Wednesday, 16 December 2020

16 December 2020 Ofsted report says that Covid-19 isolation is having a detrimental effect on pupils' education and welfare

Ofsted has published its third report looking at the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on children and young people; inspectors carried out nearly 2000 visits to education and social care providers during the term

The main findings from its visits to schools show that repeated absences due to Covid-19 outbreaks have resulted in pupils losing more learning - many children are thought to be at least six months behind where they ought to be

In just over half of the schools visited, pupils in bubbles were sent home to self-isolate at some point during the term.  More children were sent home in bubbles from secondary schools than primaries

Inspectors found that schools were having to provide remote education under two circumstances: bubble isolation and individual isolation.  Many schools were making real progress with remote provision for bubbles, which often included live or pre-recorded online lessons.  However, pupils who were self-isolating often had a poorer experience, often missing out on the new content being taught to their peers in class

Inspectors also found that pupils with SEND often struggled with the restrictions placed on them, with many of them not attending school full-time and remote education being a challenge for some 

The report also reveals that the number of children being home schooled has risen again; almost three-fifths of schools told inspectors they had at least one pupil whose parents had removed them from school to be home educated since the start of term

Monday, 14 December 2020

14 December 2020 Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group publishes interim report

The Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has published its interim report.  The report highlights that young people have unequal access to opportunities to develop their oracy skills in schools in England.

It emphasises the importance of developing pupils' confidence and competence in spoken language, particularly in view of the disruption to education over the last year.

The Oracy APPG is calling for better support for teachers to embed oracy in lessons and raised expectations for pupils' entitlement to quality oracy teaching, in order to harness the potential of oracy to address educational inequality, improve employability and support wellbeing.

The final report is due in Spring 2021.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

3 December 2020 Full Ofsted inspections will not return until Easter, but there will be supportive monitoring for some schools

The government has announced that the return of full inspections has now been pushed back until the Summer term.  The key points are

- Full graded inspections will not resume until the Summer term at the earliest

- From January, Ofsted will run 'supportive' monitoring inspections for schools rated as 'inadequate', and some that are 'requires improvement'

- The inspections will focus on issues like curriculum, remote education and pupil attendance, particularly of vulnerable children

- Ofsted will have the power to inspect schools if they have serious concerns including over safeguarding and remote education

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

26 November 2020 Key messages for education from the spending review

 There are a number of key points for schools from the spending review

- The government has confirmed that it is committed to the £30K starting salary for teachers, despite the pay freeze for certain public sector workers

- The three-year funding settlement for education remains, with a £7.1 billion increase by 2022-23

- 500 schools will be rebuilt over the next ten years; there is also £1.8 billion in funding to help maintain and improve the condition of school buildings

- There is a commitment to spend £300 million on new school places for children with SEND; however, there is no reference to the free schools programme

- The National Tutoring Programme will be extended for a further year

- Schools will receive an additional £22 million to release staff to mentor new teachers as part of the government's early career framework

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 

Thursday, 24 September 2020

24 September 2020 Ofsted will check school readiness to teach relationships and sex education from January 2021

New guidance issued by Ofsted confirms that schools will have their readiness to teach the new relationships and sex education curriculum assessed when inspections recommence in January 2021

Whilst inspectors will comment on schools' readiness to comply in their reports from January, school compliance 'will not impact inspection judgements until the start of the Summer term 2021'

Teaching relationships education is compulsory in all schools from this year, with sex education also being compulsory in secondary schools

Schools have been told by the DfE that they 'should aim to start preparations to deliver the new curriculum as soon as possible and start teaching the new content by at least the start of the Summer term 2021' but 'should still be able to show how they will cover the whole curriculum in the future'

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

15 September 2020 Advisory group says that NLGs should be paid and eligibility for the role widened

The Department for Education has published the recommendations of the national leaders of governance (NLG) advisory group - these include widening the eligibility criteria for NLGs to include clerks and other non-chairs and payment for their time

The group says that the role should change to a paid role with a focus on supporting schools and trusts with 'significant need'

It also recommended 'substantial changes' to the eligibility criteria, including an extension to include governance professionals who are not chairs, such as clerks, and the removal of the requirement that NLGs can only be drawn from schools with a track record of strong performance

New standards should set 'clear expectations of NLGs and define the expertise required' whilst a 'robust two-stage' selection process is also proposed

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

8 September 2020 Ofsted carrying out interim visits to schools

Ofsted will be visiting a sample of 1200 schools from 28 September to undertake interim visits - these are designed 'to support schools in their important work to welcome all pupils back full time'

The visits are not inspections and will not result in a judgement being passed on the school; Ofsted will publish a letter after a visit has taken place

Guidance has been published for the visits which says that, if there are concerns about safeguarding or leadership, inspectors can arrange to treat the visit as an NFD ( no formal designation) inspection

During the visits, inspectors will look at

- the barriers the school faces in managing the return to education

- how leaders are ensuring that pupils resume learning the school's curriculum, including the use of remote education and catch-up funding

- how pupils are settling back into expected routines and behaviour, including regular attendance

- how any identified issues relating to special educational needs, disabilities, health, care and wellbeing issues for specific groups of pupils are being addressed

- the school's safeguarding arrangements

Thursday, 16 July 2020

16 July 2020 Schools asked to adminster phonics screening test for Year 2 pupils in the Autumn term

The Standards and Testing Authority (STA) has announced that it is proposing a phonics screening test for  Year 2 pupils in the Autumn term, after the June test was missed owing to the coronavirus pandemic

The STA said that Year 2 pupils who meet the expected standard in the Autumn check will not be required to complete any further phonics checks.  However, those that did not meet the expected standard in the Autumn check will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021

Schools will have the flexibility to decide when they administer the check in the second half of the Autumn term 2020; the data from the check will not be added to the government's 'Analyse school performance' database

Monday, 13 July 2020

13 July 2020 Government pledges to give all 18 to 19 year olds struggling to find work the opportunity to study

The government has pledged £101million to give all 18 to 19 year olds struggling to find work the opportunity to study level 2 and 3 courses; the Treasury confirmed that it expects the courses to be taken at both schools and colleges

A full list of the qualifications available for the fund will be published in due course, but it is expected to apply to A-levels in English, mathematics, science and technology as well as vocational qualifications such as ICT and construction; the government will set out more details shortly

Friday, 10 July 2020

10 July 2020 Trust growth funding now available through Trust Capacity Fund

The Department for Education has published guidance on the new Trust Capacity Fund to encourage the growth and development of multi-academy trusts (MATs) through financial grant support

The fund will offer grants covering a number of areas from £50K to £310K with a total of £17m being available during the 2020-21 financial year

The fund is to encourage MATs to merge, grow and support other schools, including encouraging rural schools to collaborate, convert and create new MATs

The closing date for applications is 31 December 2020, although early applications are encouraged; all funded activities must not have started any earlier than 6 April 2020 and be completed by 31 March 2021

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

8 July 2020 Government confirms that the PE and sport premium funding will continue next year

The government has confirmed that the PE and sport premium, worth £320million, will continue next year; additionally, any unspent funds that schools were unable to use because of the coronavirus pandemic can be brought forward into 2020-21

The PE and sport premium is a ring-fenced grant for primary schools to provide additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE, sport and physical activity

Allocations to schools are determined by a formula based on pupil numbers, with the average one-form entry primary school receiving approximately £18000 per year

8 July 2020 Ofsted to carry out new school visits during the Autumn term

Ofsted has announced that it will visit schools during the Autumn term to 'reassure parents, ministers and the public about how schools are managing the return to full education of their pupils and students'; however, regular Ofsted inspections will not start until January 2021 at the earliest

After a pilot with volunteer schools in September, the full programme will start in October, with all schools graded as 'inadequate' being visited, together with a sample of schools with other grades

Ofsted said that inspectors will work collaboratively with school leaders, listening and providing appropriate challenge; the outcome of the discussions will be published in a brief letter, although the visits will not be graded

The visits will be based around professional conversations which will cover

- the barriers that schools have faced, or facing, in managing the return to school

- how leaders are ensuring that pupils resume learning the school's curriculum

- how pupils are settling back into expected routines

- how health and wellbeing issues are being addressed

- safeguarding arrangements

Ofsted will not be using the Education Inspection Framework for the visit, but an operational note will be published in September with further details; schools will receive up to a day's notice of the visit

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

7 July 2020 Behaviour hubs programme delayed until next year

The introduction of the government's behaviour hubs programme has been pushed back until Spring 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic

The project, led by the 'ehaviour tsar'Tom Bennett, will support 500 schools in tackling behavioural issues.

Originally, the Department for Education (DfE) had planned to recruit 20 lead schools to become behaviour hubs and work with advisers to support other schools with behavioural issues from September of this year

However, owing to the pandemic, the DfE is now expecting to appoint and induct lead schools and academy trusts for the behaviour hubs in Spring of next year

Monday, 6 July 2020

6 July 2020 Almost 900 additional schools and colleges will join careers hubs from September

Almost 900 additional schools and colleges will join the government's careers hubs from September as the project expands with a £2million injection

The Skills Minister, Gillian Keegan, said that the funding for the third wave of the scheme will be shared between 22 local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) in England

Each area either has, or will create, its own careers hub to work with a group of 20 or more schools and colleges to give better careers advice and offer students more encounters with employers

Careers hubs were first launched in 2018; the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) which runs the scheme, said that an additional 882 schools and colleges will join the scheme in September 2020, taking the total to around 2200.  In eleven regions, all schools and colleges will be covered by a careers hub

Careers hubs comprise colleges working with local schools and universities, training providers, employers and career professionals in order to improve careers education in their area

They include a 'hub lead' who works with school and college leaders to provide strategic support on their careers plan and access to business networks, as well as their delivery against the Gatsby Benchmarks

Friday, 3 July 2020

3 July 2020 Government announces school rebuilding programme

The government has announced a ten-year rebuilding programme for schools across England

The programme will start in 2020-21 with the first 50 projects, supported by £1billion of funding; further details will be set out in the next Spending Review.  Schools will also receive funding this year to refurbish their buildings, which is on top of the £1.4billion school condition funding already committed

Investment will be targeted at school buildings in the worst condition across England, including in the North and Midlands

The government says that the rebuilding projects will be greener and will focus on modern construction methods

Monday, 29 June 2020

29 June 2020 National Tutoring Programme to address the impact of school closures

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is a government-funded initiative, for the academic year 2020-21, to support schools in addressing the impact of the Covid-19 closures on pupils' learning

It is available to primary and secondary state-maintained schools and will provide additional support to help pupils who have missed out the most as a result of school closures

It consists of two pillars

- NTP partners - from an approved list of organisations, schools will be able to access heavily subsidised tutoring

- NTP coaches - these will be trained graduates employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive catch-up support to pupils

Using quality standards and criteria to support the most disadvantaged pupils, school leaders and teachers will decide which approach best fits their needs, which partners to work with and which pupils will benefit most from the additional tuition

The NTP has been designed through the collaboration of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta who will be involved in the initial delivery of the programme

Thursday, 25 June 2020

25 June 2020 Ofsted inspectors will be asked to check how schools are helping pupils catch up on missed teaching

The Education Secretary has announced that schools will be asked to check on missed teaching

Last week, the government announced a £1billion funding package, with £650million to aid pupils who have fallen behind as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the remainder being spent on a national tutoring programme

Gavin Williamson said that he would be asking Ofsted to look at 'how this has been implemented, and children have been supported in their catch-up plans'

Routine inspections of schools have been suspended since March and the chief inspector said that they are unlikely to resume before the end of the Summer term

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

15 June 2020 Schools can delay the introduction of relationships and sex education

The Department for Education (DfE) has said that schools can postpone the teaching of relationships and sex education (RSE) until the Summer term in 2021 because of coronavirus

Originally, from September 2020, relationships education was to become compulsory in English state primary schools and relationships and sex education compulsory in secondary schools

The decision to allow schools to delay starting RSE has been taken to give them more time to prepare to deliver the curriculum and engage with parents

However, schools that feel ready to deliver the new curriculum are being encouraged to start lessons from 1 September, or through a phased approach during the academic year

The DFE also says that schools should consider prioritising lessons on mental health and wellbeing, as pupils return to schools following periods at home

Friday, 12 June 2020

12 June 2020 £7m to support pupils leaving Alternative Provision

The Department for Education (DfE) is to provide £7m to support more than 11000 vulnerable young people who leave Alternative Provision every year

The young people are at risk of falling out of education after their GCSEs and will benefit from mentoring, pastoral support and careers guidance including through the work of transition coaches and mentors

Statistics indicate that 59% of pupils in Alternative Provision go on to a sustained post-16 destination, compared to the 94% attending mainstream schools; 23% of those leaving Alternative Provision are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

2 June 2020 PrimarySite publishes report on MAT growth

PrimarySite ( has published a research report on the growth of multi-academy trusts (MATs) - the research was focused on understanding more about how MATs had experienced growth and how they might grow in the future

The report recommended

- More incentives for schools to join MATs, such as through the Trust Capacity Fund, would support further growth 

- MATs should invest more in leadership development so they can access the necessary skills to grow sustainably

- Taking on schools with the same value and ethos may make sense but can constrain potential growth

- The arrangement of MATs across the country is irregular and, at times, inhibits growth

- Mergers of MATs are likely in the next three years and trust boards need to put in place criteria for discussing mergers

- The role of the RSCs is likely to play a key role in how trusts merge

- More MATs need to have a good understanding of marketing and developing a meaningful online presence

- COVID-19 means that the growth of MATs will be slower in the short-term with the larger ones being able to cope with the impact of the crisis more quickly and start planning for growth sooner

Friday, 15 May 2020

15 May 2020 Report outlines areas for improvement in alternative provision

A report published by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has called for improvements in alternative provision in order to ensure consistent quality across the country

Whilst the report cites many areas of excellent practice, it outlines the variation in provision across regions, including the money spent on pupils, the data collected on them and the quality of education provided

It calls for

- a set of benchmarks to demonstrate what quality looks like and a national funding formula for alternative provision to support it

- a system improvement fund to share good practice throughout the country

- highly specialised teachers working with this cohort of children

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

5 May 2020 Northern Powerhouse Partnership calls for 'Catch-up' premium

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has called for a catch-up premium for disadvantaged pupils when schools reopen

The funding, which they say should be at least £700 for each secondary school pupil, would pay for tuition for those that have fallen behind during the COVID-19 crisis

The Partnership feels that without it, the attainment gap, which affects Northern children more than most, will get bigger

The funding would secure interventions for around 30 minutes of tuition, three to five times a week over a six to twelve week period

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

28 April 2020 Ofsted unlikely to resume routine inspections of schools before the end of the academic year

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, appeared in front of the Parliamentary education committee by video link yesterday morning

She told the committee that she was 'not expecting to be asked to resume full routine inspections before the end of the summer term'

The chief inspector said that there was too much uncertainty to be able to say how long schools will get before they are inspected once inspections resume

She also said that Ofsted would not be 'judging schools per se on their response to COVID-19' but was seriously concerned about the impact of the partial school closures on the most vulnerable pupils, including those in alternative provision

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

21 April 2020 Education committee to investigate the underachievement of white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

The education select committee is to investigate the underachievement of white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

It will form the first part of a bigger inquiry into the issues faced by pupils from 'left behind groups' and will run alongside the committee's COVID-19 inquiry

The committee pointed to statistics showing that the average attainment 8 score for white boys eligible for free school meals in the GCSE examinations in 2018 was 28.5, whilst the national average was 46.5

The committee is inviting submissions by 5 June 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020

30 March 2020 Fewer schools judged as outstanding under the new Ofsted framework

Ofsted has released data showing the results of 853 inspections between September and December 2019 showing that 77% of schools were judged as good or outstanding for overall effectiveness, which is a decrease from 80% for last year

The data shows that the percentage of schools judged as good has decreased by one percentage point compared with last year, whilst the percentage judged as outstanding has decreased by three percentage points

The new framework has a focus on the curriculum and includes the new 'quality of education' judgement

Monday, 23 March 2020

23 March 2020 Government to focus on improving the exam results of children in need

The Department for Education (DfE) is launching a consultation to change the role of the designated safeguarding leads in schools so there is a greater focus on improving the academic achievement of vulnerable pupils

The change will include more a detailed tracking of attendance and attainment data for children in need

Children in need often have lower educational outcomes than other pupils; they are more likely to be persistently absent and excluded from school

Sunday, 15 March 2020

16 March 2020 Government anoounces specialist mathematics school in every Englsh region

Last week's budget stated that £7m would be available to open eleven specialist mathematics schools, one in each English region, for 16 to 19 year olds.

Secondary schools will receive £90m a year to invest in arts programmes and extra-curricular activities, whilst there will be £29m a years towards improving primary school PE teaching.

Monday, 9 March 2020

9 March 2020 Key Stage 1 SATs replacement rolled out in September

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that from September 2020 all new primary school pupils will take the new reception baseline assessment (RBA) that will replace SATs in Year 2

Following pilots all over the country, the RBA, a one-to-one exercise done in 20 minutes with a teacher in an informal setting, will be taken by chldren in their first six weeks of a primary school

The move paves the way for the removal of the Key Stage 2 SATs from 2022/23

In the RBA, children will be assessed orally through simple tasks such as counting or desribing pictures, reflecting the types of activities which many parents already do with their children at home

Monday, 2 March 2020

2 March 2020 Experts to tackle poor behaviour in schools

The Department for Education (DfE) is setting up a new team of experts to help schools tackle poor behaviour

Schools with exemplary behaviour practices are being invited to lead the Government's new programme to improve discipline in schools

They will be supported by behaviour experts and help schools which are facing challenges, yet at the same time recognising that different schools require different approaches

The behaviour hubs will build on the work of Ofsted, and headteachers will also continue to be backed to use exclusions where they are warranted, together with a focus on raising the quality of alternative provision in order to improve outcomes for excluded pupils

The programme aims to recruit up to 20 lead schools in this application round, with plans to support over 500 schools over a three-year period from September of this year

Sunday, 23 February 2020

24 February 2020 Schools get an extra year to bring curriculum into line with new Ofsted framework

Schools will get an extra year to bring their curriculum into line with Ofsted's new inspection framework, after the inspectorate announced an extension to its transition period

The new framework, which places greater weight on curriculum content and less on outcomes, came into effect last September.  However, Ofsted also gave a year-long transition period so that schools which have a plan to review their curriculum, and can demonstrate action to do so, are not penalised

Now Ofsted has said that the transition period will be extended for another year, so that schools will have this protection until July 2021.  However, the transition arrangements will only apply to the descriptors of 'what good looks like' and not to the 'outstanding' and 'inadequate' judgements

Monday, 10 February 2020

10 February 2020 DfE extends academy trust capacity fund to rural maintained schools

Rural schools maintained by local authorities will be able to access DfE funding for the first time in order to encourage them to become academies and form new multi-academy trusts

The DfE has extended the trust capacity fund, which was originally launched last year.  The fund will continue to be used to support strong trusts to grow and innovate, accelerate the development of mid-sized trusts and create new strong trusts

However, it can now be used to support outstanding or good local authority maintained schools to collaborate and create new, strong multi-academy trusts

Thursday, 6 February 2020

6 February 2020 NGA advises that trust chair and member roles should be separate

The National Governors' Association (NGA) has advised academy trust chairs also serving as members to give up one of their roles

Sam Henson, director of policy and information at the NGA, said that members have a role in 'casting an eye over how effective the governance of the trust is, and so they have to be free from conflict to do so'

The Department for Education's strong preference is for a majority of the members to be independent of the board of trustees

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

28 January 2020 Schools benefit from £2.4m sports fund from the DfE

Funding worth £2.4m to encourage better sports activities in schools has been announced by the Department for Education (DfE)

Nine schools are to share in a £0.5m grant to trial new ways to engage the least active pupils in sports lessons and to meet the new Ofsted inspection requirements.  The funding will also help schools develop the skills and confidence of PE teachers

It also includes £1.6m to enable schools to open up their sports facilities to communities after school and in the holidays

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

22 January 2020 Ofsted annual report warns against 'narrowing the curriculum'

In the annual report, published today, Ofsted has warned that it will not turn a 'blind eye' to schools narrowing the curriculum

The chief inspector says that 'we must not succumb to the seductive but wrong-headed logic that we are helping disadvantaged children by turning a blind eye to schools that are narrowing education if they deliver acceptable grades at the end'

Concerns were also raised about science in primary schools.  The inspectorate said that it understood why science has fallen down the priority list in many primaries, but that some schools were showing that there was space in the curriculum to give children a good grounding in maths and English whilst also building knowledge in other areas

In recent weeks there have been a number of major developments that could change the way that Ofsted inspects schools, including ending the exemption that stops outstanding schools being routinely inspected.  During the election campaign, the Conservatives also pledged to pilot 'no-notice' inspections and extend the length of inspections in primary and secondary schools over three days. 

Ofsted announced last week that it would trial a new form of deeper inspection into what it called 'stuck schools', which have been rated as less than good over four inspections between 2006 and 2019

Monday, 13 January 2020

13 January 2020 Ofsted announces proposals to inspect outstanding schools

The Government has proposed that Ofsted will inspect schools currently rated as outstanding from September 2020

Schools rated as outstanding are currently exempt from inspection.  Under the proposals, which are the subject of a consultation, all outstanding schools will be brought back into the regular inspection cycle, with Ofsted visiting them every four or five years.  This will affect about 3700 schools when the exemption is lifted in September

The proposals, which are subject to Parliamentary approval, will prioritise those schools which have gone the longest since inspection

Monday, 6 January 2020

6 January 2020 DfE announces additional funding for developing music, arts and culture in schools

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced additional funding to support the development of music, arts and culture in schools

The curriculum schemes which will receive a total of £85million for 2020/21 include

- Music education hubs
- In harmony
- National youth music organisations and Music for youth
- Cultural education

The music education hubs, which support the teaching of music in schools through subsidised instrument lessons and ensembles, have benefitted from £300million funding between 2016 and 2020