29th June 2018

Department for Education

Take the stress out the school holidays with Tax-Free Childcare, 26th June 

Almost a third of parents in Great Britain (31%) feel stressed trying to arrange childcare for the school holidays according to a new YouGov poll out today.

The poll for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also found that around a third of British parents (30%) worried about balancing their job and school holiday childcare. And more than half (54%) admitted they look forward to their children returning to school in September.

But to help with summer childcare, working parents are being reminded that they can use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), which is worth up to £2,000 per child per year, to pay for regulated holiday clubs during the school holidays.

More than 58,000 registered childcare providers including school, football, art and tennis clubs have signed up across the UK. Parents that pay into their account regularly can ‘save up’ their TFC allowance and use it for childcare during school holidays. The money can go towards a whole range of regulated childcare including nurseries, childminders, before and after school clubs, or holiday clubs.

Parents can find out what government help is available and apply online by visiting the Childcare Choices website. It includes an online childcare calculator that compares the government’s childcare offers to check what works best for individual families.

Department for Education- Statistics

School workforce in England, 28th June

  • The total FTE number of teachers in all schools has fallen by 1.2%, from 457,200 to 451,900 between 2016 and 2017

  • The number of FTE nursery and primary teachers fell by 0.6%, from just over 222,400 in 2016 to 221,100 in 2017

  • FTE secondary teacher numbers fell by 1.9%, from 208,200 in 2016 to 204,200 in 2017

  • The rate of increase in nursery and primary pupil numbers has been slowing and is due to stabilise in 2019. However, secondary pupil numbers have been rising and are projected to continue to increase until 2025

  • The total number of FTE qualified entrants to teaching has decreased since 2015 from 45,500 (10.5% as a proportion of all existing and new teachers) to 42,400 (9.9%) in 2017.

  • Over the same period the total number of FTE qualified teachers leaving teaching has remained consistent at (9.9 per cent). For more information.

See also Blog: Number of teachers in state schools continues to decline, James Zuccollo,  28th June: EPI

The author looks at what these figures mean in practice. He says, theteaching workforce is becoming younger and less experienced each year and, as the number of experienced teachers declines, so too does the number of teachers who are retiring.  But , says the author,half of the teachers who left the profession without retiring moved to teaching posts at independent schools. The problem is not that teaching is unattractive but that teaching in state-funded schools is no longer as rewarding as it once was.

See also NfER research-Evaluation of the Return to Teaching Pilot Programme, Buchanan et al., 28 June 2018 - NFER was commissioned by the Department for Education to provide an independent evaluation of the Return to Teaching pilot. This aimed to support qualified teachers to return to teaching EBacc subjects in secondary schools. The evaluation included surveys of returners, interviews with returners and school coordinators, and analysis of administrative data. The programme attracted widespread interest from potential returners but the return on investment showed it was unlikely to represent good value for money.

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2018, 28th June

Key findings show there are more pupils in the school system, less pupils claiming free school meals and fewer children in large infants school classes.

Number of pupils - Between January 2017 and January 2018 the number of pupils across all school types rose by 66,000.

Although some of this increase was still in primary schools, with 26,600 more pupils in January 2018 than in 2017, most of the rise is now seen in secondary schools. Numbers increased by 35,400 between 2018 and 2017 (compared to a 29,700 increase between 2016 and 2017). In addition there are 5,300 more pupils in special schools.

In January 2018, for all school types, 13.6% of pupils were eligible for and claiming free school meals. This is the lowest proportion since 2001, when the department began collecting pupil level information. Entitlement to free school meals is determined by the receipt of income-related benefits. As the number of benefit claimants decreases, the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals also falls.

4.9% of infant pupils are in classes of more than 30 pupils. This has decreased for the third year and is 1.3 percentage points lower than the peak of 2015. However, it still remains higher than the proportion in 2013 (4.6%). Of infants in classes with more than 30 pupils, the vast majority (96.4%) are in classes with 31 or 32 pupils

Education provision: children under 5 years of age, January 2018, 28th June

  • 92% of 3-year-olds benefitted from universal funded early education, a slight decrease from 93% in 2017, but the same level as in 2011

  • 95% of the 4-year-old population benefitted from universal funded early education, the same as in 2017 and down slightly from 96% in 2011

  • 94% of the 3- and 4-year-old population benefitted from universal funded early education, the same as in 2017 and 2011

  • The number of 2-year-olds benefitting from funded early education decreased by 8,290 from 163,250 in January 2017 to 154,960 in January 2018

  • The eligible population decreased between the two years meaning the percentage taking up a funded place increased, to 72% in 2018, from 71% in 2017 and 58% in 2015.

For the first time 3 and 4-year-old children benefit from the extended entitlement

In January 2018, 296,920 3 and 4-year-old children benefitted from the extended early entitlement (up to an additional 15 hours – meaning a total of up to 30 hours entitlement). 82% of 3- and 4-year-olds benefitting from the extended entitlement did so in a private, voluntary or independent provider. 96% of all 3- and 4-year-olds benefitted from the extended entitlement at a setting rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

Participation in education, training and employment: 2017, 28th June

  • 2016-2017 - Participation remained stable at age 16, increased slightly at 17 and has fallen at 18

  • 2016-2017 - NEET remained stable for the overall 16-18 age group- The overall proportion of 16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) remained stable at 6.3%, the lowest rate since consistent records began.

Department for Education - FE

Multi-million-pound fund launched to help colleges improve, 28th June

Speaking at the Association of Colleges conference, Skills Minister Anne Milton, announced the main phase of the £15million Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF), which will partner strong colleges with those in need of improvement –to share best practice and drive up standards.

Colleges that need support to improve will be able to apply for a grant to work with a stronger ‘partnering’ college and together they will create an action plan to tackle the issues they face.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

"We want to improve the quality of education for everyone. It is vital that all further education and sixth form colleges are able to give people the skills and knowledge they need to get on in their life and succeed in the workplace.

"I’m really thrilled to announce the next phase of the £15million Strategic College Improvement Fund. This fund will enable colleges to work together to improve standards across all colleges."

The launch of this fund follows a successful pilot phase, which saw fourteen colleges receive grants totalling over £2million. Outcomes from the pilot included colleges reporting that the fund-built awareness of good practice, fostered mutual learning and enabled rapid action to improve quality.

This move follows the launch of the National Leaders of Further Education and National Leaders of Governance programmes, which also aim to spread the expertise seen in the top colleges across the country.

Greater flexibility for apprenticeship levy as transfers extended, 26th June

Large employers will soon be able to transfer up to 10% of their apprenticeship levy funds to multiple businesses, helping to boost the number of high-quality apprenticeships across the country.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton announced the move at an event attended by over 160 top businesses to celebrate apprenticeships and the significant contribution they are making to their businesses and the wider economy.

The apprenticeship levy is giving employers a real opportunity to invest in high-quality training, helping to grow their business and get the skilled workforce they need to thrive and succeed. Only around 2% of employers pay the levy but that investment has funded more than 40% of the apprenticeships started in the last year.

Currently, levy-paying employers can transfer up to 10% of their apprenticeship service funds to one other employer. From July, employers will be able to make transfers of up to 10% to as many other employers as they choose.

And A guide to apprenticeships for the school workforce, 29th June

A guide which explains the benefits of apprenticeships for the workforce, and how the apprenticeship levy and public sector target apply to schools.

Other government- Education Select Committee

Next Oral Evidence Session - Special educational needs and disabilities, 3rd July 10am


State-funded schools inspections and outcomes as at 31 March 2018, 26th June

This release contains:

  • Schools’ most recent inspections and outcomes as at 31 March 2018, now based on a new statistical methodology

  • Revised most recent inspection outcomes of schools at 31 August, for each year from 2010 onwards, based on the new statistical methodology

  • Provisional data for inspections completed between 1 January and 31 March 2018

  • Revised data for inspections completed between 1 September 2017 and 31 December 2017.

The changes to the statistical methodology following the consultation have led to a small reduction in the proportion of schools judged good or outstanding. Based on the previous methodology, 88% of schools would have been good or outstanding at 31 March 2018, compared to 86% based on the new methodology.

Revised data shows that the proportion of outstanding schools has increased from 18% at 31 August 2010 to 21% at 31 March 2018. The proportion of good schools also increased, from 50% to 65%.

Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 March 2018, 27th June 

There were 41,700 childminders registered with Ofsted on 31 March 2018. This was down by 600 (1%) since 31 December 2017, and by 15,700 (27%) since 31 August 2012 There were 27,200 childcare providers on non-domestic premises on 31 March 2018. There were more non-domestic joiners than leavers between 31 December 2017 and 31 March 2018. The proportion of childcare providers on the Early Years Register judged to be good or outstanding was 94%. This has been consistent since 31 August 2017, but represents an increase of 20 percentage points since 31 August 2012. On 31 March 2018, 94% of childminders were judged good or outstanding compared with 95% of non-domestic providers. This gap has narrowed by one percentage point since 31 December 2017. 

Changes to Ofsted’s statistical reporting of inspection outcomes for state-funded schools: an analysis of the changes, 27th June 2018 

Following a consultation statistical methodology for reporting on inspection outcomes has been changed; this document analyses the impact of those changes on the data. 

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes as at 28th February 2018

Main findings

The proportion of general further education colleges, sixth form colleges and community learning and skills providers judged good or outstanding has increased since 31 August 2017

Out of the 20 general further education colleges that previously required improvement, 16 improved to good at inspection this year. This helped to increase the proportion of colleges judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, from 67% as at 31 August 2017 to 75% as at 28 February 2018

Providers accessing the new apprenticeship funding have started to be added to the Ofsted systems, increasing the number of independent learning providers (including employer providers) by 18%. This increase has reduced the proportion of providers with an overall effectiveness judgement from 82% as at 31 August 2017 to 66% as at 28 February 2018.

Local area SEND inspections: information for families, 25th June

Updated with inspection dates and webinars links for North East Lincolnshire.


Pupils should take their time to get things right, research reveals, 29th June: UCL, IoE

New brain science research by UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Centre for Education Neuroscience (CEN) shows that children need time to think before answering a question. Neuroscientists who asked 90 secondary pupils to carry out a series of maths and science puzzles based on challenging misconceptions found that those who took longer to respond tended to answer more accurately. 

Previous research has shown that the ability to make less impulsive motor responses is linked to the ability to suppress irrelevant information – and thereby more easily to grasp the correct answer, even when it is not the most obvious. 

What works to enhance the effectiveness of the Health Child Programme: an evidence update 28th June 2018: Early Intervention Foundation

The Healthy Child Programme 0–5 (HCP 0–5) is an evidence-based framework for the delivery of public health services to families with a child between conception and age 5. This is a universal prevention and early intervention programme and forms an integral part of Public Health England’s priority to support healthy pregnancy, ensure children’s early development and readiness for school, and reduce health inequalities in young children.

When HCP 0–5 was first introduced in 2009 it was based on the best available evidence. This report refreshes the 2009 evidence by consolidating key messages from two recently completed evidence reviews:

See the table on the website for what works - evidence based and found towards the bottom of the page.

Neighborhood Violence, Peer Effects, and Academic Achievement in Chicago, Julia, Burdick- Will, Sociology of Education, 12th June 2018

Research shows that exposure to local neighborhood violence is associated with students’ behavior and engagement in the classroom. Given the social nature of schooling, these symptoms not only affect individual students but have the potential to spill over and influence their classmates’ learning, as well. In this study, the researcher used detailed administrative data from five complete cohorts of students in the Chicago Public Schools (2002 to 2010), crime data from the Chicago Police Department, and school-level surveys conducted by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research to assess the strength of this peer effect. The estimated negative relationship between peer exposure to neighborhood violent crime and individual achievement is substantial and remains after adjusting for other peer characteristics and student fixed effects. Surveys suggest these results are related to trust, discipline, and safety concerns in cohorts with larger proportions of students from violent neighborhoods.

‘Kin and Country: Growing up as an Armed Forces Child’- new report by the Children’s Commissioner shining a light on the lives and experiences of children growing up in Armed Forces families, 26th June: Children’s Commissioner  

Findings show that:

  • Most children in Armed Forces families are growing up living happy lives, despite the unique challenges they face. It is clear though that the lifestyle can be tough, and that multiple school moves often leave children feeling unsettled and anxious. For children with additional needs or teenagers in the middle of exam courses, moving around adds another layer of complication

  • Alongside the impact of mobility, service children describe a range of complex emotional responses to the deployment of their parents, sharing the impact that parental absence has at home, with changing family dynamics and increased responsibility for siblings and household tasks. For children who had both parents deployed at the same time, these issues are exacerbated by the need to move to stay with another family member for a significant period of time

  • However, despite the challenges highlighted in this report, many of the children in the study had developed very effective coping strategies. The vast majority of service children we spoke to during this project were happy, resilient and incredibly proud to have a parent serving in the Armed Forces.


EEF Blog: Updating the Toolkit, Jonathan Kay, Research and Publications Manager at the EEF, discusses the latest updates to the Teaching and Learning Toolkit, 28th June: EEF

Six strands of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit have been updated – adding the latest research to Digital Technology, Mastery Learning, Oral Language Interventions, Peer Tutoring, Social and Emotional Learning, and Summer Schools. The Toolkit summarises existing research, outlining the cost of the approach, the security of the evidence, and the impact of the approach (in additional months’ progress). 

International - Wales

Welsh Government - Education and Skills

New online PGCE can make Wales a world leader” – Kirsty Williams, 26th June

The new part-time PGCE would provide a high quality alternative to  full-time study and remove the need for students to travel just to attend their chosen course.

Students could instead interact with their lecturers and fellow students online, just as they would in the soon-to-be accredited full-time ITE programmes. This would remove any barriers that might be caused by their location or distance from a university.

In addition to the new PGCE, the Education Secretary also announced a new Employment Based Route (EBR), which would see a student teacher employed by a school from the outset. This would be targeted to help regional consortia address teaching shortages in schools region by region.

Both the part-time PGCE and EBR would enable student teachers to maintain their current commitments, including employment and income, whilst studying to be a teacher.


GwE- Hwb

May 2018 saw the launch of the National Network for Excellence in Mathematics (NNEM) leadership peer coaching pilot. Working with leaders of mathematics from across Wales, this project will inform professional learning going forward, 28thJune.

Further details of related events can be found at the website.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Pupils should take their time to get things right, research reveals, 29thJune: UCL, IoE

New brain science research by UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Centre for Education Neuroscience (CEN) shows that children need time to think before answering a question. Neuroscientists who asked 90 secondary pupils to carry out a series of maths and science puzzles based on challenging misconceptions found that those who took longer to respond tended to answer more accurately. 

Interesting research, which may prompt teachers to consider how and when they question children.