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Education in the media: 21 December 2017

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Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at what is being done to make sure all pupils can access high quality secondary education, regardless of where they are from.

Access to good school places

All children should have access to high quality school places to ensure they get the best education regardless of where they are from. The quality of education in England has improved since 2010 meaning there are now more than 1.9 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools, and nearly 80 per cent of secondary schools are rated good or outstanding.

But today, the Education Policy Institute published a report that claims there are still some areas where children have better access to high quality school places than others. This was covered by BBC Breakfast, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show, BBC Online, Schools Week, and TES.

Much of the coverage includes comments from Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who noted the work that the Government has done in improving schools all over the country, saying “there are many good and outstanding schools in every region”.

And we are continuing to work to improve educational outcomes for all pupils in the country; that is why the department is spending £280 million on the Strategic School Improvement Fund, which is designed to create a self-improving school system by sharing best practice between academies and maintained schools, targeting the areas that need it most.

On top of this, having excellent teachers in our most challenging schools is also key to school improvement, which is why the department is investing £75million in teachers’ professional development and a further £42million for training.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Academic standards are rising in our primary and secondary schools thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers. Nine out of 10 schools are now rated good or outstanding and there are now 1.9 million more pupils in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010. As the Education Secretary said earlier this month when launching our plan to boost social mobility, we want to make sure opportunities are spread evenly across the country.

That’s why we are targeting the areas that need the most support through the £72million Opportunity Areas programme, and by investing £280million over the next two years to target resources at the schools most in need to improve their performance and deliver more good school places.

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