24th November 2017

Department for Education

PISA 2015: national report for England, 21st November - updated with 2 new research reports: 'Collaborative problem solving results for England' and 'Further analysis of results for England'.

Findings for England show that:

  • 15-year olds in England perform significantly higher than the OECD average in collaborative problem solving, meaning their ability to achieve successful outcomes in collaborative settings using ICT is higher than that of an average 15- year old across OECD countries
  • At the same time, in the collaborative problem solving assessment, more than one in five (22%) pupils in England does not demonstrate basic collaborative problem solving ability, meaning they are not able to achieve a score at PISA Level 
  • The range of abilities that pupils in England demonstrate in collaborative problem solving is greater than the average for OECD countries. The difference between the scores of pupils in England at the 5th and the 95th percentiles is 343 score points, which is above the average difference across OECD countries (311 score points)
  • Socio-economic background has a significant impact on pupils’ performance in collaborative problem solving: those amongst the most deprived 25% of pupils across the country are 1.7 times more likely to score below Level 2 than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds; and those in the most advantaged 25% of their peer group are 2.1 times more likely to perform at Level 4 than pupils with lower socio-economic statuses
  • Pupils’ collaborative problem solving performance is significantly higher when they report that their parents are interested in their school activities, and support their educational achievements or encourage them to be confident
  • In England, and on average across the OECD countries as well, pupils who strongly value relationships tend to perform better in collaborative problem solving than those who value them less. The performance gap between the top and bottom quarters of the index of valuing relationships is 50 score-points in England
  • By contrast, both in England and across the OECD countries, pupils who reported that they value teamwork highly score below those who strongly dislike working in teams. The difference between the mean scores in the top and bottom quarters of the index of valuing teamwork is 29 score-points in England. Pupils who report never or almost never being threatened by other pupils perform 11 points higher than those who report that they are sometimes threatened by their peers.

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016, 24th November 2017: Announcement

The next round of the PIRLS study takes place later this year and will be delivered through Pearson Education and Oxford University in England. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) measures the reading ability of 10-year-olds, which can then be compared with other countries. The study is run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) on a 5-yearly cycle. A randomised sample of 170 schools from across England have been selected to take part, and will have been contacted by the PIRLS recruitment team. Teachers and pupils do not need to prepare for the test.

Improvement notice issued to Leicester city council, 20th November 2017 - now closed as improvement in place since 2015 inspection

Department for Education- FE

Technical education and apprenticeships: raising awareness, 23rd November 2017

From 2 January 2018 schools and academies must provide technical education and apprenticeship providers with access to pupils in years 8 to 13. This is a requirement of the Education Act 1997 (as amended by the Technical and Further Education Act 2017).

This guidance is also for technical education and apprenticeship providers to be aware of changes in their ability to inform pupils about the different courses they have to offer.

This guidance is for:

  • All maintained schools and academies

  • Sixth form colleges

  • University technical colleges

  • Further education colleges

  • Higher education providers

  • Apprenticeship providers

Further education and skills: November 2017, published 23rd November 2017

Statistics about learner participation, outcomes and highest qualification held in further education and skills, reported for November 2017.

All age government funded apprenticeship participation increased to 908,700 in the 2016/17 academic year, from 899,400 in 2015/16, an increase of 1.0 per cent and the highest number on record.

Participation in government funded adult (19+) further education fell to 2,236,800 in 2016/17, compared to 2,324,700 in 2015/16, a decrease of 3.8 per cent.

The number of learners participating on Full level 2 courses declined to 426,700 and the number on Full level 3 courses rose to 454,300.

Apprenticeship starts decreased in the year

There were 494,900 apprenticeship starts in the 2016/17 academic year, compared to 509,400 in 2015/16, a decrease of 2.8 per cent. There were increases in advanced and higher level apprenticeships and decreases in intermediate level apprenticeships. 

There was an increase overall in apprenticeship achievements, to 277,800 in 2016/17, from 271,700 in 2015/16. Achievements rose for those aged under 19 and 25 and over, but fell slightly for those aged 19 to 24.

There have been 1,119,600 apprenticeship starts since May 2015, and 3,497,100 starts since May 2010.

The proportion of men and women qualified to each of Level 2, 3 and 4 have risen each year between 2008 and 2016:

  • From 73.2 per cent in 2008 to 82.8 per cent in 2016 qualified to at least Level 2

  • From 54.3 per cent in 2008 to 65.3 per cent in 2016 qualified to at least Level 3

  • From 34.2 per cent in 2008 to 43.8 per cent in 2016 qualified to at least Level 4

FE data library: apprenticeships, updated 23 November 2017

Updated the following data tables with final year data for the 2016 to 2017 academic year: 'Apprenticeships by age and planned length of stay', 'Apprenticeship geography and sector subject area PivotTable tool', 'Apprenticeship framework and sector subject area PivotTable tool: starts and achievements', 'Apprenticeship demographic and sector subject area PivotTable tool'.

NEET statistics quarterly brief: July to September 2017, 23rd Nov.

The proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) decreased for the 19-24 and 16-24 age groups and increased for the 16-18 age group

The 19-24 NEET rate decreased by 1.0 percentage point (to 15.2%) from the comparable quarter in 2016 and the overall 16-24 NEET rate decreased by 0.6 percentage points (to 13.3%).

Over the same period, the 16-18 NEET rate increased by 0.3 percentage points (to 9.0%).

None of these annual changes to NEET rates were statistically significant

The proportion of young people not in education or training (NET) decreased for the 19-24 and 16-24 age groups and increased for the 16-18 age group

The proportion of 16-18 year olds NET increased between July to September 2016 and 2017 (up 0.5 percentage points to 20.2%).

Over the same period, the 19- 24 NET rate decreased by 1.4 percentage points (to 61.4%) and the overall 16-24 NET rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points (to 48.8%).

None of these annual changes, to the summary age group NET rates, were statistically significant.

14 to 19 technical and applied qualifications: technical guidance, 23rd November 2017

Guidance for awarding organisations submitting technical and applied qualifications for school and college performance tables.

Other Government

Autumn Budget 2017: Philip Hammond's speech, 22nd November 2017

In relation to education and skills- which focused on apprenticeships, maths and computer sciences- the Chancellor said the following:

‘…..We’re delivering 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020 thanks to our apprenticeship levy. And I’ll keep under review the flexibility that levy payers have to spend this money.

We’re introducing T-levels. And today I provide a further £20m to support FE colleges to prepare for them.

Knowledge of maths is key to the high-tech, cutting edge jobs in our digital economy. But it is also useful in less glamorous roles. Such as frontline politics. So we’ll expand the Teaching for Mastery of Maths programme, to a further 3000 schools.

We’ll provide £40 million to train maths teachers across the country.

We’ll introduce a £600 Maths Premium for schools, for every additional pupil who takes A level or Core maths.

And we’ll invite proposals for new maths schools across England. So highly talented young mathematicians can release their potential wherever they live and whatever their background.

More maths for everyone.

Don’t let anyone say I don’t know how to show the nation a good time.

Computer science is also at the heart of this revolution.

So we’ll ensure that every secondary school pupil can study computing, by tripling the number of trained computer science teachers to 12,000.

And we’ll work with industry to create a new National Centre for Computing.

But Mr Deputy Speaker, rapid technological change means we also need to help people to retrain during their working lives.

Ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills they will need for the workplace of the future.

Ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills they will need for the workplace of the future.

Today, my Right Honourable Friend the Education Secretary and I are launching an historic partnership, between government, the CBI and the TUC – to set the strategic direction for a National Retraining Scheme.

Its first priority will be to boost digital skills and to support expansion of the construction sector. And to make a start immediately, we will invest £30 million in the development of digital skills distance learning courses, so people can learn wherever they are, and whenever they want.

And I am pleased to be able to accept the representation I have received from the TUC to continue to fund UnionLearn, which I recognise as a valuable part of our support to workplace learning…..’

Ofsted

Using Ofsted’s IDSR: early years foundation stage profile to key stage 5, updated 24th November 2017

Added guidance documents on 16-19 inspection data

Ofsted Statistics

Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 August 2017, 21st November 2017

Between 31 March and 31 August 2017 there was a 2% drop in the number of registered childminders to 42,743. This is the continuation of a downward trend.

While the number of places offered by childminders has decreased and the number of places offered by nondomestic providers has increased slightly, the overall number of places offered by early years registered providers has remained fairly stable since August 2012. There are currently an estimated 1.3 million places on offer

94% of all providers on the Early Years Register were judged to be good or outstanding.

As at 31 August 2017, there were 400 maintained nursery schools in England. 10 Of these, 398 had been inspected and 99% received a grade of good or outstanding at their most recent inspection.

Research

How many children have SEND? Jo Hutchinson, 24th November 2017: Education Policy Institute

The Education Policy Institute is pleased to announce a new research project which will investigate how the system for identifying children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) works in England.

The research by the Education Policy Institute, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and due to run until December 2018, will use administrative data to build a detailed picture of the groups of children who are most likely to be recorded as having SEND; this also includes the numbers of children with SEND expected in each part of the country based on this risk profile, and where and when the number of children identified with SEND by their school is higher or lower than expected.

The aim of the research is to examine how fairly and effectively children have access to support for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities according to their needs.

To launch the research project, some preliminary statistics are released on how many children in each age/year group schools have been identified as having SEND.

Children ‘having SEND’, are referred to in the report and are those children that schools have identified with SEND. It is the recorded status of children that is included in the analysis, which may differ from the reality of whether a special educational need exists.

Initial findings show:

There is a striking difference between the percentage of children who have SEND in a given year group (at one point in time) and the percentage of children who have ever had SEND in that year group or previously.

While a maximum of 23 percent of children in the 2016 cohort had SEND at any one time (the peak was in Year 5 when they were aged ten), 39 percent were recorded with SEND at some point between Reception (age five) and Year 11 (age sixteen). This makes SEND directly relevant to four in ten children, or twelve per class of thirty on average.

Between 2014 and 2016 there has been a slight reduction in the percentage of children who have ever had SEND by Year 11, from 40% to 39%. This results from a slightly lower percentage of new SEND identifications during secondary school. There has also been a small increase in the percentage of children ceasing to have SEND during secondary school.

Engaging parents effectively: Evaluation of the PEN Home Learning Project, Jelley and Sylva, 24th November : Sutton Trust

This report looks at whether engaging the parents of disadvantaged children in the early years can impact on the home learning environment, parental support for learning and children’s attainment. It highlights the findings  of a small-scale randomised control trial where school staff were trained to engage parents in a Home Learning Project developed by the Parental Engagement Network (a not-for-profit social enterprise) involving workshops and activities to do at home. PEN was one of 5 organisations supported through the Parental Engagement Fund which was set up by the Sutton Trust working in partnership with the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. It found that the programme did positively influence parental behaviour at home, that it developed the skills and confidence of staff to engage parents and that it was cost effective, easily embedded within schools and scalable.

What influences vocabulary? Sullivan et al.,Initial findings from the Millennium Cohort Study Age 14 Survey, UCL.

The researchers found that teenagers who read in their spare time know 26% more words than those who never read. Analysing the scores of nearly 11,000 14-year-olds in a word exercise, the researchers found that teenagers who read for pleasure every day understood 26% more words than those who never read at all in their spare time. And teenagers from book-loving homes knew 42% more words than their peers who had grown up with few books. 

Findings also showed parental qualifications may have less impact on children’s vocabularies than was previously thought:

Mothers with a postgraduate degree on average got more than double the number of words right compared to mothers who had no qualifications (15 out of 20 compared to 7 out of 20). Among the teenagers, the differences, by parental education, were smaller; those whose mothers had a postgraduate degree scored an average of 9 out of 20, while those whose mothers had no qualifications still scored 6 out of 20. 

Lead author, Dr Alice Sullivan said: “Although these results show stark socio-economic differences in parents’ vocabulary, the fact that they are much smaller for teenagers than for parents gives grounds for optimism that family background is not destiny. The link between reading for pleasure and better vocabularies suggests that if young people are encouraged to discover a love for books, it could alter the course of their lives, regardless of their background.

Personalised print books and family literacy outcomes, a literature review, Irene Picton, 21st Nov: National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust have published a research review which shows that reading personalised print books with young children could help them develop their early literacy, language and communication skills.

The publication of our review also marks their new partnership with personalised children’s books publisher, Librio. Librio has recently launched its collection of personalised children’s books in the UK and will donate £1 from every book it sells in the UK to the National Literacy Trust.

The research review includes studies which have found that giving children the opportunity to see themselves in a published book can boost their confidence, aspiration and educational outcomes.

It also includes research which shows that reading a personalised book with a parent:

  • Motivates children to read more, which in turn improves their reading skills and increases their engagement in learning

  • Encourages children to speak more, and for longer, boosting their vocabulary, improving listening and comprehension skills, and expanding their knowledge of the world

  • Enables children to see themselves as readers from an early age which, if maintained, can put them three years ahead of their peers in reading age by the age of 14

des Clayes, Z., McCrone, T. and Sims, D. (2017). London Ambitions Research: Shaping a Successful Careers Offer for all Young Londoners. Slough, 24th November: NFER

This NFER and London Councils report identifies emerging promising practice in the delivery of careers education and guidance (CEG) through ‘London Ambitions’ careers strategy. It is accompanied by an accessible PowerPoint guide for school senior leaders and teachers, which provides evidence-based illustrations of delivery of CEG within some London schools and colleges.

22 semi-structured interviews were carried out with staff and five focus groups with young people in case-study visits to four schools and one FE college (identified by London Councils) in London between February - May 2017.

Key findings showed:

  • The schools and college prepare young people well for the world of work through responsive careers provision for all their students.

  • Senior leaders value CEG and support its development and profile within the institutional ethos.

  • Engaging with employers and the world of work is seen as a priority.

  • There is more work to be done in further raising the profile of the London Ambitions brand.

In order for CEG to become embedded these findings suggest that schools/colleges should:

  • Embrace a whole-school/college approach to CEG, where senior leaders support and drive careers provision forward and all school staff fully understand its importance.

  • Ensure they provide young people with meaningful learning experiences about the world of work to enable them to navigate through the choices that lie ahead.

  • Engage in more dialogue about careers strategies and provision within, and between, institutions.

  • Encourage and support employers to become involved in education.

The Great Productivity Squeeze, Economic Bulletin, 20th November 2017: Centre for Policy Studies

The report highlights the importance of expanding and overhauling vocational training to keep up with the changing job market

In relation to skills, the report states ‘Only 37 per cent of UK adults finish education at a level equivalent to A-Level, compared to an OECD average of 44 per cent. The UK also has some of the highest levels of “low literacy and numeracy” in the developed world. Workers who are not educated enough are not productive enough. The Government’s introduction of “T-Levels” is a step in the right direction, but further choice must be promoted in the education system to fix this problem – and vocational training must be overhauled and expanded in order to ensure that people’s qualifications keep up with the changing job market’.

International- Wales

Appointment to the Education Workforce Council, 22nd November 2017: Welsh Government

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, has announced the appointment of Clare Jones’ to the Education Workforce Council (EWC). This appointment will run from 13 November 2017 to 31 March 2019

Making a difference – A guide for the designated person for looked after children in schools, 24th November: Learning Wales

Making a difference’ focuses primarily on the designated person role in primary, secondary and special schools, but also covers the transition of looked after children and young people from pre-school to compulsory education and to further and higher education.

The good practice contained in the guide also has relevance for post-16 education settings where there is a designated person for looked after children, young people and/or care leavers.

Tegwen Ellis - The National Academy for Education Leadership: A new start for Wales? Blog: Education Workforce Council

In this blog, the author, a head teacher in Wales for 20 years speaks about how best to develop leaders and reflects on the benefits of systems leadership.

Consortia

GwE

A very positive Estyn report for GwE, 20th November 2017

GwE warmly welcomes the report published by Estyn following their recent inspection visit. 

The report shows that during their recent visit, Estyn found that GwE had made very good progress against four of the recommendations and strong progress against two.

The Estyn report summarises the following: 

‘Since the core inspection, GwE has conducted an intensive and comprehensive review of its work and its effects on standards, provision and leadership across the region. Early action following this work has ensured that stakeholders at all levels have increasing confidence in GwE’s ability to provide an effective school improvement service. Significant changes have been made to management structures to distribute leadership and ensure clear lines of accountability. The managing director’s strong and decisive leadership has been a key factor in promoting the substantial improvements in the quality of the school improvement services since the inspection’.

International

Collaborative Problem solving, PISA IN Focus no. 78, 21st November 2017: OECD

On the 21st of November 2017, PISA releases its report on the first-ever international collaborative problem-solving assessment. The report examines students’ ability to work in groups to solve problems and explores the role of education in building young people’s skills in solving problems collaboratively.

This month’s PISA in Focus provides an overview of the assessment’s results and shows that collaborative problem-solving performance is positively related to performance in the core PISA subjects (science, reading and mathematics). The results also show, among other findings, that girls perform significantly better than boys in collaborative problem solving in every country and economy that participated in the assessment.

PISA 2015 Results (Volume V), Collaborative Problem Solving, 21st November (full report)

Are school systems ready to develop students’ social skills? Andreas Schleicher, 21st November 2017: OECD

Andreas Schleicher, Director of Directorate for Education and skills, OECD says that

‘schools need to become better at preparing students to live and work in a world in which most people will need to collaborate with people from different cultures, and appreciate a range of ideas and perspectives; a world in which people need to trust and collaborate with others despite those differences, often bridging space and time through technology; and a world in which individual lives will be affected by issues that transcend national boundaries.

He says that there are a lot more schools can do to that can facilitate a climate conducive to collaboration. ‘PISA asked students how often they engage in communication-intensive activities, such as explaining their ideas in science class; spending time in the laboratory doing practical experiments; arguing about science questions; and taking part in class debates about investigations. The results show a clear relationship between these activities and positive attitudes towards collaboration. On average, the valuing of relationships and teamwork is more prevalent among students who reported that they participate in these activities more often. For example, even after considering gender, and students’ and schools’ socio-economic profile, in 46 of the 56 education systems that participated in the assessment, students who reported that they explain their ideas in most or all science lessons were more likely to agree that they are “a good listener”; and in 37 of these 56 systems these students also agreed that they “enjoy considering different perspectives”.

‘In sum’ , he says, ‘in a world that places a growing premium on social skills, a lot more needs to be done to foster those skills far more systematically across the school curriculum. Strong academic skills will not automatically also lead to strong social skills. Part of the answer might lie in giving students more ownership over the time, place, path, pace and interactions of their learning. Another part of the answer can lie in fostering more positive relationships at school and designing learning environments that benefit students’ collaborative problem-solving skills and their attitudes towards collaboration. Schools can identify those students who are socially isolated, organise social activities to foster constructive relationships and school attachment, provide teacher training on classroom management, and adopt a whole-of-school approach to prevent and address bullying. But part of the answer lies with parents and society at large. It takes collaboration across a community to develop better skills for better lives’.

Other

EEF Blog, Robbie Coleman: Improving reading comprehension through strategy instruction, 24th November 2017

The author explores some of the developments in the field of cognitive strategy instruction since 1997, when Rosenshine’s paper, The Case for Explicit, Teacher-led, Cognitive Strategy Instruction, was published.

He says that beyond the overall strengthening of the research base, there have been two specific developments worth highlighting.

First, there is much more support available to teach strategies in lessons. Andy Tharby’s Making Every English Lesson Count (2017) is an example of the type of support teachers now have. For example, it includes an extensive section on question prompts. And , in its guidance report on primary literacy published earlier this year, the EEF gave advice on teaching strategies for reading (including prediction, clarifying and summarising) and writing (planning, drafting, revising). They also gave additional guidance on how teachers can model and scaffold new strategies.

Second, researchers now commonly use the term ‘meta-cognition’ when discussing some of the skills that were previously classified under the broader heading of ‘cognitive strategies’. Meta-cognition is thought about thinking, including planning how to complete a task, monitoring learning, and evaluating whether a particular approach to a task was effective.

While there appears to be broad consensus about the value of explicitly teaching thinking strategies, one area of contemporary debate regards how much time should be spent on their instruction. The author concludes that further study of duration, and of the integration between teaching knowledge and skills, would be valuable.

A version of this blog was first published by the Chartered College of Teaching here.

Education Endowment Foundation responds to Budget plans, 22nd November 2017

The budget included £42 million to pilot a 'teacher development premium'. This will test the impact of a £1,000 budget for high-quality professional development for teachers working in areas that have fallen behind. 

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

“…..But however welcome, simply investing sums of money is never enough. To really make a difference, it is crucial that the £42m is spent on evidence-based methods of improving teaching. Schools should look at what has and hasn’t worked in the past to decide what is likely to have the biggest impact on their teachers and pupils.”

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

PISA 2015: national report for England, 21st November - updated with 2 new research reports: 'Collaborative problem solving results for England' and 'Further analysis of results for England'.

Findings for England show that:

In the collaborative problem solving assessment, more than one in five (22%) pupils in England does not demonstrate basic collaborative problem solving ability, meaning they are not able to achieve a score at PISA Level. It does not have to be like this. And

Pupils’ collaborative problem solving performance is significantly higher when they report that their parents are interested in their school activities, and support their educational achievements or encourage them to be confident. 

Schools working with Achievement for All not only see improved academic outcomes for pupils, but better relationships across the school (skills which support collaborative working); a key factor is the effective way parental engagement is developed through the structured conversation model.

How many children have SEND? Jo Hutchinson, 24th November 2017: Education Policy Institute

The report highlights the greater prevalence of SEND in schools when the number of children and young people who have ever had SEND is taken into consideration. The authors estimate 4 in 10 children. This raises a number of questions, particularly in the accurate and timely identification initially (are children being ‘over’ identified?)

What influences vocabulary? Sullivan et al.,Initial findings from the Millennium Cohort Study Age 14 Survey, UCL.

The report highlights the importance of encouraging and supporting all children and young people to read for pleasure.

Are school systems ready to develop students’ social skills? Andreas Schleicher, 21st November 2017: OECD

Andreas Schleicher, Director of Directorate for Education and skills, OECD says that schools need to be doing more to foster more positive relationships at school and in designing learning environments that benefit students’ collaborative problem-solving skills and their attitudes towards collaboration. Schools working with Achievement for All report better relationships across the school (peer to peer; teacher to pupil and with parents and carers).