidence. In Opposition, we added up the total number of pages sent to schools in one 12 month period. It came to 6000 pages, more than twice the length of the complete works of Shakespeare. We will ensure that, in the coming years, schools will be able to find more useful things to keep in their supply cupboards.<br /> <br /> And we have also announced an inspection regime for high performing schools that is very light touch. We want Ofsted&rsquo;s resources to be focussed sharply on those schools that are coasting or struggling and which are failing to deliver the best quality education to their students.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Fairness</h2> <p> The second guiding principle of the Coalition is fairness.<br /> <br /> Our education system continues to be characterised by inequality.</p> <br /> <br /> <ul> <li> The chances of a child who is eligible for free school meals getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths are less than one third of those for children from better-off families.</li> <li> 42 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals did not achieve a single GCSE above a grade D in 2008.</li> <li> More pupils from Eton went to Oxford or Cambridge last year than from the entire cohort of the 80,000 students eligible for free schools meals.</li> </ul> <li> The chances of a child who is eligible for free school meals getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths are less than one third of those for children from better-off families.</li> <li> 42 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals did not achieve a single GCSE above a grade D in 2008.</li> <li> More pupils from Eton went to Oxford or Cambridge last year than from the entire cohort of the 80,000 students eligible for free schools meals.</li> <p> This is a dreadful situation which no government should be prepared to tolerate. Not only does this let down hundreds of thousands of bright children who should have the opportunity to go to excellent schools and to swim in the pool of knowledge that pupils from the better off families take for granted, it will also impair all of our economic and cultural futures.<br /> <br /> I believe strongly that the teaching of knowledge &ndash; the passing on from one generation to the next &ndash; is the fundamental purpose of education. Yet, over the years, too often the teaching of knowledge has been subsumed by an over focus on life skills and well-meaning additions to the curriculum designed to deal with wider social issues and problems. But it is this very drift away from core traditional subjects that is actually widening social division.<br /> <br /> It is a huge concern, for example that the number of pupils being entered for modern foreign languages has fallen from over 450,000 in 2003 to just under 280,000 last year. It&rsquo;s a concern that 47 per cent of A* grades in GCSE French went to pupils in the independent sector despite educating just 7 per cent of pupils. And it&rsquo;s a real worry that while in 2001 30.4 per cent of pupils gained&nbsp;five or more GCSEs including English, maths, science and a modern foreign language, last year that figure was six percentage points lower, at 24.5 per cent.<br /> <br /> E.D. Hirsch, the American academic writes brilliantly about the importance of knowledge. He says, &lsquo;It is the duty of schools to provide each child with the knowledge and skills requisite for academic progress &ndash; regardless of home background&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> He goes onto say, &lsquo;Among advantaged children, wide knowledge nourishes an active curiosity to learn still more, and more, so that the ever-active tentacles create still more tentacles.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> An education system with fairness at its core will ensure that all children regardless of background have access to the rich body of knowledge that is the hallmark of any culture. Knowledge is the currency of a common culture, it is a basic requirement of a civilised nation. Children from knowledge- and education-rich backgrounds start school with an in-built advantage over those from backgrounds without those features. If the school then fails to make up that knowledge deficit, those divisions widen still further.<br /> <br /> Which is why we know from Leon Feinstein&rsquo;s research that low-ability children from wealthy backgrounds often overtake and outperform more able children from poorer backgrounds during the first years of primary school.<br /> <br /> In pursuing fairness in our education system, we need to sharpen our focus on the core business of teaching and learning at every level, ensuring that pupils have the opportunity to select the qualifications that best suit them, and restore confidence in our exams system.<br /> <br /> We will slim down the National Curriculum to ensure pupils have the knowledge they need at each stage of their education. We want a curriculum and qualifications that are comparable and on a par with the best the world has to offer: whether that is the Massachusetts of E.D. Hirsch, Singapore, Finland, Hong Kong, or Alberta.<br /> <br /> We will reform league tables so that parents have the reassurance they need that their child is progressing. But we must also restore confidence in our exam system. Pupils must be entered for qualifications that are in their best interests, not with a view to boosting a school&rsquo;s performance in the league tables.<br /> <br /> And we have opened up qualifications unfairly closed off to pupils in state maintained schools &ndash; such as the iGCSE &ndash; to offer pupils greater choice, and to ensure that they are afforded the same opportunities as those who have the money to go to independent schools. I know that a number of grammar schools have wanted to offer these qualifications to their pupils and now that opportunity is there.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Responsibility</h2> <p> The third coalition principle is responsibility.<br /> <br /> The Government has a responsibly to ensure we have a high quality education system, but it is the responsibility of pupils and their parents to ensure that behaviour in our schools is of a standard that delivers a safe and happy environment in which children are able to concentrate and learn.<br /> <br /> I became an MP in 1997, bright-eyed and eager, never dreaming I&rsquo;d spend the next 13 years in gruelling Opposition. But over the last five years as the Shadow Minister for Schools, I visited nearly 300 schools which has given me real insight into some of the wonderful schools we have in this country. The best schools I have seen have succeeded for many of the reasons that the grammar schools represented here succeed: strong leadership; rigorous standards; recruiting and retaining talented teachers; and, above all, good behaviour.<br /> <br /> I have been to schools in some of the most deprived parts of the country that have excellent behaviour. Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney is a great example.<br /> <br /> But I&rsquo;ve also been to schools in leafy suburbs where behaviour is challenging to say the least. We are determined to give teachers and head teachers the powers they need to ensure they can maintain a safe and secure environment for their students. And we are working to ensure that teachers are protected from the professional and social humiliation of false accusations.<br /> <br /> Mr Chairman, thank you for giving me the opportunity to set out the principles that underpin the coalition government&rsquo;s approach to education.&nbsp;</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <ul> <li> Freedom for the teaching profession to teach rather than wade through an ever-ending process of bureaucratic initiatives.</li> <li> Fairness for the children let down by our education system.</li> <li> A renewed sense of responsibility &ndash; that the education of the next generation is a shared duty, between Government, the profession, parents and pupils themselves.</li> </ul> <li> Freedom for the teaching profession to teach rather than wade through an ever-ending process of bureaucratic initiatives.</li> <li> Fairness for the children let down by our education system.</li> <li> A renewed sense of responsibility &ndash; that the education of the next generation is a shared duty, between Government, the profession, parents and pupils themselves.</li> <p> Getting this right could not be more important. It will determine the kind of society we will have in twenty or thirty years&rsquo; time. Thank you.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061419/nick-gibb-to-the-grammar-schools-heads-associations-national-conference Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to the Grammar Schools Heads Association’s National Conference Education 2010-06-24
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Schools Minister Nick Gibb&rsquo;s speech on sixth forms and Diplomas, to the Sixth Form College Forum, follows:<br /> <br /> Thank you Mark, and my sincere thanks also to David for extending this kind invitation to attend the conference today.<br /> <br /> It is a genuine pleasure to be in Cambridge as a guest of the Sixth Form College Forum, the Association of Colleges and Robinson College &ndash; which is, I believe, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg&rsquo;s former college.<br /> <br /> Ahead of my visit here, David sent me the Forum&rsquo;s 2010 manifesto, which describes sixth form colleges as one of &lsquo;the great education success stories&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> I don&rsquo;t think anyone could disagree with that summary, David.<br /> <br /> And I&rsquo;d like to pay tribute myself, if I may, to the incredible work that has been done by sixth form colleges over the last few years. The average Key Stage 5 point score per student is at the top end of the education institutions in this country.<br /> <br /> Indeed, for most levels of prior attainment, sixth form college students now score two points higher than their peers in other educational settings.<br /> <br /> A very considerable achievement &ndash; and one that the coalition government has looked to as a model for its own programme of reform.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> The ambition</h2> <p> In particular, of course, by examining how the kind of freedoms afforded to sixth form colleges can be extended right across the educational sector &ndash; to promote higher standards for all pupils.<br /> <br /> The vision we have, as you will know, is to create those freedoms by devolving power to the lowest possible level.<br /> <br /> Partly by ending the political hubris of the last ten years, whereby bureaucrats and ministers have instinctively assumed that the &lsquo;centre knows best&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> Partly by sweeping out the morass of bureaucracy that&rsquo;s been building up over our schools and colleges.<br /> <br /> Partly by giving parents greater choice over their child&rsquo;s education.<br /> <br /> But above all, at the core of our approach to education policy, is trusting professionals; in leaving behind the top down prescription which was the approach &ndash; albeit in a well-intentioned approach &ndash; of the previous Government.<br /> <br /> It is a liberal, and liberating, programme of reform that&rsquo;s united from start to finish &ndash; through dotted i to crossed t &ndash; by the coalition principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility:</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <ul> <li> freedom for the teaching profession to teach rather than wade through an ever-ending process of bureaucratic initiatives;</li> <li> fairness for the children let down by our education system; and</li> <li> a&nbsp;renewed sense of responsibility &ndash; that the education of the next generation is a shared duty, between Government, the profession, parents and pupils themselves.</li> </ul> <li> freedom for the teaching profession to teach rather than wade through an ever-ending process of bureaucratic initiatives;</li> <li> fairness for the children let down by our education system; and</li> <li> a&nbsp;renewed sense of responsibility &ndash; that the education of the next generation is a shared duty, between Government, the profession, parents and pupils themselves.</li> <h3> The problem</h3> <p> But it is also a programme underwritten by a strict necessity and pragmatism.<br /> <br /> Despite remaining the&nbsp;fifth largest economy by GDP, this country has systematically, and comprehensively, failed to break the link between deprivation and low attainment:</p> <br /> <br /> <ul> <li> with more students going on to Oxbridge from Eton last year than from the entire cohort of 80,000 students eligible for free school meals</li> <li> with the achievement gap between private schools and state schools actually growing over the last 13 years</li> <li> with 42 per cent&nbsp;of pupils eligible for free school meals not achieving a single GCSE above a grade D</li> <li> and with just a quarter of GCSE students achieving five or more GCSEs &ndash; including English, mathematics, science and a foreign language.</li> </ul> <li> with more students going on to Oxbridge from Eton last year than from the entire cohort of 80,000 students eligible for free school meals</li> <li> with the achievement gap between private schools and state schools actually growing over the last 13 years</li> <li> with 42 per cent&nbsp;of pupils eligible for free school meals not achieving a single GCSE above a grade D</li> <li> and with just a quarter of GCSE students achieving five or more GCSEs &ndash; including English, mathematics, science and a foreign language.</li> <p> It is, frankly, an embarrassing reversal for social justice &ndash; and marks the return of an educational division that has huge ramifications not only for sixth form colleges, but also for the cohort of students applying to study in them.</p> <h3> The solution</h3> <p> The question is &ndash; do we believe that that inequity is an intractable problem? That deprivation is an automatic passport to limited achievement?<br /> <br /> We do not believe it is.<br /> <br /> Deprivation matters, of course, but so does quality of teaching and quality of leadership.<br /> <br /> Colleges &ndash; as one of the strongest in the education sector in both those areas &ndash; can, and should therefore, play a full role in ending that educational division and helping to close the achievement gap between the richest and poorest in society.<br /> <br /> And as we do implement our educational reforms, the Forum will &ndash; we hope &ndash; remain an important partner.<br /> <br /> For that reason, I would particularly welcome the opportunity to start having more regular meetings with the Sixth Form College Forum.<br /> <br /> And with David&rsquo;s consent, I will ask my office to set that in train as soon as possible &ndash; so that we can begin conversations with him on the big issues like reducing bureaucracy, and ensuring greater rigour in our public examinations and qualifications.<br /> <br /> Both of which are areas that I&rsquo;d like to outline in a little more detail today, before we take questions.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Bureaucracy</h3> <p> Firstly, on bureaucracy, we want to offer colleges reassurance that we are working flat out to identify those layers of red tape that can be swept away &ndash; whether regulation, statutory guidance or non-statutory guidance.<br /> <br /> As you know, we&rsquo;ve already indicated that we will end Ofsted inspections for outstanding schools &ndash; along with those in general further education settings.<br /> <br /> And I&rsquo;m very pleased to be able to announce today that Sixth Form Colleges that are rated as outstanding will now be treated in exactly the same way &ndash; with the removal of the requirement to undergo routine inspections.<br /> <br /> This means that 40 per cent of sixth form colleges will now be exempted.<br /> <br /> In addition, we will end the prescription on sixth form colleges to do &lsquo;surveys of learner views&rsquo;, in order to attract 16 to 19 funding. Instead, it will be at the discretion of individual colleges whether or not to undertake these surveys.<br /> <br /> And, finally, we will simplify the 16 to 19 allocations process to both schools and colleges, by working with the Young People&rsquo;s Learning Agency, local authorities and yourselves to strip away bureaucracy.<br /> <br /> As an immediate step, that will include asking the YPLA not to implement &lsquo;in year&rsquo; funding adjustments in the sector.<br /> <br /> A decision that will, we hope, make a real difference to colleges in the reduction of bureaucracy &ndash; and in providing greater certainty.<br /> <br /> We recognise, however, that this is only part of a longer running, iterative programme of red tape reduction.<br /> <br /> And as such, we will want to continually hear from you as to exactly where we can make improvements in the future. The more detail you&rsquo;re able to give us the easier it will be to remove the regulations or guidance.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Academic rigour</h3> <p> Secondly, I wanted to mention the curriculum. We believe colleges and universities should have total confidence in the academic standards they are bequeathed by schools.<br /> <br /> The hard won, international &lsquo;gold standard&rsquo; reputation of our education system has, I&rsquo;m afraid, been chipped away over not just the last 13 years but also, to be frank, probably the last 20 years.<br /> <br /> And there is now real pressure to arrest what has become a creeping disregard for core knowledge &ndash; at the expense of so-called life skills and well-meaning additions to the curriculum designed to deal with wider social issues and problems.<br /> <br /> Independent analysis of exam results by academics at Durham and Coventry Universities, for example, have shown that papers which would have been failed years ago, would now secure good passes.<br /> <br /> Whilst it&rsquo;s also now possible to gain a C pass in some GCSEs with a mark of 20 per cent&nbsp;or less.<br /> <br /> This all hints at problems in our education system &ndash; problems that are indeed revealed through the international league tables &ndash; with our pupils falling from 8th to 24th in mathematics, from 7th to 17th in reading. And 4th to 14th in science &ndash; compared to their peers across the developed world.<br /> <br /> This drop in standards has huge implications, of course, for sixth forms, sixth form colleges, general further education settings, universities and employers.<br /> <br /> And, more generally, it has huge implications for our economic competitiveness and international reputation for innovation and creativity.<br /> <br /> This is why we have already announced that academic diplomas will be stopped and why schools will now be able to choose whether or not their students take the iGCSE.<br /> <br /> Clearly though, the views and experience of partners like the Sixth Form College Forum and the Association of Colleges will play a big role in the evolution of that reform programme.<br /> <br /> As will the curriculum freedoms that Government allows sixth form colleges, general further education settings and school sixth forms.<br /> <br /> It makes perfect sense, we think, to give the 16 to 19 sector far greater autonomy over the qualifications they offer, rather than making sweeping assumptions from the centre about what is best for individual colleges.<br /> <br /> For which reason, we are announcing today the ending of both the Diploma entitlement, and the Extended Diploma.<br /> <br /> The Diploma Entitlement means that schools are having to make complex timetabling arrangements that in some cases mean half days being devoted to teaching one subject, a decision drive not by pedagogy but by logistics.<br /> <br /> By ending the Entitlement schools will be free to offer those Diplomas they feel more comfortable providing.<br /> <br /> The Extended Diploma is both unnecessary and overly complicated.<br /> <br /> However, I would like to offer absolute reassurance to schools and colleges that as long as the diplomas remain popular, and work, then there will &ndash; of course &ndash; be a place for them.<br /> <br /> Our intention is simply to give the sector greater independence over the qualifications it offers, but without taking the choice away from students who wish to study for qualifications like diplomas, the iGCSE or International Baccalaureate.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Funding</h3> <p> Finally, we &ndash; as a Government &ndash; will also need to consider very carefully the concerns of Forum members on issues like the fairness of funding &ndash; which are, of course, an ever present concern for all of us in these very tough economic times.<br /> <br /> As you will know, the coalition government has protected 16 to 19 funding this year &ndash; precisely because it is such a priority.<br /> <br /> In which respect, the Coalition Government&rsquo;s core principles of fairness, freedom and responsibility are just as relevant to how we spend the pennies and pounds, as they are to the policies themselves.<br /> <br /> And we will continue to listen to the Forum and ensure the sector has a voice and influence inside government on financial issues.<br /> <br /> Indeed, we are already looking at specific concerns colleges have on capital programmes. The requirements of sixth form colleges will now be considered as part of a zero-based approach, and not as a late arrival to the party.<br /> <br /> A concern we know many of you had when the Department took over your interests as part of the BSF programme.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h3> Conclusion</h3> <p> David, to end, I wanted to thank you all again for inviting me to the conference.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m very much looking forward to visiting Hills Road Sixth Form College later today, and meeting students as a guest of its principal Linda, who is here today.<br /> <br /> I know she has helped build an absolutely first class institution with a national reputation for excellence.<br /> <br /> But I&rsquo;m just as aware that many of the colleges represented here today do an equally brilliant job &ndash; often in very challenging environments.<br /> <br /> In every way, sixth form colleges are indeed the great success story that the Forum describes them as.<br /> <br /> Much of which is down to the consistently high quality of your leadership, the quality of teaching, and the extent to which you have used your freedoms to make a genuine difference.<br /> <br /> I look forward to working closely with you to make sure that success story carries on well into the future &ndash; with colleges continuing to lead and inspire the 16 to 19 sector.<br /> <br /> My sincere thanks, again, for your time today.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061415/nick-gibb-to-sixth-form-college-forum Nick Gibb MP Nick Gibb to Sixth Form College Forum Education 2010-06-24
<p> *Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> <p> Thank you Tony for that kind introduction.<br /> <br /> And thank you all, for the work that you do.<br /> <br /> The service you give, the leadership you show, the example you set - they are all inspiring.<br /> <br /> And they are what make my work worthwhile.<br /> <br /> The wonderful thing about my job is the opportunity it gives me to see the very best of this country - young people achieving more than they ever thought they could, finding their special talent, taking charge of their own destinies, becoming authors of their own life stories.<br /> <br /> Seeing the work you do - often against the odds, in difficult circumstances, with tight resources and challenging intakes - reaffirms one of my deepest convictions - there is no way to spend your life which is more admirable than following the vocation which inspires all of you - the calling to teach.<br /> <br /> And there is no way I can do this job without listening to you as you explain what drives you, what your ambitions are for the children and young people in your care and what Government can do to serve you.<br /> <br /> Which is why I was so glad to hear what Steve had to say - because the political leadership I want to provide is all about service. It should be Government&rsquo;s job to help, serve and support you - not direct, patronise and fetter you.<br /> <br /> I believe that heads and teachers are the best people to run schools - not politicians or bureaucrats.<br /> <br /> The people from whom I have learnt the most while in politics have been headteachers - people like Fiona Hammans at Banbury School, Joan McVittie at Woodside High, Mike Wilshaw at Mossbourne Community Academy, Mike Griffiths at Northampton School for Boys, Mike Spinks at Urmston Grammar, Sue John at Lampton School, Patricia Sowter at Cuckoo Hall, Sally Coates at Burlington Danes, and so many more.<br /> <br /> At the heart of this Government&rsquo;s vision for education is a determination to give school leaders more power and control. Not just to drive improvement in their own schools - but to drive improvement across our whole education system.<br /> <br /> Looking back over the last 15 years there are any number of things I could criticise - but I won&rsquo;t - instead I want to celebrate the gains which have been made - and one of the most important is the development and deepening of culture in which we recognise that it is professionals, not bureaucratic strategies and initiatives, which drive school improvement.<br /> <br /> Teachers grow as professionals by allowing their work to be observed by other professionals, and observing the very best in their field, in turn.<br /> <br /> Headteachers improve their schools fastest and most effectively by working with other heads who have been on that journey. And both sides gain from the collaboration. Mentoring others is often the best form of professional development.<br /> <br /> The whole culture of the National College under Steve has been informed by this vision of system-led leadership that taps into the profound moral purpose of the profession, which is why I am so grateful to him - and especially admiring of what has been achieved by all of you who are National Leaders of Education.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Moral purpose</h2> <p> But admiring as I am of what has been achieved I am, frankly, impatient for us all, as a nation, to do better.<br /> <br /> Harold Wilson once said of the Labour Party, it is a moral crusade or it is nothing. Well, whatever view one takes of the Labour Party&rsquo;s history, I believe that we have to ensure there is a driving, crusading, vision at the heart of our Government&rsquo;s education policy. Or we will forfeit our mandate.<br /> <br /> Unless we are guided by moral purpose in this coalition government then we will squander the goodwill the British people have, so generously, shown us.<br /> <br /> And the ethical imperative of our education policy is quite simple - we have to make opportunity more equal.<br /> <br /> We have to overcome the deep, historically entrenched, factors which keep so many in poverty, which deprive so many of the chance to shape their own destiny, which have made us the sick man of Europe when it comes to social mobility.<br /> <br /> It is a unique sadness of our times that we have one of the most stratified and segregated school systems in the developed world.<br /> <br /> We know, from Leon Feinstein&rsquo;s work, that low ability children from rich families overtake high ability children from poor families during primary school.<br /> <br /> And the gap grows as the children get older. A child eligible to free school meals is half as likely to achieve five or more GSCEs at grade A*-C, including English and maths, than a child from a wealthier background.<br /> <br /> By 18 the gap is vast. In the most recent year for which we have data, out of 80,000 young people eligible for free school meals, just 45 made it to Oxbridge. That&rsquo;s fewer than some private schools manage by themselves.<br /> <br /> We are clearly, as a nation, still wasting talent on a scale which is scandalous. It is a moral failure, an affront against social justice which we have to put right.<br /> <br /> And that is why I am so glad that at the heart of our Coalition&rsquo;s programme for Government is a commitment to spending more on the education of the poorest. The pupil premium - supported by Conservatives but championed with special passion and developed in detail by our Liberal Democrat partners - is a policy designed to address disadvantage at root. By giving resources to the people who matter most in extending opportunity - school leaders and teachers.<br /> <br /> And far from difficult economic times being a reason to scale down our ambitions, the economic challenges we face are only reason to accelerate our reform programme.<br /> <br /> Because the days are long gone - if they ever existed - when we could afford to educate a minority of our children well while hoping the rest were being schooled adequately.<br /> <br /> Already China and India are turning out more engineers, more computer scientists and more university graduates than the whole of Europe and America combined.<br /> <br /> And the success of other nations in harnessing their intellectual capital is a function of their determination to develop world-beating education systems. Across the globe other nations are outpacing us - pulling ahead in international comparisons, driving innovation, changing their systems to give professionals more freedom to grow, adapt, improve and learn from each other...<br /> <br /> It is no longer enough, if it ever was, to say we as a nation are doing better than we did in the past. As Matt Ridley&rsquo;s wonderful new book Rational Optimism shows, in almost every field of human endeavour we are doing exponentially better than we did in the past. The real test is how are we doing compared to the rest. And in particular, how are we doing compared to the best...</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Learning from overseas</h2> <p> We have to ask ourselves how our 16-year-olds are doing relative to 16-year olds in Scandinavia, Singapore, Canada and Australasia.<br /> <br /> Unless we learn from those nations which are innovating most imaginatively and successfully then we will be failing in our duty to the young people who are in our care while we hold office.<br /> <br /> And the pace of change across the globe is accelerating. Many of those nations which are now the world&rsquo;s strongest performers, from Finland to South Korea, were well behind us in levels of educational achievement a generation ago. Now they put us to shame.<br /> <br /> Twenty years ago we were 14th in the world when nations were measured on how well they educated their teenagers. Now we are 23rd.<br /> <br /> In English, Maths and Science, the figures from the most respected international comparisons also show us falling behind other nations.<br /> <br /> For the fourth-largest economy in the world, with a much higher than average level of investment in education and some of the most talented professionals anywhere in the globe, this performance simply isn&rsquo;t good enough.<br /> <br /> But while the comparisons are sobering, the reasons to be optimistic are plentiful. Indeed most of them are in this room.<br /> <br /> If you look at the most successful education systems in the world - those with the best absolute performance - and those with the highest levels of equity across classes - they all tend to have certain common features.<br /> <br /> They extend a high level of autonomy to individual schools.<br /> <br /> School leaders are empowered to innovate in their own schools<br /> <br /> And they are expected to lead the drive for improvement in other schools.<br /> <br /> The political leadership is uncompromising in the drive for higher standards.<br /> <br /> There is a culture of high expectations which does not allow excuses to be made for poor performance on the basis of class, ethnicity or background.<br /> <br /> There is a proper national framework of accountability.<br /> <br /> Which includes the transparent publication of academic performance on a school-by-school basis with proper, externally set and marked, testing<br /> <br /> And an inspection regime which is very light touch for high performing institutions so the real focus can be on under-performance.<br /> <br /> Teaching is a high status profession which draws its recruits from among the highest performing graduates.<br /> <br /> There is a strong culture of professional development which encourages teachers to improve their craft by learning from others while also deepening their academic knowledge.<br /> <br /> All of these features - which characterise the best education systems in the world - are present in England. But not to the degree we require to keep pace with the world&rsquo;s best.<br /> <br /> Indeed, over the last three years I fear Government action has held our education system back from making many of the advances we needed to make to keep pace with the best.<br /> <br /> Ministers decreased school autonomy, tried to drive improvement through bureaucratic compliance, complicated the inspection regime and simultaneously weakened and complicated our system of accountability.<br /> <br /> The prospect of radical reform along the lines of the world&rsquo;s best education systems, envisaged in the 2005 Education White Paper, was never fulfilled.<br /> <br /> And while we rowed back on reform, the pace of change in other nations accelerated.<br /> <br /> In America, President Obama is pressing ahead with radical school reform to close the gap between rich and poor. He has offered extra support to programmes designed to attract more great people into teaching and leadership, as well as encouraging states to provide greater accountability to parents and welcome new providers into state education.<br /> <br /> He has insisted - along with other Democrat reformers like Arne Duncan, Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee - that there be more great Charter schools - &nbsp;the equivalent of our Academies - to drive up attainment, especially among the poorest. In New York, Charter schools - like the inspirational Knowledge is Power Programme schools - have dramatically narrowed the vast performance gap between black and white children and 91 per cent of those benefiting are on free or reduced price meals.<br /> <br /> With a relentless focus on traditional subjects, a culture of no excuses, tough discipline, personalised pastoral care and enthusiastic staff who work free from Government bureaucracy to help every child succeed, these schools are amazing engines of social mobility that are now sending children from ghetto areas to elite universities.<br /> <br /> In Canada, and specifically in Alberta, schools have also been liberated, given the autonomy enjoyed by charter schools in the US. Head teachers control their own budgets, set their own ethos and shape their own environments.<br /> <br /> In Calgary and Edmonton, a diverse range of autonomous schools offer professionals freedom and parents choice.<br /> <br /> And the result?<br /> <br /> Alberta now has the best performing state schools of any English-speaking regions.<br /> <br /> In Sweden, the old bureaucratic monopoly that saw all state schools run by local government was ended and the system opened up to allow new, non-selective, state schools to be set up by a range of providers.<br /> <br /> It has allowed greater diversity, increased parental choice and has seen results improve - with results improving fastest of all in the areas where schools exercised the greatest degree of autonomy and parents enjoyed the widest choice.<br /> <br /> Finland is often deliberately contrasted with Sweden because of the supposed rigidity of its education system.<br /> <br /> But by placing a premium on specialism, diversity and parental choice within that framework, they too are driving up standards.<br /> <br /> In Singapore, again often held up as a model of regimented Prussian-style centralism, dramatic leaps in attainment have been secured by schools where principals are exercising a progressively greater degree of operational autonomy. The Government has deliberately encouraged greater diversity in the schools system and as the scope for innovation has grown, so Singapore&rsquo;s competitive advantage over other nations has grown too.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> School improvement</h2> <p> It is these examples - and these lessons - that explains our philosophical approach to education perhaps better than anything.<br /> <br /> The most important people in driving school improvement aren&rsquo;t inspectors, advisers, school improvement partners or Ministers.<br /> <br /> It is teachers and school leaders.<br /> <br /> And that is why I am passionate about extending the freedoms denied to you by the last government.<br /> <br /> One of the first things we have done is give professionals more scope to drive improvement by inviting all schools to consider applying for academy freedoms.<br /> <br /> This is an addition to, rather than replacement of the existing academies programmes, We will continue to ensure that academies are used to drive faster and deeper improvements in deprived and disadvantaged areas.<br /> <br /> But we will now also provide you with the kind of autonomy that has served schools in America, Canada, Sweden and Finland so well and allow all schools the freedom to develop their own curriculum and fully control their own budget and staffing.<br /> <br /> Since I issued my invitation to schools three weeks ago, I have been overwhelmed by the response.<br /> <br /> More than 1772 schools have enquired about academy freedoms.<br /> <br /> 870 outstanding schools - including 405 secondary schools and more than 400 outstanding primaries have contacted us - and will lead the way.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s 70 per cent of the outstanding secondary schools in the country and a significant cohort of outstanding primaries.<br /> <br /> I know some have expressed concern that this offer of greater autonomy for schools will work against the collaborative model of school improvement that has grown up over the past fifteen or so years and which has done so much to tackle under-performance in those schools in the most challenging circumstances.<br /> <br /> Let me be clear: I would not be going down this road if I thought it would in any way set back the process of school improvement, if would in any way undermine the progress we need to make in our weakest or most challenged schools or if it would in any way fracture the culture of collaboration which has driven school improvement over the last decade.<br /> <br /> This policy is driven, like all our education policy, by our guiding moral purpose - the need to raise attainment for all children and close the gap between the richest and poorest.<br /> <br /> I believe this policy will only work if it strengthens the bonds between schools and leads to a step-change in system-led leadership.<br /> <br /> That is why I will expect of every school that acquires academy freedoms that it partners at least one other school to help drive improvement across the board.<br /> <br /> That is why I envisage a bigger role for the National College and the programme of National Leaders of Education in brokering and providing support from great schools for those who need help to improve.<br /> <br /> And that is why any school which acquires academy freedoms will continue to be governed by admissions rules which guarantee fair access to all, safeguards the inclusive character of comprehensive schools, ensures all schools take their fair share of pupils in need and prevents any school discriminating in any way against those pupils with special educational needs.<br /> <br /> Within the safeguards provided by these assurances I believe innovation can flourish. New approaches to the curriculum, to assessment, to discipline and behaviour, to pastoral care, to careers guidance, to sport, the arts and music, new ways of gathering data on pupil performance, new ways of supporting teachers to improve their practice, new ways of tackling entrenched illiteracy and the tragic culture of low expectations which blights so many white working class communities.<br /> <br /> And this culture of innovation, I believe, has the potential to benefit all our children.<br /> <br /> Earlier this month, Mike Gibbons of the Richard Rose Federation, wrote an article for the TES which encapsulated my vision.<br /> <br /> More autonomous schools, he wrote, had in the past been<br /> <br /> &lsquo;&hellip;perceived as &lsquo;educational lifeboats&rsquo; to allow highly capable and driven parents to leave the main system.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> But, he argued, that the move to greater autonomy could in fact move our schools system in the opposite direction. More autonomous schools could, should, and in my view will, be &lsquo;tugboats adding extra pull to the drive to increase universal standards, not innovations dragging much-needed resources away from the fleet.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> He then concluded by saying that:<br /> <br /> If we can develop schools to become crucibles of innovation on behalf of the whole system, working for the sake of all children as well as meeting the needs of parents who are seeking different provision, then the sum continues to be greater than the parts. And so every school, regardless of its status, works for itself and for the whole system.<br /> <br /> Mike is himself another example of an inspirational school leader.<br /> <br /> He is also, of course, spot on.<br /> <br /> Whole system improvement, a comprehensive approach to driving up standards for every child, is what the coalition Government aims to deliver.<br /> <br /> Central to that drive is structural reform of the kind I&rsquo;ve laid out - professionals liberated to drive improvement across the system.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Improving teaching</h2> <p> But the success of that model is not the only example of good practice here in England we want to spread more widely, it&rsquo;s not the only lesson from abroad we want to implement more urgently here.<br /> <br /> We also want to take urgent action to attract more great teachers into the classroom. We want to further enhance the prestige and esteem of the teaching profession and further improve teacher training and continuous professional development.<br /> <br /> Look at the highest performing nations in any measure of educational achievement and they are always, but always, those with the most highly qualified teachers. Whether its Singapore, South Korea or Finland, as Sir Michael Barber has pointed out in his ground-breaking study for McKinsey nothing matters more in education that attracting the best people into teaching and making sure that every minute in the classroom is spent with children benefiting from the best possible instruction.<br /> <br /> The generation of teachers currently in our schools is the best ever, but given the pace of international improvement we must always be striving to do better.<br /> <br /> That is why we will expand organisations such as Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders which have done so much to attract more highly talented people into education.<br /> <br /> That is why we will write off the student loan payments of science and maths graduates who go into teaching.<br /> <br /> That is why we will reform teacher recruitment to ensure there is a relentless focus on tempting the best into this, most rewarding, of careers.<br /> <br /> And that is why we will reform teacher training to shift trainee teachers out of college and into the classroom.<br /> <br /> We will end the arbitrary bureaucratic rule which limits how many teachers can be trained in schools, shift resources so that more heads can train teachers in their own schools, and make it easier for people to shift in mid-career into teaching.<br /> <br /> Teaching is a craft and it is best learnt as an apprentice observing a master craftsman or woman. Watching others, and being rigorously observed yourself as you develop, is the best route to acquiring mastery in the classroom. Which is why I also intend to abolish those rules which limit the ability of school leaders to observe teachers at work. Nothing should get in the way of making sure we have the best possible cadre of professionals ready to inspire the next generation.<br /> <br /> And that is why I will also reform the rules on discipline and behaviour to protect teachers from abuse, from false allegations, from disruption and violence. The biggest single barrier to good people starting, or staying, in education is poor pupil behaviour and we need a relentless focus on tackling this issue. That means getting parents to accept their responsibilities, giving teachers the discretion they need to get on with the job and sending a clear and consistent message at all times that adult authority has to be respected if every child is to have their chance.<br /> <br /> As well as giving teachers more control over their classrooms I want to give them more control over their careers, developing a culture of professional development which sees more teachers acquiring postgraduate qualifications like masters and doctorates, more potential school leaders acquiring management qualifications and more support in place for those who want, quickly, to climb up the career ladder. In every single one of these areas the role of the National College will be crucial and I hope we can all work ever more closely together.<br /> <br /> Investing in the workforce is one crucial lesson of great education systems, alongside granting your leaders greater autonomy. But there are others which we are also determined to push forward.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> More intelligent accountability</h2> <p> The best school systems generate rich quantities of data which enable us all to make meaningful comparisons, learn from the best, identify techniques which work and quickly abandon ideologies which don&rsquo;t. In America, President Obama, the Gates Foundation, the top charter schools and the principal education reformers all recognise the need for richer, timelier, more in-depth data about performance.<br /> <br /> That is why we need to keep rigorous external assessment. Improve and refine our tests, yes, but there can be no going back to the secret garden when public and professionals were in ignorance about where success had taken root and where investment had fallen on stony ground.<br /> <br /> Indeed I want to see more data generated by the profession to show what works, clearer information about teaching techniques that get results, more rigorous, scientifically-robust research about pedagogies which succeed and proper independent evaluations of interventions which have run their course. We need more evidence-based policy making, and for that to work we need more evidence.<br /> <br /> And that also means a new role for Ofsted. I want to see an inspection regime which also mirrors the approach of the world&rsquo;s most successful systems. Intervention should be in inverse proportion to success. The best needed only the lightest touch to continue on a course of improvement. Those who are struggling need closer attention. That is why we will direct Ofsted&rsquo;s resources to those schools which are faltering, or coasting, and insist that inspectors spend more time on classroom observation and assessing teaching and learning than having their attention diverted to other, strictly peripheral, areas.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Curriculum and qualifications</h2> <p> There is one other area where I also want us to learn from abroad, indeed to compare ourselves as we have never done before. And that is with our curriculum and qualifications.<br /> <br /> I want to ensure our national curriculum is a properly international curriculum - that it reflects the best collective wisdom we have about how children learn, what they should know and how quickly they can grow in knowledge.<br /> <br /> I want to use the evidence from those jurisdictions with the best-structured and most successful curricula - from Massachusetts to the Pacific Rim - to inform our curriculum development here.<br /> <br /> I want to remove everything unnecessary from a curriculum that has been bent out of shape by the weight of material dumped there for political purposes. I want to prune the curriculum of over-prescriptive notions of how to teach and how to timetable. Instead I want to arrive at a simple core, informed by the best international practice, which can act as a benchmark against which schools can measure themselves and parents ask meaningful and informed questions about progress.<br /> <br /> And alongside curriculum reform informed by evidence I want exam reform sustained by evidence. I want to ensure our qualifications can stand comparison with the most stretching in the world. I want to ensure that the maths tests our 11-year-olds sit are comparable with those 11-year-olds in Singapore sit and the science qualifications 16 or 18-year-olds acquire here are directly comparable with those in Taiwan or Toronto. That is why I want Ofqual to work not just to guarantee exam standards over time, but to guarantee exam standards match the best in the world.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <h2> Conclusion</h2> <p> I won&rsquo;t deny for a moment this is an ambitious agenda. But I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s any point being in politics, fighting elections, seeking office unless you&rsquo;re ambitious to make a difference.<br /> <br /> And if there&rsquo;s any audience I can confess to ambition in front of, it&rsquo;s you. Every day your nurture it, encourage it, celebrate it. You&rsquo;re ambitious for your schools, for the young people in your care, for the students they will become. You want them to be pushed, nudged, cajoled, encouraged, tempted and inspired to do more than they ever thought possible. And you want them to rejoice in knowing they have achieved their full potential.<br /> <br /> And that is what I want too. In the relentless drive to help every child achieve everything of which they are capable there can be neither rest nor tranquillity. But there can be the endless satisfaction of seeing the human spirit ennobled and fulfilled. That is the task you have been called to lead. And it is my job to serve you.</p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061371/michael-gove-to-the-national-college-annual-conference-birmingham Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to the National College Annual Conference, Birmingham Education 2010-06-16 Birmingham
<p> Lord Hill of Oareford&rsquo;s speech to the House of Lords concerning the proposed greater freedoms and responsibilities afforded to schools and teachers by the Bill is available for download from this page.</p> <p> *Please note that the text of the speech&nbsp;may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a0061372/opening-speech-by-lord-hill-of-oareford-on-the-second-reading-of-the-academies-bill Lord Hill of Oareford CBE MP Opening speech by Lord Hill of Oareford on the Second Reading of the Academies Bill Education 2010-06-07
<p> <strong>Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</strong></p> <strong>Please note that the text below may not always reflect the exact words used by the speaker.</strong> <p> Thank you for your incredibly warm welcome.</p> <p> As I think you&rsquo;ll be aware, it&rsquo;s half term. My wife and our two children are in France, and I had the opportunity to join them for a few days at the beginning of the week. Originally I could have taken the whole week off, but I said no, I&rsquo;m going to be here for June [O&rsquo;Sullivan] on Friday. So I knew that it was going to be slightly less than a week. And then there was a vote in the House of Commons on Monday - I can&rsquo;t remember what it was about and I suspect most of the public don&rsquo;t either - and we all had to be there. So that meant I couldn&rsquo;t leave until Tuesday morning. In the end, the only time that I had with my children was from Tuesday afternoon until yesterday. Just a couple of days, but they were hugely enjoyable.</p> <p> One of the things my children are planning to do today is visit a fantastic place in the South West of France where there are some marvellous examples of prehistoric cave art. You&rsquo;ll probably be familiar with those caves in the Dordogne, full of amazing drawings generated by our ancestors thousands of years ago. Recently, academics have been looking more closely at that cave art, and they&rsquo;ve discovered something really striking: they&rsquo;ve discovered that many of those pictures were drawn by children. They&rsquo;ve looked at the scale, the size, the way the indentations have been made on the side of the cave, and they&rsquo;ve realised that only children could have done those drawings. But they&rsquo;ve also noticed that some of these drawings are so high up that children must have been held by their parents, or by other adults, in order to make them. And they&rsquo;ve observed an intricacy that suggest children&rsquo;s hands being guided by adults&rsquo;. More than that, there is actually one section in the cave that is a children&rsquo;s zone, as it were; where most of the drawings, so the prehistoric experts tell us, were done by children.</p> <p> Now from that fascinating discovery, I take a number of lessons about how humans operated tens of thousands of years ago. The first is that the existence of a zone where young people are allowed to play and to explore &ndash; and where adults are there to watch over them and to help &ndash; suggests that children&rsquo;s centres weren&rsquo;t just invented ten years ago; they were invented tens of thousands of years ago. So all of you here are representatives of probably mankind&rsquo;s oldest and most valued profession. The other thing that I learned from those cave drawings is that we&rsquo;ve always had an understanding of the special role that childhood should play; and we&rsquo;ve always had an appreciation of the importance of adults being there to foster child development.</p> <p> This appreciation was instinctive, and it was present tens of thousands of years ago. But it&rsquo;s a lesson we&rsquo;ve had to relearn in the course of the last century. In the last hundred or so years, we rediscovered the importance of childhood and the early years in particular, after a period where we tended to treat children as mini-adults, or as chattels, or as processions. Just over 150 years ago, child labour was a reality that politicians had to fight hard to contain. Children were seen as mini-adults who could be put into work &ndash; worse, mini-adults without rights, mere economic units of production. Families felt they needed to produce more children simply to keep afloat, and our economic system thought that children existed simply to generate profit.</p> <p> But in the course of the last hundred years, we&rsquo;ve recognised once more the unique importance of treating children differently, conferring on children specific rights, and making sure that our education system recognises that, if children are to prosper and succeed, they need special care and attention in each stage of their development. The importance of conferring on young children special rights, and the importance of giving young children special support, is something that the Coalition Government believes we must not only grasp but deepen. Because the growing recognition of the special autonomy of young children &ndash; as well as the growing recognition of what they need &ndash; has been driven not just by a heightening sense of social awareness, but also by a deepening knowledge about the reality of what child development involves.</p> <p> We know that there are specific changes that occur in a child&rsquo;s brain in the earliest years of its life that have a disproportionate impact on that child&rsquo;s fate; on that child&rsquo;s capacity to be able to make the right choices and avoid the wrong temptations. We know that the circumstances of nurture and attachment in the very earliest years of a child&rsquo;s life will often determine the emotional generosity that that child shows later. We know that the range of stimuli that a child has early in life will determine whether or not that child is capable of responding well to other human beings; capable of absorbing knowledge; and capable of becoming a skilful and fully-rounded citizen in years to come. And that&rsquo;s why, at the heart of what we&rsquo;re seeking to do, is a renewed emphasis on the importance of the qualifications of those who work with young people. And that&rsquo;s why we want to be guided by emerging science about how the brain develops. And why we want to look to emerging good practice on the ground from all of you represented here today and beyond. From those who are developing a better understanding of how to bring children up in a way that ensures that they&rsquo;re resilient; that they&rsquo;re intelligent; that they&rsquo;re loving; and that they&rsquo;re citizens of whom we can be proud, and whose values we admire.</p> <p> Now it must be recognised that child development is changing. It&rsquo;s important that we&rsquo;re aware of the sophistication of some of the arguments that are now being developed about how we can best support children. In the past, there tended to be something of a division between different views about how we should encourage children to become ready for school. And I&rsquo;m going to caricature, to exaggerate in order to simplify &ndash; and, I hope, to illuminate. On the one hand were those people who believe that the single most important thing that you can do with children was encourage them to play, encourage them to take delight in exploring their curiosity, and that everything about a child&rsquo;s learning in the very earliest years should be driven by a child&rsquo;s own impulses and instincts. And this was a view which, without wanting to be too highfaluting about it, developed from the ideas of Rousseau and the principle that the newborn child was capable of infinite goodness, but it was society that corrupted them. The important thing to do was to allow that innocence to be sustained and to flourish for as long as possible. Now there was also an alternative view &ndash; a view that believes children should be institutionalised at the earliest possible age, and that there should be formality, rigor and structure to their learning. Yes, play has its role. But that role shouldn&rsquo;t overwhelm the vital importance of making sure that children are acquainted, for example, with the letters of the alphabet or the sequence of numbers at the earliest possible stage. I exaggerate, but we are all aware of people who exemplify some of those impulses: those who argue that the most important thing to do at the beginning is to nurture creativity, and others who believe that children need to be introduced to a formal body of knowledge at the earliest possible stage.</p> <p> I think it&rsquo;s really important that we acknowledge that there is truth to both traditions. It&rsquo;s really important that we recognise that when children are playing, they are learning; and that creativity is essential to what great child development involves. But it&rsquo;s also critical that we recognise that children do need to be introduced to formal knowledge in a way and at a time that is appropriate for their own development. Some of you like me may have grown up watching the genius that is Jim Henson and the Muppets of Sesame Street. You may wonder why I&rsquo;m mentioning Big Bird now. The reason that Jim Henson is a genius is not just because he was an amazing puppeteer and a fantastic communicator and a great entertainer. He was also a genius because Sesame Street sought out children growing up in homes where parents weren&rsquo;t taking them through their ABCs and their 123s, and introduced them to the alphabet and numerical progression. Because he recognised that the allocation of cultural capital in our society is unequal. He recognised that for those who are rich and well-connected, their book-rich homes and their opportunity-rich lives give the children a fantastic start in life. But for those who don&rsquo;t have those opportunities &ndash; who don&rsquo;t have access to literature at home, to museums, to cinema &ndash; it&rsquo;s sometimes more difficult to get the stimuli that give young minds the opportunity to flourish. Jim Henson recognised that, which is why Sesame Street concentrated on giving children a route into formal knowledge.</p> <p> But no one watching Sesame Street would have thought that it was a dry as dust, Victorian-style, schoolroom approach to learning. Sesame Street&rsquo;s approach was driven by the belief that learning should be fun, that it should be entertaining, and that it should be built around the child&rsquo;s sense of growing wonder as they mastered more knowledge and became more confident in the way they interacted with others. The very, very best practice in the early years acknowledges the sheer pleasure that comes from spending time with children and the delight of seeing them enjoy themselves. But the best practice also devotes itself to ensuring that all children grow up equally literate, equally numerate and with equal levels of access to cultural capital. Every part of what the wealthiest in our society have taken for granted as their birthright, belongs to every child.</p> <p> Now in order to achieve that, we need to provide support for those working in the early years. We recognise the difficulties that some of you face, and we also recognise that there are some of the tremendous opportunities to deliver an even better service for the parents who depend on you. So I just want to say a little bit about what the Coalition Government proposes to do and how we hope to support you. Firstly, I&rsquo;m aware that we&rsquo;re all living through difficult economic times. One of the things that I saw in the newspapers just before I left was the Institute of Fiscal Studies report that drew attention to the fact that money was tighter than ever before. I was grateful to them for putting it on to the front page of the Daily Telegraph&hellip; but I didn&rsquo;t really need it there in order to know it. As a constituency MP, as a Minister and as a father, I know that times are extraordinarily tight. I know that the money that&rsquo;s available through the Early Intervention Grant and through the Dedicated Schools Grant is not as generous as any of us would like to see. However, what we have tried to do is two things. One is to allow as much flexibility as possible about how you spend that money. And the other is trying to ensure that the early years get their fair share. That&rsquo;s why Sarah Teather fought a battle with the Treasury and made sure we honoured the last government&rsquo;s guarantee of 15 free hours of pre-school learning for all three- and four-year-olds. Some people believe this was inevitably going to happen. It wasn&rsquo;t. The move from twelve-and-a-half to 15 hours had to be fought for. And it was Sarah who won it for all of us. It was also Sarah who was instrumental in making sure that we extended 15 hours of free education to more disadvantaged two-year-olds. The last government, to their credit, introduced this offer to 20,000 two-year-olds. We&rsquo;re extending it to 120,000. I&rsquo;d like to go further. But at a time when there are so many cuts occurring, I think it&rsquo;s testament to Sarah&rsquo;s passion - and to her skill as a Minister - that she was able to get more money for a vital project at a time when funding was being reduced elsewhere.</p> <p> I know &lsquo;you&rsquo;re not suffering as badly as the next person&rsquo; is perhaps not the most inspiring message. And I know that the money you need is not there at the level you deserve. But we&rsquo;re fighting hard to make sure that at a time of difficulty we do everything we can to support you. I&rsquo;m also struck by the degree of leadership local government is showing. Of course the quality of councils varies. But I&rsquo;m really impressed by the fact that local government as a whole is doing everything possible to keep children&rsquo;s centres open and, more critically to my mind, to ensure that the services provided are preserved as well. There may be closures, there may be mergers, but there are also opportunities to ensure even better working. And I hope that our proposals to introduce payment by results will mean that those of you who are innovating will feel that we&rsquo;re there to support you, to celebrate the superb practice that goes on, and to provide more resources for those who are in a position to be able to expand.</p> <p> Now of course in mentioning good practice, I have to underline our commitment to making sure that we provide you with the curriculum, materials, and methods of accountability to help you with the work that you do. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m so grateful to Clare Tickell for having looked at the Early Years Foundation Stage; for reporting on how we can make it less bureaucratic; and for reflecting in her work the vital importance of balancing school readiness with an appreciation of the best contemporary research on child development. I know that many of you have engaged both with Dame Clare&rsquo;s review, and subsequently, with the consultation about how best to implement it. There&rsquo;s more to say and more to do. But to use a jargon phrase: this has been a co-creative exercise. The work has been done with you, in order to ensure that the materials we produce reflect the best practice on the ground.</p> <p> And talking again of best practice there on the ground, one of the other things I&rsquo;m very conscious of is the divorce between the workforce in schools and the workforce in early years. And we&rsquo;ve tended to think that those who work in schools are teachers; they have their fantastic unions &ndash; with whom we enjoy talking - and their wonderful union leaders who get to appear on Question Time. They&rsquo;re the people who get to command media attention. And resources. And ministers&rsquo; diaries. The early years workforce is sometimes seen as an amorphous group, not least because it is split between DCLG and the Department for Education in terms of the responsibility that we take for it. Well I think the time has come (in fact I think it&rsquo;s long overdue) for us to recognise that all those who work with children - from the moment that they&rsquo;re conceived and born, to the moment that they go out into the world of work - make up one fused and united workforce. All of you are teachers. All of you are involved in the business of education. All of you care about how well children will be integrated into the community. All of you will have skills in pastoral care. All of you are intimately involved in making sure that children learn - and that they find learning fun and stimulating, from the very earliest months through to the rest of their lives. That&rsquo;s why I believe that it&rsquo;s critically important that we reinforce the importance of the workforce in the early years. And that means support for your professional development. It means making sure that we provide the best possible routes to allow you to improve your qualifications and it means eventually that we should have one fused and unified profession, so that from the earliest years, right through to college and university, we think of everyone involved in the business of education as a teacher: equally valued, equally respected, and with equal prestige and esteem in the eyes of society. So that&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m so pleased that Sarah has launched the Nutbrown Review, which is going to look specifically at how we can enhance the level of support that we give to the early years workforce. We&rsquo;re going to look at the qualifications you need, the assistance you require, the professional development that should be available, and what government &ndash; local and central - can do to ensure that we have the best-equipped workforce possible.</p> <p> I mentioned that cave in the Dordogne right at the beginning of my remarks. One of the reasons why that story stuck in my mind is because it reinforces a perception which has influenced me during my time in government. There are some things that Education Secretaries are inevitably judged by. These are often things that tend to happen later on in children&rsquo;s schools lives. We tend to be judged by improvements in Key Stage 2 results; we tend to be judged by increases in attainment at GCSE; we tend to be judged by the number of students going on to top universities or into great apprenticeships. Actually, how we should be judged is very different. What we should be judged by is the quality of the relationships that we foster and that we allow to be created. In some respects, it&rsquo;s intangible. It can&rsquo;t be measured. Ofsted can&rsquo;t pat you on the head because data show the quality of relationships in the institution that you&rsquo;re responsible for are better than those down the road. But it&rsquo;s the quality of relationships that determine the health, the welfare, the worth of a society. And the reason why that cavern image stays in my mind is because, at a time when life was exceptionally tough, when people were living through subsistence agriculture, and through hunting and gathering, it was still the case that parents made time to be with their children at the earliest points in their life. And whether by parents or carers, the hands of those children were guided as they were inducted into that society&rsquo;s values - and they were encouraged to become creative and become young adults in turn. I think it would be a tragedy if we were to create a situation where we so privileged work, where we were so focused on those things that could be measured, that we actually, 10,000 years on, forgot that simple, but powerful lesson: that the most important thing that we can do is to be there to guide the hand of the next generation. To allow them to become truly creative. To allow them to take the path alongside us as proud, confident adults. To allow them to have a healthy relationship with us and with the rest of society. It&rsquo;s because of the work that you do that I know that the quality of relationships for children now is going to be better than ever before.</p> <p> Thank you.</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a00199946/michael-gove-speaks-at-pimlico-academy-about-the-importance-of-early-years Michael Gove MP Michael Gove speaks at Pimlico Academy about the importance of Early Years Education 2011-10-28
<p> In 1879 William Gladstone gave one of his more memorable speeches. In the course of his oration he invoked Pericles, Virgil and Dryden, he poured scorn on Disraeli&rsquo;s doctrine of Imperium et Libertas, he discussed the merits of the Andrassy Note and the Treaty of San Stefano and he outlined six principles of Liberal foreign policy - specifically a limit on legislation and public expenditure at home to conserve the nation&rsquo;s strength, the preservation of peace, the maintenance of a balance of power in Europe, the avoidance of needless entanglements, the acknowledgement of the equal rights of all nations and a positive bias in favour of those people fighting for freedom.</p> <p> In the same address, Gladstone also compared the arguments for Protection and Free Trade, enumerating the advantages of Free Trade, he discussed the folly of land reform and the break up of great estates as a remedy for agricultural distress and he went onto argue that wealth creators should be free from every unjust and unnecessary legislative restraint.</p> <p> Impressive you might say. Some admirable sentiments you might be inclined to agree. With which all of us who might aspire to be Mr Gladstone&rsquo;s heirs in the Commons would do well to acquaint ourselves.</p> <p> Invited to reflect on other contrasts between then and now you might consider how far standards of oratory had fallen. You wouldn&rsquo;t get a speech like that in Parliament today.</p> <p> But Gladstone wasn&rsquo;t speaking in Parliament. He was addressing a crowd of landless agricultural workers and coal miners in Scotland&rsquo;s central belt.</p> <p> Gladstone&rsquo;s Third Midlothian Address is remembered today, insofar as it is remembered today, as the culminating moment in his back-to-the-people, grass-roots, comeback kid campaign for the premiership.</p> <p> It deserves to be remembered as an important moment in the Manichean struggle between the crusader Gladstone and his cynical adversary Disraeli, between the Liberal Party in its High Victorian heyday as a guardian of limited Government and a Tory Party of a proudly imperial kind that we no longer know.</p> <p> But the reason I recall that speech now, is because the most striking thing about the Midlothian campaign is not how different today&rsquo;s Liberals and Tories are from those of one hundred and thirty years ago.</p> <p> I think the most striking thing is how different the public of 130 years ago were.</p> <p> Or more specifically, how different were the expectations that the political class had of that public.</p> <p> It was assumed that an audience of agricultural labourers and mineworkers would either be familiar with or, at the very least be curious about, Pericles and Dryden, the intricacies of the Andrassy Note and the deficiencies of the San Stefano Treaty, the merits of Protection and the arguments from first principles for Free Trade.</p> <p> The public were paid the compliment of assuming they were intellectually curious. They weren&rsquo;t patronised by being treated as rude mechanicals.</p> <p> It would have been unthinkable for Gladstone to have used the House of Commons to answer a question on the fate of a character in a soap opera, as Tony Blair did when he expressed his support for the innocence of Deirdre Rachid.</p> <p> It would have been inconceivable for any member of his Cabinet to have sought public approbation by letting the world know they had the critical tastes of a teenager, as Gordon Brown once did, when he confessed his fondness for the Arctic Monkeys.</p> <p> It would have been impossible to credit if any leading politician of their age had been asked, as Nick Clegg was, how many lovers they had taken before marriage, or as David Cameron was, whether or not he had harboured lurid sexual fantasies about a previous party leader.</p> <p> I draw these comparisons not because I am such a narrow nostalgist that I wish to live in a pristine past purged of modern popular culture.</p> <p> I draw them because I look back with admiration at the great Victorian statesman, their intellectual and cultural self-confidence, and in particular the great ambitions they harboured for the British people.</p> <p> It was an automatic assumption of my predecessors in Cabinet office that the education they had enjoyed, the culture they had benefitted from, the literature they had read, the history they had grown up learning, were all worth knowing. They thought that the case was almost so self-evident it scarcely needed to be made. To know who Pericles was, why he was important, why acquaintance with his actions, thoughts and words mattered, didn&rsquo;t need to be explained or justified. It was the mark of an educated person. And to aspire to be educated, and be thought of as educated, was the noblest of ambitions.</p> <p> The Eminent Victorian, and muscular liberal, Matthew Arnold encapsulated what liberal learning should be. He wanted to introduce young minds to the best that had been thought and written. His was a cause which was subsequently embraced by leaders of Victorian opinion as a civilizing mission which it was their moral duty to discharge.</p> <p> In an age before structuralism, relativism and post-modernism it seemed a natural and uncomplicated thing, the mark of civilization, to want to spread knowledge, especially the knowledge of great human achievement, to every open mind.</p> <p> But, over time, that natural and uncomplicated belief has been undermined, over-complicated and all too often twisted out of shape.</p> <p> Well today I want to reclaim it. I want to proclaim the importance of education as a good in itself. I want to argue that introducing the young minds of the future to the great minds of the past is our duty. I want to argue that we should be more demanding of our education system, demanding of academics, headteachers, professionals in school and students of all ages. We should recover something of that Victorian earnestness which believed that an audience would be gripped more profoundly by a passionate hour long lecture from a gifted thinker which ranged over poetry and politics than by cheap sensation and easy pleasures.</p> <p> Intellectual exercise, like physical exertion, or so I&rsquo;m told, becomes easier the harder you work. A consistent investment of intellectual effort brings the satisfaction of seeing problems dissolve before your analytical gaze.</p> <p> I think any society is a better society for taking intellectual effort more seriously, for rewarding intellectual ambition, for indulging curiosity, for supporting scholarship, for feting those who teach and celebrating those who learn.</p> <p> I believe that because I believe we have all been endowed, either by a generous creator or by those selfish genes, with the capacity to share in greatness.</p> <p> We may not all be able to inherit good looks or great houses, but all of us are heir to the amazing intellectual achievements of our ancestors. We can all marvel at the genius of Pythagoras, or Wagner, share in the brilliance of Shakespeare or Newton, delve deeper into the mysteries of human nature through Balzac or Pinker, by taking the trouble to be educated.</p> <p> I believe that denying any child access to that amazing legacy, that treasure-house of wonder, delight, stimulation and enchantment by failing to educate them to the utmost of their abilities is as great a crime as raiding their parents bank accounts - you are stealing from their rightful inheritance, condemning them to a future poorer than they deserve.</p> <p> And I am unapologetic in arguing that all children have a right to the best. And there is such as thing as the best. Richard Wagner is an artist of sublime genius and his work is incomparably more rewarding - intellectually, sensually and emotionally - than, say, the Arctic Monkeys. Yet it takes effort to prise open the door to his world. That effort is rewarded a thousandfold. The unfulfilled yearning of the Tristan chord, the battle between power and love in the Ring, the sublimity of sacrifice in Parsifal, all these creations of one mind can, today, move and affect the minds of millions with a profundity almost no other work of man can achieve.</p> <p> But for any of us to properly appreciate and enjoy Wagner takes time. And work. The oft-quoted jibe that Wagner has some great moments but some terrible quarters of an hour underlines how inaccessible he can be, at first.</p> <p> But one of the first lessons we learn on the road to maturity is that the greatest pleasures are those which need to be worked at. Instant gratification palls. Investing care and attention, and deferring gratification, brings understanding, appreciation and real enjoyment. Whether its friendship or cooking, listening to Richard Wagner or appreciating a work by Nicolas Poussin, the more time and care that is invested the richer and deeper the rewards.</p> <p> Which is why I am worried that far too often we do not expect, let alone, demand the level of effort, application and ambition of which students are capable. We do not seek to stretch them, and reward them, as Gladstone stretched and rewarded his audience of labourers one hundred and thirty years ago.</p> <p> I accept that some may think my position is romantic - hopelessly so. How can I talk of Pericles and Wagner when the young people I dream of engaging with Greek heroes and German operas were on our streets this summer rioting and are on our conscience this winter as the number of young unemployed appears to rise remorselessly?</p> <p> Well, yes, I am romantic in one sense I suppose. Promethean even. I believe man is born with a thirst for free inquiry and is nearly everywhere held back by chains of low expectation. I am convinced there is an unsatisfied hunger for seriousness and an unfulfilled yearning for the demanding among our citizens.</p> <p> In Willy Russell&rsquo;s drama Educating Rita, his heroine, played by Julie Walters in the film version, is portrayed at one point in a cosy Merseyside pub with her friends and family as they, increasingly merrily, belt out the familiar numbers they&rsquo;ve sung along with all their lives.</p> <p> As a picture of traditional working class solidarity, it&rsquo;s moving - in current circumstances it&rsquo;s even elegiac. But, as Russell knows, it&rsquo;s also constricting. Rita, growing frustrated with the limited horizons of her close-knit community, insists &ldquo;there must be better songs to sing&rdquo; and seeks them in education.</p> <p> Her subsequent, earnest and driven, pursuit of knowledge helps rescue her tutor, Frank, from his jaded and complacent approach to learning as he recovers, through her, his original enthusiasm for literature.</p> <p> Educating Rita is fiction of course, but it resonates because there are so many of our fellow citizens who know there are better songs to sing than those they hear around them every day.</p> <p> The appetite among parents from poorer homes for strenuous educational excellence - for stretch and challenge - is constantly under-estimated.</p> <p> Let me illustrate my point with one anecdote. And then some data. The anecdote first.</p> <p> Jade Goody may be an unfamiliar name to many of you. But she is the epitome of a celebrity famous for being famous. A contestant on the crudely exploitative TV game show Big Brother she was singled out for notoriety because she appeared so tragically poorly educated. She didn&rsquo;t know where or what East &lsquo;Angular&rsquo; was, she seemed at sea with any literary, historical, cultural or political reference - and therefore she became a poster girl for general ignorance and terminal educational failure.</p> <p> To her enormous credit, she turned this notoriety into celebrity, turned scorn into sympathy and transformed a fleeting appearance in a game show into the launchpad for a hugely successful modern media career.</p> <p> Her life was cut tragically short, however, by cancer. But before she died she worked harder than ever to set up a trust fund for her sons. With the explicit aim of enrolling them in one of Essex&rsquo;s most traditional prep schools and then ensuring they could go onto public school.</p> <p> Scorned as she may have been, almost by the whole nation, for her lack of education, Jade knew its worth. If she merely wanted her children to be rich she need simply have left them her wealth. But she wanted more - she wanted them to be educated, to have their minds enriched.</p> <p> And lest you think Jade is an exotic exception, a bird of bright plumage atypical of her environment, consider the facts on the ground now in our capital.</p> <p> For generations the working class communities of South London have been tragically ill-served by council-run schools which consistently failed to secure a decent clutch of GCSEs or their equivalent for the overwhelming majority of their pupils. It was assumed that the children could scarcely be expected to do better, given their backgrounds. And parents were denied any meaningful information about how their children&rsquo;s schools performed relative to others so they had no real idea how badly they were being betrayed by those who took their votes, council rents and rates for granted.</p> <p> But recently those families have been given an alternative. Through a combination of league tables, schools free of council control, and headteachers free to hire who they want and pay them what they want.</p> <p> As a result of these changes we can see that for example the peer Lord Harris of Peckham now runs a dozen comprehensives which were once local authority controlled schools. They draw pupils from the same communities that they always have, and they enjoy the same level of funding as all their neighbours. But their results are incomparably better. Ten times as many students get five good GCSE passes as a few years ago. The rate of performance improvement is far faster than that of any neighbouring school. And schools which once struggled to fill their classrooms are now hugely over-subscribed.</p> <p> And that&rsquo;s because so many parents, and its often parents who themselves were denied a great education themselves, yearn to see their own children properly educated. And they know what that entails almost instinctively.</p> <p> They know that mathematics, English, the sciences, foreign languages, history and geography are rigorous intellectual disciplines tested over time and want those subjects prominent in the curriculum. They know that ordered classrooms with strict discipline are a precondition for effective teaching and a sanctuary from the dangers of the street. They know that respect for teachers as guardians of knowledge and figures of authority is the beginning of wisdom. And as a result we now have a situation where parents don&rsquo;t just flock to these schools, they actively petition local authorities to allow Lord Harris to take over their schools.</p> <p> The Harris academies, like those of ARK, E-ACT, ULT and others are providing children with the opportunity to transcend the circumstances of their birth, just as the grammar schools of the past gave an, admittedly smaller, proportion of their predecessors similar opportunities.</p> <p> And to visit these schools is to be reminded, at every turn, of what a love of learning looks like.</p> <p> In Burlington Danes, an Academy run by the charity ARK in White City, academic excellence is recognised with a rank order system for every pupil in every year, allocating a place to every child in every term based on their performance subject by subject. So at half term the children are examined, given their scores from 1 to 120.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s kept private. Then they have the opportunity in the remaining half term to improve their scores and at the end of it every student in every year is ranked, in every subject and for effort, and also artistic and sporting achievement. When I encountered this the first time I thought - that&rsquo;s a bit hard core, must be unpopular with some of the parents and some of the students. But actually I was told that this had been the single most popular change that had been initiated. The children were now so anxious to do well in this competitive process, which rewards the acquisition of knowledge, that they petition the head to have them transferred out of classes where teachers are weak into those where teaching is strong. They know when they are being fed material which is thin gruel intellectually and they demand better. They ask for more homework and additional reading. They thirst to know.</p> <p> In another Academy school that I visited just last week, Denbigh High, the students, overwhelming Asian, second and third generation immigrant families, competed to tell me why they preferred Shakespeare to Dickens and they showed me how alliteration, personification and first person narration helped hook readers into the openings of particular novels.</p> <p> When students from the communities that these schools serve display such passion for learning they only underline how poorly we serve so many of their contemporaries.</p> <p> Because while schools such as these may ensure that three quarters of their students get five good GCSEs, the whole country only succeeds in getting half of young people to that level.</p> <p> And what&rsquo;s worse is that just around 16 per cent manage to succeed in getting to secure a C pass or better at GCSE in English, Maths, the sciences, a language and history or geography.</p> <p> And lest you think that a C pass in these subjects is an impossibly high hurdle for many young people consider this.</p> <p> It is possible to secure a C pass in mathematics GCSE with less than 35% of the questions right.</p> <p> Until this Government came to power there was no formal recognition of grammar punctuation or spelling in the mark schemes for GCSE.</p> <p> Conventional grammar - as we understand it here and as Simon Heffer lays it out masterfully in his wonderful book Strictly English - doesn&rsquo;t feature in the English curriculum.</p> <p> But the English Language GCSE can include listening to tape recordings of Eddie Izzard and the Hairy Bikers.</p> <p> In English Literature, many students will only have read one novel for their exam - and the overwhelming number - more than ninety per cent &ndash; will have studied only either Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies or To Kill a Mockingbird. Out of more than 300,000 students who took one exam body&rsquo;s English Literature GCSE last year, just 1,700 &ndash; fewer than 1% will have studied a novel from before 1900 for the exam.</p> <p> In science GCSE students are asked which is healthier &ndash; a grilled fish or battered sausages?</p> <p> In History GCSE, only a tiny proportion of students who get the chance to choose the papers study for those which deal with our own past in any depth - the overwhelming majority focus on the American West 1840 to 1895 or the Nazis.</p> <p> I could go on.</p> <p> I could explain that it&rsquo;s possible to secure a good pass at A level in a modern language without having studied any work of foreign literature.</p> <p> I could relay the sentiments expressed to me by members of the Royal Society last week who found current science A levels inadequate preparation for university study.</p> <p> I could even quote from Robert Tombs, a history don here in Cambridge who lamented in the London Review of Books that, &ldquo;The present system &ndash; curriculum, examination methods and teaching practices combined &ndash; is ineffective in producing skills or knowledge, breadth or depth. It drills students to write formulaic essays on causation and mechanically &lsquo;evaluate&rsquo; miscellaneous texts for &lsquo;reliability&rsquo;. And it&rsquo;s boring: students and teachers are stuck in a round of tests, exercises and exams, which discourages them from venturing outside the limits of a fragmented and decontextualised curriculum. Hence a level of ignorance that still sometimes makes me gasp, and complacency about that ignorance, as if no one could possibly know anything not specifically taught.&rdquo;</p> <p> I could go on but I think you get the picture.</p> <p> That is why the Coalition Government is reforming our national curriculum - so that every parent and every child is clear on the essential knowledge they need in the subjects that matter.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s also why we&rsquo;re reforming our whole exam system - so our GCSEs and A-levels can stand comparison with the most rigorous exams in the highest-performing jurisdictions.</p> <p> And also it&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re ensuring those schools with the worst academic record are taken over by organisations with a proven track record of educational excellence.</p> <p> Schools in East Manchester which have under-performed for years are now being transformed, as Academies, through the example set by the leadership of Altrincham Girls&rsquo; Grammar School.</p> <p> A comprehensive in Wiltshire which had not allowed service children to fulfil their potential is now being transformed as an Academy sponsored by Wellington College.</p> <p> Uppingham is supporting schools from Preston to Grimsby which desperately needed to have their ambitions raised beyond what they have ever achieved in the past. Brighton College is setting up a new academy school for the very brightest sixth-formers in one of the most deprived parts of the East End of London to give them an equal chance to compete for university places with students at fee-paying schools.</p> <p> Overall there are now more than 1,400 academies and free schools in England - a 700% increase in the numbers we inherited - all of them are schools free from local authority control and focused entirely on raising standards. They have all the freedoms of independent schools over curriculum, staffing, timetabling and ethos. And I expect great things of them.</p> <p> But 1,400 is not enough. And to take reform to the next stage I want to enlist more unashamedly elitist institutions in helping to entrench independence and extend excellence in our state sector. I want universities like Cambridge, and more of our great public schools, to help run state schools. They will be free of any government interference, free to hire whoever they want, pay them whatever they want, teach whatever they want, and as a result we can demand higher standards.</p> <p> I want this because I believe in a truly liberal approach to education - like that outlined by John Stuart Mill - where the state provides the finance and sets high expectations but the delivery of education and the management of day-to-day learning is devolved to genuinely independent schools and chains of schools.</p> <p> And I also believe we must be more radical in our reform programme because we are still not asking enough of our education system, and we are not being ambitious enough for our young people.</p> <p> Now of course I acknowledge that children are working harder and as I&rsquo;ve said on every platform I&rsquo;ve been given, and as I&rsquo;ve always said, I believe that the young teachers who are now entering the profession are better than any generation of teachers ever before.</p> <p> But I don&rsquo;t believe it is enough to compare ourselves with the recent past and assume that incremental progress from where we once were is enough.</p> <p> That lack of ambition would have appalled our Victorian ancestors. And it&rsquo;s certainly not apparent in other nations. In the last ten years we have fallen behind other countries. We have fallen from 4th in the world for the quality of our science education to16th. 7th in the world for literacy to 25th. 8th in the world for maths to 28th. In Shanghai 14 year olds are two years ahead of their English contemporaries in maths skills.</p> <p> In Singapore and Hong Kong children are introduced to calculations involving fractions and the foundations of algebra long before our children.</p> <p> In Poland and Hungary children are expected to be familiar with a canon of great literature more extensive and demanding than any we have ever prescribed.</p> <p> Now there are very powerful economic reasons why this relative decline should worry us. Globalisation may be a moderately ugly word for what is really just the victory of liberal economics or Victorian political economy over its rivals - but its consequences of globalisation for those without qualifications are truly ugly.</p> <p> The number of jobs available in this country to those with few, or no, qualifications is rapidly diminishing as lower wage costs abroad, and technological advance at home, bear down on employment opportunities.</p> <p> Those countries with the best educated workforces will be the most attractive to investors, particularly if those workforces are mathematically and scientifically literate and have displayed a talent for hard work and application throughout their student days.</p> <p> The more connected, and numerous, your population of well-educated citizens are, the greater the potential for intellectual collaboration and creativity, driving innovation and growth. Whether its Palo Alto or Silicon Fen, there&rsquo;s a reason why we need to preserve the idea of communities of scholars which the original founders of Oxford and Cambridge established.</p> <p> Countries which award soft qualifications to students, which are not comparable to those in the most rigorous jurisdictions, suffer just as surely as a country which issues money too promiscuously to pay its debts suffers. Grade inflation, like currency inflation, costs us all in the long run.</p> <p> So I believe we need to do everything we can to stimulate economic growth and I have argued that the best way of doing so is for policies to drive up educational standards. There is no question but that a better educated population is our best long-term growth strategy. Investment in intellectual capital is the best way of a nation securing a proper return on its money.</p> <p> But it is important that while we acknowledge the critical role that higher educational standards can play in generating wealth and spreading opportunity more evenly, it&rsquo;s really important that we do not subordinate education to purely economic ends.</p> <p> If we are to recapture and reclaim the importance of liberal learning we must always state that education is a good in itself.</p> <p> And in our anxiety to explain, as I have to, why a focus on educational excellence makes sense economically I must make sure that I do not fall into the trap of justifying learning only in utilitarian or instrumentalist economic terms.</p> <p> I acknowledge that one of the reasons why we want economic growth is so that we can ensure that the place of learning in our culture and civilization is protected, and enlarged.</p> <p> I want, not for economic reasons but for the best of reasons, more of our fellow citizens to study English literature in depth. I want that because the great works of the canon contain eternal truths about human nature conveyed with a profundity and weight it&rsquo;s impossible to encounter anywhere else.</p> <p> Middlemarch should be part of the mental furniture of many more of our fellow citizens because its lessons about respecting the autonomy and individuality of others, its exercise of imaginative sympathy, its belief that one should not seek to make instruments of others to satisfy your own will and its author&rsquo;s recognition that good is more often achieved by modest persistence than grand projects are all conveyed with such sublime and generous mastery of feeling and language that it is a delight to spend time in the presence of George Eliot&rsquo;s genius.</p> <p> Whether its Austen&rsquo;s understanding of personal morality, Dickens&rsquo; righteous indignation, Hardy&rsquo;s stern pagan virtue, all of these authors have something rich to teach us which no other experience, other than intimate connection with their novels, can possibly match.</p> <p> I also want more of our fellow citizens to study mathematics and science to a higher level because there is a beauty and wonder in the physical world, a poetry and pattern in number, an awe and excitement in mapping creation which takes all our brains onto a higher plane.</p> <p> Scientific reasoning, the falsifiability of assumptions, the need to measure reliably, weigh evidence rigorously, submit to the examination of peers, all of these things which science teaches us contribute to the questioning mindset our society needs if it is to avoid error, falsity, superstition and folly.</p> <p> Similarly the study of history is important. Not just because it is an excitement in itself &ndash; because it brings us into direct contact with the lives of those great men and women who bent events to their will. It also teaches us how to weigh evidence, test assertions, sort good arguments from bad, plausible explanations from bogus.</p> <p> I also believe in the study of a foreign language because it extends not just the reach of our empathy but it opens up new ways of reasoning and judging. It allows us to see how complex individual societies and cultures are, gives us a new way of observing the world and ourselves. It gives us a privileged vantage point accessible only after hard work, but worth it because so much is revealed.</p> <p> I believe in the application to all these subjects because they cultivate the mind - and they inculcate in the citizen the virtues we once called republican.</p> <p> It was a central argument of renaissance historians and political theorists that any republic or commonwealth - whether the Rome of the time before the Caesars or the Holland of the seventeenth century - needed citizens who were schooled in virtue if it was to survive and prosper.</p> <p> Open, and participative political systems could not long endure if men were left simply to follow their appetites or allowed, unprotected, to fall prey to demagoguery.</p> <p> If these polities were to succeed then citizens needed not just a technical education in a skill to earn their living or basic literacy and numeracy to learn the laws and pay their taxes. They needed to have learned lessons from history, studied the examples of great men from the past, developed robust reasoning skills, had a grounding in ethics, learned to appreciate the importance of art and music, architectural and natural beauty. Without that knowledge, that understanding that the survival and enhancement of a civilization and its culture mattered more than manoeuvring for personal advantage, a society it as thought would inevitably decline, dragging all its citizens with it.</p> <p> And it is to you, as members of this University, that I now look for champions ready to enter the public square uphold the pursuit of knowledge as a good in itself.</p> <p> And ultimately I cannot put it better than Gladstone did, in another of his great speeches, his rectorial address to the University of Glasgow.</p> <p> He was concerned about the dominance in the life of the nation of a new class of speculative financiers who were united only by &ldquo;the bond of gain, not the legitimate produce of toil by hand or brain.&rdquo; They, in an uncanny prefiguring of what happened with derivatives, &ldquo;gave their name to speculations which they neither understand nor examine&rdquo; and their endorsement means they act as &ldquo;decoys to allure the unwary and entrap them&rdquo; into unwise investments.</p> <p> The growth of these individuals who were indulging in such speculations was proof, Gladstone thought, that &ldquo;we live in a time when, among the objects offered to the desire of a man, wealth and the fruits of wealth have augmented their always dangerous preponderance.&rdquo;</p> <p> We might well reflect on the appositeness of that warning for our own times - and in particular the importance of places of learning as bulwarks against greed and materialism.</p> <p> Universities were, Gladstone argued, &ldquo;places of hard labour and modest emoluments&rdquo; well that much hasn&rsquo;t changed...</p> <p> &hellip;&ldquo;but the improvement of the condition of the student flows from the improvement of the condition of his mind, from the exercise and expansion of his powers to perceive and to reflect, from the formation of habits of attention and application, from a bias given to character in favour of cultivating intelligence for its own sake, as well as for the sake of the direct advantages it brings.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;The habits of mind formed by universities are founded in sobriety and tranquillity, they help to settle the spirit of a man firmly upon the centre of gravity; they tend to self-command, self- government and genuine self-respect.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;All honour then to the University, because while it prepares students in the most useful manner for the practical purposes of life, it embodies a protest against the excessive dominion of worldly appetites and supplies a powerful agency to neutralizing the specific dangers of this age.&rdquo;</p> <p> To which I can only say, as I&rsquo;m sure the audience at the Third Midlothian Address did, hear, hear....</p> None http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a00200373/michael-gove-to-cambridge-university Michael Gove MP Michael Gove to Cambridge University Education