The Queen’s Speech
Wednesday 26 May 2010
Yesterday was an important event not just for the new government, but it was also the first time we saw their agenda and what it will mean for us and children in poverty in the UK. The main pieces of legislation we were looking for were the Welfare Reform Bill, Academies Bill and the Education and Children’s Bill.
In an earlier blog I wrote about how, despite continued political promises to close the educational attainment gap, it remains wide open. Rich and poor children do not perform equally at school. Children receiving free school meals are far less likely to achieve five A*- C grades than their better off classmates.
The education gap between rich and poor pupils is something we want to see closed as education has long been seen as a route out of poverty.
The key area in the Bill of particular interest to us was a reform of Ofsted and other accountability frameworks to ensure that head teachers are held properly accountable for the core educational goals of attainment and closing the gap between rich and poor.
We will also be campaigning for the introduction of a ‘pupil premium’ so that more money follows the poorest pupils.
No figure was released with the Bill, but we want to see a commitment of £3,000 to each child receiving free school meals to provide them with extra support. This could pay for personal tuition, trips, books and Saturday catch-up classes and give poorer pupils a proper chance at a good education that takes them out of poverty and into a well paid job.