The Government’s white paper schools report: What is it and how is it affecting South Yorkshire?

Written by Lauren Kelly

Today marks the day that the government are due to publish their updated white papers report on schools in the aim to level up education and make sure children are reaching their full potential in the classroom.

The white paper for schools wants to encourage a 32.5 hour school week, an Ofsted inspection in every school before 2025, encourage a multi-academy trust for all schools and to give £100m to put the Education Endowment Foundation on a long-term footing.

The updates to the white paper reports have caused some controversy nationwide. In a National Education Union (NEU) press release Dr Mary Bousted, joint secretary of NEU said: “Schools are being battered here and now by a storm of real problems.”

The NEU is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Island, Scotland, the Isle of man and the Channel Islands. It brings together voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe.

Sheffield Wire spoke to Sadie, a teacher who is unsure about the government intentions for the white paper report.

Sadie also added the papers feel really undermining because teachers are already doing the things outlined in the report.

“How much more can we possibly do whilst we’re in the classroom?”

Toby Mallinson, 57, joint branch secretary for the NEU in Sheffield spoke to Sheffield Wire and said: “The government’s plan is just more of the same failing efforts to improve education because they simply do not have a clue about what would actually genuinely improve education.”

Toby Mallinson quote in relation to the White paper report. NEU logo taken from NEU Sheffield website

He described the papers as a “dog’s dinner”.

Mr Mallinson explained why the prospect of academies were such a bad idea in Sheffield. He said local authorities managing schools provide a genuine economy scale that doesn’t put people on a six figure salary but instead spends that money on education.

He said: “There is no evidence to show that academies improve performance, so why we’re pursuing this political agenda, which is damaging our children’s education.”

NEU said: “Increased Ofsted reports will increase the strain on teachers without addressing the gaps and pressures in the system.”

Written by Lauren Kelly

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