Friday, January 28, 2011

Education Bill gives teachers more powers to discipline

Yesterday the Government published its Education Bill.  The Bill will make the changes to law which are needed as a result of the Education White Paper, published before Christmas.
  • The Bill gives greater powers to teachers in relation to discipline.  Teachers will have more legal powers to search pupils and can give pupils detention without having to give parents 24 hours' written notice. 
  • Independent Appeals Panels, which hear appeals about school admissions and permanent exclusions, will be replaced with Review Panels. These will review head teachers' decisions, but will no longer be able to reinstate pupils if they feel that a decision was wrong.
  • Some schools will become exempt from Ofsted inspections (which these schools are will be decided later).  Where inspections do happen there will be a focus on how the school is providing for children with SEN and disabilties.
  • It also makes provision to refocus qualifications and inspections of educational attainment.
  • It takes away several duties from school governing bodies.  They will no longer have to co-operate with the local authoirty or have regard to the Children and Young People's Plan or publish a school profile.
  • Schools will no longer have to have a school improvement partner, or work with other schools on behaviour and attendance.
  • The Bill makes some legal changes so that the Government can take forward its Academies programme.
  • The Bill abolishes several school-related agencies, in line with the Government's aim of reducing the number of Government agencies, including the General Teaching Council for England and the Training and Development Agency for Schools, who oversee teacher training.
  • The Bill also gives powers to the Welsh Assembly so that they have greater control over teaching standards in Wales.
The NAS is working with other charities and organisations as part of the Special Educational Consortium to influence the Bill  and make it better for children with special educational needs.  We are meeting soon with Government officials, and will also be talking to MPs and members of the House of Lords.

The Bill will be debated in Parliament at its Second Reading on 8th February.  You can read the Bill and see its progress on the Parliament website, here:

Please let us know what you think of these proposals.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Education Bill

The new Education Bill is expected to be published on 20th January.

The Government has said that the Bill will:
  • provide schools with the freedoms to deliver an excellent education in the way they see fit.
  • reform Ofsted and other accountability frameworks to ensure that head teachers are held properly accountable for the core educational goals of attainment and closing the gap between rich and poor.
  • introduce a slimmer curriculum giving more space for teachers to decide how to teach.
  • introduce a reading test for 6 year olds to make sure that young children are learning and to identify problems early.
  • give teachers and head teachers the powers to improve behaviour and tackle bullying.
  • expect standards across the education sector to rise through the creation of more Academies and giving more freedom to head teachers and teachers. We will also ensure that money follows pupils, and introduce a ‘pupil premium’ so that more money follows the poorest pupils.
The National Autistic Society will be particularly looking at any sections of the Bill on behaviour and will be arguing that any changes to legislation or policy on behaviour needs to take into account the specific needs of children with autism.

We also believe that the reading test at age 6 needs to be reconsidered and a different test introduced so that special educational needs including autism can be identified at an earlier stage.

We will report on more details of the Bill when it is published.

Let us know in the box below what you think of the expected reforms.