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EDITIONS
Monday, 24 June, 2002, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
School changes on the way
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These are the main provisions of the Education Bill.

Most relate both to England and Wales, with some variations in the detail. Some relate to England only and a few to Wales only.

In an effort to encourage successful schools to experiment with what works best for them, there are powers to suspend existing legislation.

The idea is to let "innovative pilot projects" take place, for up to six years.

Similarly, governing bodies of successful schools would have some flexibility over certain elements of teachers' pay and conditions and the national curriculum.

And schools would be able to form or join companies to provide some of the services usually delivered by local education authorities.

Governing bodies

The third part of the legislation implements proposed changes to the way schools are governed.

The biggest is a move to allow more than one school to federate under a single governing body, if they wish.

Governing bodies will also be able to provide community facilities or services for pupils, their families and the wider community.

Maintained nursery schools will also have to have governing bodies.

Funding

There is to be a new system for funding local education authorities (LEAs) and schools.

Among other things it obliges LEAs to set up a forum to represent the views of schools in the area with respect to their funding.

And it lets the education secretary, or minister in Wales, set a minimum level for schools' budgets.

Admissions and exclusions

LEAs will have to establish an admissions forum to co-ordinate local arrangements - which many already do.

They can be obliged to come to an agreement between different authorities and schools over how their admissions will work.

The legislation drops the requirement for schools to have a "standard number" setting out how many pupils they will admit.

And it overhauls the rules on exclusions of pupils.

Ministers are given the power to make governing bodies set targets for authorised and unauthorised absences.

Weaknesses

Ministers are given more powers to intervene where schools are judged to be failing, by appointing an "interim executive board" and involving an outside partner to help a school improve.

They also get more powers to intervene in weak LEAs.

New schools

The government's plans for "city academies", sponsored by business or charitable interests, are set out.

Curriculum changes

The legislation adds the "foundation stage" to the start of the national curriculum in England.

The existing Key Stage 4 of the curriculum - for 14 to 16 year olds - is separated from the other three and the education secretary is given the power to amend the subjects or even abolish the whole stage.

There are similar proposals for Wales.

Teachers

The new legislation repeals the 1991 teachers' pay and conditions document - the basis of their terms of employment.

It replaces that document with a new framework, although this keeps the main points of the existing machinery.

Exam boards

Among other provisions there are changes to the inspection and registration of childcare and nursery education, and independent schools.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) get extended powers to intervene when exam boards are not performing as well as they should.

In Wales, a Special Educational Needs Tribunal is set up, and ministers will be able to require the governing bodies of primary and secondary schools to draw up joint plans for the transfer of pupils.

Free school meals for poorer children are extended to those in nursery education.

Click for more on the education proposals

England

Key plans & reaction

Wales

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