Department for Education

PM: mental health training for teachers will "make a real difference to children's lives", 27th June 2017: Press Release

The government has pledged that every secondary school in the country will be offered Mental Health First Aid training by 2020.

The programme, backed in the first year by £200,000 in government funding, and delivered by the social enterprise Mental Health First Aid, will start with 1,000 staff and extend in years 2 and 3 to cover every secondary school in England. They will receive practical advice on how to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, suicide and psychosis, self-harm, and eating disorders.

Participants in the training programme will be invited to become a Youth Mental Health First Aid Champion, and will help to share their knowledge and understanding of mental health across the school and wider community.

It is hoped that this will mean more young people will get fast and appropriate support for emerging mental health problems, and that all children will receive the highest quality pastoral care through their adolescence.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

‘……Tackling poor mental health is a huge challenge, and we will keep our promises and meet that challenge with the comprehensive cross-society response that is required’.

See also Teachers getting training to deal with pupils’ mental health issues, 27th June 2017: BT

Over the next three years some 3,000 staff, covering every secondary school in England, will receive advice on how to deal with issues. The programme, announced in January, is delivered by social enterprise Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, backed by £200,000 in Government funding and will be extended to primary schools by 2022.

See also below (research): Social media and children’s mental health: a review of the evidence, Emily Frith, 30th June 2017: EPS

School performance: 2017 point scores for KS4 qualifications, 30th June 2017

This spreadsheet lists the point values for every key stage 4 qualification in the school performance tables.

Performance points: comparing KS4 or 16-to-18 qualifications, 30th June 2017

Updates: the June 2017 update of this document contains 16 to 18 performance points for level 2 qualifications, which count for the first time in 2017 16 to 18 performance tables.

This document contains an overview of how points are calculated for qualifications which are eligible for key stage 4 and 16 to 18 performance tables. Firstly, the number of guided learning hours is used to determine the size of the qualification. This information is used along with the number of grades in the qualification to determine its performance points. Tables are provided to look up the size and points structure for eligible qualifications

Department for Education- Early Years

EYFS learning and development requirements: exemptions for children (republished 28th June, 2017)- Guidance

This has been republished to update links to current regulations and other guidance documents. The exemptions guidance has not changed the application of exemptions.

EYFS learning and development requirements: exemptions for providers (republished 28th June 2017)- Guidance

This has been republished to update links to current regulations and other guidance documents. The exemptions guidance has not changed the application of exemptions.

Department for Education- Further Education

Guidance- Apprenticeships: off-the-job training, 26th June 2017

The guidance provides details of how employers and training providers should meet the 20% off-the-job training requirement for apprentices, with some best practice examples.

The 20% threshold is the minimum amount of time that should be spent doing off-the-job training during an apprenticeship and this applies to both apprenticeship frameworks and apprenticeship standards

Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.

The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and could include the following:

  • The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training),
  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions,
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments.

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • English and maths (up to level 2) which is funded separately,
  • progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard,
  • training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours.

Employer perspectives survey 2016, 28th June 2017

Findings from the 2016 employer perspectives survey, including interviews with over 18,000 employers across the UK.

The Employer Perspectives Survey (EPS) is a biennial study, running in its current guise since 2010. Historically it has been administered by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES); ownership of the survey transferred to the Department for Education (DfE) in 2016.

Key findings for England show:

Employer characteristics

The largest sectors are Business Services and Wholesale and Retail, which account for 22% and 20% of all UK establishments. Public Administration (1%) and Financial Services (2%) are the smallest sectors.

Entry to work:

In line with the recovering economy, the proportion of establishments with vacancies has risen gradually in recent years. In 2016 just over half (52%) of UK establishments had a vacancy in the 12 months preceding the survey, with this figure increasing from 49% in 2014 and 48% in 2012. By country, employers in Northern Ireland were least likely to have vacancies (44%); this compared to 53% in England and 49% in both Scotland and Wales.

People Development:

The majority (73%) of establishments offered some form of training for their staff in the previous 12 months, internal (62%) or external (47%). This represented an increase since 2014 when 69% of employers provided any training for their staff (58% internal and 45% external). Small establishments, with fewer than 25 staff, appear to be driving this increase, although these sized employers were still far less likely to offer some form of training than large employers.


Similar to the sector trends regarding employers’ overall training offer, those in Education (39%) and Public Administration (26%) were most likely to offer apprenticeships. Employers in the Primary Sector and Utilities were least likely to do so (11%). Across a number of sectors the proportion of employers offering apprenticeships has increased since 2014, and, compared with 2012, some increases are high: Financial Services 17 businesses were three times as likely to offer apprenticeships in 2016 as they were in 2012 (an increase from 5% in 2012 to 14% in 2016), while other sectors were around twice as likely to be offering apprenticeships in 2016 compared with 2012: Public Administration (from 13% to 26%), Education (from 22% to 39%) and the Primary Sector and Utilities (from 6% to 11%). Only in Transport, Storage and Communications has the proportion offering apprenticeships remained stable across the three surveys (13% in 2012, 14% in 2014 and 13% in 2016).

School performance: 2017 point scores for 16 to 18 qualifications, 29th June 2017

This spreadsheet lists the point values for every 16 to 18 qualification in the school performance tables.

16 to 18 completion and attainment qualifications: 2016, 30th June 2017 (republished with updates)

This has been republished to include a 2016 completion and attainment ready reckoner with new versions.

Other Government: Social Mobility Commission

Social mobility policies between 1997 and 2017: time for change, 28th June

The report shows that government policies over the last 20 years to improve social mobility have failed to deliver enough progress. It suggests that schools which should be engines of social mobility are still failing too many children and young people. It points to three ‘new’ areas of division across the nation:

  • The new spatial divide between London and some of the other great cities, which are moving ahead while other parts of England are falling behind. Limited education and employment opportunities in many urban and rural communities - not just those in the North - are forcing aspirational youngsters to move out in order to get on. These ‘left behind’ parts of Britain are becoming socially hollowed out.
  • A new income and wealth divide-between 1997 and 2017 the bottom fifth of households saw their incomes increase by just over £10 per week compared to just over £300 for the top fifth.
  • A new generational divide- those born in the 1980s are the first post-war cohort not to start their working years with higher incomes than their immediate predecessors. Home ownership, the aspiration of successive generations of ordinary people, is in sharp decline. As wages have fallen, house prices have risen. Today’s young generation is more reliant than ever on their parents for help to buy their first home.

The report highlights five key lessons learnt over the last 20 years of government social mobility policies:

  • successive governments have failed to make social mobility the cornerstone of domestic policy. Over two decades efforts have waxed and waned. They been piecemeal rather than holistic.
  • long-term progress has too often been sacrificed to short-term change. There has been an of almost continual structural reforms to all parts of the education system, but few have been given the opportunity to bed down.
  • the way policies have been designed has often been misaligned from the objective of securing higher levels of social mobility. Early years services have been caught in a no-man’s land between providing extended childcare to enable more parents to work and providing early education to aid children’s development. Closing the attainment gap in schools has played second fiddle to raising the standards bar.
  • public resources have not been properly lined up behind social mobility policies. Spending on older people - including wealthy pensioners – has been protected while spending on young people and on poorer working adults has been cut.
  • governments have overly limited their scope of action. They have focussed on improving the education system but shied away from improving parenting.

The report makes a number of recommendations over four key ‘phases’ identified in children and young people’s lives where changes should be made to improve social mobility: early years, schools, young people and working lives.

See also 'No prospect' of GCSE gap between rich and poor closing, warns damning report, Helen Ward, 28th June 2017


Education provision: children under 5 years of age, January 2017, 29th June 2017

Take up rate remains the same for 3-year-olds and decreases for 4-year-olds

93% of the 3-year-old population benefitted from some funded early education in January 2017.

  • The take up rate has remained at 93% since 2012. However, the number of 3-year-old children benefitting decreased from January 2016 by 4.3%, from 660,430 to 632,330. This reflects a drop in the birth rate in 2013.
  • 96% of the 4-year-old population benefitted from some funded early education in January 2017, a decrease from 97% in January 2016. However, the number of 4-year-old children benefitting increased by 0.9%, from 679,000 to 685,330.

Take up rate for eligible 2-year-olds increases to 71%

  • The number of 2-year-olds benefitting from some funded early education in January 2017 was 163,250, 71% of the eligible 2-year-old population. The number of 2-year-olds benefitting decreased by 2.2% from 166,920 in January 2016. This reflects a drop in the birth rate in 2014. Further details can be found in the technical document.

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2017, 29th June 2017

There are 110,000 more pupils in the school system than in January 2016

Between January 2016 and January 2017 the number of pupils across all school types rose by 110,000. Although most of this increase was still in primary schools, with 74,500 more pupils in January 2017 than in 2016, a greater increase was also seen in secondary schools than in recent years. Numbers increased 29,700 between 2017 and 2016 (compared to an 8,700 increase between 2015 and 2016). In addition there are 4,400 more pupils in special schools.

The proportion of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals continues to drop.

In January 2017, for all schools types, 14.0% of pupils were eligible for and claiming free schools meals. This is the lowest proportion since 2001, when the department began collecting pupil level information. Entitlement to free school meals is detemined by the receipt of income-related benefits. As the number of benefit claimants decreases, the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals also falls.

The proportion of infant pupils in large classes has fallen for the second year.

5.4% of infant pupils are in classes of more than 30 pupils. This has decreased for the second year and is 0.8 percentage points lower than the peak of 2015. However, it remains higher than the proportion in 2013 (4.6%). Of infants in classes with more than 30 pupils, the vast majority (95.7%) are in classes with 31 or 32 pupils.

Participation in education, training and employment: 2016, 29th June 2017

Key headline data shows that

Participation between 2015 and 2016 continues to increase at ages 16 and 17

NEET continues to fall for the overall 16-18 age group (2015-2016)

The largest annual change was seen at age 18 where the NEET rate fell by 1.5 percentage points to 9.8%. The NEET rate also fell slightly at age 16, by 0.3 percentage points to 2.9%.


Maintained schools and academies inspections and outcomes as at 31 March 2017, 29th June 2017

This data on maintained schools and academies covers January to March 2017 (provisional) and September to December 2016 (revised).

Key findings show that:

  • Seventy five per cent of inspections during 2017 resulted in a good or outstanding judgement. This is similar to the 73% seen in the 2015/16 academic year.
  • Twenty nine per cent of short inspections between 1 September 2016 and 31 March 2017 converted to full inspections. In 2015/16, 35% converted. Sixty per cent of converted inspections resulted in the school declining to less than good, compared to 46% in 2015/16.
  • Out of the schools that previously required improvement and were inspected this year but did not improve, there are 97 primary and secondary schools that have not been judged to be good or outstanding in any inspection since 2005.

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes as at 28 February 2017, 28th June 2017

The release provides provisional data for the most recent inspection outcomes as at 28 February 2017 along with provisional data for inspections conducted between 1 September 2016 and 28 February 2017.

Key findings show that:

  • The proportion of providers judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection has declined in three out of the four biggest provider groups
  • The proportion of general further education colleges, sixth form colleges and independent learning providers (including employer providers) judged good or outstanding has declined since 31 August 2016.


The Special Educational Needs in Secondary Education (SENSE) Study, Webster and Blatchford, 30th June 2017: UCL , Institute of Education, London

The SENSE study tracked 60 pupils with Statements and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs); half of who featured in the earlier MAST study.

The SENSE study findings call into question the overall effectiveness of provision and quality of the educational experiences available to pupils with Statements/EHCPs in mainstream settings. The results show that the educational experiences of pupils with Statements/EHCPs in mainstream secondary schools is characterised by a form of ‘streaming’. Schools tend to handle SEND provision via the wider organisation of teaching by ‘ability’ and by allocating additional adult support to classes for pupils with SEND, rather than by concentrating on improving the quality and accessibility of teaching. The researchers found that staff -teachers and TAs- were generally not well trained in teaching pupils with SEND.

See also: Councils call for say in schools funding to protect children with special needs, Sally Weale, 29th June 2017: The Guardian

Social media and children’s mental health: a review of the evidence, Emily Frith, 30th June 2017: EPS

The report examines the impact of using social media on young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. 

Key findings show that:

Developing digital skills and building resilience

  • There is evidence of a beneficial impact of social media on young people’s emotional wellbeing. This is because young people can connect with others to improve their social skills online.
  • Equipping young people with sufficient digital skills to help them navigate the internet and new technologies safely is vital.Restricted access inhibits the development of the skills and resilience needed to handle such risks.

Risks of social media use

  • The report highlights several risks linked with social media use –including cyber-bullying, concerns about excessive internet use, sharing of private information and harmful content – such as websites that promote self-harm. 34 per cent of UK children have experienced at least one of these risks.
  • Over a third (37.3 per cent) of UK 15 year olds can be classed as ‘extreme internet users’ (6+ hours of use a day) – markedly higher than the average of OECD countries.
  • The evidence points towards a correlation between extreme use of social media and harmful effects on young people’s wellbeing.Those classed as ‘extreme internet users’ were more likely to report being bullied (17.8 per cent) than moderate internet users (6.7 per cent).Further evidence points to a link between periods spent on social media and a rise in mental health problems.
  • More research is needed to understand the causal relationship between social networking and mental health and wellbeing problems.

Technological change and policy responses

  • Technology is evolving rapidly. The increasingly private nature of online activity, with instant messaging and smartphones, means that attempts to isolate young people from all online risks are likely to be ineffective.
  • Policy-makers have struggled to keep pace with technological change.
  • With the Prime Minister naming mental health as a key priority, the report calls upon the government to explore the development of resilience in young people, rather than focusing just on safeguarding – in order to support their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and their safe participation in increasingly complex digital environments.

See also: Third of 15-year-olds indulge in extreme internet use linked to mental ill health, study shows, Adi Bloom 30th June 2017: TES

See also Schools need to be brave enough to ask at-risk pupils: 'Are you thinking about suicide?' Natasha Devon, 28th June 2017: TES

Natasha Devon, former government mental health champion says if schools don't follow in the footsteps of mental health charities and talk openly, honestly and directly about suicide, vulnerable young people will slip under the radar.

School Libraries: A literature review on current provision and evidence of impact, A. Teraveinana and C. Clarke , 30th June : National Literacy Trust

This literature review aims to provide a comprehensive contemporary picture of school libraries in the UK. It focuses primarily on what is known about the extent of current school library provision. This is then followed by a review of the known impact of school libraries on pupils’ skills, motivation and enjoyment.

Findings on the impact of school libraries show that:

  • School libraries have been found to impact pupils’ general academic attainment, reading and writing skills, plus wider learning skills, as well as their scores in history, mathematics and science.
  • School libraries have also been found to have an impact on pupils’ reading enjoyment, reading behaviour and attitudes towards reading. Motivation and attitudes in particular have been connected to school library use.
  • Several personal and interpersonal outcomes, such as self-esteem and the feeling of success and accomplishment, have also been associated with school library use.

And findings on what works when it comes to school libraries highlight the following:

1 Good school librarian; 2. Supportive senior leadership team 3. Supportive staff and collaboration 4. Good quality physical space 5. Quality of the collection and access to resources 6. Responding to different needs 7. Flexible scheduling 8. Quality instruction 9. Monitoring and evaluation 10. Integration and promotion 11. Funding and budgeting

Worth, J. (2017). Teacher Retention and Turnover Research. Research Update 2: Teacher Dynamics in Multi-Academy Trusts. Slough: NFER.

This report is part of a bigger research project funded by the Nuffield foundation and looking at the teacher workforce in England. This report explores the redeployment of staff in MATs.

Key Findings:

  • The amount of staff movement between schools in the same MAT is more than ten times higher than the amount of movement expected between any two schools that are not in the same MAT and are the same geographical distance apart. This suggests that MATs have internal teacher labour markets that are somewhat distinct from the teacher labour market in the local area outside of the MAT.
  • When classroom teachers and senior leaders move to a different school in the same MAT they are more likely to move to a school with a more disadvantaged intake than a school with a less disadvantaged intake. This is in contrast to teachers more generally, who are more likely to move to a school with a less disadvantaged intake. This suggests that the strategic approach MAT leaders can take towards workforce management might provide an effective mechanism for deploying staff to schools that struggle more with staff recruitment and retention.
  • Staff movement to different schools within the same MAT is highest for senior leaders and in larger MATs that are closer together.


The Funding of School Education: Connecting Resources and Learning, 26th June 2017: OECD

The report says that effective school funding policies can help countries achieve efficiency and equity goals together, by ensuring that resources are channelled to where they are most needed..….

In increasingly complex governance contexts, reforms should ensure effective alignment of roles and responsibilities for school funding, enhance capacity for strategic budgeting, and develop adequate regulatory frameworks for the public funding of private schools.

In distributing funds, a key concern is to ensure an equitable allocation of resources to schools and students with different needs. This can be done either through inclusion of additional funding in the main allocation mechanism or through targeted funds external to the main funding stream.

The use of targeted programmes can help convey policy objectives and allow better steering of the use of public resources. But the report cautions that a multiplication of such programmes risks generating inefficiencies, greater administrative costs and a lack of long-term sustainability for schools. Transaction costs can be reduced by limiting the number of targeted programmes and including adjustments for equity within the major part of funding allocation.

Who bears the cost of early childhood education and how does it affect enrolment? In Focus 52, May, 28th June 2017: OECD

This In Focus explores funding factors across OECD countries influencing participation in education at very young ages focusing on which institutions support the financing of education at this level, and whether and how the private sector and households contribute towards the costs.

The short report concludes that:

Local governments are the main contributors to the financing of early childhood education, particularly with regards to core goods and services such as staff salaries and school buildings.

Households and other private entities bear a greater share of the cost than in other levels of education, particularly for ancillary services such as meals, school health services and transport.

Public expenditure on educational institutions, transfers and subsidies to the private sector, and the way funds are allocated, can help increase participation in early childhood education.

Increased spending on early childhood education does not always translate into higher enrolment, as funds may be used to improve the quality of learning, through raising teachers’ salaries, investing more in school facilities or prioritising a smaller number of teachers per student.

See also blog: Are countries ready to invest in early childhood education? Dirk Van Damme, 28th June 2017: OECD

International: Wales

The Primary Headteachers’ Conference was held in the SSE SWALEC in Cardiff on the 20 June 2017, 23rd June 2017: Learning Wales

Primary school headteachers were given the opportunity to learn more about Education reform, the implications for their schools and the Welsh system.

Speakers included Kirsty Williams AM, -OECD, Professor Graham Donaldson, Professor Mick Waters, Ann Keane and Deborah McMillan.

The presentations can be down loaded here

See also last week’s: Reform of Education speech by the Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Willams, 20th June 2017 -Kirsty Williams highlighted the importance of school leadership in driving improvement, her drive to keep focused on implementing curriculum reform through the pioneer schools programme, of investing an additional £1 million to develop the skills of all staff who deliver the Foundation Phase for 3 to 7 year olds’, focussing on the well being of a child which ‘must be at the heart of our inclusive education system which is why it will feature prominently in our new action plan when it is published later in the year..’ and development of Welsh language learning in schools.


Education Policy Institute (EPI) Response to Primary Assessments in England, Government Consultation, June 2017

NUT survey: SATs having damaging consequences for both children and schools, 25th June 2017

The survey of 2,300 National Union of Teachers primary members, shows that the vast majority of teachers believe the primary assessment system is broken. The survey shows a widespread lack of confidence in the Government’s system of assessment and accountability as it affects our youngest pupils, as well as a growing conviction that it needs fundamental change with:

  • 94% agreeing with the findings of the House of Commons Education Committee that the ‘high-stakes system does not improve teaching and learning in primary schools’.
  • 96% saying that preparation for SATs does not support children’s access to a broad and balanced curriculum.
  • 93% saying that changes to SATs have significantly increased teacher workload at their school.

Support for early years, school and post-16 settings in responding to the needs of children and young people with autism

The Autism Education Trust (AET) programme to build capacity across the education system for children and young people with autism is progressing well. Supported by the Department for Education and delivered through regional partners, the programme centres on national good practice standards for education settings, practitioner competency frameworks, a range of practitioner training modules and a suite of complimentary resources. In pursuing local and regional communities of practice, AET encourages all education settings and practitioners to engage with them to deliver a system that is increasingly accessible to young people with autism.

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Social mobility policies between 1997 and 2017: time for change, 28th June

The report suggests a lot more needs to done by government to drive social mobility through schools. However schools which are working with Achievement for All are already closing the attainment gap for some of the most disadvantaged children and young people.