Queen’s speech outlines plans on schools and flexible work

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government unveiled proposals in the Queen’s Speech today to create more academies and outlined plans to "remove barriers to flexible working and promote equal pay".

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government unveiled proposals in the Queen’s Speech today to create more academies and outlined plans to "remove barriers to flexible working and promote equal pay".
Labour introduced the concept of academy schools in an attempt to push up standards in failing schools. Academy schools are state-maintained independent schools set up with the help of outside sponsors. The policy has been controversial, with some fearing it marked a move towards privatisation and debates about whether they have pushed standards up and whether this is due to extra resources or the way they are managed.
In its Academies Bill, which applies to England and Wales, the new Government will target high-performing schools who will be allowed to seek academy status to leave the control of local authorities as well as giving teachers more power to decide on curriculum issues.
Plans are expected to allow 500 secondary and 1,700 primary schools to apply for academy status in September if the Bill goes through Parliament. All schools who are judged by Ofsted to be ‘outstanding’ will get the go-ahead to apply, although Education Secretary Michael Gove announced the day after the Queen’s Speech that all schools could eventually opt out of local authority control.
The Queen’s Speech also includes the announcement of a second bill in the autumn which will give schools in England greater freedom over the curriculum, give teachers greater powers to deal with bad behaviour and give head teachers more freedom over how their schools are run. It will include a "pupil premium" to improve schooling for children from the most deprived backgrounds.
Other plans outlined in the Speech include proposals for flexible working and promoting equal pay, but  the Government emphasises that it doesn’t want to rush legislation on these two areas and needs time to consult fully with families and businesses.
It recognises that progress towards equal pay is slow and that it would like to see more action that is provided for in the Equality Act 2010. However, it comments that the issues involved are complex, such as women’s concentration in particular industries. It says action to tackle this could be both legislative and non-legislative, including allowing all employees to request flexible working, allowing a system of flexible parental leave and looking to promote gender equality on the boards of listed companies.
Also contained in the Queen’s Speech is a National Insurance Contributions Bill which aims to block next year’s 1% rise in NI contributions by employers and a Welfare Reform Bill which outlines plans to create a single welfare-to-work programme and make benefit payments more conditional on willingness to accept work.




Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    My concerns with the Academy set-up, having experienced a ‘new set-up’ at a school my daughter was attending, was awful. We took her out as the initial start-up has adverse affects on the progress of children. My daughter is quite academic and was in the top stream and when they started the introduction it was a mess. I can imagine that like a start-up business it would work after three years of being established once everything is running smoothly, but I did not want my daughter to be a guinea pig and, with all the upheaval, she regressed. It can only work if they have an excellent head and strong team management skills with the teachers and strong parental support.


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *