1st September 2017

Department for Education

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2017, republished 29th August.

Republished with updated methodology document, including use of the data collected.

Constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools, 29th August 2017

Republished statutory guidance setting out the arrangements for the constitution of governing bodies of all local-authority-maintained schools. The document has been updated with guidance on new powers to remove elected governors.

Primary school accountability, republished with updates 31st August 2017

The technical guide has been updated with information about changes to the primary progress methodology in 2017 for pupils below the standard of the test (p. 20ff); there are changes in the allocation of points. Also updated are the figures in the document with provisional 2017 data.

There is a useful video explaining this.

Schools causing concern: guidance for local authorities and RSCs, 31st August 2017

Updated page 21 of 'Schools causing concern: guidance for local authorities and RSCs' to cover the use of writing data in 2017.

Department for Education- Research

Evaluation of early rollout of 30 hours free childcare, August 2017 Paull et al. 31st August

Early rollout of 30 hours free childcare began in four Local Authorities (LAs) in April 2017 with an offer of extended hours places to all eligible children in each LA. The focus of the early rollout was to test sufficiency of delivery and take-up by eligible parents and whether there were any early indications of impacts on childcare use or parental work. This is the second report from a broader evaluation of three ‘early’ programmes.

Findings:

Evidence from early rollout provides further support for the conclusion from early implementation that there is no specific reason to believe that 30 hours free childcare will not be a success.

In particular:

  • A high proportion of providers were willing and able to offer extended hours places and there was no evidence that financial implications were a substantial barrier to the delivery of the extended hours.

  • Parents were keen to take up the extended hours and the numbers of children receiving extended hours were close to the estimated number of eligible children in two LAs.

30 hours free childcare launches, 31st August 2017

The government's 30 hours free childcare offer for working parents rolled out across the country on Friday 1st September.

Statistics

National curriculum assessments: key stage 2, 2017 (provisional), 31st August 2017

Attainment in reading, writing and maths:

In 2017, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics compared to 53% in 2016;

9% reached a higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics compared to 5% in 2016.

This increase may be due to pupils and teachers further becoming more familiar with the increased levels of demand of the new assessments, aligned with the new, more challenging national curriculum, in their second year.

There is considerable variation between local authorities in attainment. The difference between the lowest and highest performing local authorities is greater in reading than in other subjects. There is a 25% gap between the lowest and highest local authority in the combined figure for reading, writing and maths.

Across all subjects, the gap between the highest and lowest attaining LAs is smaller in 2017 than in 2016. (Peterborough low at 51%; Richmond Upon Thames high at 76%).

See also Provisional KS2 data 2017: Five key points from today’s release, Dave Thompson, Blog: Education Datalab

The blog discusses regional differences including that the north-east remains the second highest attaining region (64%), after London (66%). The east Midlands, the west Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber were the regions with the lowest levels of attainment, with 58% of pupils achieving the expected standard in each.

What’s happening to reading under the new Key Stage 2 curriculum and assessment regime? Blog 31st August, Harland and Hodgson: NfER.

The authors suggest that it has proved more difficult for pupils to meet the standards expected in reading. The new statutory reading assessment includes more difficult and challenging questions designed to test the most able pupils and incorporates content similar in demand to a previously separate Level 6 paper.

But they say:

It is reasonable to anticipate that we will continue to see an increasing proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in reading in the future as familiarity with the pitch of the texts and questions is gained. However reading, and the imbued skills of comprehension and interpretation of information, are fundamental abilities for all other learning and for achieving positive future outcomes. It seems important, therefore, to understand more about how reading is being developed within the current curriculum and assessment system in order to ensure that all children leave primary school as capable readers.  

Other Government: Ministry of Justice

Exploratory analysis of the youth secure estate by BAME groups, 1st September 2017

The aim of this report is to explore further the possible factors that may explain why there is a high proportion of young black people in youth custody.

Approximately 9 in every 10,000 young black people in the general population were in youth custody in 2015/16, the highest proportion of any ethnic group. This compares to 1 in every 10,000 for young people from white ethnic backgrounds, 4 in 10,000 mixed ethnic young people, and 2 in 10,000 ‘Asian and other’ young people; the difference between every ethnic group is statistically significant.

Young black people were more likely to be identified with ‘gang concerns’ and be considered a ‘risk to others’ on entry to custody than any other ethnic group between April 2014 and March 2016.

Ethnic groups were compared across a range of measures including: educational attainment, looked after child status (LAC), free school meals (FSM), special educational needs (SEN), persistent absence and permanent exclusion. Overall there were few statistically significant differences between groups, and no consistent differences across measures and sentence lengths.

Ofsted

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters, 1st September 2017

Windsor and Maidenhead local area SEND inspection outcome letter published.

Main findings

Leaders across the local area are not implementing the reforms required by legislation in a timely manner. Key challenges, such as changes to the leadership structure at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), and continued turnover of administrative staff, have limited the capacity to drive through the reforms.

Some school leaders make very good use of local area resources to follow up concerns about children and young people’s development. However, other schools take a much less proactive approach. Where this is the case, too many children and young people are not properly assessed, their needs not appropriately identified and then not met well enough.

Joint commissioning is under developed

Inspecting learning and skills training for people in custody, republished with updates, 1st September 2017

Handbook for providers and Ofsted inspectors on inspecting training and work activities for young adults and adults in custody. This has been republished with minor changes to inspection methodology in paragraphs 38-39.

Ofsted launches new point-in-time questionnaires, 31st August 2017

Ofsted has iissued its annual point-in-time questionnaires about the residential provision of boarding schools, residential special schools, and further education colleges.

Ofsted inspectors want to hear what children and young people, their parents and carers, and staff have to say about the boarding or residential provision of these schools and further education colleges. Their responses will help inform future inspections.

Questions for children and young people include:

  • do staff look after you well?

  • do you feel safe inside your school or college accommodation?

  • can you talk to staff about what you think?

Ofsted is asking for responses by Thursday 12 October.

Research

Education Endowment Foundation, Guidance Reports

Schedule of publications

International

Does the quality of learning outcomes fall when education expands to include more disadvantaged students? PISA In Focus #75, 29th August 2017

When Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Turkey and Uruguay first participated in PISA, fewer than two in three 15-year-olds were eligible to sit the test. By 2015 the students in these countries assessed by PISA had become more representative of their age group.  The experience of these nine countries shows that increases in access to schooling have not, in general, come at the expense of the average quality of education for 15-year-olds. In Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico and Turkey, the level of mathematics proficiency attained by the top quarter of 15-year-olds increased significantly over years in which education expanded to include more disadvantaged children, showing that advantaged children can also benefit when more of their peers have access to education.

Having all 15-year-olds enrolled in school is the first step towards building an inclusive education system; but more schooling does not guarantee that every student will learn. The trends observed in PISA, however, show that greater inclusion and better quality can go hand in hand in low- and middle-income countries, when the quality of learning is assessed. While dismantling the barriers to schooling, countries can also help every student acquire the skills they need to thrive in increasingly knowledge-intensive economies.

Transition from school to work: How hard is it across different age groups? In Focus, number 54, 31st August 2017: OECD

Most people in OECD countries make the transition from education to work between the ages of 20 and 24, but 13% of 15-19 year-olds have already left school. The transition from school to work is more difficult for young people without upper secondary education. On average across OECD countries, 36% of 20-24 year-olds who were neither employed nor in education or training (NEET) have not attained upper secondary education, compared with only 18% of people in that age group who were employed. Young people who are still in education have higher literacy and numeracy skills. The difference in skills between those who are in education and those who are not is equivalent to about 2.5 additional years of education.

The report concludes that the transition from school to work can be a difficult period associated with spells of unemployment. Data show that those who leave school early have comparatively low skills and low educational attainment and face the greatest challenges in the labour market compared to their peers who stayed in education longer. Efforts should be made to ensure that people remain in education until they complete at least upper secondary education – considered the minimum threshold for successful entry into the labour market. Remaining in education not only leads to higher educational attainment, but also fosters the skills needed to ensure a successful transition into the labour market.

See also What happens with your skills when you leave school? Blog, Dirk Van Damme, 31st August 2017

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

National curriculum assessments: key stage 2, 2017 (provisional), 31st August 2017

Findings show big variation in attainment between local authorities. This does not need to be the case. Schools working with Achievement for All get good outcomes for their pupils.