Wednesday, 4 December 2019

4 December 2019 England rises up the Pisa rankings as mathematics and reading improve

A recently published Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) study shows that England has moved up the rankings as a result of a significant improvement in mathematics and a small rise in reading.

In mathematics, England was ranked 17th, just one place behind Finland and up from 26th in 2015.
However, it was behind countries including Estonia, Poland and the seven top-ranked East Asian systems.

There was a decline in science, shared by some of the highest performing counties in the Pisa study.

Friday, 29 November 2019

29 November 2019 Higher proportion of secondary schools lost their outstanding grade

Schools graded as outstanding are currently exempt from Ofsted inspections.  However, Ofsted can inspect them if it has concerns, and in 2018-19 382 of them were inspected.

Data published this week shows that 75% of the outstanding secondary schools inspected were downgraded, compared to 38% in the previous year.

86% of the outstanding primary schools inspected were downgraded, compared to 80% in the previous year.

In September, plans to lift the exemption were announced but the process for this has not yet started.

Friday, 22 November 2019

22 November 2019 Report shows rise in the number of home-educated children with complex needs

A report published by the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) has shown a rise in the number of cases with 'social care, SEND and multi-agency involvement'

The report indicates that responses were received from 132 councils, showing that an estimated 78000 children and young people were home-educated at some point during the 2018/19 academic year

Of this cohort, 38 councils said that between 6% and 10% had an education, health and care (EHP) plan

The report says that 'The surge (in the number of EHE families) notably involves cases which are increasing in complexity and, consequently, require more robust monitoring, support and multi-agency involvement'

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

13 November 2019 Law group calls for reform of school exclusions

The law reform group Justice has called for a reform of school exclusions; in a recent report, it said that schools do not always fully understand their duties under the Equality Act 2010 which require them to make reasonable adjustments to school policies that may put pupils with SEND at a disadvantage

The report calls for mandatory training for school leaders on the law relating to exclusions, the establishment of a new independent reviewer with powers to investigate individual exclusions and dissatisfied parents having the option of appealing to a judge-led tribunal 

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

6 November 2019 DfE publishes guidance on character education

The Department for Education (DfE) has published non-statutory guidance on character education in schools; this is based on recommendations from the advisory group on character established in April 2019

Intended for school leaders and teachers when planning the development of character education, the guidance covers six character benchmarks which summarise the most important features of good provision, including

- What kind of school are we?
- What are our expectations of behaviour towards each other?
- How well do our curriculum and teaching develop resilience and confidence?
- How good is our curriculum provision?
- How well do we promote the value of volunteering and service to others?
- How well do we ensure that all our pupils benefit equally from what we offer?

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

5 November 2019 Government to extend 'Opportunity areas' funding until 2021

The Department for Education has announced that funding for 'Opportunity areas' will be extended until August 2021; it was originally intended to finish next year

'Opportunity areas' were established in 2017 in twelve parts of the country - including Blackpool, Derby, the North Yorkshire Coast, Bradford and Doncaster - where it was felt that there were significant barriers to social mobility

The funding is used to support a range of activities such as additional mathematics classes for disadvantaged pupils in Year 11

Friday, 18 October 2019

18 October 2019 EBacc entry rate increases to 40%

Provisional data published by the Department for Education shows that the EBacc entry rate rose to 40% in 2019, from 38.4% last year

Entries in humanities rose to 80.6% and in science to 95.6%; those in English and mathematics were unchanged at 95.8% and 97.3% respectively

However, entries in languages rose by 0.5 percentage pints to 46.6%

Monday, 7 October 2019

7 October 2019 Science and language teachers to get up to £9000 retention bonus

The DfE has announced that, from 2020, new teachers with degrees in physics and chemistry, or in languages such as French or Spanish, would be eligible for 'early career payments' if they worked in state schools for four years after they completed their training; those with mathematics degrees already receive the payments

The retention bonuses will be paid in their second, third and four years, totalling £6000 and rising to £9000 for those working in the regions of highest demand

Thursday, 3 October 2019

3 October 2019 Over 1000 schools not inspected by Ofsted for 10 years

Research by the BBC has shown that there are 1010 schools rated as outstanding that have not had an Ofsted inspection for ten years; 24 of them have not had an inspection since September 2016

The Department for Education plans to lift the exemption on routine inspections for outstanding schools that has been in place since 2012

Monday, 30 September 2019

30 September 2019 Over half of young people are now attending university

Official figures published last week show that over half of young people are now attending university for the first time

In 2017-18, 50.2% of 17- to 30-year olds in England participated in higher education; the figures show a steady rise in the higher education participation rate over the last year years

The participation rate for women is 56.6% and for men 44.1%

The Education Secretary urged universities to do more to ensure a diverse intake of students, particularly by encouraging more disadvantaged students to participate in higher education

Friday, 20 September 2019

20 September 2019 Report shows improved picture of careers support in schools

A report published by the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) indicates that careers education in schools is improving - more schools are meeting the Gatsby benchmarks for good careers programmes

The eight benchmarks include learning from career and labour market information, encounters with employers and experiences of workplaces

37% of schools achieved at least four benchmarks whilst 10% failed to meet any - these figures represent an improvement since 2017

The CEC is funded by the government to provide support for schools such as enterprise advisers and co-ordinators

Monday, 16 September 2019

16 September 2019 - Ofsted's inspection transition period will not apply to the full primary curriculum

Ofsted has transition arrangements in place to allow schools some time to develop their curriculum - these apply to four of the good criteria in the quality of education judgement in the new inspection framework, which was introduced at the start of September

It means that inspectors can use their professional judgement when a school has taken 'appropriate action but is still in the early stages of developing its curriculum'

However, Ofsted has announced that, for schools with primary pupils, the transition plans will not apply to reading, writing and mathematics - and will therefore only apply to science and the foundation curriculum

Monday, 9 September 2019

9 September 2019 - Government launches major review into the support for children with SEND

The government has launched a major review into the support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Education Health and Care plans were launched in 2014; the new review will look at how the system has evolved since then, how it can be made to work best for all families and ensure that the quality of provision is consistent across the country. 

It will also look at the role of health care in SEND in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

3 September 2019 - Outstanding schools no longer to be exempt from Ofsted inspection

The government has announced that schools previously rated as outstanding will no longer be exempt from Ofsted inspections.

It will consult on how make this change and - subject to Parliamentary approval - bring them into the regular inspection cycle.

A National Audit Office report says that 296 schools have not been inspected for more than 10 years.  In the last academic year, 16% kept their outstanding status on inspection; in the previous year, the figure was 33%.

Friday, 19 July 2019

19 July 2019 Ofsted publishes report on multi-academy trusts

Ofsted has published a report on multi-academy trusts (MATs) - Multi-academy trusts: benefits, challenges and functions

Whilst it makes recommendations for Ofsted and the DfE, including strengthening accountability at MAT level, the main recommendations for MATs are that they should

- make full use of the opportunities for back-office functions and policies
- ensure that collaboration within the trust is used effectively, particularly to share expertise and maximise learning
- work productively with the LA and other schools in the area
- carefully manage growth
- clearly set out the role of the local governing body
- put in place mechanisms to monitor their own performance at trust level