Last reviewed 28 March 2022

Plans to make sure all children in England can reach their potential are set out in Opportunity for all: Strong schools with great teachers for your child, a new Government White Paper presented by Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.

Available here, the 68-page report states that the Government wants to lift the attainment of all secondary pupils by setting an ambition to increase the national GCSE average grade in both English language and maths from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

“Improving the quality of teaching is the single most important in-school factor in improving outcomes for children,” the report argues, “especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).”

Schools will identify children who need help, Mr Zahawi said, provide targeted support via a range of proven methods such as small group tuition, and keep parents informed about their child’s progress.

Robert Halfon, Chairman of the Education Select Committee, said: “The four key pillars of teacher development, improving curriculum standards especially with regard to literacy and numeracy, parental engagement and uniformity of school hours are a welcome ambition to help ensure the Government works to level-up education.”

Increasing parental engagement through the “parent pledge” will, he went on, help break down long-standing and often complicated barriers that exist to help increase attendance, especially in relation to the 124,000 “ghost children” who have dropped out of the school system following the outbreak of the pandemic.

Key proposals

The White Paper sets out a series of measures to support the delivery of the Government’s ambitions, including:

  • schools will offer a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023

  • Ofsted will inspect every school by 2025, including the backlog of “outstanding” schools that have not been inspected for many years

  • by 2030, all children will benefit from being taught in a school in, or in the process of joining, a strong multi-academy trust, which will help transform under-performing schools and deliver the best possible outcomes for children

  • at least £100 million will be made available to put the Education Endowment Foundation on a long-term footing so it can continue to evaluate and spread best practice in education across the country.

Other measures

Other plans in the White Paper include:

  • 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024

  • £30,000 starting salaries to attract and retain the best teachers

  • payments to recruit and keep talented physics, chemistry, computing and maths teachers working in disadvantaged schools

  • a register for children not in school to make sure no child is lost from the system

  • every school to have access to funded training for a senior mental health lead to deliver a whole school approach to health and wellbeing.