Theresa May has the ‘right focus’ but the ‘wrong tools’, says NAHT

Theresa May is right to focus on helping the poorest pupils in English schools but has the ‘wrong tools’ to get the job done, according to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT, criticised the proposals put forward in the ‘Schools that work for everyone’ green paper, which he said was ‘full of holes’.

Instead, Hobby suggested the government should base its reforms on ‘evidence rather than anecdote’.

He said: “The Pupil Premium is an example of an evidence-based approach that is making a big difference to children from low income households. And yet many families are missing out. NAHT has been suggesting for some time that children are automatically registered for the Pupil Premium, removing the need for parents and carers to ask for help. We challenge the government to make this a reality.

“School leaders want to see schools that work for everyone, with a system that is fair, where all children will see their talents uncovered and encouraged. In essence, our agenda is more ambitious than the government’s vision. Children don’t need a chance of success, they need a promise. Many would cheerfully swap the thin offer of choice for the secure knowledge that the school closest to them had the resources and talent it needed to excel.

“The Prime Minister talked about ‘a good school place for every child’. At present, the government can’t even guarantee a place at all. Currently, there’s no centralised planning of school places. Until there is, there will always be a shortfall.”

Hobby stressed that the answer to improving schools was not a return to selection, claiming that a system ‘built on competition will put the brakes on improvement’.

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