Schools Bill revoked: what’s next for the structure of the school system?

science technology concept education | Schools Bill revoked: what’s next for the structure of the school system?
By Tom Kershaw | 12th December 2022 | 3 min read

Introduced earlier this year, the Schools Bill formed a key part of the Government’s ambitious plans to move towards an entirely trust-led system.

Despite their best efforts at championing the Schools Bill, the Government faced immense backlash from MAT leaders; many viewed the legislation as an attempt to seize power over the day-to-day running of schools.

The criticism has been heard, and last week, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan announced that the bill will not be going ahead in the third session of Parliament.

Salvaging the remains

Could the Schools Bill have been better implemented? Politically, the last year and a half have been shaky for those in education, with five different Education Secretaries responsible for the legislation before it was eventually dropped.

While being revoked, parts of the bill remain important to the Government, with Keegan commenting, “we are prioritising some aspects of the bill to see what we can do.”

A concrete commitment hasn’t been given, but Keegan informed the Commons Education Select Committee that areas, such as identifying children not in schools, helping more faith schools join MATs and cracking down on illegal schools, will all be pursued when the legislative timelines allow.

What’s next for schools and trusts?

Following the news, many will have questions regarding the Governments plans for full academisation.

I’m sure some local-authority-maintained schools are hoping the plans go away completely.

Despite some viewing the ministers’ credibility as shattered, it’s safe to say that this news is not going to change the drive towards the 2030 goal.

With more children now educated in academies than not, and with much of the academisation drive not requiring legislative changes, we’re probably beyond the tipping point.

While some schools may view this as an opportunity to retrench and hold off joining a MAT, the move to academisation remains on the horizon.

Whether you choose to join a MAT or remain a local-authority-maintained school, we’ve got software to help unlock your power – learn more.

How will MAT regulation now work?

One of the key aspects of the Schools Bill surrounded MAT regulation, defining what the Government classed as a strong trust.

However, following concerns raised by peers and MAT leaders, in June, the Government withdrew a large section of the bill that focused on regulating trusts.

It’s expected that the DfE will examine what routes can be taken for MAT standardisation in the new year, so expect news to follow in the coming months.

It’s very important that this work does not pin down the definition so that trusts have no room to give creative and innovative expression to what it means to be a strong trust so they can provide the very best education to children and young people,” says Leora Cruddas, the Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trust.

Unlock your power

It looks like, for a while, MATs will have freedom without too much interference from the Government. Before a Government regulatory agenda and Ofsted inspection framework are set, trusts have an opportunity to shape the metrics that they feel they should be judged by.

However, this can only be achieved through truly connected data – learn more about using data in our recent article.

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