1st February 2022

EPI comments on plans for schools in Levelling Up White Paper

Today [Tuesday 1 February] the Education Secretary has set out measures to improve school standards, as part of the government’s forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper. 

Commenting on the schools “levelling up” proposals, Natalie Perera, Chief Executive of the Education Policy Institute (EPI) said: 

“Targeted investment for those areas of the country with high levels of educational inequality will be key to the government’s efforts – we know from our research that very large education gaps are deeply entrenched in parts of the North and Midlands, and pupils in these areas have also seen far greater levels of learning loss following the pandemic.

“It will be important to closely scrutinise the criteria used by the government for selecting its Education Investment Areas, and how it intends to deliver ‘intensive’ support over so many areas. 

“The adoption of our recommendation for retention payments for teachers in challenging areas is encouraging. One of the greatest challenges in education is ensuring that highly qualified teachers are available to schools in deprived parts of the country. Severe teacher shortages remain in subjects such as maths and physics, with teachers in these areas far less likely to have a degree in the subject that they teach.

“It is essential that the government’s plans for these areas follow policy interventions on school improvement that are proven to work, and support is also offered to pupils beyond the school gates, to families and within the community. Without a sound evidence base and sufficient resources, the government’s ambitious plans to level up may fail to get off the ground.”