26th January 2018

Department for Education

Education Secretary opens Education World Forum, 22nd January: Speech

Damian Hinds spoke at the Forum in London about the importance of core subjects and young people getting the knowledge and the qualifications that they need to make the best success of their lives.

So after 2010 the government reformed ‘our national curriculum, by bringing renewed rigour to our qualifications, to our GCSEs and A-Levels and bringing in a new suite of subjects, a new measure to really focus on those core subjects that we know are the enabling subjects that open up so many possibilities – English, Maths, Science, the Humanities and languages.,,,and learning from other countries like East Asia and approaches to primary maths..’

He spoke of the importance of young people having an international perspective and developing the skills for work- resilience and character and digital skills.

Nick Gibb: How can policy ensure education equity? Education world Forum, London, 23rd January: Speech

Nick Gibb emphasised the importance of ‘a knowledge-rich curriculum ….at the heart of all schools. He said ‘we believe that is key to ensuring education equity. Endowing pupils with knowledge of ‘the best that has been thought and said’ and preparing pupils to compete in an ever more competitive jobs market is the core purpose of schooling.

And ensuring that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have the same opportunities as their more affluent peers to benefit from the cultural capital of a stretching and rigorous curriculum is key to addressing the burning injustices in our societies and driving forward social mobility…’

He went on to speak about the development of the more rigorous National Curriculum and how the government abolished grade inflation with the introduction of new GCESs and A Level qualifications.

He went on to speak of the changes the government made in phonics. And concluded with:

‘A successful curriculum should enable pupils to participate in the great conversations of humankind, and it should prepare pupils to thrive in an ever more globalised and competitive economy. Both of these ambitions require a curriculum designed to give pupils access to the best that has been thought and said. Pupils deserve a rich and stretching knowledge-based curriculum that provides them with cultural literacy and a foundation of knowledge to use and apply in a variety of contexts.’

Department for Education- Further Education

Anne Milton: speech at Bett show 2018, 24th January 2018: Speech

Anne Milton’s speech highlighted what the government is doing to integrate technology at every educational phase.

She also highlighted the current gap in technology skills:

‘….And yet - in 2017, Lloyds Bank reported that 11.5 million people in the UK lacked basic digital skills, and the Office for National Statistics estimated 9% of people had never used the internet.

Many of our best and brightest companies are telling us that they are struggling to recruit the specialist digital talent they need.

She went on to say:

‘….Half of Europe’s fastest-growing education technology companies are based in the UK, and there are more than 1,000 EdTech ventures spread across the UK, with 200 in London alone.

At the same time technology can keep people awake at night! Many feel they lack the budget or the expertise to use it.

For example, we have introduced new innovative digital degree apprenticeships which were designed by employers and universities working in partnership to create relevant, high quality curricula to provide the much needed skills that industry needs.

….We also have in place a suite of new apprenticeship standards to address employers’ digital skill needs at intermediate and technician levels.

Our technical education reforms will see the creation of 15 prestigious technical routes that encompass all employment-based and college-based training.

New T level programmes will sit within these routes and will provide a genuine technical option, equal in esteem to A levels. They will give young people a path to skilled employment or higher level technical study.

She concluded:

‘…This Government wants everyone to get the digital skills they need.

The country needs them to have those skills. Our economy depends on it. We can’t do this alone so your support, your input is vital.

The Digital Skills Partnership Board is a way of feeding that information to us. But DFE officials will be here at the conference all week.

We need to hear your ideas, answer your questions so we can make this happen.’

Department for Education- Statistics

National curriculum assessments: key stage 2, 2017 (revised), 25th January 2018

This has been republished to include data by characteristics:

Key data shows that:

  • FSM: 15% of pupils at the end of KS2 are known to be eligible for free school meals in 2017.
  • As in previous years, FSM pupils have lower attainment in 2017 compared to all other pupils nationally: 43% of FSM pupils achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared to 64% of all other pupils, a difference of 22 percentage points. The attainment gap between FSM and all other pupils has increased slightly by one percentage point compared to 2016.
  • In 2017, 48% of disadvantaged pupils reached the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics compared to 67% of all other pupils, a difference of 20 percentage points (pp). The gap in attainment at the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics has decreased slightly from 21pp in 2016 to 20pp in 2017. However, the gap at the higher standard between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils had increased from 5pp in 2016 to 7pp in 2017.
  • Pupils with SEN have the largest attainment gap when compared to those without any identified SEN. In 2017, 18% of pupils with SEN reached the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics, compared with 70% of pupils with no identified SEN, resulting in an attainment gap of 52 percentage points. In 2016, the attainment gap in reading, writing and mathematics between SEN pupils and those with no identified SEN was 48 percentage points.

Revised GCSE and equivalent results in England: 2016 to 2017, 25th January 2018

Key findings showed that:

  • In comparison to 2016, the average Attainment 8 score per pupil has decreased by 3.9 points for all schools to 44.6 and by 3.6 points for state-funded schools to 46.3 in 2017. These decreases are as expected following changes to the 2017 point scores assigned to grades because of the introduction of 9 to 1 GCSEs in performance tables. The published shadow data, where 2016 results were mapped onto the 2017 point score scale, produced an average Attainment 8 score of 43.6 for all schools and 44.6 for state-funded schools. The 2017 scores are stable in comparison to this shadow data.
  • 365 schools are below the secondary school floor standard; this represents 12% of state-funded mainstream schools.
  • In 2016, 282 (9.3%) of schools were below the floor standard. 271 schools (9.6% of eligible schools) meet the coasting definition; 169 schools are both below the floor and meet the coasting definition.
  • Disadvantaged gap continues to narrow: The gap between disadvantaged pupils and others, measured using the gap index, decreased in five of the last six years, narrowing by 10.0% overall since 2011 and 3.2% since 2016. The average position of disadvantaged pupils compared to others is closer together than it was last year.
  • Percentage achieving the threshold of a grade 4 or above in English and maths is stable compared to equivalent 2016 data
  • The proportion of pupils achieving the headline measure of grades 5 or above in English and maths is 39.6% for all schools and 42.6% for state-funded schools. This figure does not have a comparator in previous years.


  • The attainment gap between pupils with SEN compared to pupils with no identified SEN remains the largest gap of all characteristics groups: pupils with SEN perform significantly worse than pupils with no identified SEN across all headline measures of attainment,
  • The average Attainment 8 score per pupil with SEN was 27.1, compared to 49.5 for pupils with no identified SEN. Pupils with a statement of SEN or EHC plan had lower attainment and progress scores than those with SEN support, with average Attainment 8 scores of 13.9 and 31.9 respectively, and average Progress 8 scores of -1.04 (+/-0.02) and -0.43 (+/-0.01) respectively.

See also secondary school performance tables in England: 2017 (revised): The achievements of pupils at key stage 4 and how they compare with other schools in their local authority area and in England.

Education standards continue to rise at GCSE and A level, 25th January 2018: Press Release

Also read the government’s press release on results. They show the following other highlights from the statistics:

  • For the first time statistics about disadvantaged students in 16-18 study have been published. This data will help inform future policy decisions so that the government can help to focus social mobility policy further at this stage;

  • The number of students entering at least four of the five subject areas which are part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – maths, English, sciences, humanities and modern foreign languages (MFL) have increased by 4.8 percentage points this year – up to 82.0% in 2017; and

  • GCSE (A*-C) pass rates at 16-18 have increased in English, up from 22.8% to 27.1%, and total entries to English and maths GCSEs by 16-18 students increased by 26.3% and 13.6% respectively. This will help ensure pupils leave their education with the knowledge and skills they need for future success.

  • Schools across London continue to strong pupil progress. Twelve of the top 20 schools in the government’s Progress 8 measure were based in London.

Destinations of KS4 and KS5 pupils: 2016, 25th January 2018

Updated since November 2017 with revised institutional level tables. Small additions made to apprenticeship destinations at key stages and school sixth form destinations at key stage 5.

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: January 2018, 25th January 2018

New to this release are monthly apprenticeship starts information for the first 3 months of the 2017 to 2018 academic year and apprenticeship levy declarations (reported to November 2017).

Apprenticeship service account (ASA) registrations and commitments- as at 30 November 2017- 12,200 ASAs registered.

As at 30 November 2017, there have been a total of 93,100 commitments entered into the apprenticeship service. Of these, 82,800 were fully agreed.

39,000 commitments were for apprentices aged 25 and over. 38,800 commitments were intermediate apprenticeships, and 40,600 were advanced apprenticeships. Of the 93,100 commitments in the apprenticeship service as at 30 November 2017, 22,000 were for the 2016 to 2017 academic year, and 70,500 were for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

Multi-academy trust performance measures: 2016 to 2017, 25th January 2018

Key data shows that:

  • At key stage 2 over half of MATs had progress at or above average in writing and in maths, but over half had below average progress in reading.
  • In 2017, the proportion of MATs with progress at or above average was 41% in reading, 59% in writing and 51% in maths1 . This pattern is similar to 2016.
  • When looking at the progress scores for disadvantaged pupils only, the proportion of MATs with progress scores at, or above, the national average for state-funded mainstream schools is lower than for the progress scores for all pupils (above). This is in line with the pattern at national level for state-funded mainstream schools that disadvantaged pupils tend to perform less well than their non-disadvanategd peers. In maths, 49% of MATs have progress scores at or above average, whilst in writing and reading the proportions are 61% and 51% respectively.
  • At key stage 4, over half of MATs had Progress 8 scores that were below the national average for state-funded mainstream schools
  • At key stage 4, just over 30% of MATs have EBacc entry above the national average for state-funded mainstream schools
  • At key stage 4, around a quarter of MATs have an ‘EBacc attainment at grade 5/C or above’ rate higher than the national average for state-funded mainstream schools

See also Why is the performance of MATs so extreme? Dave Thompson, blog, 28th January: Education datalab - The author says some of the graphs in the SFR are misleading as they show extreme (negative and positive) performance of MATs- which is not the case. He says, it is the way the data has been presents, with large schools, any difference, however small, between a MAT’s mean Progress 8 score and the national average (0) would result in it being classified as significantly different from average.

Apprenticeships and traineeships: January 2018, 25th January 2018

This SFR contains provisional figures for the first quarter of the 2017/18 academic year (August 2017 to October 2017) for England.

Apprenticeship starts for the first quarter of the 2017/18 academic year decreased compared to figures reported at this time in 2016/17. However, the decrease was not as large as the drop between quarter 4 2015/16 and quarter 4 2016/17.

There were 114,400 apprenticeship starts reported so far for the first quarter of the 2017/18 academic year, compared to 155,600 reported at this time in 2016/17, a decrease of 26.5 per cent. However, the decrease was not as large as the drop between quarter 4 2015/16 and quarter 4 2016/17 (59.3 per cent), which is likely to be associated with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017. There have been 67,200 levy-supported starts so far, of which, 46,100 were reported in the first quarter for 2017/18. There were 1,233,900 apprenticeship starts reported to October 2017 since May 2015 and 3,611,500 starts reported to October 2017 since May 2010.

See also: FE data library: local authority tables, updated with a new data tool for apprenticeship starts by delivery in local authority district area, by provider and apprenticeship level in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

A Level and other 16-18 results: 2016- 2017 (Revised), 25th January

This release also includes 16-18 performance measures broken down by students’ disadvantaged status at the end of key stage 4 for the first time (section 2).

Key findings showed that:

English and maths average progress increased for students still working towards qualifications below level 3 compared to 2016

The English and maths progress measure looks at attainment in these subjects at the end of 16-18 study, compared to attainment at the end of key stage 4 (KS4), for students who did not achieve A*-C. In 2017, average progress is close to zero for students still studying GCSE or stepping stone qualifications. This means on average a student’s point score is the same or slightly lower at the end of 16-18 studies than at the end of KS4. (2017: Average progress English: -0.02 and maths: 0.00)

Approximately 5% of institutions fall below the academic and applied general minimum standards

Of the total number of 16 to 18 providers assessed, 4.9% and 5.2% had value added progress scores that fell below the minimum standards set by the department for level 3 academic and applied general qualifications respectively, meaning these providers are seen as underperforming when compared nationally against other providers. There is wide variation at regional level.


Inspecting schools: Guidance for parents, 26h January 2018

Updated to reflect Ofsted's revised policy on short inspections and monitoring schools that require improvement.


The Attainment Gap, 23rd January 2018, EEF

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

“Closing the attainment gap between poorer pupils and their classmates is our best shot at improving social mobility. So while it is good to see that primary schools’ hard work is likely to yield improvements in GCSE English and maths in the next five years, the slow progress in tackling the overall GCSE attainment gap shows there is a lot still to do.

“We know the attainment gap is not inevitable – in one in 10 schools disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes exceed the national average for all pupils – so secondary schools can make some important headway in boosting outcomes for the poorest students. Prospects for young people who leave formal education without good grades are bleak. But every extra grade

The analysis uses data from Key Stage 2 to predict how the attainment gap is likely to shift in the next five years. Improvements in primary schools over the past few years means that the gap between the proportion of disadvantaged pupils with at least a good pass in English and maths and all other pupils is set to reduce from 24 percentage points (ppts) to 21.5 between 2017 and 2021.

However, for Attainment 8 – which measures average achievement in GCSE across eight subjects – there will be no change: the attainment score gap of 11 points in 2017 will remain in 2021. For Progress 8 – which measures students’ progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 across eight subjects – the attainment gap is set to increase a little: from 14.8ppts in 2017 to 15.6 in 2021.

The report notes that, as this forecast is based on Key Stage 2 results, there is opportunity for secondary schools to make a difference. For instance, ensuring disadvantaged pupils are entered for the same number of subjects as all other pupils would lower the forecast gap in Attainment 8 scores from 10.8 points to 8.8 in 2021, a significant reduction.

The report also highlights that:

  • The attainment gap grows wider at every stage of education: it is already evident when pupils begin school, growing to 9.5 months by the end of primary school, and then more than doubling to 19.3 months by the end of secondary school

  • Even small improvements in young people’s GCSE qualifications yield significant increases in their lifetime productivity returns and in national wealth – highlighting the importance of continuing to focus on improving results for currently low-attaining pupils.

  • It is possible to narrow the attainment gap. In 10 per cent of primary schools and 8 per cent of secondary schools, disadvantaged pupils are doing better than the national average for all pupils.

  • While a good level of funding for schools is important for a range of reasons – and some research suggests is particularly beneficial for disadvantaged students - there does not appear to be a direct and straightforward relationship between increased school funding and increased pupil attainment. What matters is how schools can effectively and efficiently use the resources they have (both financial and human) for maximum impact.

This report has been published alongside the EEF Annual Report 2017

Evaluation of Universal Infant Free School Meals, 24th January 2018, Sellen and Huda: Education Policy Institute

Key Findings

 Policy implementation and take-up of school meals

  • Based on ONS data, UIFSM led to a rapid increase in school meal take-up (from an estimated 38% in 2013-14 to 80% in 2015-16) and this was reflected across the majority of schools.

  • Urban city and town schools have the lowest take-up rates of UIFSM, at 84%, compared to 87% in rural schools.

  • Small schools also have slightly higher take up rates (88%) than schools with over 500 pupils (86%).

Outcomes for pupils and their families

  • Parents have cited significant financial benefits as a result of UIFSM and have appreciated the time that has been saved from not having to make packed lunches. (Saving an average of 50 minutes and £10 each week).

  • Some, though generally less than half, of the school and parent/carer respondents to surveys have perceived positive impacts in the short term on educational, social and health outcomes, but such effects have not been tested for statistically in this study. 

  • UIFSM has not, on its own, caused most schools to change their wider food policies but it has often supported, or been a catalyst for, wider efforts to improve the profile of healthy eating in a school, better engage parents and pupils, and develop the school food curriculum.

  • Many school leaders believe UIFSM has improved the profile of healthy eating across their school. 

  • Further research may be required to establish whether similar impacts on education are likely to have occurred as were found in the FSM pilots.

Aggregate costs and cost-effectiveness

  • In a central modelling scenario, the estimated economic resource costs of the policy are smaller than the value of financial and time savings for families(by an estimated net present value of £887m, over a 10-year period), making UIFSM a potentially cost-effective educational intervention on these terms.

  • This is dependent on seeing the impacts observed in the FSM pilots replicated, on achieving economies of scale in production, and on maintaining quality in school food provision.

  • However, under any scenario the public sector financial costs are substantial (an estimated total of £5.560bn over a 10-year period), and on these terms the policy’s efficacy would rest on policymakers attaching a high value to improving the living standards of households with infants who were not already eligible for FSM, and on potentially generating health and social benefits.

  • So far, the funding of schools to deliver UIFSM appears to have been adequate on average, but a small proportion of schools have seen an increase in deficits in school meal provision.

  • The policy has also affected Pupil Premium funding for infants, which may affect the same children in later years. (31% of school leaders surveyed reported that take-up of FSM for pupil premium purposes had decreased, 15% reported that it had increased and 38% reported that it had stayed the same due to UIFSM).

  • The Department for Education should monitor the implications for funding and school accountability, and consider ways to make it easier for parents to be registered for the pupil Premium under Universal Credit. 


Estyn Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales

  • Findings this year are broadly similar to those for the last seven years as a whole. Seven-in-ten primary schools inspected this year are good or excellent, similar to last year, while half of secondary schools inspected are good or excellent, a bit better than last year.

  • There are many strengths in nursery settings, maintained special schools and in further education colleges, where the quality of education provided is good or better in most cases. Variability within and between providers remains a challenge in most other sectors.

  • Schools that are most successful at raising standards for all their pupils and at closing the gap in the performance of pupils eligible for free school meals compared to their peers, encourage greater involvement of parents and the community and create a culture where education is respected and valued.

  • In the quarter of schools that deliver the Foundation Phase well, pupils make good progress, become confident learners, and are well-prepared for future learning. But many schools remain reliant on more traditional teaching methods, especially for children aged 5 to 7.

  • As the secondary school accountability system became increasingly linked to examination results, some schools focused too much on examination technique rather than on providing a broad education. The best schools develop learners’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes to learning by capturing their interest through engaging learning experiences.

  • Mergers of further education colleges have resulted in a smaller number of large providers. The new leadership teams of these institutions have overseen improved provision in this sector over the last seven years.

Estyn Report shows Welsh education is uniting in a mission of self-improvement - Kirsty Williams, 24th January, Welsh Government

Kirsty Williams said:

“Our national mission for education seeks to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and enjoys public confidence.

“It is clear from reading this report that there is sustained momentum in Welsh education; a culture of self-improvement that is embedded in the system and, most importantly, owned by those working in the profession.

“I am heartened to see the Chief Inspector welcoming the steps we have taken to drive up standards and support improvement in our schools – particularly our efforts to work with the teaching profession in developing the new curriculum.

“The report notes our efforts to reduce the attainment gap, but we know there is no room for complacency. That’s why we’re doubling the Pupil Development Grant for our youngest learners, so that every child has the opportunity to reach their potential.

“By continuing to work together, I am confident that we can achieve our national mission and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and public confidence.”

The report shows there is “enough excellence across Welsh education to support improvement and help reduce variability” and that there is a “spirit of cooperation” with the teaching profession in developing a new curriculum.

The report also welcomes:

  • The establishment of a National Academy of Educational Leadership;

  • A “more systematic approach” to how pupils learn, apply and practise their literacy and numeracy across the curriculum;

  • Major changes in how professional learning is organised; 

  • Improvements in attendance and behaviour;

  • Strengths in learner wellbeing, care, support and guidance, and learning environment; and

  • Strengthened links between higher and further education.

Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill gains Royal Assent, 24th January 2018

To mark this milestone, First Minister Carwyn Jones and Education Secretary Kirsty Williams visited Ysgol Penmaes in Brecon on Monday.

The school provides high quality specialist education for pupils aged 3-19 with a wide range of learning difficulties.

The first minister said:

“Nearly a quarter of learners in Wales will experience some form of additional learning need (ALN) during their early years or education and this bill places them at the very heart of our new system.

“Ysgol Penmaes is a great example of a school that puts children and young people’s needs first and it is only right that the legislative system which underpins the school’s approach continues to be fit for purpose.

“This new bill will pave the way for a radical new approach, driving improvements in standards to ensure all learners are supported to meet their full potential. Essentially it brings the entire legislative framework into a 21st century enabling us to effectively support learners with ALN through their education journey.”




The first stage of Oracy@GwE begins with a three day interactive programme, exploring the skills and knowledge needed to develop oracy within the classroom. The target audience for this project is the Senior Leadership Team, which must include the Literacy and Maths Leaders. Up to three members from each school are invited to attend. 

Dates 22/2/2018 and further dates in April and June.


In times of austerity and budget cuts, it’s important to identify where money can do the most good in schools, Maire Williams, 23rd January 2018

At a recent Westminster Education Forum, schools and head teachers, along with researchers commented on the reduction in funding and its impact. Ben Durbin head of international education, at NfER,noted that while schools in England are well funded compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, headteachers in England still report difficulties with resourcing and staff recruitment. Also, while funding seems to have little impact on differences in outcomes between countries, it does appear to have an impact on within country differences in outcomes. This last point was substantiated in NFER’s new literature review School Funding in England Since 2010 – What the Key Evidence Tells Us, published last week, which found that additional resources have a modest but positive impact on attainment at the primary school level.

Ben Durbin says that more research needs to be done in this field. 

UK businesses pledge to tackle nation’s literacy crisis in 2018, 24th January 2018: National Literacy Trust

63 leading businesses have signed the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge 2018 to join the fight to tackle the UK’s literacy crisis which costs the economy £2.5 billion every year. Signatories of the pledge will look to target their resources where they can make the biggest difference to the UK’s literacy challenge – in the early years. 

Established in 2015 by the National Literacy Forum, which is led by us, the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge has boosted the reading, writing speaking and listening skills of some of the most disadvantaged children, young people and families in the UK. 

Tributes paid to NFER vice-president David Whitbread, who has died aged 81

Lost Opportunities, Lost Incomes, Save the Children

The report highlights the need to have further reforms to enable parents to get back into work- you can sign a petition

  • Parents - particularly mothers - of young children in England are struggling to get into work (60% of lone parent families with a child under five are not working). 

  • Childcare continues to be a barrier to employment

  • Further reform is needed to create more opportunities for families

  • Despite reform, the childcare system still isn't creating enough opportunities for families

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

The Attainment Gap, 23rd January 2018, EEF

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

“Closing the attainment gap between poorer pupils and their classmates is our best shot at improving social mobility. So while it is good to see that primary schools’ hard work is likely to yield improvements in GCSE English and maths in the next five years, the slow progress in tackling the overall GCSE attainment gap shows there is a lot still to do…..’

Achievement for All works with schools to close these gaps.