Schools Bill shelved in current form

Schools Bill shelved in current form

The controversial Schools Bill, which would have pushed for all schools to become part of multi academy trusts (MATs) by the end of the decade, appears to have been scrapped in its current form.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, has confirmed to parliament that the Bill “will not progress” to its third reading in the House of Lords but has suggested that as certain parts of the Government’s proposals do not require legislative changes, there will be aspects that may still be implemented.

Ms Keegan told MPS that “parliamentary time has definitely been reprioritised” to focus on the cost-of-living crisis “because of the pandemic aftershocks but also the war in Ukraine”.

Reiterating that her department would “remain committed” to the objectives of the Schools Bill, she underlined that she would be “prioritising some aspects of the bill as well to see what we can do”.

“A lot of the Schools White Paper is being implemented and didn’t require legislation in many cases,” citing a register of children who are not in school as being “definitely a priority”.

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman said that it had been “inevitable” that the Government would eventually have to scrap the Schools Bill but said it was “a shame that the sensible and necessary elements of the bill that we did support have been thrown into the long grass alongside the others”.

“The introduction of a register of children not in school, for example, is something we believe is important to improve safeguarding for children, as is the crackdown on illegal schools,” Mr Whiteman said.

“We hope these elements of the bill won’t be lost entirely.”