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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Plan at a glance
The government's five-year plan for England's education system encompasses the whole age range. These are the key points:

EARLY YEARS

Free part-time "educare" - integrated education and childcare - of 12 and a half hours a week for 33 weeks a year by 2008.

This will be changed to improve flexibility, so parents can more easily work part-time.

Develop childcare from 8am to 6pm around the primary school day, with sporting and artistic activities. About 1,000 primary schools will be offering this by 2008.

Extension of children's centres, offering childcare, education, health and employment advice and parenting support.

A Children's commissioner, and local "safeguarding children" boards.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS

By 2008, 85% of children reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics.

A 40% cut in the proportion of schools in which fewer than 65% of children achieve this.

Two hours of "high quality" PE and sport each day.

Many children learning another language from the age of seven, and getting the chance to learn a musical instrument.

Three-year budgets.

Broadband internet access for all primary schools.

To help raise standards, primary schools will be encouraged to work collaboratively.

Underperforming schools will be closed or merged with others.

"Less top-down direction" for schools that perform well.

SECONDARY SCHOOLS

By 2008, every school should be a specialist and every community should have at least one specialists school.

High-performing schools helping others.

Three-year budgets.

All schools to be able to adopt foundation status by a simple vote of their governing body.

Easier for schools to have external sponsors.

Successful and popular schools to be able to expand, with a "fast track" process (maximum 12 weeks) and a "strong presumption" in their favour.

The government later made it clear this "strong presumption" would not apply to grammar schools.

Less bureaucracy. Liaison with local authority through a "school improvement partner".

Shorter, more frequent, short-notice Ofsted inspections.

Publication of a "school profile" alongside performance tables.

More city academies - 200 by 2010.

Local education authorities as "commissioner and quality assurers" of education services, not the direct providers.

Better transition from primary school.

A new 11 to 16 strategy focusing on writing, "close reading", algebra and scientific investigation.

Information and communication technology used more to "personalise" children's learning.

Chief advisers for all "key" subjects.

Expect all schools to have a uniform and clear rules on behaviour, bullying, attendance - sharing out disruptive pupils between schools.

Proposals later in the year on defending teachers against false allegations of misconduct.

14-19 EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Encouraging more young people to "stay on" beyond the age of 16.

"World class" academic routes and better vocational options with better partnerships between schools, colleges and employers.

The government is awaiting the outcome of Mike Tomlinson's review of this phase of education, with its plans for diplomas. It believes he is heading in the right direction.

ADULTS

Focus on those with few or no skills.

Free training to achieve Level 2 qualifications (equivalent of GCSE), with 30 a week learning grant.

Public funding only for high quality colleges and private training providers.

Employers to have more say in design and delivery of training.

Change qualifications to enable learning in small units.

HIGHER EDUCATION

University teaching "just as valuable as research" with extra funding for centres of excellence and more training for teaching staff.

Up to 3,000 a year in support to students who most need it.

"More generous support than ever" to part-time students.

Access agreements to ensure universities charging higher fees attract and support those from families with no higher education tradition.

Graduate payment of fees.

Review of variable fees in 2009.

Universities should seek more donations.

Research funding focused on world-class teams.

Continuing expansion of foundation degrees - the main route towards the target of 50% of those aged 18 to 30 entering higher education by 2010.

New information on teaching quality at each institution by 2005.

DEPARTMENTAL

Department for Education and Skills providing strategic leadership and less direct management, reducing staff by 1,460 (31%) by 2008.

Less central intervention. Streamlined procedures and information collection.

Increased professionalism of the school and further and higher education workforces.

Better use of volunteers.




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