National strategies are abandoned
26 June 2009
In another significant about-face on policy, the government is expected to announce that from 2011 primary schools in England will no longer have to comply with the national strategies in literacy and numeracy they have worked to for 10 years. Instead, schools will be expected to co-operate with each other to improve standards.
In an Education White Paper, Schools Secretary Ed Balls will effectively end the government's contract with Capita, the company that has delivered the strategies. The money that went to the company will now be given to schools for them to spend on working closely with each other. Money will also go to fund advisers for schools whose role it is to help boost teachers' and pupils' performance.
Balls had said recently: "I think the right thing for us to do now is to move away from what has historically been a rather central view of school improvement through national strategies to something which is essentially being commissioned not from the centre but by schools themselves."
Commons Education Committee chairman Barry Sheerman was shocked because his committee had recently proposed this change but the government rejected the idea.
"The astonishing thing, if this is true, is what an about-turn," he said. "When our national curriculum report came out, we understood that the Secretary of State didn't like it very much, and indeed the government's response was very negative indeed."