Although much of the publicity surrounding the Education and Inspections Bill now before parliament has focused upon admissions, trust and foundation status, the powers of local authorities and the position of parents, the bill also brings together a number of initiatives and developments that have slowly been taking place for the last two years that have direct implications for CPD.
The legislation proposed in the bill is designed to make considerable changes to the structure, functions, processes and provision of schools in England. Having passed its second reading the bill is proceeding through its committee stage where detailed changes are likely to be discussed, debated and decided.
Proposed changes to the post-14 curriculum and qualifications are one of the developments most likely to affect CPD. The emergence of these new arrangements will mean that not only will there be a considerable training demand but that schools will need to work together and with FE colleges in order to deliver what government sees as an entitlement for young people. Key to the changes here are the 14 new specialised diplomas that must be available to every young person aged 14-19 wherever they are in the country. The legal foundation for these changes is to be found in Part 5 (Curriculum and Entitlements). There is recognition by government that these are ‘the most important reforms since the introduction of the National Curriculum’.
In terms of CPD, it is clear that making such drastic changes to the curriculum and to the associated modes of assessment will come to occupy the thinking of those responsible for professional learning at Key Stage 4 and beyond and to absorb the resources allocated to CPD. And although the bill does not say it there is likely to be a considerable trickle-down effect upon teaching, learning and assessment for younger children, especially as schools recognise success rates depend upon long lead-in preparation for new curricula and assessment.
The bill also makes reference to ‘federated schools’ and it is possible to see that the requirements to deliver the new post-14 curriculum and assessment requirements may lead to collaboration that eventually leads to federation.
We can now see how and where the policy statements made by the secretary of state for education, Ruth Kelly, in response to the TDA’s report on CPD are tied into the bill. On p5 we list what are likely to be the national priorities for postgraduate professional development for teachers. Among them is behaviour management. Part 7 of the bill is devoted completely to behaviour, discipline and exclusion.
The bill also makes clearer the government’s intentions concerning admissions and the governance of schools, in response to criticism about possible open and covert selection.
The bill is contentious and there are likely to be changes to it as it progresses through parliament. T he changes to the curriculum and modes of assessment have not, however, been challenged and whatever happens the context for professional learning will be changing rapidly and radically.
The bill can be found at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills.htm