2016 Schools White Paper: six key points for parents

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.

The government published its schools White Paper today. The document, called Educational Excellence Everywhere, sets out its proposals for future legislation and runs across 128 pages.  

School Guide has picked out six key points for parents from the 2016 shake up:

  1. Parent governors are to be dropped from school governing bodies England in favour of professionals with the “right skills”. The new emphasis will be on the skills – for example in business or finance – that an individual brings to a governing body, rather than their value as a stakeholder, such as a parent with children in the school.
  2. The separate grading for quality of teaching will be removed from Ofsted inspections. The new buzz-word is “impact”; inspectors will rate the impact of teaching rather than the quality.
  3. All schools will have to convert to academy status by 2020. We look at the pros and cons of academy status in this blog. The smallest schools will need to form or join a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). MATs run a number of academies under a single charitable company. There will be new accountability measures for MATs and even MAT performance tables. Significantly, parents will be able to petition for their school to move to a different MAT if it is deemed to be underperforming.
  4. The government will consult on ways to make the schools admissions system simpler and clearer. Local authorities will retain responsibility for admissions and appeals. They will also have a legal duty to offer every child a school place but no power to force schools to expand.
  5. The National Citizen Service, a voluntary personal and social development programme for 16- and 17-year-olds, will be expanded and schools will be expected to offer every pupil the opportunity to take part.
  6. A new parent portal will be launched by the government to help parents navigate the school system and support their child in the (increasingly complex) world of education.