A new white paper unveiled this morning by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has spelled out her vision for the next five years.
The report set wide ranging ambitions for schools and 16 to 19 providers, including closer tracking of English and maths progress, an expansion of University Technical Colleges (UTCs), more curriculum stability, better careers advice and improved provision for students with special needs.
It said: “For 16-19 providers, we will introduce new headline performance measures from this year.
“These will look at the progress (including specifically in English and maths for students who have not already achieved a good pass at GCSE), attainment and retention of students.
“We are also working with HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions to improve the data we publish on students’ destinations after leaving education.
“This will show how well schools and colleges set pupils up to succeed and whether they are guiding them to make the right choices.”
There was also clear indication that the government plans to push ahead with the much maligned UTC programme.
The paper, called Education, Excellence, Everywhere, said: “We will build on the success of the free school programme to open 500 new schools by 2020.
“These 500 new free schools and UTCs will contribute to achieving educational excellence everywhere by meeting the need for more school places in areas of basic need and ensuring our school system offers greater choice, innovation and competition in areas where educational standards are currently lower than they should be.”
Assurances were also given about future curriculum stability.
It said: “In the last parliament, we introduced a new, more ambitious national curriculum and reformed qualifications and assessment standards; this parliament, our reform programme is well underway.
“Once these changes are complete, our aim is to give schools and colleges as much curriculum stability as possible to deliver these ambitious reforms.”
It also mentioned supporting the Careers and Enterprise Company to improve careers advice, informing students about “the opportunities offered by the world of work”.
The paper said that “later this year, we [DfE] will publish a strategy for improved careers provision for young people, setting the direction for work to transform the quality of the careers education, advice and guidance offered to young people, including further funding for The Careers & Enterprise Company to continue the excellent work it has started [since its launch last year].”
“It has already launched a nationwide enterprise adviser network, a £5m careers and enterprise fund and published a toolkit based on evidence of what works,” the report added.
It also committed to investing in special education needs disabilities (SEND) provision.
The paper said: “In 2016/17, we will invest in supporting professionals in schools and colleges to achieve better outcomes for pupils with SEND, including ensuring they have access to training and support on specific impairments such as autism or dyslexia.”