8th September 2017

Department for Education

Advisor appointed to boost local support for care leavers, 4th September 2017: Press Release

Mark Riddell MBE has been appointed as the National Implementation Adviser for care leavers, and will work closely with local authorities as they drive forward the new duties introduced through the Children & Social Work Act (2017).

The role includes helping councils to develop a stronger local offer of support for care leavers, offering Personal Adviser services for all care leavers up to age 25 and delivering on their responsibilities as a ‘corporate parent’ – principles set out in the Act.

Back to school for thousands of pupils as new free schools open, 6th September 2017: News Story

52 new free schools opened in September- giving 33,000 places-taking the total number of free schools opened since 2011 to over 500, meaning more than four in five of local authorities now have at least one free school in their area.

The newly-opened schools include primary, secondary and all-through schools, and sixth form colleges – with some tailored specifically to technical education, including new UTCs, and a number of schools for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

See also Latest policy and research round-upFree schools: open schools and successful applications, 7th September 2017 (for those which have opened in September)

Department for Education: Guidance

Exclusions statistics guide, 6th September 2017 (updated)

The guidance has been updated following the release of 2015 to 2016 exclusion statistics. Updated rounding and suppression rules, and added a section on the uses and users of exclusion statistics.

Pupil absence statistics: guide, 6th September 2017 (updated)

Updated document to include a section on the uses and users of absence statistics.

Department for Education - Further Education

2019 performance tables: technical and vocational qualifications, 4th September 2017 (updated with new qualifications)

New qualifications have been added to the technical and vocational qualifications for teaching from September 2017 and reporting in 2019 performance tables.

Apprenticeship service registrations and commitments to July 2017, 7th September 2017

Changes in the way apprenticeship funding works were introduced and implemented from May 2017. A key aspect of these changes was the introduction of the apprenticeship service, an online service to allow employers to choose and pay for apprenticeship training more easily. Levy payers are able to register on the apprenticeship service so that they can:

  • receive levy funds to spend on apprenticeships

  • manage their apprentices

  • pay their training provider.

As at 31 July 2017, there were a total of 9,900 ASAs (Apprenticeship Service Accounts) registered.

As at 31 July 2017, there were a total of 22,200 commitments entered into the apprenticeship service. Of these, 18,600 were fully agreed. (11,200 commitments were for apprentices aged 25 and over, and 11,500 commitments were intermediate apprenticeships. Of the 22,200 commitments in the apprenticeship service as at 31 July 2017, 20,200 were for the 2016 to 2017 academic year).

(Caution should be taken interpreting what this data may mean for the overall apprenticeship programme given this is a new system, intended to grow over the coming year or so. It has the potential to be affected by other factors, for example, users typically take time to adjust to recording data on a new system).

Apprenticeships in England by industry sector, 7th September 2017 (republished)

Published in March 2017, this provides information on apprenticeship starts and participation by type of industry between the 2010 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015 academic years. It has been republished to update it in line with statistical first release (SFR) practice.


30 hours free childcare: eligibility codes issued and validated, 8th September 2017

From 1st September 2017, 3 and 4-year-olds may be entitled to 30 hours free childcare, or an extra 570 hours of free childcare a year, so 1,140 hours in total. The additional 15 hours is available to families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage, and less than £100,000 per year.

To provide transparency on the progress of the national rollout of this new entitlement the DfE are publishing management information relating to the rollout of 30 hours free childcare in this ad-hoc statistical release. This includes the number of 30 hours codes issued to parents of eligible children who applied via the Childcare Service and the number and proportion of these codes that have been validated by childcare providers (or Local Authorities) via the Eligibility Checking System. A parent must have generated a code and this code must be validated to enable a child to access the offer in the autumn term.

There were 216,384 eligibility codes issued by 31st August for children aged three at 31st August, of which 152,829 or 71% were validated by 5th September.

Other Government: Ministry of Justice

Monthly Youth Custody Data: July 2017, 8th September 2017

Custody population for children and young people

For July 2017, the population of the secure estate for children and young people for under 18 year olds was 924.

This is the same for the previous month and an increase of 63 from the previous year.


School inspection update: special edition, September 2017, 8th September 2017

These updates for inspectors and stakeholders contain information and guidance about Ofsted's inspection work in schools. The main messages for inspectors are:

  1. 2017 marks a year of significant changes to GCSE examinations. Inspectors should not compare results from last year with results this year for the new GCSEs.

  1. There will be some variability in attainment at school level as a result of changes to the qualifications and numerical grading. However, overall, the outcomes of the 2017 GCSE results are stable. Small fluctuations from previous years at school level should not be over interpreted;

  1. At A level, the results for both the reformed and non-reformed qualifications are also stable. There has been no major variability in results at national level. Small fluctuations at provider level should not be over-interpreted.

  1. Changes in specifications, assessment and examinations may result in changes in the behaviours of schools. Always consider whether decisions made by leaders and managers are in the best interests of pupils.

  1. Assessment data and information is only a starting point for discussion with schools. It is far from the only piece of evidence that informs judgements about outcomes.

  1. Inspectors will use ‘meaningful data’ to inform areas for investigation. They will not focus on single measures with small cohorts.

  1. Inspectors should continue to treat data from teacher assessments at the end of key stage 2 with caution.

Early years and childcare inspections and outcomes: September 2008 to August 2012, 7th September 2017

This research and analysis dataset provides data on all inspections of early years providers registered with Ofsted that were carried out between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2012 and published by 31 January 2013. It is a one-off data release covering the 4-year inspection cycle that ran from the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) on 1 September 2008 through to 31 August 2012.

Education Central Multi Academy Trust: inspection outcome letter, 4th September 2017

Ofsted held a focused review of 7 schools in the Education Central Multi Academy Trust (ECMAT). Findings showed that the Trust has been slow to get to grips with what needs to be done to support and improve the quality of education provided in its schools. Six schools were judged to be less than good at their most recent full inspections, including three which were judged inadequate. The attainment and progress of disadvantaged pupils by the end of key stage 4 is poor.


Report Card 2016/2017, Fair Education Alliance, 6th September 2017

This is the third annual Report Card form the FEA, which looks at the extent to which the attainment gap between children and young people from socio economic disadvantage and their more advantaged peers has closed during the year (from early years through to graduation from an HEI).

Key and relevant findings this year show that although the gap has closed in some phases of education and in some areas of England, there is still a lot more to be done:

  • The gap in literacy and numeracy at the end of primary school has narrowed from 8.4 months to 8.2 months

  • The GCSE achievement gap has narrowed from 13.1 months to 12.8 months

  • Children attending schools serving low-income communities fare the worst in the South East, both in terms of the lowest GCSE attainment and the largest gap compared with schools serving high-income communities. The gap in this region is still the largest in England, at 18.7 months. This compares to a national average of 12.8 months

  • Children from more affluent families from state schools were almost four times as likely as young people from low-income families (3.8 times) to go on to join a higher-tariff university in 2016.

Through the report the FEA calls for:

  • School Funding: A commitment from the government that national spending should not decrease in real terms on a per pupil basis.

  • Destinations and Careers: - Every primary and secondary school in England should have a designated and trained senior leader responsible for developing and delivering a whole school approach to destinations

  • Grammar Schools - The government should continue to resist calls to expand selective education in the future.

  • Measurement of Social and Emotional Competencies: A framework of measures should be available to all schools in the UK to support their knowledge of the social and emotional competencies of their students.

  • Early Years: The government should commit to ensuring that every group setting serving the 30% most deprived areas in England is led by an early years teacher or equivalent by 2020.

Factors deterring schools from mixed attainment teaching practice, Taylor et. al., (First published 2016), 8th September 2017

The paper presented at the British Educational Research Association last week highlighted a reluctance amongst schools to teach in mixed ability sets, despite evidence it works best.

The study found that fear of reactions from parents, who often expected children to be grouped in sets or streams, as well as a more general caution in schools, may be playing a part in these decisions. 

It cites previous evidence that setting, where pupils are grouped in classes based on prior results in tests or other judgements the school may make about their ‘ability’, is overwhelmingly used for maths in English secondary schools. 

It is also widely used in English in secondary schools and has extended into primary schools. This is despite established research showing that, while ‘high-attaining’ pupils may make some gains from the practice, the reverse is true for those in lower sets, including many students from poorer backgrounds.

Extra Time: Private tuition and out-of-school study, new international evidence, John Jerrim, 8th September: Sutton Trsut/IoE UCL.

This report combines the long-running polling series of 11-16 year olds (Sutton Trust) with new information available for the first time from PISA. This shows how private tuition and out-of-school instruction compare internationally. Talented young people from less well-off backgrounds receive substantially less extra help than those from more advantaged backgrounds. Also stark is the inequality in access to parental help with homework. This shows how much more needs to be done to support parental engagement for those from less well-off backgrounds.

The poll with Ipsos MORI surveyed 2,612 young people aged 11-16 in England and Wales, along with 269 in Scotland, about private tuition. It finds that almost one in three 11-16 year old state school students in England and Wales have had private tuition at some point in their life. In London, the proportion is now almost half of young people.

Other key findings show that:

  • For pupils of the same levels of achievement, well-off pupils receive 2.5 hours more additional instruction than less well-off pupils.

  • Better-off families create a ‘glass floor’ for children in danger of low achievement, a barrier to social mobility. Bright but poor pupils receive much less support than their better-off peers. Whereas around a third (32%) of low-achieving pupils from advantaged backgrounds receive one-to-one tuition in science or mathematics, this falls to around one-in-twelve (7%) of high-achieving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  • Poorer pupils get less help at home with their homework. Only half of 15-year-olds from disadvantaged social backgrounds in England regularly receive help with their homework from their parents, compared to more than two-thirds of those from the most advantaged backgrounds. This socio-economic gap of 18 percentage points is significantly bigger than in most of the other countries that completed the PISA survey.

Read also the blog by Education Datalab, four things PISA tells us about after-school learning, John Jerrim, 8th September 2017

Pupils missing digital innovations in maths education due to lack of support for teachers, 7th September 2017: IoE, UCL

Research from the IoE shows that new digital technologies could be the key to improving pupils’ maths outcomes, provided teachers have access to training and support. The two-year project funded by the Nuffield Foundation identifies a number of effective classroom practices and points to the necessary conditions for these to happen. 

Initially, the researchers found that project teachers were not using the DMT available to them because they felt they lacked training, knowledge and confidence. The report showed that despite adequate provision and web access, 37% of teachers had never used DMT in their lessons, with 45% using it occasionally, and only 9% using it regularly.

The researchers argue that DMT enables teachers to open up maths to Key Stage 3 pupils in both geometry and algebra and can present practical activities for pupils in realistic contexts. For example, pupils can learn to resize images for a digital magazine or understand the speed at which a digital game character moves. But, they warn, this will not happen automatically.

Scope, Scale, and Dose of the World’s Largest School-Based Mental Health Programs, Murphy et al., Harvard Review of Psychiatry, September/ October 2017, vol. 25

Mental health problems often begin in childhood and continue into adulthood. There has been growing interest in preventive mental health programs for children. In recent years, several such programs have been implemented at regional, state, or national scale (USA), and although many experimental studies have documented positive outcomes of individual programs, this article systematically compares the largest programs in terms of scope, scale, and dose. The school-based mental health programs discussed in this review appear to have reached more than 27 million children over the last decade, and many of these programs have collected systematic outcomes data. The authors profile eight programmes that have shown their effectiveness using randomised controlled trials or quasi-experimental studies. Most of the programmes focus on primary prevention or target specific vulnerable populations, rather than being aimed at supporting children with diagnosed disorders. For each of the programmes, there is a description of its approach and a review of the supporting evidence. The eight programmes are:

  • Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports


  • Positive Action

  • Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS)

  • Skills for Life

  • MindMatters

  • Good Behavior Game

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools

The authors suggest that attention can now be paid to assessing the processes and practices of implementation that are associated with successful, widely disseminated and sustainable programmes.

International- Wales

New Teachers, New Term, New Professional Standards, 4th September 2017, Welsh Government

The standards will apply to all serving teachers and leaders by September 2018 and initial teacher training programmes from September 2019. This will provide time to build familiarity with the new standards before they become mandatory. Developed in partnership with teachers across Wales, the new standards concentrate on the essential elements of every teacher’s work – pedagogy, collaboration, leadership, innovation and career-long professional learning.

The new standards will:

  • Replace 55 standards with five standards and descriptors that allow teachers to use the standards in a way that’s appropriate to their role.

  • Inspire, challenge and support every practitioner, from the trainee teacher to the experienced head teacher to focus on the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to meet the needs of their learners.

  • Better support new entrants to the teaching profession by bringing greater continuity between initial teacher education, induction and continued development throughout a teacher’s career.

  • Acknowledge the need for teachers to work together more effectively to make sure all learners benefit from excellent teaching and learning.

  • Develop the leadership capacity within the education system by supporting all teachers to develop their leadership skills.


The following report is coming soon

This report examines how well secondary schools prepare young people for the world of work. It also considers how provision in this area has changed since Estyn’s previous report in 2012.

The Graduate Certificate in Professional Learning: Mathematics, English or Science, 7th September 2017: ERW

The Graduate Certificate in Professional Learning is for secondary teachers and upper Key Stage 2 teachers who are aspiring towards or currently undertaking a teaching role in Mathematics, English or Science within their schools, and are keen to develop specialist subject expertise. Interested applicants are required to have a strong background in the core subject they would like to pursue.


As part of the Attachment Aware School Project, ERW is seeking to develop a team of Emotion Coaching (EC) Leads.

Whole school implementation of Emotion Coaching (EC) is increasingly seen as a necessary base-line of universal provisionin an attachment aware school. Therefore, in order to support implementation, ERW would like to pilot a programme of support for selected schools based around a team of teachers from across the region who will act as Emotion Coaching Leads.


EEF Blog: Literacy at the transition - a research summary for teachers, Robbie Coleman, 22nd August 2017

A secondary school teacher and a Senior Associate at the EEF, Robbie Coleman considers practical ways of addressing weak literacy in the transition from primary to secondary school. The author suggests that a balanced approach to teaching literacy is needed, where one intervention alone is unlikely to work:

‘In the classroom, a balanced approach to teaching literacy appears to be favoured by evidence. In the EEF transition review – and a 2017 summary that focused on key stage 2 (Higgins et al, 2017 [6]) – reading comprehension and phonics-based approaches are shown to have positive effects, as do some effective talk strategies. A range of effective approaches for improving writing have been also identified in recent years. A balanced approach also aligns with evidence which shows that literacy is composed of multiple components’.

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations 

School inspection update: special edition, September 2017, 8th September 2017

Ensure you are familiar with the Ofsted School Inspection Update:  

  1. 2017 marks a year of significant changes to GCSE examinations; Inspectors should not compare results from last year with results this year for the new GCSEs.

  2. There will be some variability in attainment at school level as a result of changes to the qualifications and numerical grading.

Report Card 2016/2017, Fair Education Alliance, 6th September 2017

Although the attainment gap between those from socio economic disadvantage and their more advantaged peers has closed slightly in the last year- at both age 11 and 16 years, there is still a lot more work to be done. Schools which are working with Achievement for All are contributing to the closing of this gap.