Wednesday, 18 November 2020

18 November 2020 Northern Powerhouse Partnership publishes new school leagues tables

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) has published new league tables that attempt to take into account the background of the pupils taught

It has created a 'Fairer Schools Index' which uses an adjusted Progress 8 score which, it says, takes into account long-term deprivation, whether students are eligible for free school meals and their ethnicity and gender

Using the measure, 46% of schools judged 'well below' average or 'below average' under Progress 8 moved up out of these bandings

Of the 20 schools that climbed the most from their official Department for Education (DfE) Progress 8 ranking, 15 were in the north of England

Friday, 13 November 2020

13 November 2020 Ofsted releases second report following visits to schools

Ofsted has released its second report following visits to 380 schools between 29 September and 23 October

The main findings are

School leaders reported that pupils were happy to be back but, in some schools, outlined concerns about self-harming and eating disorders during the first lockdown

Almost half of the schools reported that some parents had elected to home educate their children

Leaders found their workload 'overwhelming and unrealistic' with the chief inspector praising their 'remarkable resilience'

They 'very occasionally' reported a rise in fixed term exclusions as they could not use their usual sanctions as a result of space restrictions

In a separate briefing on SEND provision during the pandemic, Ofsted found a mixed picture with some pupils benefitting from the 'simpler routines' but being seriously affected when speech and language services were unavailable

Friday, 6 November 2020

6 November 2020 Academies minister urges trust boards to nurture members who could replace chairs

Speaking at a governance conference, Baroness Berridge urged academy trusts to put succession planning in place in order to ensure continuity of leadership

A government report (The School and Trust Governance Investigative Report) found that 'succession planning was not commonly happening, with individuals generally being asked to fill the role (of chair) following a resignation, rather than volunteering'

Baroness Berridge said that this needed to change, with people not being coerced into the role because there was a vacancy

She said that there was 'a difference between coercing and nurturing.  As current chairs, I look to you to help nurture board members who may be interested in stepping up'

She also said that 'diversity is critical to maintain this effective challenge and ensure that boards better reflect the communities they serve'.  Currently, 3.5% of governors are black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME)

Thursday, 22 October 2020

22 October 2020 New set of headteachers' standards and reformed NPQs

 A new set of headteachers' standards has been published by the Department for Education (DfE)

The first section of the non-statutory standards outlines the Ethics and Professional Conduct expected of headteachers whilst the second one contains the ten headteachers' standards

The standards can be used by governing bodies to support the recruitment and retention of headteachers, inform their performance management and appraisal and shape their professional development

The DfE advises that, where governing bodies have completed the headteacher performance management process for 2020, or it is currently ongoing, there is no expectation that this should be reviewed to reflect the revised standards.  In the transitional year, schools are advised to engage with the 2020 headteachers' standards as part of their development conversations and adopt them at the most appropriate point in the year

From September 2021, a reformed suite of NPQs will be available for teachers and leaders.  The three existing NPQs in senior leadership, headship and executive leadership have been reformed whilst the current NPQ in middle leadership has been replaced with three new NPQs:

  • supporting the training and development of others
  • developing teachers who are subject leads or responsible for improving teaching practice in a subject or phase
  • developing teachers who have responsibilities for leading behaviour and culture

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

14 October 2020 DfE publishes report on school and trust governance

 The DfE has published a report on school and trust governance

Its main conclusions are

- schools and trusts could make greater use of the connection services that provide them with information about people interested in becoming governors or trustees

- whilst essential, good succession planning was not commonly happening

- training and support were well received and valued by governors and trustees, although time and cost were considerable barriers

- there was a mismatch between the skills that governors and trustees felt their governing body had and those which the executive leaders felt they had 

- not all governing bodies are making the most of the resource that clerks can offer; the support of an effective professional clerk was seen to help with the retention of governors and trustees

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

6 October 2020 EEF launches three new studies on the impact of Covid-19 on schools

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has launched three new studies to understand the impact of Covid-19 on schools, particularly on disadvantaged pupils.

In the first study, the FFT Datalab team aims to provide the earliest robust estimate of the change in disadvantage before and after the lockdown, as well as analysing strategies associated with a widening gap.

In the second one, the National Foundation for Educational Research will assess the extent to which Key Stage 1 pupils' (particularly the disadvantaged) attainment in reading and writing has been affected by the pandemic.

The third study, by the University of York, National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Education Policy Institute will assess the impact of the lockdown on the school readiness of new reception children as well as their attainment and wellbeing in the first year of education.

Friday, 2 October 2020

2 October 2020 Outstanding schools to be inspected from January 2021 onwards

Outstanding schools will be inspected when Ofsted inspections resume in January 2021

The government has published its response to the consultation on removing the current exemption for outstanding schools.  It will now seek Parliamentary approval to remove the exemption and reintroduce inspections for outstanding schools alongside the restart of routine inspections which is currently being planned for January

It appears that all schools currently rated as outstanding will receive an initial full, or short, inspection within six years rather than the original five