Local authorities will have a new duty to provide support to home-schooling families under new measures to reform education.
The Schools Bill, outlined today in the Queen’s Speech, will also require schools to create a compulsory attendance register to identify children who are not in school and receiving a full-time education.
The speech, read by Prince Charles, said: ‘Reforms to education will help every child fulfil their potential wherever they live, raising standards and improving the quality of schools and higher education.’
Through the Bill, the Government will be providing more support for schools to join strong, multi-academy trusts, with a strengthened regulatory framework to help intervene when they are failing.
However, teaching unions have warned these structural changes will do nothing to tackle the ‘scale and depth’ of the problems facing the education sector.
Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said: ‘Instead of wasting precious time, the Government should be focused on resolving the recruitment and retention crisis by substantially boosting funding for schools and colleges, delivering a substantial pay award for all teachers, tackling excessive workload, and taking urgent action to outlaw the appalling use of fire and rehire practices, precarious employment and discrimination at work.’
Under the new legislation, Ofsted will also be given more powers to tackle unregistered schools operating illegally, with increased powers for the Teaching Regulation Agency to investigate misconduct.
Speaking yesterday, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘We want every school to be part of an academy trust, enabling teachers to focus on what they do best - meeting the needs of every child. Schools’ approach to attendance is being overhauled to make sure every child gets the benefit of every possible hour in the classroom.
’In combination, this work will make sure every child has access to an education that they deserve and helps them fulfil their potential.’