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NAHT reaction to Damian Hinds Annual Conference Speech

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union said: “You need look no further than the announcements made today by the Secretary of State to see what can be achieved when there is a constructive atmosphere between policy-makers and profession.

“Accountability is an essential part of our publicly funded education system but it is also one of the main drivers of workload. It is a big reason why many talented people leave, and often a limiting factor on the ambitions of schools. 

“It's absolutely right that there should only be one agency with the remit to inspect schools. Clarity about the standards that are expected is just what we've been calling for.

“Removing the coasting and floor standards will do much to address the confusion felt by many school leaders. It will be important that the new ‘support standard’ is set at the right level and helps direct rapid, high-quality, funded support to the schools that need it most. 

“NAHT has a track record of working with the government on improvements to the system and we look forward to working with them to help define the detail behind these new proposals and to make sure that these joint ambitions are realised.

“Today we heard the Secretary of State say that the understands that the many demands placed on schools add up to higher costs. He also understands that schools are paying out for more things than they used to.

“Activity in schools is often seen as an automatic way to solve a deep-seated issue in society, but it must be understood that schools cannot solve these problems on their own.

"It's also important to acknowledge that these extra expectations come at an extra cost, and many of the sources of support that schools once relied on have been cut or now have to be bought in.

"Mental health services, speech and language therapy and some social care services are examples of how schools are filling the gap in new ways. Pension and National Insurance contributions are adding to running costs. We would also like to see schools exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy. It’s a significant extra cost, with very little benefit available to schools."

Mr Whiteman continued: “I take the Secretary of State at his word when he says he wants to work with us. I thank him for that commitment. Bringing costs down is essential. But we still have to make sure that we get the overall budget up.

“We need to do everything we can to make sure that new money is released by the Treasury and given to schools without any further delay. So, we must continue to work alongside the government and arrive at a funding settlement that matches the common ambition of providing every child with a world class education.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

Email : press.office@naht.org.uk