The Government has today published its Education Bill, which will introduce further reforms to help improve school standards, restore discipline and cut paperwork.
The case for change is clear.
Under Labour, school standards, compared with our international competitors, slumped. In the world rankings, Britain dropped from 4th to 16th in science, from 7th to 25th for literacy and from 8th to 28th in maths. Despite all the money Labour spent, too many pupils are still leaving school without basic qualifications.
Schools are embracing our reforms.
Action has already been taken to free schools from interference by allowing them to seek Academy status. Many schools in our Borough have already taken advantage of Academy status and many more will follow. Nationally, we have more than doubled the number of schools with Academy status – the fastest rate of education reform this country has seen for decades.
A more varied and rigorous curriculum to help raise standards.
We are giving parents more information about school performance so that they can choose the right place for their child. The creation of a new English Baccalaureate will help drive up school standards by encouraging pupils to study English, maths, science, a modern or classical foreign language and either history or geography to GCSE level.
But we are not stopping there – further action is required.
This Government backs teachers. All the evidence from countries with great education systems tells us that nothing is more important than attracting great people into teaching and supporting them in the classroom. Under the last Government thousands of people left the teaching profession because behaviour was out of control and they were forced to spend far too much time on paperwork.
The Government will close quangos and reduce bureaucracy.
We want teachers to be able to get on with their first duties – teaching and raising standards. The Education Bill, published today, will help cut paperwork. We want to free teachers from the red tape and bureaucracy that takes up far too much of their time. Quangos, such as the General Teaching Council for England, the Training and Development Agency for Schools and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, will be abolished.
We will also support teachers in trying to restore discipline.
Teachers will be free to impose the penalties they need to keep order in the classroom. Staff will be given powers to search pupils for prohibited items, they will no longer have to give 24-hours notice of detentions and Headteachers will be better able to exclude pupils. Teachers will also be better protected from malicious allegations.
With these reforms, I believe that we can help improve school standards, support teachers, cut bureaucracy and restore discipline in schools.