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