Opportunity for All: White Paper 2022

Schools White Paper, Opportunity for All, sets out plans to make sure every child can reach the full height of their potential.

This White Paper marks the start of a journey towards an education system in which all children benefit from the high standards of the best schools and families of schools. It will form part of a wider programme of change, alongside the SEND Review, Independent Care Review, Skills for Jobs White Paper and Levelling Up White Paper.  


What are the headlines?

  • ‘All’ schools to be in or joining a high performing MAT by 2030
  • Tutoring support available for all who fall behind in numeracy and literacy – ‘parent pledge’
  • Focus on curriculum and consistency across school day length to drive standards up across whole country by 2030 – part of ‘levelling up agenda’
  • Excellent teachers - Raise starting teacher salaries to attract in ‘the best’


What is the intent behind the policy?

  • Better achievement, delivered more consistently in schools across the country by 2030
  • This achievement is best delivered through high performing Multi-Academy Trusts
  • Win back parental confidence in the system via more tutoring and support for those who fall behind in literacy and numeracy


What is relevant to our sector?

Teaching capacity and quality of teaching

A New SENCO NPQ to be consulted on via SEND Review. This will be a leadership level SENCO National Professional Qualification to replace the National Award in SEN Coordination as the mandatory qualification for new SENCOs.

Curriculum, behaviour and standards

A push to improve attendance and behaviour. SEND Review will set out reforms to alter the focus of alternative provision towards early intervention and in managing challenging behaviour and avoiding exclusions.

Introduction of an NPQ in behaviour and culture.

A standard school week of 32.5 hours is announced for all state funded schools. The paper does state that special schools are NOT included.

Targeted support

The paper mentions £2.6 billion in High Needs capital investment. Important to note that this is just a re-announcement of the money originally mentioned in the Budget and Spending Review back in October 2021.

The DfE new Regions Group will be given the power to hold local authorities and academy trusts to account for local delivery for children and young people with SEND [more details of this within the SEND review].

Expansion of National Tutoring Programme (NTP).  It will be interesting to see if DfE will listen to the SEND sector and make the programme relevant for children with SEND.

A stronger and fairer system

It is expected that all existing academies join a MAT. The White Paper suggests that the government ideal would be for most trusts to run at least 10 schools and DfE will avoid converting schools as standalone academies; however, it's likely they will consider bids for high quality free schools to open initially as standalone trusts.

SEND Review will consult on a policy of allowing local authority-maintained specialist providers to move into either specialist-only or mixed trusts, based on individual and local circumstances. Nothing yet about what plans are for special academy and free schools.


There has been no change to current legislation

Opportunities for All: Strong Schools with Great Teachers for Your Child ('the white paper') is not statutory guidance. It's a document setting out the DfE’s policy plans over a period of several years.

Implementing school system reform in 2022 to 2023 outlines how the DfE plans to put the first stages of the white paper into practice. It is not statutory guidance either, but recommends that schools and academy trusts take steps to prepare for reforms.