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7.1 Improving the recruitment, selection and training of school teachers and leaders, giving them increased authority and giving schools greater autonomy will give the school system greater capacity to improve. Alongside that, setting high standards through the curriculum and qualifications and holding schools accountable for the results they achieve will create a powerful driver of improvement. It is also important that schools have the right support to enable them to improve.
7.2 Over recent years, government has tended to use highly centralised approaches to improving schools. It has tried to lead, organise and systematise improvement activity, seeking to ensure compliance with its priorities. It has led target setting, introduced improvement initiatives focused on particular issues, used ring-fenced or targeted grants extensively and employed large numbers of field forces.
7.3 We think that this is the wrong approach. Government should certainly put in place the structures and processes which will challenge and support schools to improve. Where schools are seriously failing, or where known best practice is not being adopted appropriately, it is right to step in to secure for children the quality of education that they deserve. But it should be clear that the primary responsibility for improvement rests with schools. Government cannot determine the priorities of every school, and the attempt to secure compliance with its priorities reduces the capacity of the system to improve itself.
7.4 Instead our aim should be to create a school system which is more effectively self-improving. The introduction of new providers to the system, and the ability of parents, teachers and others to establish new schools is an important part of this, in bringing innovation and galvanising others to improve, especially in areas where parents are significantly dissatisfied. It is also important that we design the system in a way which allows the most effective practice to spread more quickly and the best schools and leaders to take greater responsibility and extend their reach.
7.5 We will:
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