UK Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced that the government plans to intervene concerning failing state schools, believing it to be “unacceptable” that children in the country are not receiving an adequate education for even one day.
An Education Bill expected to be announced next week in the Queen’s Speech will offer Morgan the power to immediately replace school leaders at any schools considered to be failing.
In addition, Morgan also said she plans to quickly turn such schools into semi-independent academies, as well as to open 500 additional “free schools,” despite the opposition she has received from teachers’ unions and Left-wing councils, writes Tim Ross for The Telegraph.
In her first major announcement since being reappointed as Education Secretary after the election, Mrs Morgan said: “Our big priorities will be to speed up the process for tackling failing schools, extend our academies programme to tackle ‘coasting’ schools, and deliver on our commitment to open new free schools.”
Morgan also announced a three-point plan to handle the situation regarding substandard education in the country, beginning with intervening in all failing schools, where “hit squads” will be sent in to take control of such schools only hours after the bill is made official. These squads will introduce a fast-track process for the schools meant to turn them into academies that operate outside of local council control.
Next, schools considered to be “coasting” will be required to create improvement plans geared toward helping raise student achievement and standards. Schools who refuse to do so will have their leaders fired and replaced with a government-appointed team of managers. Schools who are continuously considered to be coasting will be taken over and turned into academies.
Lastly, 500 new state-funded “free schools” will be immediately opened with the help of charities and parents’ groups.
“We will take new powers to step in from the moment that a school is found to be failing,” Mrs Morgan said. “From day one, Regional Schools Commissioners will be able to bring in new leadership and support from other excellent schools and heads, and we will speed up the process of turning schools into academies to make sure that new expert leadership is found for all schools that need it as quickly as possible.”
Not everyone is happy with Morgan’s plans. A number of teachers have publicly expressed their anger at her plan, arguing that the government was not going about improvement the right way, calling Morgan’s approach “gun-to-head,” reports Alexander Ward for The Independent.
Commenting on Ms Morgan’s plans to improve schools, Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Proposals to sack even more head teachers will exacerbate the teacher and head teacher supply problems that have become evident in the last years of the coalition government. These will only get worse unless the government changes course.”