IV. The Excellence In Schools White Paper

The White Paper "Excellence in Schools"(Through this web-site the full white paper can be viewed in the Portable Document Format (PDF)) was written in 1997 and was one of the New Government's first White Papers. In this publication the Government outlined their intentions to raise standards in education and to give every child a firm educational foundation. The White Paper outlines what the Government hopes to achieve in the UK over the next five years. It is presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment by command of Her Majesty.

In the White Paper the Government stresses the importance of involvement from parents, teachers, governors, businesses, local government and community members in order to improve education standards.

The following are brief summaries from the various sections of the White Paper which highlight what the Government hopes to achieve by the year 2002. Printed copies of these summaries may be ordered at 0800 99 66 00. Full plans of the White Paper were sent to all schools in the UK.

By 2002, the Government hopes to increase the awareness of education and their commitment to raising standards. The overall approach to implementing supporting policies will be underpinned by 6 key principles:

  1. Education will be at the heart of the Government
  2. Policies will be designed to benefit everyone
  3. The primary focus is standards
  4. Intervention will be in inverse proportion to success
  5. Zero tolerance for inadequate performance
  6. Government will work in partnership with those committed to raising standards

The Government also hope to achieve quality education for all 4 year olds, an early years forum in every area, effective assessments of all children starting in primary schools. By 2002, class sizes with a maximum of 30 children in them for all 5, 6 and 7 year olds. There will be national guidelines in place for all primary teachers to assist with the teaching of reading and arithmetic with a minimum of one hour each day spent working on these subjects in order to meet national targets.

The following may serve as useful web-sites for further information on new standards:

  1. Standard of literacy
  2. Standard of numeracy
  3. National Literacy Strategy
  4. http://www.dfee.gov.uk/reading/index.htm
  5. Improving all Schools School governors and parents
  6. The Standards & Effectiveness Unit
  7. The Standards Site
  8. Performance Tables

In the White Paper the Government also aims to increase school accountability thorough improved OFSTED inspections. As part of raising standards an emphasis on special needs, ethnic minorities and improving racial harmony will also be addressed.