Leaked document reveals government’s education plans
A document leaked to the Guardian has revealed a range of new education proposals being considered by the government.
Alongside billions of pounds of new funding, the document also includes controversial measures such as allowing teachers to use “reasonable force” to improve behaviour.
The brief, which was marked as “Official-Sensitive” and dated 22 August, outlined a number of proposals which are designed to be introduced over the next few weeks.
The release of the document has fuelled speculation that the government is trying to seize the initiative before a possible autumn election.
Among the main proposals of the document are:
· Increasing the starting salaries of new teachers to £30,000 by 2022
· Encouraging schools to ban and confiscate mobile phones
· Supporting the exclusion of pupils with an accompanying new guide on behaviour
· Creating financial incentives for academies to absorb struggling schools with a payment of £24,000 being discussed
· Opening a new range of free schools including ones specifically designed for excluded children
· Abolishing the exemption from inspection “outstanding” schools currently receive from Ofsted
· A renewed push to encourage local authority schools to convert into academies
The document’s focus on improving poor behaviour is likely to attract the most discussion.
The document says the government expects the public will welcome a “harder narrative on discipline” and states: “This government backs headteachers to improve behaviour and will support them to create safe and disciplined school environments.
“We will back heads to use powers to promote good behaviour including sanctions and rewards; using reasonable force; to search and confiscate items from pupils (including mobile phones); impose same-day detentions; suspend and expel pupils; ban mobile phones.”
The increased support for exclusions is also a potentially contentious issue.
According to figures released by the Department of Education, school exclusions have been rising since 2012. These concerns are noted in the report itself which notes that police and crime officials “worry about rates of exclusion driving knife crime.”