20th October 2017

Department for Education

Nick Gibb: The importance of knowledge-based education, 19th October 2017

Nick Gibb, speaking at the launch of The Question of Knowledge’,a pamphlet, making the case for a knowledge-rich curriculum with essays written by leading educatationalists.

He said:

‘…Academies and free schools have control over the curriculum they teach, and with the National Curriculum setting the standard high, innovative schools led by exceptional head teachers have developed world-class curricula. But shifting a school’s focus towards a knowledge-based curriculum is not a short-term commitment, as Stuart Lock – the newly appointed headteacher of Bedford Free School – explains:

'I think there is a real danger that developing a knowledge-based curriculum might be seen as “done” after a year or two. In reality, we are just over one year into a long-term job. There is no moving on to another initiative; we are playing the long game. This is what is important in schools, and hence is our continued focus for development over the next few years. Everything is subservient to curricular questions. So pedagogy, assessment, tracking and qualifications must lead on from us developing further our understanding of what makes a pupil knowledgeable, and ensuring we get as close to that understanding as possible.

'This view is shared by Luke Sparkes and Jenny Thompson of Dixons Trinity Academy, which achieved outstanding results this year. Their excellent free school serves a disadvantaged community in Bradford, and is one of a number of high performing free schools and academies that demonstrate that a stretching, knowledge-rich curriculum, a sensible approach to behaviour and evidence-informed teaching result in exceptional results for all pupils.

'High performing free schools and academies are providing empirical evidence of what it is possible to achieve when teachers and headteachers – given freedom to innovate with their curriculum – pursue an evidence-based approach. The exceptional results achieved by schools such as King Solomon Academy, Mossbourne Community Academy and Harris Academy Battersea demonstrate that disadvantage need be no barrier to achieving academic excellence.

'Unlike the easy-sounding promise of generic skills, there is no doubt that developing a knowledge-rich curriculum is hard. But, unlike a skills-based curriculum, the rewards are worth it…..’

National funding formula tables for schools and high needs, first published 14th September 2017

This has been updated to include a link to how schools and local authorities can find and interpret their allocation data.

National funding formula: how to interpret the allocation data, 19th October 2017: Guidance

How schools and local authorities can access COLLECT and the data on national funding formula (NFF) allocations.

New route into classroom for aspiring teachers, 19th October 2017

A new postgraduate teaching apprenticeship for has been announced by Education Secretary Justine Greening.

The apprenticeship, which launches in September 2018, will mirror the entry criteria and high-quality course content currently required of all other teacher trainees and will give schools across the country the opportunity to use the apprenticeship to recruit and train new teachers in-house.

The new teaching apprenticeship will run in parallel with School Direct Salaried (SDS) training in 2018 that already allows graduates to train while on the job. All apprentices will be paid as unqualified teachers.

Schools who are not eligible for the apprenticeship levy, or who require additional funds, will receive government funding to cover up to 90 per cent of training costs.

MAT Development and Improvement Fund application, 16th October 2017

Application form for trusts who want to apply to the MAT Development and Improvement Fund.

Literacy and numeracy catch-up strategies, 17th October 2017

The paper reviews catch-up strategies and interventions which are intended for low attaining pupils in literacy or numeracy at the end of key stage 2. This includes interventions which have been trialled with low-attaining year 7 pupils, or interventions which have been trialled and proved successful with younger or older pupils that may be applicable to low attaining year 7 pupils. The paper only includes programmes where independent analysis has provided an assessment of their effectiveness.

Overall findings showed that:

  • Writing interventions appear to show consistently good results. In particular, where trips are used as topics for pupil’s to write about. Reading comprehension interventions generally have a positive effect on pupil’s attitudes towards reading; Computer-based interventions appear effective, and some one-to-one methods have substantial positive results on pupils’ literacy progress
  • There is inconsistent evidence around how effective phonics approaches, Summer and Saturday schools, and blended interventions are as a catch-up strategy for low-attaining year 7 pupil’s
  • It should however be noted that phonics has been consistently shown as an effective approach for younger readers (aged 4 - 7)
  • The few numeracy interventions which have been trialed with year 7 pupils have not proven to be effective. Nevertheless, there is promising evidence from interventions trialed at primary schools which could be applicable to older low-attaining pupils, including one-to-one and group programmes
  • A number of the interventions summarised are intended specifically for disadvantaged pupils, including numeracy approaches such as Tutor Trust, and literacy interventions such as Paired Reading and RM Books
  • Other interventions described in this summary may be appropriate for disadvantaged pupils, however these were the only interventions reviewed here that were targeted at this specific group
  • There is evidence to show that transition from primary to secondary school is a time where progress for some pupils can be below what would be expected
  • Key principals which appear to facilitate the transition from primary to secondary school include: maintain collaboration before and after transfer; facilitate effective communication; prioritise and invest in school visits and induction programmes; develop practices for particular types of pupils; ensure schools have clear roles and responsibilities that are supported by senior management, and; evaluate what works and disseminate good practice.

Mathematics subject knowledge enhancement guide: 2017 to 2018, 19th October 2017

The guidance explains what subject knowledge enhancement is, how to apply, who can benefit from it, and how providers will deliver the programme.

Subject knowledge enhancement programmes:

  • Help applicants gain the depth of subject knowledge needed to train and teach their chosen subject

  • Only apply to mathematics

  • Are only for pre-service, post-graduate programmes

  • Specifically support programmes which allow trainees to teach maths to GCSE and level 3.

Continuing Vocational Training survey, 19th October 2017

Continuing Vocational Training (CVT) is recognised both by the European Union and European national governments as a key contribution to competitiveness and productivity, to adaptation of workforces to changing patterns of production and work organisation, and to social cohesion.

To monitor progress and change in the delivery of the CVT supplied by employers across Europe, the European Union commissions a regular survey of employers to assess their CVT practices. This survey, the Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) takes place at 5- yearly intervals. Findings are reported here for the UK and are based on telephone interviews with 3,315 UK employers with 10 or more employees.

Findings show that:

  • 86% of employers provided their staff with some form of CVT in 2015
  • The provision of all forms of CVT was more frequent in larger employer organisations, but the increase is particularly pronounced with regard to the provision of CVT courses
  • Smaller employers, particularly, were more likely to have provided external than internal courses and not to have provided both types
  • Technical, practical and job-specific skills were the most important focus of CVT courses
  • Where employers did not supply CVT at all, the main barriers were that they saw no need for training – their staff were fully skilled – or they preferred to recruit to obtain the skills they needed. ‘Supply-side’ barriers, which concern the availability of suitable and affordable external training provision, were much less frequent though 19% said CVT courses were too expensive and the same proportion that suitable courses were not available.

National professional qualifications: frameworks, 20th October 2017

The content and assessment framework sets out the knowledge and skills that providers must teach as part of each NPQ for leadership, and the tasks and criteria against which providers will be required to assess their candidates.

National professional qualifications (NPQs): list of providers, 20th October 2017

Department for Education- Further Education

Anne Milton supports Team UK at WorldSkills 2017, 16th October 2017

Skills & Apprenticeships Minister Anne Milton supported Team UK in the WorldSkills 2017 competition in Abu Dhabi. The competition, which runs from 15 – 18 October, brings together apprentices and young people from across the world to compete in their specialist skill.

As part of her visit Minister Milton delivered two speeches on skills development in cities and the government’s apprenticeship reforms. She also met the UK’s competitors, their families and experts across a range of industries.

The 34 members of Team UK are competing against more than 65 countries in 30 skills categories, including painting, hairdressing, mechatronics, engineering and cooking.

WorldSkills UK Chief Executive Neil Bentley, formerly Deputy Director General of the CBI, said:

‘…..The WorldSkills Finals presents the UK with a unique platform to not only showcase the best of this country’s apprentices and inspire others to follow in their footsteps, but also to help build and reinforce global trade and investment partnerships.

Having the confidence to demonstrate the high skill level in the UK will enhance our status as a top investment destination, boosting trade relations and creating jobs in the post-Brexit economy’.

FE Choices employer satisfaction survey 2016 to 2017, 19th October 2017

Key findings show that:

A large majority of employers are likely to recommend their training provider

Nearly nine in ten employers were either ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend their training provider to another employer seeking similar training. This high level of advocacy is consistent with high levels of satisfaction expressed by employers about their training provider: 80% gave their training provider an overall satisfaction score of 8 to 10 (out of 10)

Employers remain less satisfied with their ability to influence the training

Four in five employers were highly satisfied with the overall quality of the training, giving a score of at least 8 out of 10. Satisfaction with the quality of training has increased by two percentage points compared with last year when 78% gave a score of at least 8 out of 10.

Employers remain less satisfied with their ability to influence the training

Seven in ten employers were highly satisfied with their ability to influence the structure, content, delivery and duration of training. Rating has also improved compared to last year when 69% of employers gave a score of at least 8 out of 10. However, rating on the ability to influence remains low compared to other aspects of training measured in this survey.

Long-term apprenticeship model evaluation, 19th October 2017

The new apprenticeship system in place since May 2017 aims to increase employer investment and participation in training, as well as the quality of apprenticeships.

The Department for Education has developed a Long-term Apprenticeship Model to project apprenticeship volumes and total costs under the new apprenticeship system.

A main challenge identified when developing the model is the uncertainty surrounding employer behaviour in the new system (including the cost incentive structures), as well as the costs of delivering those apprenticeships. There is a lack of quantitative evidence available on which to base assumptions of policy impact.

The modelling approach is considered suitable because of the simplicity and transparency of the approach.

There is little rationale for overhauling the inputs and assumptions, given the limited data and evidence. However, there is scope to consider enhancements to the assumptions and inputs that – although would add more complexity – could make use of additional qualitative information.

Given the core roles of the model to project apprenticeship volumes and costs, the strengths of the outputs are that they are easily interpreted, and the results are broken down into different categories of interest to policymakers.

Evaluation of the FE Reform Programme, 17th October 2017

The government’s reform of FE began in 2010, underpinned by the following ideas: fairness, responsiveness and freedom. Key policy changes have included: changes to the funding system, freeing providers from central government control, removing restrictions to enable new ways of working, improving the quality of teaching and learning, new requirements for GCSE English and maths, changes to apprenticeships, use of technology, introduction of the National Careers Service.

This report, which south the views of provider groups, evaluates the FE reform programme since 2010.

An overall view of findings shows that:

  • A basic message from the research is that providers (whilst sometimes somewhat wearied by the history of change in the sector) are broadly supportive of reform and expressed determination to see the sector through its transformation. The underlying principles of the reform – efficiency, quality, and market responsiveness – are widely supported and providers are working hard to respond to the shift in policy and funding

  • A further observation from the views of providers is that the suite of individual reform policies discussed in this report are not always perceived as having clear cut external boundaries. Providers are very conscious of the wider political landscape which, at a time of economic difficulties, has required spending cuts across most government departments. These cuts have been accompanied by an ideological shift from public spending to the transfer of some costs to employers and learners

  • Essentially, therefore providers perceive a ‘hierarchy of impact’. Though this factor varies between providers, some reform strands – such as the introduction of adult learning loans, changes to apprenticeship, the focus on GCSE maths and English, and the fact that funding is more readily available for young learners – which are specific and targeted, are clearly recognised by providers. They have immediate impact and demand an immediate response if institutions of learning and training are going to survive and prosper

  • Other reforms, which are more ‘contextual’ – including freeing organisations from central government control, removing restrictions on partnerships, and the 20 introduction of the National Careers Service – are less consistently seen as clear drivers of change. They may create a climate in which other more direct reforms can be applied but are not consistently seen as tangible reforms which have a direct linear connection to specific actions undertaken by providers.


Pupil absence in schools in England: autumn 2016 and spring 2017, 19th October 2017

Key findings show that:

  • The overall absence rate has increased since last year (same period), unauthorised absence has increased since last year and one in ten pupils were persistently absent in the autumn and spring terms
  • Absence rates are higher for pupils who are known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals. The overall absence rate for these pupils was 7.0 per cent, compared to 4.0 per cent for non-FSM pupils. The persistent absence rate for pupils who were eligible for FSM was more than twice the rate for pupils not eligible for FSM (21.3 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively)
  • Special educational need (SEN) Pupils with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or education healthcare plan (EHC) had an overall absence rate of 7.1 per cent compared to 4.2 per cent for those with no identified SEN. The percentage of pupils with a statement of SEN or an EHC plan that are persistent absentees is more than two times higher than the percentage for pupils with no identified SEN.

Early years foundation stage profile results: 2016 to 2017,19th October 2017

Key findings show that:


  • 70.7% of children achieved a good level of development, an increase of 1.4 percentage points (ppts) on 2016
  • The same trend was seen in the percentage achieving at least the expected level across all early learning goals. This has increased by 1.7ppts from 2016
  • The average total point score has remained the same as 2016 at 34.5.

Gap for lowest attaining children 

  • The mean average total point score for the lowest attaining 20 per cent has fallen to 23.2 compared with 23.3 in the previous year; however, it is up from 21.6 in 2013
  • The percentage inequality gap has risen to 31.7 per cent in 2017 compared with 31.4 per cent in the previous year; however, it has reduced from 36.6 per cent in 2013. 

Local authority variation 

  • The percentage achieving a good level of development varies from 60.9 per cent in Halton to 78.9 per cent in Lewisham
  • The percentage achieving at least the expected level in all learning goals varies from 58.7 per cent in Halton to 78.4 per cent in Lewisham
  • The average points score varies from 32.0 points in Halton to 37.9 points in Richmond upon Thames
  • The percentage attainment gap between all children and bottom 20 per cent varies from 22.2 per cent in West Berkshire to 44.3 per cent in Stoke-on-Trent.

GCSE and equivalent results: 2016 to 2017 (provisional). Republished this week with minor corrections

Destinations of KS4 and KS5 pupils: 2016, Last week’s publication has been republished with minor corrections.


Revised guidance for virtual school heads and designated teachers, 16th October 2017

Closes 5pm 27th November 2017

The government would like your views on changes to 2 statutory guidance documents: “Promoting the education of looked after children” and “Roles and responsibilities of designated teachers for looked after children”.

For the purposes of this consultation, the key changes introduced by the children and social work act 2017 are:

  • A duty on local authorities in England to make advice and information available to those with parental responsibility; designated teachers in maintained schools and academies; and any other person the authority considers appropriate, for the purpose of promoting the educational achievement of certain previously looked after children

  • A duty on the governing body of a maintained school or academy proprietor in England to designate a member of staff at the school to have responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of certain previously looked after pupils.

These new duties apply to children who leave care as a result of adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement order and children adopted from state care abroad.

Corporate parenting, the local offer and personal adviser support, 16th October 2017

Closes 27th November 5pm

The government are seeking views on:

  • Draft statutory guidance for local authorities on applying the corporate parenting principles to care and pathway planning

  • Draft statutory guidance on extending the personal adviser duty to care leavers age 25

  • An illustrative local offer for care leavers and accompanying guidance on the local offer for local authorities.


Local area SEND inspections: one year on, 18th October 2017

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission inspect how well local areas fulfill their 'Special educational needs and disability code of practice' duties.

This report provides a summary of the main findings from the first 30 local area SEND inspections. It identifies the most common strengths and aspects that need improving. It also explains the main significant concerns in the nine local areas required to produce a Written Statement of Action (WSOA).

Key findings show that:

  • Children and young people identified as needing SEND support had not benefited from the implementation of the Code of Practice well enough
  • Children and young people who have SEND were found to be excluded, absent or missing from school much more frequently than other pupils nationally
  • School leaders had used unofficial exclusions too readily to cope with children and young people who have SEND
  • Access to therapy services was a weakness in half of the local areas inspected
  • Access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) was poor in over a third of local areas
  • There had not been enough progress in implementing a coordinated 0– 25 service for children and young people who have SEND
  • Children’s and young people’s SEND were identified well in the early years, particularly for those with complex needs
  • In over a third of the local areas inspected, leaders across education, health and care did not involve children and young people or their parents sufficiently in planning and reviewing their provision (a process known as co-production)
  • Many local area leaders were unaware of the depth of frustration among local parents and what their concerns were about
  • In the most effective local areas, strong strategic leadership had led to established joint working between education, health and care services
  • The statutory assessment process was not working well enough in just over two thirds of local areas inspected (21 in number).


Wealth in the twenty first century: inequalities and drivers, Roberts and Lawrence, IPPR

The report looks at the uneven distribution of wealth and why it is like this.

Key findings include:

  • Wealth inequality is twice as great as income inequality. The wealthiest 10 per cent of households own 45 per cent of the nation’s wealth, while the least wealthy half of all households own just 9 per cent
  • The next generation is set to have less wealth, largely due to housing inequalities
  • Fewer than half of ‘millennials’ (those born between 1981 and 2000) are expected to own their own home by the age of 45, based on current trends
  • Among the least wealthy half of Britain, the average household has on average just £3,200 of net financial, property and pension wealth
  • London and the South East are pulling away from the rest of the country. The total value of housing stock in London is now greater than the housing stock of all of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North combined
  • This research shows that, if the UK is to build an economy where prosperity is underpinned by justice, we need better public understanding of the distribution of wealth and the drivers of inequality and a stronger commitment to redressing them. Without a change in policy direction, wealth inequality is expected to worsen, with acute and deepening divides in wealth between regions, generations, and households.

International- Wales

Changes to early entry exams announced – Kirsty Williams, 16th October 2017

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced new rules to reduce the number of pupils being entered too early for exams. From summer 2019, only a pupil’s first entry to a GCSE examination will count in their school’s performance measures.  The current policy allows schools to count the best grade from multiple sittings.

Digital Competence Framework, guidance, 19th October 2017: Learning Wales

The Framework has the skills that will help learners thrive in an increasingly digital world. It is available for schools and settings to familiarise themselves with the framework, agreeing their strategic vision for cross-curricular digital competence and consider how to translate this into practice.


School leadership opportunities, 20th October 2017.

Apply to be an External Verifier.

‘All classroom practitioners are leaders either by leading learners or by leading their colleagues in schools. As such, we endeavour to support all practitioners to develop and improve as leaders and enable them to develop and improve their colleagues also.’

As part of the ERW Leadership Programme for practitioners ERW are seeking to develop a team of HLTA, Teachers and School Leaders from across the region who will support the ERW leadership development programmes by training as External Verifiers.

Expressing an interest

 Those wishing to be considered should submit and expression of interest outlining:

  1. The reasons why they wish to undertake the role and their experience.

  2. A written endorsement from the Head Teacher or the Chair of Governors 

Express of Interest should be returned to rhian.derrick@erw.org.uk

Consortia- GwE

Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018

Nominations for the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018 are now open, Cymru want your help to spread the word about the Awards far and wide and encourage as many nominations as possible, There is a toolkit to help you do this, which includes:

  • How you can help

  • Key dates

  • The categories

  • How to make a nomination

  • Example newsletter copy

  • Example social posts

  • Resources to use across your channels.

Share the link to the new website across your networks to promote the Awards to students, parents, colleagues and employers, urging all to nominate teaching professionals from across Wales that have made a real difference in their school or education setting. 

The URL is: gov.wales/teachingawardscymru

Key dates*

22 September 2017 – Award nominations open

30 November 2017 – Award nominations close

April 2018 – Shortlisted finalists announced

May 2018 – Awards Ceremony

The categories

  1. Best use of Digital Learning

  2. Headteacher of the Year

  3. Inspirational use of the Welsh Language

  4. Outstanding New Teacher

  5. Promoting Collaboration to Improve Learning Opportunities

  6. School Business Manager/Bursar

  7. Supporting Teachers and Learners

  8. Teacher of the Year

  9. Promoting Wellbeing, Inclusion and Relationships with the Community.

How to nominate

The easiest way to nominate is via online form. You can work on the nomination in your own time, save as you go and only submit when done. You will then receive an email letting you know we have received your nomination. 

If you want to complete a nomination form offline, email teachingawards@gov.wales with your contact details and your chosen category and a member of the team will be in touch. 

Nominations close at midnight on Thursday 30 November 2017

Consortia- CSC

Central South Consortium Statement following Estyn Visit, 20th October 2017

Following the Estyn monitoring visit in September this year to examine the consortium’s progress against the February recommendations, Estyn found that the organisation has made strong progress against three of the four recommendations and satisfactory progress against the fourth.

Mike Glavin, Central South Consortium Managing Director commented:

“I pay tribute to the hard work and dedication shown by the consortium staff.  We have an extremely skilled and knowledgeable team, and it is through their commitment to Welsh education that we have been able to continually strive for improvement both as an organisation and for the learners in the region. 

We are delighted that Estyn has highlighted the work taking place in the region to improve leadership and the outcomes for categorisation.  Our vision since 2012 has been to create a self improving school system; where the region’s schools are able to take the lead in their own improvement.  It is good to see our vision becoming reality.

Finally, we would like to thank Estyn for their time and valuable feedback.  We are very much looking forward to continuing our work with the region’s schools and learners to continue to improve outcomes for all".

Consortia: EAS

Press release: Report following the monitoring visit to the EAS Consortium, 19th October 2017

The Education Achievement Service (EAS) welcomes the findings following the recent monitoring visit from Estyn. The monitoring report reviews the progress that has been made in addressing the three recommendations following the full regional inspection in May 2016.

The EAS (Education Achievement Service) is the school improvement service for the five local authorities within South East Wales: Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen. The Estyn inspection in May 2016 judged each of the five quality indicators as ‘Good’ and the recent progress visit judged that the EAS has continued to make improvements against each of the recommendations over this period.

The progress judgments made by Estyn against each recommendation correlate with the EAS evaluation of its own developments since May 2016 and with the areas identified as requiring further improvements.

New timescales, but no time to waste as we develop and prepare for the new curriculum for Wales, Blog 19th October 2017, James Kent and Mike Cameron

The blog looks at recent changes in education and how they impact on schools/what schools need to do to implement change. In relation to the new curriculum, the authors say:

"The new timescales should not, however, reduce the urgency with which schools engage in preparing their staff for the new curriculum. For a successful ‘enactment’ of the new curriculum in every school, the groundwork will need to be established well in advance of the publication date. The new curriculum will require a ‘critical’ level of engagement from the workforce, to ensure that the programme of learning for each school meets the local requirements of its learners.
The crucial statement in the box above is ‘develop approaches to professional learning to ensure that all schools are better able to plan for curriculum change.’ What this means in essence is what skills/attributes do our curriculum planners and teachers need and what methods can we use to support them in their understanding?"


400 schools wanted to take part in cultural learning trials, 17th October 2017: EEF

9,000 pupils in 400 schools across England will take part in five new trials to find out if different cultural learning approaches can help boost primary pupils’ achievement, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) announced.

The Learning About Culture programme includes five different projects – including whole-class music, drama sessions and illustration – to be evaluated through large randomised controlled trials that will test their impact on academic attainment, as well as on skills and behaviours like resilience, self-confidence and creativity. In a separate strand of the project, the RSA will also research how arts-rich schools get the most out of this kind of activity and provide training to encourage more effective use of evidence in the design of cultural learning projects.

If your school wants to take part, contact one of the following delivery partners directly:

Lead organisation               Project                             Number of settings (pupils)  Grant awarded                  
Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE The Power of Pictures 120 (1,800) £104,018
Avron, University of Exeter & Open University The Craft of Writing 96 (2,880) £320,000
London Bubble Speech Bubbles 25 (500) £257,310
Paradigm Arts The Young Journalist Academy 100 (3,000) £248,650
Tees Valley Music Service First Thing Music 60 (1,800 £150,000

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Local area SEND inspections: one year on, 18th October 2017

The Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission inspections highlight some shortcomings in the system- of the 30 inspections carried out. A key area was the use of unofficial exclusions- by head teachers- to cope with children and young people who have SEND. Schools which work with Achievement for All have mechanisms in place to address this.