Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Changes approved for Schools for the Future programme

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Our Executive committee has approved changes to the Schools for the Future programme.

The changes are aimed at providing greater clarity for schools and parents and supporting a fair and equitable approach across the whole of Central Bedfordshire.

Schools for the Future is an ambitious, long-term programme to raise education standards in Central Bedfordshire by ensuring the area has the right schools, in the right places, delivering the best education, and moving towards a two-tier educational system is part of achieving it.

The changes to the programme’s principals and policies – approved by Executive (February 8) – were made in response to us adopting our Local Plan in July 2021, which sets out how Central Bedfordshire will develop over the next 20 years.

We used the opportunity to check the pupil places needed in future, aligned to the new Local Plan, while acknowledging feedback from schools involved in the programme, which highlighted that schools would welcome more transparency and clarity about the parameters of the programme.

These new principles and policies include:

  • support for a target to improve learning outcomes to above the national average at Key Stage 2, Key Stage 4 and post-16
  • us no longer making initial proposals for changes to academies, as we are not the key decision-maker (we will now welcome two-tier proposals from Academy Trusts, which are supported by the Department for Education)
  • proposals for two-tier conversion will be matched against pupil place requirements, which we'll validate
  • Schools for the Future capital investment will not support early years or post-16 proposals
  • proposals to improve and create SEND places will continue but SEND investment will be a parallel programme led by children’s services and not directly managed by the Schools for the Future programme
  • a new design principles policy that sets out what can fairly and equitably be funded across the schools still in the three-tier system
  • a new six-point criteria, which we will consider all conversion proposals against

Councillor Sue Clark, our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

Schools for the Future is now at a positive turning point, and with the new revised principles and policies that will underpin the programme, we can begin to work towards publishing an outline phasing plan for the new primary / secondary system in each area.

The aim of this is to give all schools and parents the confidence that the programme will benefit all pupils in all the schools now looking forward to the new primary / secondary system.

We believe the revised Schools for the Future principles and policies will provide clarity, transparency, affordability, and fairness to all schools who are partners in the programme. We are now very well placed to move forward at a quicker pace with the support of all our Schools for the Future partners.