Schools will have to stay open longer in the future to help children perform better and catch up on teaching missed during the Covid 19 pandemic, the Education minister has said.
But what exactly has Nadhim Zahawi said in the Government white paper, what changes has he outlined for schools and when would they come into effect?
Here’s what you need to know.
What has been said in the white paper?
The schools white paper, called Opportunity for All, sets out the way schools should operate in the next 10 years.
It details various plans that aim to help at least 90% of primary school children reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths in Key Stage 2 by 2030.
In 2019 only 65% of children achieved this standard, with the Covid 19 pandemic then presenting challenges to the school system unlike anything experienced in this generation.
The paper also highlights a goal for the national average GCSE grade in both English language and maths in secondary schools to increase from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.
The paper details how this will be achieved, including all schools becoming part of a multi-academy trust by 2030.
Ofsted, the school’s regulatory body, will also be required to inspect every school by 2025 - including the backlog of ‘outstanding’ schools that haven’t been inspected for many years.
To help achieve the attainment goals for all children by the end of primary and secondary school, the Government has also pledged to create 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024 and offer a £30,000 starting salary to attract and keep the best teachers.
Will schools have to stay open longer?
Yes, as part of the plans all mainstream state-funded schools will be asked to stay open for a minimum of 32.5 hours by September 2023 - and more if possible.
That means they will be open for 6.5 hours a day, the equivalent of between 9am and 3.30pm.
The white paper said: “Considering the wider benefits of increased time for pupils, including more opportunities for learning, socialisation with peers and enrichment, we will encourage schools to explore going further than 32.5 hours if possible.
“We can and should go further, including to address a lack of consistency in school opening hours and in the extra-curricular offers schools afford their children.
“Following the sacrifices young people made during the pandemic there is – now more than ever – a moral imperative to ensure no child is short-changed on their time in school.”
The paper also stated that schools are encouraged to bring in these new longer opening times as soon as possible, with September 2023 being the latest date to implement the change.
What is the parent pledge?
The white paper has also set out a parent pledge, which is a promise to all parents and carers.
It promises them if their child falls behind in English or maths they will be told, and then they will be given “timely and evidence-based support” to help them catch up.
The white report said: “Many children, at some point in their school journey, fall behind. They miss some lessons through illness, or don’t grasp a critical concept.
“They catch up through our education system’s first line of support: excellent teaching. Some children, however, will need additional support in order to progress through the curriculum in English or maths.”
“Too often this support is only available for children who have acquired a label – that they have a special educational need, or have been identified as disadvantaged. We will ensure all children are able to get the support they need, without requiring a label.”
The white paper also acknowledges that some children do have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) which impact on their educational performance, and pupils will “not need a diagnosis in order to access academic support”.
More information on this is available in the SEND Review green paper.
What has Nadhim Zahawi said?
In the white paper, the Education Secretary said the Government must do more but it can’t do everything.
“We must do more to ensure every child can access cornerstone literacy and numeracy skills, wherever they live and learn.
“My vision is simple: to introduce and implement standards that will improve children’s education [and] deliver the right support if they fall behind.
“Government does not have all the answers, and nor should it. It will need parents, teachers, community leaders, social workers, local authorities, professionals and children themselves to come together as one to make it succeed.”