17th November 2017

Department for Education

Plans to further boost teacher recruitment and development, 14th November 2017: News

Staff at the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and the Department for Education will combine into one team to help better align efforts to attract good candidates into the teaching profession; support will be provided throughout their career.

The department will take on teacher recruitment functions, leading to closer coordination between the work already underway to improve schools and strengthen the profession, and the delivery of support to teachers in classrooms.

Regulation of the teaching profession will continue to be handled by an executive agency of the Department for Education. Led by existing teams at the NCTL, the executive agency known in future as the Teaching Regulation Agency.

Nick Gibb: school business professionals play a vital role, 16th November 2017

Nick Gibb, School Standards Minister speaking at the National Association of School Business Management National Conference, said:

‘….We want teachers and headteachers to understand how a strong school business professional can help improve their school and reduce workload……

School efficiency must start with – and be led by – schools.

Central to this is our approach to integrated curriculum and financial planning. Curricula should be inherently integrated with good financial planning. We know that this integration is pivotal to school efficiency……

We want to highlight and develop the support, guidance and tools that are already available to help you to maximise your schools’ efficiency and long-term financial health.

Currently, we are helping schools to get the best value from their non-staff expenditure through the ambitious initiatives set out in the Schools’ Buying Strategy, which was published last January. ……….

And over the summer, we launched an updated and significantly improved benchmarking service for schools, based on feedback and user testing with school business professionals.

We will continue to build on this offer. When a school is at risk of falling into financial difficulty, it is right to intervene – directly with academies, or working with local authorities in the case of maintained schools. In these cases, we will deploy experienced efficiency experts to provide direct support to schools…’

Secondary accountability measures (including Progress 8 and Attainment 8), 16th November 2017

Updated to include the coasting definition in 2017.

In 2017, a secondary school will fall within the coasting definition if based on revised data:

  • In 2015, fewer than 60% of pupils achieved 5 A*-C at GCSE (including English and maths) and less than the national median achieved expected progress in English and in maths; and

  • In 2016, the school’s Progress 8 score was below -0.256; and

  • In 2017, the school’s Progress 8 score was below -0.257

The coasting definition applies to all mainstream maintained schools and academies with the relevant key stage 4 data. It will not apply to PRUs, special schools or alternative provision academies. Once a school has fallen within the coasting definition, Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) will engage the school to consider its wider context, and decide whether additional support is needed. Action will not be automatic and the focus will be on helping schools to improve in order to drive up standards. More detail about the processes that RSCs will follow and the factors they may consider in determining the appropriate support for schools identified as coasting is set out in the Schools Causing Concern guidance.

Primary school accountability, 16th November 2017

Updated to include the coasting definition in 2017.

In 2017 a primary school will fall within the coasting definition if based on revised data:

  • In 2015, fewer than 85% of pupils achieved level 4 in English reading, English writing and mathematics and below the national median percentage of pupils achieved expected progress in all of English reading, English writing and mathematics, and

  • In 2016, fewer than 85% of pupils achieved the expected standard at the end of primary schools and average progress made by pupils was less than -2.5 in English reading, -2.5 in mathematics or -3.5 in English writing, and

  • In 2017, fewer than 85% of pupils achieved the expected standard at the end of primary schools and average progress made by pupils was less than -2.5 in English reading, -2.5 in mathematics or -3.5 in English writing.

Literacy and Numeracy Catch up strategies, 14th November 2017

The paper reviews catch-up strategies and interventions which are intended for low-attaining pupils in literacy or numeracy at the end of key stage 2.

Key findings show that:

  • Writing interventions appear to show consistently good results. In particular, where trips are used as topics for pupils to write about.

  • Reading comprehension interventions generally have a positive effect on pupils’ attitudes towards reading; computer-based interventions appear effective, and some one-to-one methods have substantial positive results on pupils’ literacy progress.

  • There is however inconsistent evidence around how effective phonics approaches, and blended interventions are as a catch-up strategy for low-attaining year 7 pupils. It should however be noted that phonics has been consistently shown as an effective approach for younger readers (aged 4 - 7).

  • The few numeracy interventions which have been trialled with year 7 pupils have not proven to be effective. Nevertheless, there is promising evidence from interventions trialled at primary schools which could be applicable to older low-attaining pupils, including one-to-one and group programmes.

  • A smooth transition should help facilitate pupils to catch up with their peers. Key principles which appear to facilitate the transition from primary to secondary school include: maintain collaboration before and after transfer; facilitate effective communication; prioritise and invest in school visits and induction programmes; develop practices for particular types of pupils; ensure schools have clear roles and responsibilities that are supported by senior management, and; evaluate what works and disseminate good practice.

Children's Social Care Innovation Programme: final evaluation report, 14th November 2017

This final evaluation report provides an overview of the Innovation Programme evaluation findings to date and demonstrates progress against the programme’s aims.

Department for Education- Further Education

Anne Milton: speech to Association of Colleges Conference, delivered on 14th November 2017

Anne Milton, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, addressing the Association of Colleges conference, spoke about further education being ‘central to the challenge of delivering a prosperous future for this country after Brexit’.

She said:

‘The reform of technical education will be at the centre of our response to those challenges and we will be saying more about that later this month, including as part of the Government’s industrial strategy. Irrespective of Brexit, we also face a skills shortage…..

'…..At the Skills Summit later this month we will be focusing on developing our partnership with employers. Today, I’d like to talk a little bit about our partnership with you….'

About partnership she said:

'….I want to talk to you about what I think are the three emerging themes.

'The first of those is support: from Government, for the sector.

'Second, I want Government to be playing an active role-introduce a dedicated programme to help industry experts join the profession – building an ever- closer link between business and education. Some colleges and employers are doing this already and it is good to hear about where that is working well.

'The third building block is looking at the whole system-we need a better co-ordinated approach, both within Government, and between the Government and the sector. I am looking to the new College Improvement Board, chaired by the FE Commissioner, to help deliver that in strengthening quality, for example….’

Apprenticeships evaluation 2017: learners survey, 16th November 2017

Profile of apprentices:

Level 2 apprenticeships remain the most common form of apprenticeship, although the proportion on Level 3 apprenticeships has been increasing in recent years (from 37% of Level 2 and 3 apprenticeships in the 2013 study, to 44% in the current study).

The three largest subject areas remain Business (24% of all Level 2 and 3 apprentices, though down from 29% in 2014 and 26% in 2015), Health (24%, consistent with the previous two evaluations) and Engineering (21%, up from 15% in 2014 and 19% in 2015).

Routes into apprenticeships and motivations

Over half (56%) of all Level 2 and 3 apprentices were recruited specifically with the intention of their doing an apprenticeship, an increase compared with 2015 (48%).

Satisfaction with apprenticeships (remains high)

Nearly nine in ten Level 2 and 3 apprentices were satisfied (rated 6-10 on a 10 point satisfaction scale) overall with their apprenticeship (89%, the same figure as in 2015), and over seven in ten were ‘very satisfied’ (73% rated their satisfaction as 8-10, slightly higher than the 72% in 2015). One in twenty (5%) were dissatisfied (0-4 rating).

Quality and content of apprenticeships

Recognised apprenticeships are required to last for a minimum of 12 months, ensuring that they are of high quality and that apprentices receive sufficient training. The average duration of Level 2 and 3 apprenticeships was reported as 17 months: five per cent of apprentices reported that their apprenticeship was intended to last for less than 12 months, falling to three per cent among those recruited to their apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships evaluation 2017: employers survey, 16th November 2017

Who employs apprentices?

Taking all employers in England into account (regardless of whether they had recent apprentices or not), apprentices made up a higher proportion of the workforce at mid-size sites (those with 10 to 99 employees), accounting for just over 10 out of every 1,000 employees

What types of apprenticeship are on offer?

The vast majority of employers (90%) continued to offer apprenticeships in only one main subject area. Less traditional, or “newer”, subject areas, including Business, Health and Retail remained the most common apprenticeships offered by employers (31%, 22% and 22% respectively). Compared to 2014, availability of the more “traditional” apprenticeships showed mixed fortunes with an increase in the proportion providing Engineering (from 10% to 16%) but a drop in the proportion offering Construction (from 9% to 6%).

Why and how are apprentices recruited?

The most common reason for recruiting apprentices, cited by 30% of employers, was because apprenticeships were the type of training most relevant to the needs of their business. Similarly, 19% stated that an apprenticeship was a requirement in the industry, although this varied by subject area. Other common reasons related to areas of recruitment, with 18% recruiting apprentices due to the convenience of having a training provider deal with recruitment and a further 17% saying they found it the best way to aid recruitment and/or retention.

Keeping apprentices: retention and progression

Retention was at the same level as 2015, with 65% of employers reporting that all their recent apprenticeship completers remained working for them. Retention was lower in Agriculture and in Arts and Media. Fixed term contracts remained common for new apprentices, used by 73% of employers recruiting their apprentices.

Delivery, assessment and influence

At least some apprenticeship training was delivered by an external training provider at nearly all employers (94%), although three-quarters (75%) did provide formal training internally themselves.

Satisfaction and future plans

The vast majority (84%) of employers were satisfied with their apprenticeship programme. This represented a small but significant drop from 2015 (87%) but was in line with the 2014 evaluation (83%).

Apprenticeship funding

Substantial changes to the funding of apprenticeships have been introduced from Spring 2017. The data from this survey shows that among employers already offering apprenticeships 19% will be eligible for this Levy payment (though noting that a further 14% were unsure if their organisation’s UK-wide wage bill exceeded £3m), rising to almost a third in Leisure (35%) and Education (34%).


Eligibility for free school meals and the early years pupil premium under Universal Credit, 16th November 2017

Closes: 5pm 11th January 2018

The Department for Education is asking for views on how the government can continue to support children most in need

The consultation will review eligibility for children currently receiving additional support from the government during their education, such as free school meals and additional school funding, in light of the national roll out of Universal Credit.

The proposals outlined in the eight-week consultation include:

  • Introducing a net income threshold of £7,400 per year before benefits are taken into account (typically equivalent to between £18,000 and £24,000 in total household income per year) for families to benefit from free school meals

  • Mirroring this eligibility criteria for the Early Years Pupil Premium, which gives additional funding to early years settings to boost the attainment of pupils from low income families

  • All children currently receiving any of the support above should continue to benefit from this until the full roll out of Universal Credit, and then until they reach the end of their current education stage (e.g. primary or secondary school)

Plans to introduce new guidance to help schools simplify the process and encourage take up are also underway. The government will work with schools and local authorities to help ensure those families who are entitled to these benefits actually claim them.


Teaching school alliances: key information form - 2015 to 2016, 16th November 2017

A Teaching School Alliance is composed of one or more Teaching Schools designated by NCTL (National College for Teaching and Leadership), along with a network of schools that deliver and consume support as part of the Alliance. TSAs delivered work across three main strands: Initial teacher training (ITT), Continuing Professional and Leadership Development (CPLD) and School-to-School support (StSS).

This report presents experimental statistics on the work teaching school alliances did in England in the academic year 2015 to 2016. Key findings over the three areas show. 


  • 87% of alliances provide placements
  • 86% of alliances provide ITT training
  • Median of 11 ITT deliverers per alliance


  • 36% of alliances are delivering “NQT” focused CPLD activity

Across all CPLD activities:

12% focus on leadership and management; 11% other; 8% NQT; 5% middle leaders, early years.


Median of 4 CPLD deliverers per alliance


Median 5 StSS deliverers per alliance


Amanda Spielman's speech at the Association of Colleges, delivered 14th November

HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman described how Ofsted is aiming to be a force for improvement and emphasised the centrality of colleges to the future success of the country.

David Ross Education Trust (DRET): inspection outcome letter, 13th November

Main findings showed:

  • Four academies are outstanding

  • Twenty are good

  • Seven academies require improvement

  • Two are inadequate

  • One academy has yet to be inspected.

Pupils across all key stages are not making as much progress as expected. This is particularly the case for disadvantaged pupils at KS4.

Ofsted Statistics

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information from December 2015, 13th November

Published management information as at 31 October 2017.


Can on-line off the shelf improve student outcomes? Evidence from a field experiment, Jackson and Mackerin, first published, January 2017, National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

The paper discusses a study looking at the impact on student outcomes when maths teachers were given high quality ‘off the shelf’ lessons. When teachers were provided with online access to the lessons only (no other support material) students’ math achievement increased by 0.06 of a standard deviation, but providing teachers with online access to the lessons along with supports to promote their use increased students’ math achievement by 0.09 of a standard deviation. Findings showed that benefits were much larger for weaker teachers, suggesting that weaker teachers compensated for skill deficiencies by substituting the lessons for their own efforts. Survey evidence suggests that these effects were mediated by both improvements in lesson quality and teachers having more time to engage in other tasks. The researchers conclude that there is a real benefit to making high-quality instructional materials available to teachers on the internet.

Montessori Preschool Elevates and Equalizes Child Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study, Lillard et al.,Frontiers in Psychology.

In the present study, children in two high-fidelity public Montessori magnet schools (11 classrooms) who had gained admission via a random computerized district-level lottery at 3 years old were compared to a group who had lost the lottery and attended other non-Montessori schools, over half of which were private schools. Children (N = 141) were tested over the fall semester when they were 3 years old, and then again at the end of the school year for three consecutive years. In sum, the study measured children’s academic achievement, theory of mind and social skills, executive function, mastery orientation, relative enjoyment of school, and creativity at four time points to determine whether Montessori education would have a significant influence on these.

Findings showed that high fidelity Montessori preschool programmes are more effective than other school programs at elevating the performance of all children, while also equalizing outcomes for subgroups of children who typically have worse outcomes. Montessori programmes raised the achievement of lower income children well beyond the levels achieved by the lower income control group. In addition, Montessori programmes appeared to work as well for children who were lower in executive function at the outset as for children who were higher in executive function at the outset.

Who’s in? Chronic absenteeism under the Every Student succeeds Act (USA), Jordan and Miller, Sept 2017, FutureEd Georgetown University

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to include five indicators measuring school performance, four focused on academic achievement, and a fifth “non-academic” measure of school quality or school success. Many have adopted chronic student absenteeism as their “fifth indicator”.

In this review, the researchers explore ‘chronic absenteeism and its impact. In the US, a fifth of schools report that 20% or more of their students are chronically absent. 36 states (out of 51) use ‘chronic absenteeism’ as a performance indicator, yet there is no standard definition. Findings from the current review, showed that that chronic absence is more prevalent in high school than in the earlier grades, and more prevalent among pupils from lower socio-economic status. Researchers found that the greatest variance in attendance is not between states or districts, but between schools within the same district. In fact, two-thirds of the variance was among schools in the same district.

The following suggestions are made for practice:

Establishing a standard definition for “chronic absence”, expressed as a percentage of the school year.

Establishing, by state, what percentage of chronic absences is too high for their schools and then set a realistic, achievable goal to measure improvement.

Giving teachers professional development credit to attend workshops on strategies to improve attendance

A single-session growth mindset intervention for adolescent anxiety and depression: 9-month outcomes of a randomized trial, Schleider and Weisz, September 2017, The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

The researchers tested whether a single session intervention (SSI) teaching growth mindset of personality (the belief that personality is malleable) could reduce depression and anxiety and strengthen perceived control in high-risk adolescents (N = 96, ages 12–15). At baseline, youths were randomised to receive a 30-min, computer-guided growth mindset intervention or a supportive-therapy control. Youths and parents reported youth anxiety and depressive symptoms, and youths reported their levels of perceived control, at baseline and across a 9-month follow-up period.

Findings showed (in comparison to the control group) that the mindset intervention led to significantly greater improvements in parent-reported youth depression (d = .60) and anxiety (= .28), youth-reported youth depression (= .32), and youth-reported perceived behavioral control (= .29) by 9-month follow-up. Intervention effects were nonsignificant for youth-reported anxiety, although 9-month effect sizes reached the small-to-medium range (= .33). Intervention group youths also experienced more rapid improvements in parent-reported depression, youth-reported depression, and perceived behavioral control across the follow-up period, compared to control group youths.

Study reveals depression links between fathers and their teenage children, 16th November 2017, IoE (UCL).

Researchers drew upon longitudinal data from the Millennium Cohort Study, based at the UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Centre for Longitudinal Studies, and the Irish Economic and Social Research Institute’s Growing Up in Ireland. Parental depressive symptoms were assessed using a questionnaire when the children were 9 and 7 years old in the two cohorts, and then adolescent depressive symptoms were assessed when the children were 13 and 14 years old. The study samples were population-based, meaning they included people who experienced symptoms of depression but had not sought treatment.

Findings showed that that adolescents whose fathers have depressive symptoms are more likely to experience symptoms of depression themselves.

Free Schools and England, Andrews and Johnes, November 2017: Education Policy Institute

The analysis uses the latest data on Free Schools to assess the impact of the programme on several measures, including pupil performance, inspection outcomes, popularity with parents, composition of pupils from different backgrounds and the extent to which the schools are addressing shortages of school capacity and high quality places.

A summary of findings shows that:

  • Two thirds of areas in England are not within a reasonable distance of either a primary or secondary free school. And Free schools are helping to meet the need for new school places – and growth has been higher in areas of “basic need”.

  • The programme has been ineffective in targeting areas of low school quality – indeed free school places are more likely to be found in areas of high performance (such as London) than in the areas of low school performance (such as the North East). Some of this is, however, explained by the need for new places in London to address population growth.

  • Free schools are more likely to be located in areas of disadvantage, but disadvantaged pupils in these areas are less likely to be admitted than would be expected.In the most deprived areas, 24 per cent of reception aged pupils in free schools were eligible for free school meals versus 32 per cent in other schools.

  • Free school pupils are much more likely to have a first language that is other than English than pupils in other state funded schools. In primary free schools just 33 per cent of pupils are white British, compared with 67.2 per cent of pupils nationally.

  • Free schools appear to be less popular with parents than all other school types, measured by parental preference data. However, free schools appear to become more popular with parents the longer they are open.

  • Free schools have not yet established themselves as the preferred local school for parents– where the nearest local school is a free school, just 22 per cent of pupils at primary and secondary level attend that school – the lowest of all school types.

  • It is not yet possible to conclude whether free schools are more effective in improving pupil attainment than other schools.

    • Free school Ofsted judgements are better at primary, similar to other schools at secondary, and considerably worse for special and alternative-provision schools.

    • Attainment and progress at the end of primary school is so far poor, but this is based on data from a small number of schools that may not be representative of the programme as whole. At secondary, the average free school Progress 8 score was the joint highest of all school groups (matching converter academies), but this may reflect the higher progress of pupils who are over-represented in free schools (such as those with English as an additional language).

International- Wales

Statutory assessment arrangements for the Foundation Phase and end of Key Stages 2 and 3, 2017-2018, 14th Nov:Learning Wales

It outlines a number of statutory requirements as well as guidance on teacher assessment and the annual National Reading and Numeracy Tests in Years 2 to 9. It is for all headteachers, teachers and governors.

National Academy for Educational Leadership, 15th November, Learning Wales

The National Academy for Educational Leadership (NAEL) will ensure high quality leadership provision for everyone in the education sector. Leadership is one of the four enabling objectives in Education in Wales: Our National Mission .

To meet this objective, the NAEL will be established in 2018. The NAEL will not be a deliverer of provision, but will ensure equal access to high quality leadership development opportunities.

Research partner announced for children’s social care project, 14th November 2017

Cardiff University has been named as the research partner for a new What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care. Working closely with social innovation charity Nesta, which was awarded the contract to deliver the What Works Centre last month, researchers at Cardiff will develop a strong evidence base around effective interventions and practice systems. This will include using the findings from projects in Round One of the government’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, published in the Final Programme Evaluation Report.

Small and rural schools set to benefit from £2.5m funding – Kirsty Williams, 17th Nov.

Funding includes using digital technology to combat the issue of professional isolation, providing administrative support in schools where the head teacher has significant teaching commitment, supporting collaboration and federation of schools, and where opportunities exist and there is local demand, using school facilities for community purposes.

Amongst the local authorities to receive funding are Anglesey, which will receive £138,000 to federate some of its schools, and Pembrokeshire, which has been awarded £158,000 to fund a Small School Innovation Project for a network of 15 small and rural schools.


How much will the literacy level of the working-age population change from now to 2022? 17th November 2017, Adult Skills IN Focus, no. 7: OECD

Between 2012 and 2022, the literacy proficiency of the working-age population in the countries (OECD) that took part in the Survey of Adult Skills is set to improve, mainly driven by the relatively low proficiency of the cohorts who will reach 65 between now and 2022 and the much higher literacy skills among the incoming age group. The participating countries are reaping the rewards of their investment in education since the 1970s. What these data show is that high quality schooling alone will not be enough to raise the quality of the workforce nearly as quickly as skills requirements are rising. Governments need to redouble their efforts to make lifelong and lifewide learning a reality for all.


HMRC delays full rollout of tax-free childcare, 15th November 2017: Pre-School Learning Alliance

HMRC confirmed that the government’s tax-free childcare offer will not be extended to all under 12s until March 2018 – not December 2017 as originally planned. Tax-free childcare for children under six will be offered from 24 November. 

The delay comes after a number of technical problems with HMRC’s Childcare Service website after its launch in March 2017. In a statement, the government said: “HMRC recognises that over the summer some parents didn’t receive the intended level of service whilst using the site.” It added that the more gradual rollout would allow them to “manage the volume of applications going through the service”.

The new and improved FREE CPD online short course has launched! Communication Trust 

The Communication Trust have re developed their online short course – An introduction to speech, language and communication! It is now tailored for the needs of practitioners working across all the different education phases. Users have the option to access four different pathways – early years, primary, secondary or further education. Each course has a number of activities and resources to support learning.

Businesses encouraged to support children’s reading in their local area by gifting a Literacy Toolkit, 17th November 2017

The National Literacy Trust have partnered with Walker Books to create a Literacy Toolkit . They are encouraging businesses to gift to a local primary school or community group, to support children’s literacy skills in their area.

The Toolkit is filled with resources to inspire pupils to enjoy reading and help teachers and parents to support children’s literacy skills. Each box includes:

  • A range of 50 books from Walker Books, aimed at children and young people aged 2 to 11

  • Fun activity sheets and other information for teachers to use in the classroom and send home

  • Guidance and templates to help schools engage parents and their local community

  • National Literacy Trust membership for a local school for one year, giving access to inspiring teaching resources and tools for outstanding literacy provision.

EEF Blog: The danger of oversimplifying the traditional vs progressive debate, 16th November 2017

In this blog, Robbie Coleman – a secondary school English teacher and a Senior Associate at the EEF – looks at the 'trads v progs' educational debate, in the light of research by Barak Rosenshine.

Coleman, concludes that ‘his paper illustrates the danger of oversimplifying the traditional vs. progressive debate. The distinctions between knowledge and skills, teacher-led and pupil-led approaches are real, but placing them together on a single dimension appears to me to be unhelpful’.

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Secondary accountability measures (including Progress 8 and Attainment 8), 16th November 2017

Primary school accountability, 16th November 2017

The documents provide the latest definition of coasting schools. Achievement for All works successfully with schools to drive improvement, getting better outcomes for pupils and providing a school framework to sustain improvement.

Can on-line off the shelf improve student outcomes? Evidence from a field experiment, Jackson and Mackerin, first published, January 2017, National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

Off the shelf resources for teachers give them more time to hone their teaching skills and do other tasks. At the same time they support better pupil outcomes. The Achievement for All Bubble provides many resources for teachers to use, along with guidance.