Primary school class

Govt launches consultation on minimum service levels in schools

The Department for Education has launched a nine-week consultation on minimum service levels in schools.

The consultation would protect the foundations of learning and give parents and their children more reassurance and uncertainty, according to the government.

The government is seeking views on a range of topics, including:

  • Priority attendance for vulnerable students
  • Exam groups
  • Children of critical workers
  • The use of rotas for strikes lasting five days or more

This year’s strikes led to more than 25 million school days being lost alone, in what was the biggest outbreak of industrial action in a generation across multiple sectors.

The government highlights its decision comes after a lack of progress in discussions between the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, and trade unions on voluntary agreements in schools and colleges.

The Department for Education is therefore asking to hear the opinions of parents, young people and relevant professionals, with the aim of implementing minimum service levels by the next academic year.

Minimum service levels are also being considered for higher education as the government continues to assess the impact of strike action in the sector.

Gillian Keegan said: “Keeping children in school is my number one priority. Last year’s school strikes were some of the most disruptive on record for children and parents with 25 million cumulative days lost, alongside the strike action that badly affected students in colleges and universities.

“We cannot afford a repeat of that disruption - particularly as young people continue to catch up from the pandemic.”

She added: “Whilst I know many schools and colleges worked really hard to keep children and young people in face-to-face education during strikes, we must make sure that approach is applied in every school, in every area of country.”

Image credit: iStock

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