Our REAL event gave us a unique insight from the Shadow Infrastructure Minister and former Labour Minister for Schools, Lord Andrew Adonis. Here we look at some of his predictions on how the education landscape will change over the next five years.
All secondary schools could be academies by the end of this parliament
There will be a continuation of free schools, academies and the programmes laid out in the last five years, but without the rough edge of Gove. Legislation has recently been announced which will see academies continue to expand further over the next five years.
By the end of this parliament, it would be fairly safe to assume that all secondary schools will become academies, and new legislation will streamline the process of academy transformation so that it becomes harder for objections to take place.
Major expansions to the free school programme
It is also confidently predicted that the free schools programme will expand greatly over the next few years. Demand for free schools is significant, particularly in areas like London and the South East of England where new schools are needed.
Up to 40,000 extra secondary places are needed over the next five years in London alone and significantly more in the wider South East. That’s equivalent to around 30 new schools - one per borough – in London, and under the current government, all new schools will be free schools.
Whilst the ideological edge has come off slightly, we will still see a dramatic expansion to the free school programme and this in turn will create a lot of opportunities for new school operators to come in, as well as new academy chains and individual entrepreneurs.
Increased focus on Apprenticeships and Vocational Options
The third and more tentative prediction is around the big question mark which the current government needs to address on what will happen to apprenticeships and vocational options in schools. This issue wasn’t high on Gove’s agenda, but right now their biggest education challenge will be the reinvention of vocational education and a significant expansion in work and training opportunities tied to school leavers. Early signs are that they will move into this territory with a greater focus over the coming years.
We’re sharing lots more content from our REAL event over the coming weeks, including summaries from some of our speakers and debates, key themes, new technology trends and classroom ideas.