Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system

The Government published the White Paper Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system on 30th June 2009.

The key changes include:

  • strengthened Home School Agreements so that all pupils and parents sign up to the school's rules when they apply for a school place;
  • guaranteed extra personalised catch-up support for 11 year olds who have fallen behind in primary school and, linked to this, a new check on their progress at the end of their first year in secondary school; and
  • a new School Report Card that will provide clear information about each school's performance.

    School leaders are crucial to meeting the challenge, and the Government will support them with:
  • new career opportunities, including taking on system leadership roles for leading across more than one school or growing and leading chains of schools;
  • reward as well as accountability for all of the things their school does to support the needs of children in the school and in others; and
  • more support from a wider range of schools and children's services, and from Children's Trusts, and to be able to decide what school improvement is needed and who should provide it.

    Teachers also have an essential role to play, and the Government will be:
  • raising the status of teaching as a career and transforming the culture of professional development in teaching to become a Masters-level profession with both an entitlement to professional development and a 'licence to teach';
  • providing teachers with high quality training and professional support, with more opportunities to exchange expertise with other schools and professionals, and continuing professional development that reflects the skills needed in their jobs;
  • bringing together the training and development of teachers with other professionals working in schools to help generate more effective early intervention, and extra support for children and young people with additional needs; and
  • tasking an independent panel to look at how our policies are implemented and ensure there is no unnecessary bureaucracy.

    The vision of the 21st Century school will need everyone in the workforce to play their part in improving outcomes for pupils, families and the wider community, and will mean a growing role for those in schools who work with teachers, including:
  • all staff working to support pupils' learning in the classroom will have, or will be working towards a Level 3 qualification;
  • Learning Mentors and Parent Support Advisers being at the forefront of a co-ordinated system of early intervention, linked to other services that enable them to meet the needs and aspirations or every child and young person;
  • access to a broader range of professionals to work with school-based staff for example, social services, child and adolescent mental health services and speech and language therapy;
  • the new Support Staff Negotiating Body examining how the increased professionalism of support staff should be most appropriately reflected in their pay and conditions.

    To help you understand what the White Paper means for you, the Government has produced guides which can be downloaded from You are urged to read them.

    Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system and supporting documents, including versions for parents and carers, and children and young people, are available from

    01 Jul 2009