Opportunity for all – government white paper

Posted on March 29th, 2022

The government published on 28 March 2022 a schools white paper entitled Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child. In his introduction to the document, the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, says that his vision for the white paper and the SEND review alongside it is ‘to introduce and implement standards that will improve children’s education, deliver the right support if they fall behind and give them the tools to lead a happy, fulfilled and successful life’. This means, he goes on to say, that we need to go from roughly seven in ten children achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics by the end of primary school to nine in ten children by 2030, and at the same time improve the national GCSE average grade in both English and mathematics from 4.5 to 5. These ambitions will be the measure of the success of this white paper.

The headline measures are explained in detail in four chapters, illustrated by diagrams and case studies. We summarise the most significant of these below.

An excellent teacher for every child

Main points

  • By 2030, every child will be taught by an excellent teacher trained in the best-evidenced approaches.
  • 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024, giving all teachers world class training and CPD at every stage of their career.
  • New specialist training to drive better literacy, including new NPQs for leading literacy and early years leadership. A consultation on a leadership level NPQ for SENCOs.
  • £30,000 starting salaries to attract and retain the very best teachers, with additional incentives to work in schools in disadvantaged areas.

Further information

  • Evidence embedded at the heart of teacher development.
  • The establishment of an Institute for Teaching.
  • Levelling up premium worth up to £3,000 tax free for eligible early career teachers of mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing who work in disadvantaged schools including the new Education Investment Areas.
  • A new cadre of National Leaders of Education.
  • A new digital service will recognise international teaching qualifications.
  • New relocation premium and bursaries for international trainees.
  • Inspection of all ITT providers by July 2024.
  • A new scholarship to attract the most talented language graduates.
  • A new ITT course to support more engineers to teach physics.
  • Every school to have access to a funded senior mental health lead to support pupil wellbeing.

Delivering high standards of curriculum, behaviour and attendance

Main points

  • By 2030, every child will be taught a broad ambitious curriculum in a school with high expectations and strong standards of behaviour.
  • A new arms-length curriculum body – Oak National Academy – building on the success of Oak National Academy to create free, optional adaptable digital curriculum resources, working closely with Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Ofsted.
  • A richer, longer average school week – schools will offer a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023.
  • Better behaviour and higher attendance.

Further information

  • Improved uptake of EBacc subjects.
  • GCSEs and A levels to return to pre-pandemic grading in 2023.
  • A new literacy and numeracy test for a sample of year 9 pupils.
  • No changes to the national curriculum for the duration of this parliament.
  • A new NPQ in behaviour and culture.
  • EEF and Youth Endowment Fund to develop off the shelf attendance interventions for schools.
  • A register of children not in school. To make sure no child is lost from the system.
  • Ofsted to inspect the practices of off-rolling or moving children between educational establishments.
  • Safeguarding practices to be reinforced at all levels.

Targeted support for every child who needs it

Main points

  • By 2030, every child who falls behind in English or mathematics will get the right support to get back on track.
  • A parent pledge that the school will provide evidence-based support if a child falls behind in English and mathematics and inform parents of their children’s progress.
  • Support for children who have fallen behind through up to six million tutoring courses by 2024.
  • A secure future for the EEF by an endowment of at least £100 million.

Further information

  • Individual and small group tuition to become a permanent embedded feature of the school system.
  • Reform of SEND and social care systems.

A stronger and fairer school system

Main points

  • By 2030, all children will benefit from being taught in a family of schools, with their school in a strong multi-academy trust (MAT) or with plans to join or form one.
  • A clear time frame for a fully trust-led system with a single regulatory approach.
  • A clear role for every part of the school system.
  • Education Investment Areas to increase funding and support to areas in most need, plus extra funding in priority areas facing the most entrenched challenges.

Further information

  • Capacity will be increased in parts of the country that need it most – investment in 55 Education Investment Areas over the next two years, with £40 million additional funding for 24 of them highlighted as priority areas. The money will be used to address local needs such as high absence rates.
  • A consultation on moving any school that has two consecutive Ofsted judgments of less than ‘good’ into strong trusts to tackle underperformance, starting in Education Investment Areas.
  • The launch of a new MAT chief executive officer development programme for established leaders.
  • The opening of a targeted number of high quality, academically focused 16–19 free schools in areas of most need.
  • Trusts should be composed of at least 10 schools or serve at least 7,500 pupils.
  • Stand-alone new academies will be discouraged but high quality free schools may open initially on a stand-alone basis.
  • Local authority maintained specialist providers can move into specialist-only or mixed trusts, dependent on individual or local circumstances.
  • Local authorities will be able to open new MATs where too few strong trusts exist.
  • Legislation will protect the statutory freedoms and protections for faith schools when they join a MAT.
  •  Continued support for keeping small rural schools open where possible.
  • The security of selective schools within MATs will be protected.
  • A new definition of trusts focused on quality and inclusivity of the education provided, working towards school improvement, with good strategic governance, a great workforce and sound financial management.
  • A review of trusts in May 2022 to look at accountability and regulation of trusts.
  • Powers for the Education Secretary to bring maintained schools into the trust system under certain circumstances.
  • Local authorities to remain at the heart of the system – championing all children in their area, especially the most vulnerable.
  • Establishment by summer 2022 of a new nine Regions Group, with regional schools commissioners in future known as regional directors.
  • All schools to have been inspected against the current framework by summer 2025, including formerly exempt outstanding schools.
  • High quality places and fair admissions across the country.
  • Consultation to give local authorities the powers to object to a school’s published admissions number (PAN) in areas where there is a need for more places.
  • A new admissions framework to put children’s needs first and reform over-subscription rules.
  • A system that works for vulnerable children and children with SEND – a green paper on SEND came out on 29 March 2022.
  • A further £7 billion will be invested for the core schools budget by 2024/25.
  • Trusts must make clear to parents why they have chosen to ‘top-slice’ or pool resources in the interests of effective and efficient operations.
  • All schools to use the DfE School Resource Management tools.
  • Schools must make the best use of technology to support innovation and the spread of evidence-based practice and of digital education – all schools to have high speed broadband connection by 2025.
  • Remote education will continue to be used allowing children to keep pace with their education when attendance at school is not possible.


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