: Great Britain: Department for Education
The Stationery Office
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England's school system performs below its potential and can improve significantly. This white paper outlines action designed to: tackle the weaknesses in the system; strengthen the status of teachers and teaching; reinforce the standards set by the curriculum and qualifications; give schools back the freedom to determine their own development; make schools more accountable to parents, and help them to learn more quickly and systematically from good practice elsewhere; narrow the gap in attainment between rich and poor. The quality of teachers and teaching is the most important factor in determining how well children do. The Government will continue to raise the quality of new entrants to the profession, reform initial teacher training, develop a network of "teaching schools" to lead training and development, and reduce the bureaucratic burden on schools. Teachers will be given more powers to control bad behaviour. The National Curriculum will be reviewed, specifying a tighter model of knowledge of core subjects so that the Curriculum becomes a benchmark against which school can be judged. Schools will be given more freedom and autonomy, the Academies programme extended and parents will be able to set up "Free Schools" to meet parent demand. Accountability for pupil performance is critical, and much more information will be available to aid understanding of a school's performance. School improvement will be the responsibility of schools, not central government. Funding of schools needs to be fairer and more transparent, and there will be a Pupil Premium to target resources on the most deprived pupils.