Malthouse Plans to make the DfE Assertive

The Department for Education (DfE) will be more “assertive” on standards and intervention in schools, the secretary of state said today. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, education secretary Kit Malthouse said that the department would need to be more “front-footed” in talking to schools about what they can achieve.

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Mr Malthouse said the government should be “proud” of what it has achieved in education, highlighting that there are now 8 million pupils in “good” or “outstanding” schools and also pointing to “record numbers” of disadvantaged children currently going through university.

However, he acknowledged that there is more to do, particularly in raising standards in schools that are not yet “good”.

The education secretary said the DfE would be holding meetings with school leaders to discuss what more can be done to raise standards.

He also announced a new £10 million fund to support struggling schools, which will be used to pay for expert advice and support.


This is a significant shift in tone from the previous education secretary Damian Hinds, who adopted a more hands-off approach and emphasised collaboration with schools rather than intervention.

It remains to be seen how this change in approach will play out in practice, but it is clear that the DfE is now taking a more proactive stance on school standards.

The school standards agenda will likely be a key priority for the government in the coming months, and it will be interesting to see how this new “assertive” approach plays out.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the new £10 million fund has been recognised and will be used to pay for expert advice and support to help these schools improve.

This change in approach from the DfE is a welcome one, and it is hoped that it will lead to real progress in raising standards in all schools across the country. By submitting these standards, we can ensure that all children reach their full potential.

What do you think of this change in approach from the DfE? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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