16th March 2018

Department for Education

New actions for children with additional needs: Edward Timpson to carry out a review into school exclusions to better understand inequalities that exist in the system, 16th March

The announced actions include an externally led review of school exclusions, originally announced by the Prime Minister in response to the Race Disparity Audit, which will look at why some children are more likely to be excluded than others- including those at greatest risk of exclusion - such as those with special educational needs (SEN), children with autism or children in need of help and protection, including those in care. Plans also include a new £4 million fund to develop new ways to help children with additional needs move from alternative provision in to mainstream education or special schools and measures to drive up standards in alternative provision education settings.

The consultation can be accessed here

Details of the innovation fund can be found here. Applications need to be submitted by 23:59 on Sunday 22 April 2018. The Alternative Provision Innovation Fund is a £4 million grant funding programme launched to support innovative practices that will deliver better outcomes for children in alternative provision.

These documents provide:

Terms of reference can be accessed here

Creating opportunity for all: our vision for alternative provision

The roadmap sets out how government will transform alternative provision to make sure these education settings provide high-quality teaching and an education that meets the individual needs of all children, regardless of their circumstances.

This includes:

  • Government’s vision for reforming AP

  • Building a strong foundation for reform

  • Developing and sharing best practice within and beyond AP

  • Strengthening partnership arrangements for commissioning and delivering AP timeline for reform.

The government’s ambitions are to ensure:

  1. The right children are placed in alternative provision;

  2. Every child in alternative provision receives a good education;

  3. Every child can make a successful transition out of alternative provision;

  4. Alternative provision becomes, and is recognised as, an integral part of the education system; and 5. The system is designed to achieve high quality outcomes for children and value for money for the taxpayer

The government plans to work with partners to:

  • Lay strong foundations for reform, by building the evidence base; reviewing exclusions practice; bringing key partners together; and supporting schools to establish systems to manage poor behaviour and support children with additional needs.

  • Develop and share effective practice within alternative provision and beyond, by ensuring alternative provision settings can access school improvement resources; launching a dedicated Alternative Provision Innovation Fund; launching a new special and alternative provision free school wave; reviewing the education in alternative provision; and improving young people’s transition out of alternative provision to education, employment and training at 16; and

  • Strengthen partnership arrangements for commissioning and delivering alternative provision, by considering the use of unregistered alternative provision settings; developing a bespoke alternative provision performance framework; and clarifying the roles of schools, alternative providers and local authorities in delivering high quality alternative provision.

Children’s homes research: the impact of standards on staff, 15th March 2018

Research into the qualifications, skills and training required to meet the needs of young people living in children's homes. In the autumn of 2013 the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and Kantar Public were commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to carry out a programme of research to better understand the qualifications, skills and training required to meet the needs of young people living in children’s homes. This is phase 3 which involved 20 stakeholder interviews.

Key findings

The stakeholder interviews provided an understanding of the implementation and implications of the new Regulations, with a specific focus on the Leadership and Management Standard (Regulation 13), wherever possible.

Stakeholders were largely positive about the introduction of the new Regulations and Quality Standards. The Regulations were seen as an iterative development, building on the Minimum Standards previously in place.

There was a highly variable view on the impact of the new Regulations and Quality Standards. Most stakeholders (across all stakeholder types) felt there had been very limited impact, largely because the children’s homes that they had contact with (or responsibility for) were already largely practicing in a manner which met the new Standards. This research was also undertaken relatively shortly following the implementation of the new Regulations and Quality Standards (i.e. within 8-10 months) therefore the impact on staff and children had yet to be seen.

Stakeholders were asked to describe what makes a good residential Children’s Home Manager. Overall, there was a consensus across those interviewed that ultimately a Manager must feel passionately about the children in their care and be driven by a desire to make a difference in their lives. Stakeholders felt that good Managers need to be able to look beyond the behaviour of the children in their care and to have a sense of what is possible, rather than just a sense of what is wrong.

There was a consistent feedback that the training provided to support staff and Managers to respectively achieve Level 3 and Level 5 qualifications was adequate for developing a sound theoretical knowledge-base. As a pre-requisite, stakeholders believed that staff (both practitioners and Managers) need to come with the right attitude and soft skills. The Level 3 and Level 5 qualifications were seen to provide a basis on which staff would need to regularly build more experiential and specialist skills.

Damian Hinds sets out plans to help tackle teacher workload, 10th March 2018

Speaking to more than 1,000 heads and teachers at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham, the Secretary of State said that his “top priority” is making sure teaching continues to be regarded as “one of the most rewarding jobs you can do”. Improving workload will be at the heart of this. It will build on the following:

  • The consultation to strengthen Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and improve career progression for teachers by ensuring the right structures are in place at the beginning of teachers’ careers and improving access to high-quality professional development

  • A Flexible Working Summit with business and education leaders to explore how the profession can be more flexible – including through part time roles – which resulted in a number of pledges

  • Developing a free website for schools to publish vacancies to help reduce costs and make it easier for aspiring and current teachers to find new posts

In his speech he said forthe rest of this parliament there will be:

  • No new additional statutory tests or assessment for primary schools;

  • No further changes to the national curriculum; and

  • No more reform of GCSEs and A levels.

He went on to say that he would be looking at the accountability system and help schools identify what is eating up teachers’ time away from the classroom and offer practical solutions.

In particular’ , he said ‘we need to tackle the propensity of schools to collect more and more data, even when there’s no clear benefit to pupils.

So I am going to bring together a high level group of sector experts and teachers to look at the kind of data and evidence schools are collecting and look at what, and who, is driving that. And they will work with me on a set of actions, which we will publish by the end of the summer term…..’

Reducing teacher workload, policy paper, republished 10th March since October 2015 with latest actions

Teacher workload challenge: school research project reports, 10th March

Project reports for the teacher workload research projects funded in 2016 to 2017. In 2016, NCTL awarded grant funding to 11 groups of schools to carry out collaborative research projects. The projects built on the principles and recommendations from three  independent reports into workload.

An overview of all report findings (around reducing workload across data management, planning and marking) is available here.

In conclusion the summary states:

Issues of teacher workload should be seen in the broad context of current challenges within the education system, including curriculum innovation and other initiatives which impact on school policies and practices, and often serve to increase teacher workload. When considering teacher workload reduction strategies around data management, planning and marking, it must be acknowledged that activities associated with each of these cannot be viewed in isolation as activities in one area will impact on other areas. For example, changes in practice relating to marking will impact a school’s overall 52 assessment strategy and are likely to impact on the school’s data management and lesson planning policies and practices. It is therefore, difficult, if not impossible to attribute any changes in pupil outcomes to any one change in practice, and consideration needs to be given to the interaction between the three areas of data management, planning and marking, and how strategies relating to each can be integrated. Care must also be taken to ensure that any new recommendations aimed at reducing teacher workload do not contribute, unintentionally, to increased pressure on school teachers and leaders.

Mapping professional development for reducing teacher workload, 10th March

The aim of this project was to gather evidence on both the spread and use of professional development packages and support to reduce teacher workload in schools in England. The project encompassed:

  • A systematic online mapping exercise, exploring the nature of the support market nationally for teacher/school workload management.

  • Telephone interviews with 22 users in schools who have accessed support and CPD for workload management; and with the providers of 25 packages of support

Overall users felt that the most effective features of support packages were personalised or contextual information and guidance; and the ability to connect with a community of peers through forums, social media accounts or face-to-face meetings.

Teacher voice omnibus: March 2018 survey

The teacher voice omnibus survey is used by the Department for Education, to collect data about how policies are working and what teachers think of them. Topics covered include:

  • Aspiration for school leadership

  • Flexible working patterns

  • Sources of support for schools

  • Teacher workload

  • Budget planning

  • Impact of poor behaviour

  • Alternative provision

  • Exclusion

  • Attendance

  • PSHE/sex and relationships education

  • Mental health

  • Pupil premium

  • Assessment processes

  • Systematic synthetic phonics

  • SEND (special educational needs or disability)

  • New GCSEs and the English Baccalaureate

  • Teachers moving schools

In the context of SEND, just 55% of teachers agreed/strongly agreed that there was appropriate training for all teachers, with 69% believing that they were able to meet the needs of pupils. And in relation to mental health- 29% felt their school could teacher children with mental health needs

See also exploring teacher workload: qualitative research, 10th March

This research follows up a sample of respondents from the Teacher Workload Survey 2016 to learn more about their workload.

Key findings:

Whilst workload was reported to be high, individuals and schools were taking steps to try to manage and reduce it.

A wide range of examples were provided in terms of the types of strategy that were put in place individually and across schools more broadly to address workload issues. These tended to focus on:

  • Reducing time spent on planning and marking.

  • Reducing or spreading assessment data points.

  • Managing administrative burdens, and emails in particular.

  • Sharing work including planning, the creation of resources and more efficient communications and collaboration.

It was emphasised by senior leaders that learning about different examples of good practice or new strategies being implemented in other schools did not mean that these approaches would be effective in their own institutions. The context of a school, the varying abilities of staff, the existing levels of trust between staff members and attitudes towards change could all contribute to whether or not a new strategy could be introduced successfully in a particular setting.

Some small and simple strategies were however thought to be effective in most settings. These included:

  • Ensuring that SLT members and senior leaders regularly and clearly acknowledged the time and effort made by teaching staff and any additional hours that they undertook.

  • Managing email expectations, including adding delays to email delivery, or setting time limits on when work emails should be sent (e.g. not after 6pm).

And: Helping teaching staff to understand that they need to know when to stop and not believe that every lesson plan needs to be perfect, but could be adaptable to reflect learners’ needs as they change.

In terms of encouraging staff buy-in, senior leaders said that it was important to consult with staff directly – to gather their views on the strategies and approaches that they value, and where they think that changes could be made effectively. Furthermore, clear communication to staff of the reasons for new or additional work – and the active support of senior leaders in that work with them leading by example – are significant factors in identifying and implementing strategies that aim to address workload management

Factors affecting teacher retention: qualitative investigation, 10th March

From January to March 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) administered an online survey targeted at former teachers and disseminated through Tes (formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement) and subject associations. The survey gave a quantified account of the range of reasons for leaving teaching and explored the current employment status of former teachers.

Reasons for leaving: Workload remains the most important factor influencing teachers’ decisions to leave the profession and most suggested solutions to addressing retention were linked to workload in some way. There is evidence that early career teachers3 made the decision to leave the profession quickly, typically within three months of when they first started to consider leaving. By contrast, more experienced teachers were more likely to consider their decision over one to two years. Teachers’ decisions to leave the profession were generally driven by the accumulation of a number of factors, over a sustained period of time. However, for some teachers, there had been a specific ‘trigger’ point, for example around teaching performance resulting in involvement from the senior leadership team (SLT), feeling undervalued after an issue had been highlighted or a specific behavioural incident involving pupils and parents/carers4.

Schools to support teachers' return to the classroom, 14th March

Nick Gibb, the School Standards Minister has announced that schools from across the West Midlands and the South East are being asked to take part in a government programme designed to help teachers return to the classroom after a career break. Together with schools in these areas, the Department for Education will test the best approach to supporting teachers who have taken time out of their careers, providing funding to help them after they return to the classroom. It’s part of the drive to help schools attract and keep the best and brightest people working in their classrooms, and follows the Education Secretary’s recent announcement of a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers.

See also: Return to Teaching pilot: guidance and application form - Guidance and information for schools wishing to apply for grant funding to support teachers who have taken career breaks return to work.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb visited Greater Manchester for the launch of a government funded programme to support future school leaders, 15th March

The Schools Minister attended All Saints Catholic College in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, for the formal launch of Teach First’s two-year ‘Leading Together’ programme – which is funded through the Department for Education’s £75 million Teaching & Leadership Innovation Fund.

The announcement is part of the government’s drive to support teachers’ development and attract the best and brightest recruits into the teaching profession.

Following the launch, the Schools Minister took part in a roundtable discussion on the benefits of leadership opportunities in schools with local headteachers and Russell Hobby, Chief Executive of Teach First.

Minister announces £17 million to improve children's social care services, 15th March

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced support worth £17 million to improve outcomes for vulnerable children.

More than £15 million will go to eight new Partners in Practice, to expand a peer support programme between local authorities to improve children’s services.

The government is also announcing £2 million to improve leadership in children’s social care services, which will be delivered through the Local Government Association (LGA).

The funding is part of the Government’s £20 million improvement strategy for children’s social care and will involve the Partners in Practice Programme – children’s services which are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted – develop and share strong practice, and deliver hands-on peer support to other councils, to help improve outcomes for more children and their families across the country.


Absence rates by gender, age and free school meal status, 15th March

Pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) have higher rates of absence from school than other pupils at all ages.

  • Absence rates for both boys and girls rise from the age of 10. Absence rates for girls are lower than for boys until the age of 13 but girls’ absence rates exceed those of boys from the age of 13 onwards.

  • The increased absence rate for girls from the age of 13 is seen among pupils eligible for free school meals and also among those not eligible for free school meals.

School Capacity 2017: academic year 2016/2017

Findings show that:

  • 825,000 mainstream school places have been added since 2010
  • The number of schools at or over capacity relatively stable in recent years, with a slight increase in 2017
  • Demand for secondary places continues to rise

A level and other 16 to 18 results: 2016 to 2017 (revised)

English and maths average progress increased for students still working towards qualifications below level 3 compared to 2016 - The English and maths progress measure looks at attainment in these subjects at the end of 16-18 study, compared to attainment at the end of key stage 4 (KS4), for students who did not achieve A*-C. In 2017, average progress is close to zero for students still studying GCSE or stepping stone qualifications. This means on average a student’s point score is the same or slightly lower at the end of 16-18 studies than at the end of KS4.

The attainment of 16- to 18-year-old students at the end of advanced level study in England - performance tables

Statistics- Early Years

30 hours free childcare: spring term 2018 - Experimental statistics on the use of 30 hours free childcare in the second term of national rollout from January to March 2018.

Findings show that in the second term following national rollout of 30 hours free childcare, known as the spring term which runs from 1st January to 31st March 2018, an estimated 294,000 children were in a 30 hours place according to local authority data returns made during February. This compares to 202,800 who were estimated to be in a place during the 2017 autumn term.

The total number of children in a 30 hours place is equal to 89% of the eligibility codes issued to parents for the spring term.


Children in need of help and protection: call for evidence, 16th March 2018

Consultation closes: 1st June 11.45am

The government want to know what professionals across education, children’s social care, health and other specialist services are doing to improve the educational outcomes of children in need. They wants to hear about the support being offered in and out of school so that these children can achieve their potential.

The government have launched the children in need review and published the data and analysis on children in need which shows that overall these children have poorer educational outcomes than other children. There are, however, some children who are able to succeed in spite of the challenges they face.

Children in need are a legally defined group of children, assessed by social workers as needing help and protection as a result of risks to their development or health, or who are disabled.

School exclusions review: call for evidence, 16th March 2018

Edward Timpson Review (see above). The consultation closes on 6th May at 5pm

Department for Education- Further Education

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister celebrates National Apprenticeship Week, 12th March

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (5 – 9 March), Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton took part in a tour across England to meet apprentices, local businesses, schools and colleges to talk about the benefits of apprenticeships.

Anne Milton delivers governance speech to members of the Association of Colleges, 14th March

Anne Milton spoke about good and bad governance of colleges and concluded by saying:

‘Do not ever limit the ambitions of your college. Get onto the Board the inspiring leaders from local business, younger people, people who are building the futures of their own children so they can bring their expertise to build the futures of the children in the local community. Strong effective leadership and financial management builds strong, effective colleges so that everyone, whatever their background, wherever they come from, has a future they can be proud of’.

Institute for Apprenticeships: statutory notice: A letter from Anne Milton to the Institute for Apprenticeships.

The letter outlines the importance of level 6 and 7 (degree level) as part of the apprenticeship programme

Completion and attainment ready reckoner for 16 to 18: 2017

The document includes the national average attainment in each:

  • Tech level

  • Tech certificate

  • Level 2 vocational qualification

Providers can use these figures to calculate completion and attainment scores.


Amanda Spielman's speech at the ASCL annual conference 2018, 10th March 2018.

Amanda Spielman focused on reducing teacher workload. She said:

.So today I want to continue that theme of the substance of education, but from a different perspective. Following on from Geoff, I want to look at how Ofsted can play its part in reducing workload, so that you’re able to focus on the things that matter to you and to your pupils.

Because, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what an inspectorate thinks if we can’t attract good people into teaching. The record number of good and outstanding schools won’t be sustained if the people, who make them run so well, are burning out, and leaving the profession…..

As I see it there are five major drivers of workload:

  1. Government policies and requirements, which schools and teachers must follow.

  2. Accountability through performance tables and inspection.

  3. The consequences of accountability – what governing bodies, LAs, MATs or RSCs do as a result of an Ofsted judgement or a set of results.

  4. The fear of litigation if schools do not take a belt and braces approach, particularly on things like health and safety.

  5. And finally, how policies and accountability measures are translated by school leaders into day-to-day management tools such as policies for planning, assessment and marking.

…….A top priority for me is to make sure that the framework explores the things that either give a good judgement of educational effectiveness or are vital to young people’s development. The alternative is a giant basket full of things that dilute the validity of our judgement and create lots of extra work for you….’

Changes to Ofsted’s statistical reporting of inspection outcomes for maintained schools and academies: Consultation response, 13th March

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal so going forward Ofsted will:

  • Be amending their statistical releases as detailed under questions one to four.
  • Include the grades of predecessor schools in their datasets to give a more comprehensive view of the sector.
  • Introduce new fields to our underlying school level dataset, to make it clear where the grade shown is that of the predecessor school, as well as providing the URN and LAESTAB of the predecessor school that the judgement relates to.
  • Amend chart 6 of the official statistics that shows grades by type of school, to include a new group ‘Not inspected in current form’.
  • Be aiming to introduce all of the changes for the official statistics release that Ofsted will publish in late June 2018, which is based on inspections carried out by the end of March 2018.

The changes will not be made for the next official statistics release, due on 22 March 2018, which covers inspections to the end of December 2017.

Inspecting registered early years providers: guidance for inspectors, 16th March

The early years inspection handbook sets out the main inspection activities and the judgements for inspection under the ‘Common inspection framework: education, skills and early years’.

Ofsted inspectors use this handbook when inspecting early years providers.

Using Ofsted’s IDSR: early years foundation stage profile to key stage 4, 13th March 2018

Revised standard deviations by prior attainment have been released for key stage 2 and key stage 4.

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information from December 2015

February Data added

School inspections and outcomes: management information, 13th March

Management information published at 28th February


Supporting pupils with SEND - 3 key messages for schools, EEF

This week, The EEF have published a new strand in 'The Big Picture' - the one-stop shop for EEF resources - focusing on relevant messages for the support of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Here, Programme Manager Peter Henderson highlights the top messages to school leaders and SENDCos (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinators) in mainstream settings...

  1. Ensure that your deployment of teaching assistants is effective

The research evidence on the deployment of teaching assistants (TAs) suggests that they can have a wide range of impacts. One large UK study (2010) found that, on average, pupils in mainstream schools receiving the most support from TAs made less progress than similar pupils who received little or no TA support. As a result, pupils with the highest levels of SEND, who received the most TA support, therefore experienced the greatest negative impacts. Ensuring appropriate deployment and training of teaching assistants is, therefore, essential for securing positive outcomes for pupils with SEND.

  1. Consult the EEF’s guidance reports on literacy and mathematics

EEF guidance reports review the best available evidence on effective teaching and make actionable recommendations for practice. They offer a practical guide for high-quality teaching for all pupils, including those with SEND, as well as a starting point for more intensive support for pupils who are not making good progress.

  1. Deploy high-quality, structured interventions to support pupils to make progress

Any intervention is likely to be ineffective if it is not carefully matched to pupils’ needs. Effective identification of need is an essential first step.

Effective identification of need is an essential first step.

Bonetti, S. The early years workforce: a fragmented picture, Education Policy Institute, 14th March

The Education Policy Institute has published an analysis of the early years workforce in England. The analysis studies the latest publicly available data to build a detailed picture of the present day workforce. It examines staff composition, qualifications, pay and other trends at a provider, national and regional level, and assesses the implications of these findings for the future of early years provision.

Key findings

Overall trends in the early years workforce

  • There has been anincreasing reliance on unpaid staff in the early years sector, raising questions about skills and qualifications. In reception classes, as many as 16% of staff are unpaid volunteers.

  • Despite increasing evidence that the workforce is key to high quality early years provision, there has been a decline in the number of providers with highly-qualified staff. The percentage of two-year-olds with a graduate in the classroom has been decreasing – from 45% in 2014 to 44% in 2016.

  • National averages mask strong regional disparities. In London and Yorkshire and the Humber, the proportion of graduates in the workforce fell respectively from 47% to 41% and from 48% to 44%.

  • In line with similar trends affecting schools, turnover for early years staff has been increasing over the last few years– with turnover rates standing at 14% for group-based providers, 8% for nurseries and 9% for reception.

  • Women account for 97% of teachers in pre-primary education in the UK. This is in stark contrast to the tertiary education sector, where 44% of workers are women.

Qualifications of early years workforce

  • Government data shows that 79% of group-based staff, 77% of nursery staff, 74% of reception staff and 69% of childminders have at least a level 3 early years qualification (official ‘Early Years Educator’ status). However, for the first time in years, these qualification levels are on a downward trend. Separate survey data also shows that, overall, those with at least a level 3 fell from 83% in 2015, to 75% in 2016.

Pay of early years workforce

  • The early years workforce suffers from comparatively low pay.On average, pre-primary teachers are paid less than tertiary-education workers, earning just 83% of their average salary in England.

Andrews and Lawrence, School funding pressures in England, EPI

A new report by the Education Policy Institute examines the latest trends in local authority maintained school balances, and assesses whether all schools will be able to meet cost pressures over the next two years, following recent government funding reforms.

Key findings

Schools’ financial deficits: the latest trends

Assessing the state of school balances for local authority maintained schools (1,136 secondaries, 13,404 primaries) over the last 7 years, the report shows that a number of schools have been struggling financially, and are now in deficit:

  • The number of local authority maintained secondary schools in deficit reduced from 14.3 per cent in 2010-11 to 8.8 per cent in 2013-14. Strikingly, however, over the period of four years up until 2016-17, the proportion of local authority secondary schools in deficit nearly trebled, expanding to over a quarter of all such schools – or 26.1 per cent. The average local authority maintained secondary school deficit rose over this 7 year period, from £292,822 in 2010-11 to £374,990 in 2016-17.

  • The number of local authority maintained primary schools in deficit has also risen. In 2010-11, 5.2 per cent of local authority primary schools were in deficit – this reduced in the following year to 3.7 per cent, before staying at a level of around 4 per cent until 2015-16. However, in 2016-17, the proportion of primary schools in deficit increased significantly, to 7.1 per cent. The average primary school deficit also noticeably increased, from £72,042 in 2010-11, to £107,962 in 2016-17.

  • At a regional level, the South West had the highest percentage of local authority maintained secondaries in deficit over this period – with 22.1 per cent of schools in deficit in 2010-11, rising considerably to over a third of schools (34.9 per cent) in 2016-17. The East had the lowest – with 7.5 per cent of local authority maintained secondary schools in deficit in 2010-11, rising to 17.5 per cent in 2016-17.

  • The North East had the highest number of local authority maintained primary schools in deficit in 2016-17 at 10.1 per cent. The East of England consistently had the lowest, with 2.6 per cent in deficit in 2010-11, rising to 3.4 per cent in 2016-17.

  • A large proportion of local authority maintained schools are now spending more than their income. Over two-thirds of local authority maintained secondary schools spent more than their income in 2016-17. Significantly, such events are not just occurring for one year – we find that 40 per cent of local authority maintained secondaries have had balances in decline for at least two years in a row.

  • Similar figures are found for local authority maintained primary schools – in 2016-17, over 60 per cent were spending more than their income. A quarter of local authority maintained primaries have had a falling balance for two years or more.

Implications for schools: financial pressures and deficits

  • For a significant proportion of schools in England, being able to meet the cost of annual staff pay increases from a combination of government funding and their own reserves looks highly unlikely, even in the short term.

  • In response to pressures, schools have undertaken various efficiency measures to deliver cost savings, such as switching suppliers, reducing energy usage and reducing the size of leadership teams.

  • However, education staff account for the majority of spending by schools – around two-thirds. It is likely that schools will find it difficult to achieve the scale of savings necessary without also cutting back on staff.

England has one of the lowest levels of financial literacy, study says, 15th March 2018. IOE, UCL

Professor Jerrim and his co-authors, Dr Aditi Bhutoria and Professor Anna Vignoles from the University of Cambridge, analysed data from 8,797 16-to-65 year-olds in England and NI and 30 other countries who completed the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) test in 2011 (the next test is due in 2021). Adults were asked four questions as part of this test which captured their ability to apply numerical skills to every day financial tasks.

For example, around one in three adults could not correctly answer the following questions:

  1. Suppose, upon your trip to the grocery store you purchase four types of tea packs: Chamomile Tea (£4.60), Green Tea (£4.15), Black Tea (£3.35) and Lemon Tea (£1.80). If you paid for all these items with a £20 note, how much change would you get?

  2. Suppose, a litre of cola costs $3.15. If you buy one-third of a litre of cola, how much will you pay?

The findings also highlight how financial skills are unequally distributed amongst the population. In most countries, men have slightly stronger financial skills than women, while the over-55s were typically the worst performing age group.

“Worryingly, 16-to-24 year-olds in England and Northern Ireland performed particularly poorly on the financial test, compared to young people of the same age in other developed countries,” added Professor Jerrim.


The Resilience of Students with an Immigrant Background: Factors that Shape Well-being- OECD

The report shows that socio economic disadvantage and language are the biggest barriers for immigrant children at school

International -Wales

Wales cannot fulfil its economic potential until we ensure our most vulnerable fulfil theirs – Minister, 13th March

Wales cannot fulfil its economic potential until we ensure our most vulnerable fulfil theirs, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning told the NUS Wales conference in Cardiff.

She said:

“Next week I’ll be launching our new Employability Plan. This will recognise that employability is not just about jobs and skills. It is about getting every aspect of government policy; education, health, housing and communities; working together to support people into sustainable jobs. We want Wales to be a fair-work nation, where everyone can access better jobs closer to home, develop their skills, and have decent, life enhancing work without experiencing exploitation or poverty.

“The world and the workplace are changing rapidly and I want to ensure that our education and training system responds. The Employability Plan will also reflect the challenges of automation, artificial intelligence and digitalisation. We have to ‘future proof’ the education system and build resilience in our learners, who may well have twelve different jobs in their lifetimes.”

OECD and Estyn to develop self-evaluation framework for teachers, 19th March

Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams, has announced that OECD and Estyn will be working on a new self-evaluation framework for teachers.

She said:

“I am now proposing that the new assessment, evaluation and improvement framework will be primarily based on self-evaluation.

“That’s why I have commissioned OECD and Estyn to work with the profession to develop a national self-evaluation framework, which can operate in conjunction with a peer review and endorsement framework.

“We will then want to hear your views on how we can ensure this works well for everybody and provides a clear picture of where and how your school can improve.”

Estyn: recently published school inspection reports (individual schools)



National reading and numeracy tests 2018, 12th March

As the 2018 National Tests approach, the following gives details of the handbook etc.

Firstly, the Test Administration Handbook for 2018, which was published on the Learning Wales website last November. For ease of reference the link is here for you

This document contains all the important information you will require to successfully deliver the tests to your pupils. I should like to reiterate WG’s view, as outlined on p.2 of the guidance, “the National Tests are for diagnostic use so that teachers in all maintained schools will have information on the reading and numeracy skills of their learners and have a common understanding of strengths and areas for improvement in these skills. They are focused on understanding learner progress, and not school performance or accountability. This is why National Test results are not included in the set of performance measures for school categorisation.” 

In order to achieve this, it is very important that learners are not drilled before hand.

Key dates for 2018: http://learning.gov.wales/resources/collections/national-reading-and-numeracy-tests?lang=en

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Supporting pupils with SEND - 3 key messages for schools, EEF

Achievement for All works with schools to support timely and accurate identification of children’s additional needs, effective interventions and better outcomes.