Friday, 5 March 2021

5 March 2021 Education secretary says that the government is 'looking at' how to get more schools into MATs

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said that the government would like to see 'far more schools' in multi-academy trusts by 2025 and is actively looking at 'how we can make that happen'

He told the Foundation for Education Development summit on 1 March that partnerships between schools were fundamental, especially in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic

The government has previously used growth funding (such as the Trust Capacity Fund) to encourage more academies to be part of larger trusts

Mr Williamson told the summit that schools 'benefit from being in a strong family.  In other words, a multi-academy trust'

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

24 February 2021 Ofsted publishes research on the education of pupils living in children's home

Ofsted has published research on the range and quality of the education of pupils living in children's homes; the research was conducted across a sample of 2600 children living in 815 children's homes between April 2018 and March 2019

The key findings are

- Children's home residents are less likely to attend good or outstanding schools

- Around 9% of children in the sample attended unregulated provision

- Children living in children's homes were 18 times more likely to attend a pupil referral unit than all pupils attending state-funded provision nationally

- They were also 20 times more likely to attend special schools than all children nationally

Thursday, 11 February 2021

11 February 2021 77 schools selected to run new teaching school hubs

77 schools have been selected to run 81 new teaching school hubs across England, with £65million of funding from the government.  It takes the total number of hubs to 87, with six initial hubs being announced last year

Teaching school hubs will provide professional development for teachers and leaders, as well as supporting trainee teachers.  They will help to deliver the new early career framework of support for new teachers and provide national professional qualifications and initial teacher training

Each of the 81 new hubs will have its own geographical area and begin operating in September.  Four schools have been given funding for two geographical areas, with the remaining 73 running one

Friday, 5 February 2021

5 February 2021 Government launches first phase of school rebuilding programme

The government has launched the first phase of its ten-year school rebuilding programme, with 50 projects being announced

The programme is due to deliver 500 projects over the next decade; the schools include primary, secondary and special ones as well as a sixth form college in West Yorkshire; more than 70% of the schools are in the North and the Midlands

Construction will begin on the first projects from Autumn 2021, with the majority of them being completed within three to five years

The projects will range from replacing or refurbishing individual buildings through to whole school rebuilds; the DfE plans to consult this year on how schools are prioritised for future rounds of the programme 

Additionally, 21 free schools have been announced as part of wave 14; ten are in some of the most deprived areas and three in opportunity areas

More than £10million will also be invested to support school sports and swimming facilities in England, and will be distributed through Sport England

Friday, 29 January 2021

29 January 2021 Ofsted publish research on the role of MATs during the pandemic

Following its visits to schools in the Autumn term, Ofsted has published the findings of some research, based on discussions with school leaders, on the role of multi-academy trusts (MATs) during the pandemic

School leaders valued a strong MAT-wide approach to managing risk assessment and planning, including the support provided to schools for managing social distancing, setting up 'bubbles' and reviewing safeguarding, attendance and behaviour policies

In most cases, this central support complemented local autonomy, so that school leaders could design policies suited to their own context.  MATs also helped schools in practical ways, such as organising recruitment and sourcing PPE

MATs helped schools to develop their remote learning offer, source IT equipment and learning platforms as well as organising training. Some MATs supported schools with the curriculum, particularly through their subject networks and specialists

School leaders also said that they appreciated MATs monitoring and supporting the health and well-being of all staff 


Wednesday, 20 January 2021

20 January 2021 DfE confirms that that the early years profile will not be mandatory this year

The DfE has confirmed that the early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) will not be mandatory this year; whilst the process will continue to go ahead, schools are being asked to use their 'best endeavors' to carry out the assessment instead

The Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, said that the assessment was being made optional 'in recognition of the additional pressures reception teachers face'

Schools that do decide they can complete the EYFSP this year, and provide information to parents and Year 1 teachers, will not be externally modified.  Additionally, the requirement to submit the data to LAs, or confirm whether they have completed it, has been removed

The EYFSP was not completed last year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic

Thursday, 14 January 2021

14 January 2021 Ofsted releases guide for schools on what works well within remote education

Based on research and visits to schools, Ofsted has released a guide to what is working well within remote education:

- live lessons have advantages, including making it easier to align the curriculum and keeping pupils' attention, but it can make it harder to build in interaction and flexibility which means that feedback can be less effective than using recorded segments followed by interactive tasks

- feedback and assessment are still as important as in the classroom, but can be harder to deliver remotely; Ofsted says that it is important for teachers to stay in regular contact by using technology such as automated check-in emails

- Ofsted has warned that there is only so much that teachers can do to engage pupils remotely, and says that schools should ensure that efforts to engage don't distract from teaching the curriculum

- peer interaction can provide motivation and improve learning outcomes' and Ofsted advises schools to use chat group and video-lining functions to facilitate this

- the guide states that pupils using a laptop tend to spend longer accessing a remote lesson than those using a phone or tablet; schools should therefore think carefully about whether pupils have access to the right kind of device

- schools should consider about where they choose to host content, so pupils are not more easily distracted; platforms such as YouTube can distract pupils because of their advertising content

- the guide advises that sometimes it is more effective to deliver remote education through worksheets or a textbook because they can provide the curriculum content and sequencing that pupils need

Thursday, 7 January 2021

7 January 2021 DfE to establish a new 'Institute of Teaching'

The DfE has announced that it will establish a new Institute of Teaching to train up to 1000 teachers each year, with an emphasis on knowledge-based curriculum and high standards of pupil behaviour

It will begin offering initial teacher training courses from September 2022 and will also deliver the early career framework for new teachers as well as national professional qualifications for more experienced staff

The new 'Institute of Teaching' will provide lifelong training and development for teachers through at least four regional campuses, with the training likely to be delivered through a mixture of online, face-to-face and school-based means

At full capacity, it is expected to train around 1000 ITT trainees, 2000 early career teachers, 2000 mentors and 1000 national professional qualification participants each year