Academising and raising grades under the microscope: schools white paper

Josh Mitchell comments on The Department for Education’s has Schools White Paper – entitled Opportunity for All.

Academising and raising grades under the microscope: schools white paper

The Department for Education has published its Schools White Paper – entitled Opportunity for All – outlining a number of key aims to improve the UK’s education offering over the next few years.

Of course, this publication is tied to the government’s Levelling Up whitepaper, which was published in February and promises to see 90 per cent of primary school children achieving the standard in reading, writing, and maths by 2030. There was an expectation that this – the first schools white paper in six years – would expand on how this mission would be delivered, especially coming after two years of pandemic-disrupted education.


What are the aims?


One of the flagship policy announcements in the Schools White Paper was that by 2030 all children will benefit from being taught in a school in, or in the process of joining, a strong multi-academy trust, which will help to transform underperforming schools and deliver the best possible outcomes for children.

The Department of Education has responded to initial queries around these aims, stating that it does not expect MATs to suddenly grow in size. It says that it will work to ensure that MATs only expand when they have the capacity to do so, and that decisions will be based on what is best for individual schools and pupils.

At Sypro, we have a strong understanding of multi-academy trusts, their ways of working, pressure points and processes. We understand how effective management systems are in helping reduce certain pressures across teams when it comes to the behind-the-scenes work, allowing school staff to focus on their primary job – educating the next generation to the best possible standards.



The pressures on education institutions and staff are innumerable, and this white paper looks to intensify this further with several announcements. This includes the revelation that Ofsted will inspect every school by 2025, including the backlog of ‘outstanding’ schools that haven’t been inspected for many years.

The education system has for a long time put the greatest focus on grade outcomes, but we must remember that schools are responsible for so many other things such as health and wellbeing, safeguarding, condition, and assets to name just a few.

If we are to overlook the responsibilities at large, we risk the pressures of bringing all schools into an academy format over the next eight years mounting to a point that teachers and teaching standards suffer, thus impacting results. And with aims to deliver half a million teacher training and development opportunities

There is also a proposal to increase education time to a 32.5-hour week. Longer school days are meant to foster more learning, but with this increase equating to just 15 minutes a day we must question if this is the best route to improving results, when focusing on processes, environments and other areas could positively improve the learning environment with a stronger impact.


Is there enough funding?


As with any government guidance and intention, there is always a debate around funding – and whether what has been promised is enough. When it comes to education, there is always a shortfall, so any system that can help manage processes will be invaluable over the coming years.

If a system – such as Risk Manager – can automate any of those processes, it works towards keeping the pressures on teachers as light as possible so they can focus on improving results.

Another key will be effective leadership. Schools not currently in a multi-academy trust will need somewhere to look to as guidance. Existing MATs need to play a part in the process even if they are not able to take on new schools, and any high performing trust could be used as a figurehead to create a blueprint of what ‘good’ looks like.

Ultimately, the aims of the Schools White Paper are noble – but the key will be ensuring the investment and guidance necessary is there. Simply saying academise without the necessary guidance and systems will not be enough.


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