Election 2024

Key proposals from Schools Week’s manifesto for change 

Practical ideas from the sector's best and brightest

Practical ideas from the sector's best and brightest

In January, we pledged to build up a manifesto for change in schools – based on policies that are not just evidence-based, but expertise-informed.

With our Sector’s Manifesto feature, we wanted to provide a host of *practical* ideas from our best and brightest to help the incoming government solve some of the big issues it faces.

There won’t be a magic money tree, so all our pieces were written on the premise of that caveat.

Across 18 articles ranging from artificial intelligence to alternative provision, and coastal schools to curriculum – we have done just that.

So, here is a round-up of the key policy proposals that make up your Sector’s Manifesto.

Retaining teachers (with no cash)

Ark's Lucy Heller
Lucy Heller

Value teachers. Repair the relationship between government and the sector.

Accountability review into the use of assessment data and responsibilities of councils and regional directors.

Introduce a student loan forgiveness scheme.

Lucy Heller, CEO, Ark Schools

Helping leaders deliver

Becks Boomer Clark

Long-term personal development entitlement for headteachers, like in law and medicine.

Improve the sector’s understanding of effective implementation to help leaders deliver change.

Reduce contact time for teachers and leaders so they have space to plan, do and collaborate.

Becks Boomer-Clark, CEO, Academies Enterprise Trust

Funding reforms for improvement

Micon Metcalfe

Fix SEND funding, earlier intervention and research into diagnosis.

Find ways to fund capital works, ie let councils or trusts borrow to build.

Go back to three-year funding settlements. Minimise use of add-on grants.

Produce pay and career framework for other school roles.

Micon Metcalfe, CFO, Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust

Curriculum for authentic improvement

Kulvarn Atwal
Kulvarn Atwal

Accountability review to ensure metrics that “tell whole story of the school”.

Inspection body that works with schools to support and improve peer and self-evaluation.

Kulvarn Atwal, executive head, Highlands Primary School

Core principles to make better policy

Sir Jon Coles
Sir Jon Coles

Decentralise: build institutional capacity outside government. Higher expectations on trusts.

Renew a sense of purpose: a national movement for higher standards. Rebuild high-challenge, high-support infrastructure for school improvement.

Get behind schools: meaningful relationships focused on actions and solutions. Politicians to use language that shows they understand teachers.

Sir Jon Coles, CEO, United Learning

Building a resilient schools system

Leora Cruddas
Leora Cruddas

Evidence-led workforce strategy for the whole sector.

Cross-government poverty strategy.

Ditch “reductionist new public management” approach to reform for relationship based on trust with accountability.

Leora Cruddas, CEO, Confederation of School Trusts

Enabling long-term political planning

Carl Ward

Long-term planning framework with roadmap for progress. Education council to set priorities.

Chief education officer, akin to Chris Whitty in the health sector, to advise government.

National education assembly made up of communities and educators to provide stable policymaking.

Carl Ward, FED chair

Schools at heart of civic mission

Luke Sparkes
Luke Sparkes

Local convening partnerships in every council area to bring together public sector agencies.

Joint workforce plan between local services, enabling smoother multi-disciplinary work.

National mission to reset child protection and wellbeing and fix children’s services.

Luke Sparkes, CEO, Dixons Academies Trust

Closing the disadvantage gap

Sir Dan Moynihan
Sir Dan Moynihan

Use falling rolls cash to fund rise in pupil premium and targeted national tutoring scheme.

Mental health leads in each school within a year, target poorer areas first.

Change admission rules so top schools admit at least national average of low-income students. Grammar schools unable to retain selective status if not.

Joined-up anti-poverty strategy. Bigger focus on early years.

Sir Dan Moynihan, CEO, Harris Federation

Getting the SEND system working better now…

Nic Crossley

Universal policy for SEND education which unites parties.

Mandate specialist school placement as part of initial teacher training.

Review SEND funding to create fairer system.

Nic Crossley, CEO, Liberty Academy Trust

…and reforming SEND in the long-term

Tom Rees
Tom Rees

Bold vision of inclusion which normalises children’s different learning needs. Retire SEND label by 2034.

National programme of CPD for every staff member, with SEND content at core.

Investment in early and evidence-informed interventions so children are “school read” by age 5.

National commission to produce 10-year plan for specialist school place demand.

Tom Rees, CEO, Ormiston Academies Trust

Getting the best from alternative provision

Robert Gasson

Add inclusion into performance tables to create Progress 9.

Schools with intakes not reflecting their local community not able to achieve Ofsted ‘good’. Inspections triggered by high exclusion rates.

All AP should be registered and national standards for inspection.

Robert Gasson, CEO, Wave Multi Academy Trust

Better support for hospital school pupils

Cath Kitchen
Cath Kitchen

Provide nuance on absence messaging, with encouraging and engaging strategies.

Invest in therapeutic health services so children can access timely support. Co-locate multiagency teams within medical AP.

Fair funding formula to standardise support for all unwell children.

Cath Kitchen, chair, National Association of Hospital Education

Putting coastal schools on course to success

Seamus Murphy
Seamus Murphy

Make schools the centre of local hubs providing high-quality services.

Government should explicitly reward collaboration and cooperation via locality-based partnerships.

Reform curriculum to develop pathways that lead to meaningful futures for pupils not in the “top 60 per cent”.

Seamus Murphy, CEO, Turner Schools

Sustainability at heart of education

Cathie Paine
Cathie Paine

Train children as environment ambassadors. Weave sustainability into school accountability.

National commission to review curriculum to make sustainability teaching explicit.

National mission to make education sustainable, with age-related expectations.

Cathie Paine, CEO, REAch2 Academy Trust

Helping AI to transform education

Sir Hamid Patel
Sir Hamid Patel

Ethical parameters for use of AI in schools. Mandatory training with quality materials.

Create effective tools for personalised learning. By 2030, every child to have AI tutor from age 5.

Legislation to ensure AI tools are inclusive for all.

Sir Hamid Patel, CEO, Star Academies

Improving childhood (from children themselves)

Dame Rachel de Souza
Dame Rachel de Souza

Schools held to account for outcomes of children who leave their roles. Register of children not in school.

No child waiting longer than one term for council needs assessment. A nurse in every school.

Statutory SEND support, with additional funding separate from a school’s high needs budget.

All eligible children to be auto-enrolled in free school meals. Breakfast clubs at every schools.

Dame Rachel de Souza, children’s commissioner

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