9th March 2018

Department for Education

Extended powers SEND tribunal: national trial, 8th March 2018

Guidance for local authorities, health commissioners, parents and young people on a 2-year trial to extend powers of the SEND Tribunal.

A 2-year national trial begins on 3 April 2018 to extend the power of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) tribunal. As part of a special educational appeal, the SEND tribunal will be able to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

This guidance sets out the extended powers and duties in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017.

It explains how the appeal process will work, what happens if recommendations are not followed and the support available for commissioners and families.

Further guidance and support for the trial can be found in the SEND national trial toolkit.

Education Secretary visits Hampshire children’s social services, 9th March: announcement

Education Secretary Damian Hinds met with staff at Hampshire children’s social services to hear about innovative ways of providing support for vulnerable children and families.

As a Partner in Practice, Hampshire - which is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted with ‘outstanding’ features - works with a number of other children’s services in the region to improve practice and management.

Hampshire has also received £3.96 million from the department’s £200 million Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, for their project Active Agents for Change to improve support for families affected by issues such as domestic abuse, substance abuse or mental health concerns.

The Active Agents for Change project is training volunteers to mentor children and young people who may be in need of care and find other ways to increase social workers’ direct contact time with families.

Hampshire will also receive funding through the Fair Ways and Portsmouth Staying Close pilots, backed by £467k and £624,400 respectively, which support young people leaving residential care.

New bursary to get veterans into teaching, 6th March: announcement

New government bursary of £40,000 available from September 2018 for ex-service personnel to retrain as teachers

From September, courses at universities nationwide will offer the incentive to veterans who have left full-time employment in the British Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy in the last five years, or anyone leaving before training begins.

Department for Education- Early Years

30 hours delivery support fund: grants for local authorities: guidance, 8th March 2018

Funding for local authorities to support the delivery of 30 hours free childcare for working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds.

The 30 hours delivery support fund will provide support to 147 local authorities for work that will directly benefit 30 hours delivery and will create (directly or indirectly) new 30 hours places for the 2018 summer term. Some of these local authorities will receive additional support outside of the delivery support fund bid round for a range of projects, including to develop their IT systems.

Department for Education- Further Education

Introduction of T levels: information for education providers, 9th March: Policy Paper

This document offers details on:

  • What the programmes are intended to achieve

  • How and when they will be introduced

  • What the programmes will cover

  • How qualifications will be awarded

  • How education providers can get involved in delivery


School Inspection Update, 8th March: Issue 13

In this edition of SIU, details are provided on:

  • Clarification on inspecting ‘non-exempt’ schools and ‘exempt’ schools

  • Guidance on gathering data from schools and completing evidence forms

  • Guidance on inspecting schools designated as having a religious character

  • Clarification of the ‘coasting’ definition and middle schools

  • Information on:

-  Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils

- The careers statutory guidance for schools

- The revised teacher assessment frameworks for 2018/19.

School inspection handbook, republished since December 2017 to include the following amendment

Paragraph 17 has been amended to clarify the position for inspecting exempt schools.

Local area SEND inspections: information for families, 9th March

A short, 3- page document, outlining the details of the inspection process and what the inspectors look for


Reducing the odds: an education pilot to prevent gambling harms: DEMOS

For the past two years, Demos developed and tested a pilot education programme to teach children about the risks of gambling, and where to go for help and support. The lessons were designed to build up the resilience of teenagers to the tactics that gambling companies use to encourage people to gamble. Educating the pupils about concepts such as “delayed gratification” helped to improve their understanding of the nature of gambling and how to make good decisions when in any risky situation.

The four lessons were taught in selected schools across the country, as part of the PSHE curriculum for 14-year-olds, reaching 650 pupils. To evaluate the pilot, Demos observed five lessons, conducted a tracked pre- and post- survey over 12 months for pupils at participating schools and nearby comparison schools where the lessons were not given, and held focus groups with pupils and teachers in participating schools during the Autumn term of 2016.

Over the 12 months, Demos observed a statistically significant decline in the proportion of pupils playing cards for money – with a net decline of seven percentage points relative to the comparison group. Demos saw the most substantial changes, relative to the comparison school, in pupils being able to describe ways to help someone experiencing gambling problems, where there was a net 20 percentage point increase in the proportion of pupils at participating schools relative to the comparison school being able to do so.

International -Wales

Estyn Wales will be publishing the following report on 22nd March: How best to challenge and nurture more able and talented pupils

This report examines standards, provision and leadership in meeting the needs of more able and talented pupils in primary and secondary schools in Wales.


EEF Blog: Setting and streaming in schools - what does the evidence say? 9th March 2018

This blog considers the evidence for setting and streaming in schools. It suggests that while the evidence on setting and streaming is not conclusive, it shows a clear pattern: it tends to be good for high-attaining pupils but bad for low-attaining pupils. And if teachers and school leaders know this, they are in a better position to choose a system that works for all their pupils, not just those at the top.

EEF Blog: A lasting impact - 6 lessons from the evaluation of ABRA

Thomas Martell and Prof. Jonathan Sharples discuss six lessons to draw from the updated independent evaluation of the EEF trial of ABRA (literacy)

This week, the EEF published an addendum report (starts at p.105) to the independent evaluation of the ABRA project, originally published in November 2016. ABRA is a 20-week online literacy programme based around a series of texts delivered by a teaching assistant to small groups of pupils.

The latest findings indicate that, on average, those children who participated in the programme were continuing to do better than their comparison-group peers a year after the intervention finished (as measured by Key Stage 1 SATS).

Six lessons that this project exemplifies:

  1. Use a balanced approach that develops word recognition and language comprehension

  2. Reading fluency should (probably) be given more focus

  3. Improving reading also improves writing

  4. Interventions work well when they are short, sharp, and regular

  5. Teaching assistant-led interventions benefit from focused training and high-quality support

  6. Teaching assistants can have a lasting impact on children’s attainment

The EEF are still recruiting for this project

“There’s no doubting that careers advice has improved since my day but there’s so much more that can and must be done” Carole Willis, CEO of NfER talks about the careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) she received at school and gives her opinion on how things have changed. Her verdict? Things are better but still far from good enough,7th March.

What can schools, and colleges and employers do to ensure that careers education and guidance works better to meet the needs of all young people?

Employers have a big role to play in this. Increasing current levels of engagement between schools and colleges and employers is vital if we are to improve the breadth and relevance of CEIAG and develop appropriate education – including vocational – routes to employment that will inspire our young people, equip them with the skills they need to meet the changing needs of industry and increase their likelihood of finding rewarding and fulfilling careers.

The role of employers is important at all levels:

  • Working with schools and other education institutions to help staff and their students understand more about present-day working environments and the skills – such as problem solving and teamwork – that employers value

  • Providing inspirational role models and broadening young people’s understanding of the range of careers available to them

  • Providing practical advice and help with writing CVs and application forms, and with interview practice

  • Providing opportunities for work experience, work placements and apprenticeships.

Response of the Fostering Network to the recent review of foster care, 5th March 2018

( The review is available here)

'Overall, the report has no vision for foster care, instead seeming to view fostering as a stepping stone to adoption or SGOs. It fails to address key issues that the sector is currently experiencing – not least how foster carers are viewed and treated, but also commissioning and placement disruption. While we agree with a number of the recommendations, they are largely superficial and will only scratch the surface – the report makes almost no recommendations that we believe will actually have any significant impact on transforming foster care. 

National Literacy Trust partner with the BBC on its new education strategy, 8th March

The BBC has just announced its new education strategy, which will focus on improving social mobility across the UK, and that they will be working with the National Literacy Trust to achieve this goal.

A key priority for the new strategy is a focus on the literacy of pre-school children, to counter the fact that the most disadvantaged five-year-olds can be 19 months behind their more affluent peers in vocabulary development on school entry.

Working with the National Literacy Trsut, the BBC is aiming to raise the communication and literacy skills of a million under-fives to make sure they have the best start to their education. 

National Literacy Trust secure funding for new rugby project from England Rugby and Sport Relief, 7th March

The National Literacy Trust has secured £99,000 of funding from Try for Change, a joint initiative from England Rugby and Sport Relief, to deliver a new rugby-focused project, Rugby Reading Champions.

Rugby Reading Champions is their literacy programme for children aged 9 to 13, delivered by rugby coaches. It uses the motivational power of rugby union, players and coaches as role models to inspire children and young people to read more and to improve their literacy skills.

Other- Early Years

PACEY's early years self-evaluation form (SEF) now available, 8th March

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

School Inspection Update, 8th March: Issue 13

Ensure you read the School inspection update by Ofsted

In this edition of SIU, details are provided on:

  • Clarification on inspecting ‘non-exempt’ schools and ‘exempt’ schools

  • Guidance on gathering data from schools and completing evidence forms

  • Guidance on inspecting schools designated as having a religious character

  • Clarification of the ‘coasting’ definition and middle schools

  • Information on:

-  Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils

-  The careers statutory guidance for schools

-  The revised teacher assessment frameworks for 2018/19.