Queen’s Speech outlines the Government’s plans for a new Bill on Education

27 May 2015

Queen’s Speech 27 May 2015

Today’s Queen’s Speech outlined the Government’s plans for a new Bill on Education.

Please note that this proposed legislation applies to England only

Legislation will be brought forward to improve schools and give every child the best start in life, with new powers to take over failing and coasting schools and create more academies [Education and Adoption Bill].” (Queen’s Speech – June 2015)

The Government indicated that the purpose of the Bill is to:

  • Give all children the best possible start in life.

  • Strengthen intervention powers in failing maintained schools. It will make clear that the solution for inadequate schools is to become a sponsored academy. It will also give the Government powers to intervene in coasting schools and to require action from those schools which have not seen pupils make sufficient progress.

  • Introduce measures that will enable the Government to deliver regional adoption agencies

The Government states that the main benefits of the Bill would be:

For schools:

  • Speeding up intervention in failing schools and making it clear that inadequate schools will become sponsored academies.

  • Creating new power to academise coasting schools.

For adoption:

  • Increase the scale at which adoption services are delivered by introducing regional adoption agencies.

  • These agencies would work across local authority boundaries to match children without delay.

The Government indicates that the main elements of the Bill are:

For schools:

  • The Bill would give Regional Schools Commissioners powers to bring in leadership support from other excellent schools and outstanding Heads, and would speed up the process of turning schools into academies.

  • An inadequate Ofsted judgement would usually lead to a school being converted into an academy. Barriers would be removed to enable swift progress towards conversion.

  • It would make schools that meet a new coasting definition, having shown a prolonged period of ‘mediocre performance’ and insufficient pupil progress, eligible for academisation.

  • The Government intends to set out a definition of ‘coasting’ in due course according to a number of factors.

For adoption:
The Bill would give the Secretary of State a new power to direct one or more named local authorities to make arrangements for any or all of their adoption functions to be carried out on their behalf by one of the local authorities named or by another agency.
In practice, this will mean that the Secretary of State can direct a number of local authorities to have adoption functions carried out on their behalf in order to create regional adoption agencies.

When directing local authorities, the Secretary of State will be able to list which adoption functions the arrangements should relate to. The functions which can be specified in a direction will be functions in relation to: the recruitment, assessment and approval of prospective adopters, decisions about which prospective adopters a child should be matched with and the provision of adoption support services.

The Government’s existing legislation in this area is:

Schools

  • Academies Act 2010

  • Education and Inspections Act 2006

Adoption

  • Children and Families Act 2014

  • Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005

  • Adoption and Children Act 2002

Other existing relevant DfE documents:

Schools causing concern:

Schools causing concern: statutory guidance for local authorities