Westminster Education Forum

The changing shape of England’s school system - improvement, pupil attainment and social mobility

Morning, Thursday, 13th September 2018

Central London


This timely seminar will consider further action that might be taken to ensure England’s school system promotes school improvement, pupil attainment and social mobility - looking at policy developments and practical steps.

Delegates will examine key issues for the future shape of the school system and for delivering school improvement, including:

  • Grammar and faith school expansion - the impact of Government's recent announcement to allow expansion of grammar schools on existing campuses and allow the creation of a new wave of voluntary-aided (VA) schools;
  • Universities and independent schools - the impact of their expanded relationship with the state sector, including partnerships, sponsorship of academies and support for disadvantaged students - as the ISC and the DfE set out how the ISC will work in partnership with state schools in a 'Joint memorandum of understanding';
  • Multi-academy trusts - steps to ensure their accountability and effectiveness - in light of concerns around fragmentation, governance and leadership pay highlighted in the Public Accounts Committee’s recent inquiry, and the recent publication of principles for the accountability system by the Secretary of State;
  • Free Schools and the Opportunity Areas programme - options for the wider transferability across the system;
  • Local education authorities - their changing role within the school system; and
  • Pupil attainment and social mobility - priorities for improvement, including best practice examples of external support systems and school partnerships.

The seminar also comes after the publication of the DfE’s Social Mobility Action Plan, which outlined the DfE’s plans to improve social mobility through education and included proposals for the next phase of the Free Schools Programme to target areas of disadvantage - and follows recent emphasis from the DfE on raising educational standards in disadvantaged areas through initiatives such as the Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Fund and the Opportunity Areas programme.

Guest of Honour

Sir Kevan Collins

Chief Executive, Education Endowment Foundation and Evidence Champion for Social Mobility, Department for Education

Guest of Honour

Sir Kevan Collins

Chief Executive, Education Endowment Foundation and Evidence Champion for Social Mobility, Department for Education


Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Shadow Spokesperson, Education


Mike Buchanan

Headteacher, Ashford School, Kent and Vice-Chair, Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference

Daniel Sobel

Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Lead Consultant,Inclusion Expert

Nicole Chapman

Headteacher, Chelmsford County High School for Girls, Essex

Mike Simmonds

Director and Education Consultant, Go Ministries

Dame Sue John

Executive Director, Challenge Partners

Alastair Falk

Secretary, Association of Education Partnerships

Leora Cruddas

Chief Executive Officer, FASNA

Jackie Dunne

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Access & Lifelong Learning), University of Wolverhampton

Senior speaker confirmed from New Schools Network

Dr Tim Coulson

Chief Executive, Samuel Ward Academy Trust and Independent Chair, Norwich Opportunity Area Partnership Board

Sean Coughlan

Education Correspondent, BBC News

Peter Dudley

Director of Education, London Borough of Camden and Lecturer, University of Cambridge