3rd November 2017

Department for Education

Justine Greening launches new Institute for Teaching, 2nd November

Education Secretary Justine Greening, opened the Institute for Teaching, urging the profession to embrace the high-quality training it will provide.

The Institute for Teaching – which has received government funding to set up bespoke training programmes for teachers – will support and spread great teaching. Its courses will be available for teachers at all stages of their career, including those wishing to become experts in their subject or wanting to learn the most effective ways to share best practice.

It will operate mainly in the North and central England, including in the Education Secretary’s Opportunity Areas which have been identified as social mobility ‘cold spots’.

The Institute for Teaching has received government funding as part of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. This fund supports new programmes to deliver knowledge and skills-based training for teachers.

Matt Hood, Director of the Institute of Teaching, and formerly of Achievement for All said:

‘Having an expert teacher in every classroom is the best way to make sure that every pupil, regardless of their background, gets a great education. But teaching is complex – becoming an expert isn’t easy. To improve teaching, we have to improve the training teachers get because most of what’s out there isn’t helping them to get better. Working with our partners, we’re trying to change that’.

New support for flexible working in schools pledged at summit, 30th October 2017

Speaking at the ARK All Saints Academy in Camberwell to representatives from the teaching unions, Teach First, and leading businesses including Microsoft and Barclays, the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced new pilot programmes to look at ways of supporting and employing teachers flexibly, and enhancing coaching schemes for women working in education. This was the first Flexible Working in Schools Summit, which aims to boost support for flexible working in the teaching profession.

The plans announced at the summit include:

  • A pilot programme to look at how schools are already bolstering the careers of part-time teachers, so recruiting best practice can be shared;

  • A pilot to strengthen the Women Leading in Education coaching offer, so women can continue to get the professional development support they need; and

  • Update existing guidance on flexible working, to help make it easier for schools to know what works.

See also: Increasing flexible working in schools, 30th October 2017: Policy Paper

This sets out what flexible working means and how the government will introduce it.

The government defines flexible working as:

  • Part-time working - working less than full-time hours

  • Job sharing - 2 or more people do one job and split the hours

  • Compressed hours - working full-time hours but over fewer days

  • Staggered hours - where the employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers (dependent on individual situations)

  • Home working

The government issued guidance on flexible working in schools in February 2017, to help school leaders, staff and governing bodies put in place arrangements for their staff.

Nick Gibb: The power of greater freedom and autonomy for schools, 2nd November 2017

Nick Gibb, School Standards Minister speaking at the Freedom and Autonomy for Schools National Association (FASNA) autumn conference, praised FASNA for continuing to be an ‘independent voice, arguing for the empowerment of teachers and the pursuit of evidence-based policies that enable schools to raise standards for all pupils’.

He said:

‘FASNA promotes autonomy for schools, believing that autonomous schools are the best vehicle to innovate and raise standards for their pupils, in the best interest of local communities. …….Herein lies the power of greater freedom and autonomy for schools. By empowering teachers and headteachers and promoting an atmosphere of innovation and evidence, power is wrestled from the old authorities. Ideas are weighed and, if they are found wanting, they can be discarded.

…Alongside a dynamic and self-improving school system, government has an important role to play in spreading excellence to all parts of the school system. That is what we will continue to do.

Over the past seven years, the school system has been transformed:

  • Teachers and headteachers have been empowered, being given additional responsibilities, more autonomy and a greater voice

  • Rigour has been returned to our education system, with more pupils studying core academic subjects and innovative free schools and academies leading the way in raising standards

  • Schools will be funded fairly and transparently for the first time

FASNA has played a key role in the national education debates, arguing for greater freedom and autonomy for schools. Your contribution has been invaluable in shaping, developing and fine-tuning national policy, and I look forward to working with you in the future’.

Lord Agnew: By working together we can achieve so much more- speech at the 2017 North Academies conference, 31st October 2017

Under Secretary for Education, Lord Theodore Agnew, spoke of the advantages of MAT’s in driving school improvement. He said:

‘….From my personal experience as an academy sponsor, I have seen at first-hand how one can harness the energy of individual teachers and deploy them across several schools. This is because they are seeking career advancement not readily available in an individual school, or because they have such strong skills that we have wanted to share their best practice with others.

In your region there are 66 MATs of two or fewer schools and 86 SATs. I want to encourage any of you here today to think seriously about teaming up to create bigger MATs. I speak as someone who has gone from one school to 14 and I can say, without hesitation, that the collective firepower of a bigger group makes a huge difference.

I believe the sweet spot is perhaps somewhere between 12 and 20 schools, or something like 5,000 to 10,000 pupils. I know this means a certain loss of autonomy but I am certain it is the way to strengthen educational provision. Using my own experience again, by doing this we have created a full time director of music, six specialist subject leads who we have used to develop our own curriculum, and we have extended the school by three hours per week. I don’t believe these things would have been possible as a small trust……’

Teachers in secondary schools: evidence from TALIS 2013, 2nd November 2017

The views and practices of lower secondary teachers and their headteachers in England, compared with other countries.

Key findings show that:

Lower secondary school teachers and their schools

Compared to the average for other countries, England has younger teachers and headteachers, fewer modern language teachers, more autonomous schools, significantly greater numbers of teaching assistants and administrative and managerial staff in schools, and teachers reporting longer total working hours on average but not face-to-face teaching hours.

Differences within England include higher teacher age and experience in independent schools and poorer pupil achievement where headteachers report that shortages of teaching staff restrict the quality of instruction. Average total working hours vary only modestly with the presence of young children in the household.

School leadership and headteachers management styles

Headship is increasingly a postgraduate-level job in England, with a very high proportion of school heads with higher degrees and/or the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). A high proportion of headteachers in England share important decision-making with others. In general, this ‘distributed’ leadership is less common in high performing TALIS countries. Headteachers in more deprived schools in England have higher levels of distributed leadership and are less likely to find a lack of resources to be a barrier to their effectiveness. Both findings may reflect the large investment during recent decades in the more deprived urban schools in England.

Professional development

The quantity of CPD undertaken by teachers in England is relatively high by international standards, when measured by the existence and use of induction programmes, by mentoring, and by participation in some (but not all) forms of training. But time spent in training is lower on average in England. And the extent of ‘effective’ training – CPD felt to have a significant impact on teaching – is lower for a number of important areas of activity. Teachers in England also feel less need for CPD across a range of different areas than teachers elsewhere.

Appraisal and feedback

England has near universal systems of teacher appraisal, reported by headteachers, and the great majority of teachers report receiving feedback: England is a high appraisal/feedback country compared both to the average TALIS country and to some, but not all, of the high performers. The high performing countries display considerable variation.

Teachers’ views of their jobs.

The views expressed in this area are mixed. For example, fewer teachers in England express overall satisfaction with their jobs than in any other country in TALIS. This may be seen as disappointing if a crude ‘league table’ view is taken. But the large majority – four fifths – of teachers in England do say that they are satisfied with their jobs.

Teaching practices

58% of teachers in England report often getting students to work in small groups, compared to only 40%, on average, in high performing countries.

School and classroom disciplinary environment

On school climate, the evidence from TALIS suggests that serious disciplinary problems in England are unusual. On the evidence of teachers’ reports, it is at the average for countries in TALIS or, in some respects, better.

Teachers’ self-efficacy

International comparison of self-efficacy (beliefs teachers hold about their capability to influence learning) must be treated with some caution as cultural differences may influence the way in which questions are answered. But the results from TALIS suggest that teachers in England are confident in their abilities – their self-efficacy is quite high compared to teachers in other countries. Self-efficacy tends to be higher when teachers report good relations with others in the school.

Department for Education- Further Education

Level 4 & 5 technical education to be reviewed, 31st October 2017

The review will look across Level 4 & 5 education, focusing on how technical qualifications at this level can better address the needs of learners and employers. This includes ensuring that learners can progress from the government’s new T Levels, and other full time education, into the workplace. It will also consider how these qualifications work for those in the workforce looking to upskill or retrain. It follows the recent announcement of the first T level subjects that will be taught from 2020.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

‘……We are already taking steps to improve technical education with investment in apprenticeships and the creation of T levels. This review is the next logical step in that process’.

Further education: flexible learning fund, 31st October 2017

The Flexible Learning Fund has been launched as part of a pilot programme. The Fund will provide grant support to projects that develop methods of delivering learning that are flexible and easy to access for adults who are in work, or returning to work, with either low or intermediate level skills.

The deadline for submitting proposals is midnight on 31st January 2018.

Statistics

Characteristics of children in need 2016 to 2017: This provides data on children referred to and assessed by children's social services for the year ending 31 March 2017.

The number of children in need at 31st March decreased from 394,400 in 2016 to 389,430 in 2017, a decrease of 1.3%.

Characteristics of children in need

  • 53% are male, 45.1% are female and 2.0% are unborn or of unknown gender.

  • The age split of children in need at 31st March 2017 also remains broadly similar to previous years, with the largest age group being those aged 10-15 years accounting for 31.2% of children in need. Children aged under 5 account for 23.1%.

  • The percentage of children in need at 31st March with a disability recorded has increased this year from 12.7% in 2016 to 12.9% in 2017. The percentage of children in need with a disability recorded has fluctuated over the last six years, however there has been an overall decrease, from 14.2% in 2011 to 12.9% in 2017.

Key stage 2 national curriculum test review outcomes: 2017, 2nd November

Key stage 2 (KS2) tests in English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling, and mathematics are marked onscreen by external markers. As in previous years, a reviews service was made available to schools if they believed there was a discrepancy between how a question had been marked and the published mark scheme. Criteria for determining whether a marking review was successful1 were set in 2016 and remain unchanged in 2017. This release presents outcomes of reviews according to those criteria. 

Overall, 8.5% of review applications resulted in a successful review in 2017.

The highest proportion of successful reviews was for the mathematics test, where 10.5% of applications were successful.

10.3% of English grammar, punctuation and spelling and

7.4% of English reading review applications were successful.

Overall, this means that successful reviews equated to 0.1% of the total number of tests taken in 2017 compared to 0.2% in 2016.

Apprenticeship service registrations and commitments to September 2017, 2nd November

As at 30 September 2017, there have been a total of 11,100 apprenticeship service accounts (ASAs) registered.

As at 30 September 2017, there have been a total of 55,400 commitments entered into the apprenticeship service. Of these, 44,300 were fully agreed.

21,400 commitments were for apprentices aged 25 and over. 24,000 commitments were intermediate apprenticeships, and 23,300 were advanced apprenticeships. 

Of the 55,400 commitments in the apprenticeship service as at 30 September 2017, 22,800 were for the 2016 to 2017 academic year, and 32,100 were for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

Ofsted

Ofsted Parent View: management information, 31st October 2017

Findings show that parents were generally happy with their child’s experiences at school, except in the case of perceived bullying, where 33% of parents strongly disagreed /disagreed that the school dealt well with bullying or didn’t know if they did deal well with it.

Research

Improving Maths in Key Stages 2 and 3, Guidance, 3rd November 2017: Education Endowment Foundation

The guidance reviews the best available research to offer schools and teachers practical “do’s and don’ts” of great maths teaching.

The report has recommendations in eight areas, each designed to support primary and secondary schools to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates. The latest data shows that just over half (54%) of pupils who are eligible for free school meals achieved the expected standard in maths by the end of primary school, compared to almost three-quarters (73%) of all other pupils. 

The seven other recommendations for good maths teaching for seven – 14 year olds are:

  • Support pupils as they make the transition from primary to secondary school, when attitudes and attainment in the subject tend to dip.

  • Use physical objects and diagrams to help pupils engage with and understand maths concepts.

  • Help pupils become better problem solvers, so that if they don’t know how to work something out they can draw on different strategies to help them make sense of it.

  • Use tasks and resources like digital technology to support good maths teaching.

  • Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own learning by developing their ‘metacognitive’ skills – their ability to plan, monitor and evaluate their thinking and learning.

  • Use assessment of children’s maths to focus on the maths they find difficult.

  • Give children who are struggling with maths additional support through high-quality one-on-one or small-group interventions.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

‘Getting to grips with basic maths is not just crucial for academic success and future job prospects. The skills we learnt at school help us with everyday life too. Yet a disadvantaged pupil is still much more likely to leave education without them.

Teachers are inundated with information about different programmes and training courses to help boost the maths skills of their pupils. There are thousands of studies too, most of which are presented in academic papers and journals. It can be difficult to know where to start.

The practical and evidence-based steps in our latest Guidance Report are based on the best research available. They’re designed to help schools navigate the wealth of information out there and give all their pupils – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds - the skills they need to succeed’.

See also the Achievement for All/ KPMG report published earlier in the year-Closing the attainment gap in maths: a study of good practice in early years and primary settings: Fair Education Alliance (provides case studies for practice)

Educating for our economic future, Peter Sellen, Gerard Dominguez- Reig and Naseef Huda, 31st October 2017: EPI

Following the first report of 2014- Making Education Work-this second report of the Independent Advisory Group assesses England’s progress in equipping young people with the right skills for the future – focusing on literacy and numeracy, digital capabilities and employability skills. It presents recommendations on reforming educational pathways from school up until the world of work.

Key findings

The report finds that the current economic climate presents a number of skills challenges:

  • Following the EU referendum, the future supply of skilled workers is less certainnow than ever. 

  • Without substantial increases in productivity, wages and housing supply, this creates serious risks to social mobility for the young.  

  • In this climate, jobs requiring intermediate, technical skills appear the most vulnerable to shortages. This presents opportunities for those able to adjust their career paths and take advantage of high-skill jobs – yet it also risks leaving many trapped in low-level jobs.

  • Present-day fiscal constraints are also hindering the teaching profession. Teachers face high workloads and little time for development – with the profession increasingly unattractive to the best graduates.

With both the academic and technical education pathways, whilst the Post-16 Plan is a promising development, if not designed right there is a risk that young people are being forced into choosing among a range of narrow options at too young an age:

  • England is unique in the developed world in requiring high-levels of subject specialisation at 16. Forcing learners to specialise so early onmay be denying young people opportunities – and depriving the country of work-relevant skills.

  • The new 15 technical routes and ‘T-Levels’, together with a cross-party consensus on the importance of apprenticeships, are to be welcomed, with their ‘common core’ of English, maths, and digital skills vital given England’s deficiency in basic skills.

  • However, it is crucial that young people are not permanently confined to narrow technical pathways. The new system must allow for specialised knowledge, without closing off options to progress to a wide range of occupations or further study.

  • Huge challenges remain for those who are not ready to enter advanced study. Effective application of the transition year, which could include a traineeship, will be key– especially for vulnerable groups, such as low-achieving young men.

  • The Government’s expansion of apprenticeships is also welcome– yet apprenticeships must not merely be used to validate older workers’ skills. Standards should address specific skill shortages, though must also be sufficiently broad and deep for long-term career development.

  • Post-secondary education is unevenly skewed towards academic pathways. In 2015/6, almost 400,000 learners acquired an English undergraduate degree – compared to just 14,000 level 4 publicly funded awards in further education. A balance must be struck between 3 year academic degrees and other forms of post-secondary education.

Important non-cognitive, ‘soft’ skills, and employability are vital, but are lacking in many young people:

  • The available evidence does not suggest that the Government should mandate specific approaches to teaching these traits in schools, particularly in general contexts.

  • The immediate priority should be to ensure that the school and college accountability systems do not prevent young people from being offered a broad-based curriculum with opportunities for extra-curricular and work-based activities.

  • Young people’s experiences of theNational Citizen Service have been positive, but the Government should explore whether value for money could be improved, and whether locally-led programmes could be better used.

Disruption through digitalisation and automation is changing the nature of work – with England facing enormous skills challenges in reaping the benefits for productivity:

  • Around half of adults in England have basic or no ICT skills – higher than the OECD average. Younger people fare better, but proficiency with social media should not be mistaken for ‘digital literacy’ and work-based digital skills.

  • The school system has a key role to play in fostering digital skills alongside maths and literacy skills. The recently-introduced teaching of coding, for example, is welcome – yet many teachers lack confidence in delivering the curriculum. There is considerable potential for the role of technology to enhance pupils’ learning and to reduce teacher workload.

  • The UK’s adults have relatively poor levels of financial literacy, and young people’s proficiency is strongly linked with parental influences. Schools play an important role in financial literacy development through their teaching of maths competencies. Further integration of financial concepts into curriculum is therefore essential.

Commissioning parenting and family support for troubled families, 3 Kirsten Asmussen, Stephanie Waddell, Donna Molloy and Haroon Chowdry, 30th October 2017: Early Intervention Foundation

The report looks in some depth at 23 parenting interventions which have evidence of improving outcomes for children and families with characteristics similar to the families targeted by the programme. It also provides advice about implementing these programmes effectively.

There is a strong case for considering this evidence in making local decisions about what to deliver as part of the Troubled Families programme. The current financial context, means it is more important than ever that scarce resources are directed to interventions that are likely to deliver improvements.

On balance, families and children who receive interventions shown through robust methods to improve outcomes, are more likely to benefit and to a greater degree than those who receive other services. While evidence-based programmes can be expensive to deliver, if implemented and targeted effectively they are likely to perform better than other approaches.

Parents within the Troubled Families programme are frequently confronting multiple problems that are likely to affect their inter-parental relationship and their ability to parent effectively.

See also the Troubled Families practitioners: Functional Map

The Troubled Families Functional Map provides a snapshot of the day-to-day work of practitioners, drawing out the core elements of the roles.

International- Wales

National Reading and Numeracy tests - test administration handbook, 30th October 2017: Learning Wales

For head teachers, teachers and those administering the national tests. The handbook includes summaries of each of the test administration manuals and guidance on access and disapplication arrangements.

International

How does PISA measure students’ ability to collaborate? 31s October 2017: OECD

PISA 2015 – for the first time ever in any international assessment – measures students’ ability to solve problems collaboratively in 52 education systems around the world (the results will be published at the end of November)

Solving unfamiliar problems on one’s own is important, but in today’s increasingly interconnected world, people are often required to collaborate in order to achieve their goals. Collaboration can also be fraught with difficulties. Instead of dividing tasks effectively, one team member might reproduce another’s work. Interpersonal tension and poor communication might also prevent the team from achieving its full potential. Working with others is a skill that might not be natural to everyone, but it can be developed with time and practice.

In late November the report will provide answers to the following:

  • Which country or economy has the highest average score in collaborative problem solving?

  • As in PISA 2012, there is likely to be a positive relationship between performance in science, reading and mathematics, and performance in collaborative problem solving. If we compare students across different education systems who perform similarly in the three core PISA subjects, in which systems do students have the highest collaborative problem-solving performance?

  • Do boys or girls perform better in collaborative problem solving?

  • What are students’ attitudes towards collaboration?

  • Are there certain student behaviours or school policies associated with better performance in collaborative problem solving or with more positive attitudes towards co-operation?

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Improving Maths in Key Stages 2 and 3, Guidance, 3rd November 2017: Education Endowment Foundation

The guidance highlights the need for good maths teaching, with a number of recommendations. These reflect the whole school/setting approach to maths outlined in the  Achievement for All/ KPMG report published earlier in the year-Closing the attainment gap in maths: a study of good practice in early years and primary settings: Fair Education Alliance. It sets out case studies for primary schools to put into practice.