Department for Education

Performance tables: approved qualifications and discount codes, updated 13th June.

This provides approved key stage 4 and 16 to 18 qualifications and discount codes for reporting in the 2014 to 2019 school and college performance tables. It has been republished to include the following update for Key stage 4 qualifications and discount codes: 2014 to 2019 performance tables. ‘QN – 60069430, BCS Level 2 ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills (QCF)’ has been removed from the 2018 tab.


National achievement rates tables 2015 to 2016, 15th June 2017

The national achievement rates tables (NARTs) are summary indicators of performance in apprenticeships and education and training. Individual providers use the data to benchmark their own targets and actual performance. (see details below)

Further education and skills: March 2017 (updated 15th June)

Revision to headline qualification achievement rates for 2015 to 2016

In 2015/16, adult (19+) Education and Training QARs were:

  • 85.9 per cent for all Education and Training, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points compared with 2014/15 and 79.0 per cent for English and maths qualifications, a decrease of 0.9 percentage points compared with 2014/15

  • 83.6 per cent for Level 2 qualifications, a decrease of 1.8 percentage points compared with 2014/15 (87.8 per cent for Full Level 2, an increase of 0.3 percentage points)

  • 80.5 per cent for Level 3 qualifications, a decrease of 1.1 percentage points compared with 2014/15 (79.8 per cent for Full Level 3, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points)

In 2015/16, Apprenticeship QARs were:

  • 67.0 per cent for all Apprenticeships, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points compared with 2014/15

  • 66.5 per cent for Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points compared with 2014/15

  • 68.5 per cent for Advanced Level Apprenticeships, an increase of 0.2 percentage points compared with 2014/15

  • 58.3 per cent for Higher Apprenticeships, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points compared to 2014/15

  • 66.2 per cent for Apprenticeships by those aged 19 and over, an increase of 0.2 percentage points compared with 2014/15

  • 69.3 per cent for Apprenticeships by those aged under 19, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points compared with 2014/15


Local area SEND inspection outcome letters, 16th June, 2017

(Gateshead, Halton and Middlesborough)

Areas for development (relevant)

Gateshead, areas for development- The identification of new and emerging needs, particularly of school-age children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, is not focused strongly enough on early help for prevention and outdated practice in some primary and secondary schools means that a few parents and carers are not always informed, in ways they understand, about why additional support is being provided for their child. This shows a collective lack of understanding about the principle of co-production.

Middlesbrough, areas for development- In some schools and settings, staff do not have sufficient knowledge of the disability and special educational needs reforms. Equally, some staff in these settings are not knowledgeable enough about how to identify children and young people’s special educational needs. While leaders recognise that this is a barrier to effective and timely identification of needs, they have not done enough to tackle this fundamental weakness.

Ofsted is seeking views on improved approach to short inspections, 15th June

Consultation closes 18th August 11.30am

Short inspections began in September 2015 as a proportionate approach to inspecting schools previously judged to be good. Most schools inspected this way keep their good rating. But when the lead inspector decides there is insufficient evidence to confirm the school is still good, or thinks it may now be outstanding, they will convert the short inspection into a full inspection. A team of inspectors then arrives at the school within 48 hours, to gather more evidence and reach a final judgement. School leaders and inspectors have said that the 48 hour conversion period can be challenging, for the following reasons.

  1. Inspection schedules often change at the last minute, which can mean standing down Ofsted Inspectors (OIs) at short notice.

  2. The decision to convert a short inspection is usually taken mid-afternoon, and a team of inspectors then arrives on site early the next day.

  3. In about 20% of cases, before a short inspection takes place it is already clear that a school is facing complex circumstances that warrant a full inspection.

Proposed changes

The consultation proposes 2 operational changes to improve the conversion process.

  1. When a short inspection converts, the full inspection will be completed within a maximum of 15 working days, rather than 48 hours.

  2. A full inspection will automatically take place in around 1 in 5 cases where Ofsted has prior evidence that a school is in complex circumstances.

How Ofsted will select new schools for inspection, 16th June 2017 (republished with minor clarification points)

The first inspection of all new schools, including academies, will usually take place within 3 years of opening. In most instances, Ofsted will not select new schools for a first inspection until they are in their third year of operation.

Amanda Spielman's speech at the Sixth Form Colleges Association, 14th June 2017

Ofsted's Chief Inspector talks about curriculum changes, funding and future challenges.

In her speech, Amanda Spielman acknowledged the changing landscape- new A Levels (inspectors will take this into consideration), FE colleges merging and many sixth forms becoming academies. In relation to funding, she said:

‘It is striking, and concerning, to see the feedback in the most recent SFCA survey of members. I am sure I don’t need to remind you of the highlights: two thirds of you have dropped courses due to funding concerns. More than a third reported having to drop a modern foreign language course. Nearly two thirds have removed or reduced enrichment activities. This is not comfortable reading.

Taken in isolation these figures could be depressing, but I take comfort knowing that sixth form colleges are remarkably efficient in using resources to maximise curriculum time. Inspection findings show that the best providers of study programmes are those with the largest numbers of A-level students, regardless of whether the provider is a school sixth form, general FE, or sixth form college.

It is telling that such high proportion of you are actively considering the move to academy status. I think it is safe to assume that many of you are motivated by the VAT handicaps that disadvantages you relative to your school sixth-form contemporaries. But I am interested if there are other factors as well.

And it is absolutely right for you to be thinking about how best to deliver a sustainable future for your colleges. Ultimately, your survival, and with it the continued provision of quality education for so many young people, is at stake. I absolutely recognise that all this change has created much extra work. But a word of caution. Please don’t let this distract you from the first priority: of ensuring that the young people you serve get the best possible education’.

Further Education and Skills full and short inspections (all in year inspections from 1 Sept 2016), 12th June 2017

Of the 271 inspections during the year, 63% of FE providers were good or outstanding. 30% require improvement and 7% were inadequate.

(Since December 2015 further education and skills management information includes both in-year and most recent inspection outcomes. Data is updated monthly, around the 10th working day of each month).

School inspections and outcomes: management information, 13th June 2017

20,927/21,957 schools were inspected to 31st May 2017. Of those inspected 67% were good, 21% were outstanding, 9% require improvement and 2% are inadequate.

Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 March 2017, 14th June 2017.

93% of childcare providers (on the early years register) were judged to be good or outstanding (same as Dec. 2016)

There were 43,500 childminders registered with Ofsted as at 31 March 2017. (down 500 since 31 December 2016).

Overall, childminder numbers have fallen by 24% since 31 August 2012.

The number of non-domestic providers increased by 100 in the first three months of 2017 to 27,000. (but this is down 3% since 31 August 2012).

Also see: Ofsted reports a further decline in childminders, 14th June, PACEY


Research Review: Language problems in children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – a systematic meta-analytic review, Korrel et al., 10th Feb 2017, Journal of Child Psychology and psychiatry

The review aimed to establish the type of language disorders children with ADHD have. Findings showed that children with ADHD have poorer performance on measures of overall, expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language compared with controls. The authors suggest that a screening of language functioning may be a valuable addition to the assessment of ADHD.

New trial will find out if a smartphone app can improve toddlers’ language skills, 16th June, EEF

The EEF has just awarded funding to EasyPeasy to trial a smartphone app. Parents and carers of 7,800 children will take part in a trial of EasyPeasyThey’ll be sent short video clips that give them ideas of games to play with their child, along with brief written instructions and a series of text reminders encouraging them to try out the games.

There is good evidence that engaged parents and a vibrant home learning environment are major influences on children’s development, yet little is known about how to better support families who are struggling to provide this. The content on the EasyPeasy app covers all areas of the early years curriculum and aims to encourage positive interaction with children at home.

Social Mobility Index (first published Jan 2016; republished with update), 16th June: Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission

The social mobility index sets out the differences between where children grow up and the chances they have of doing well in adult life. It has been republished to include a correction to Westminster local authority’s school and youth rankings in the social mobility index data spreadsheet.


Starting Strong V: Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education, OECD, Available from 21st June 2017

The report provides an overview of ECEC systems and provision, along with trend data and information on recent reforms in OECD countries. The report covers access and governance, equity, financing, curriculum, the teaching workforce and parent engagement.


Free school head to lead campaign for a 'knowledge-rich curriculum', E. Busby, 14th June: TES

The founder and head of Bedford Free School, Mark Lehain, is stepping down to lead Parents and Teachers for Excellence - an organisation which promotes a knowledge-based curriculum, rigorous assessment and effective behaviour policies. 

How to help vulnerable pupils prepare for the summer holidays, Dr. Pooky Knightsmith, 7th June 2017

The article based on a recent webinar given by the author provides very positive practical advice on how vulnerable children and young people can be helped to prepare for the school holidays

The author, an expert in child well-being, highlights the need to ask them about their concerns for the holiday, listen to them and then talk through/support them in problem solving. She also suggests finding out who the key people will be during the holidays and helps them to think about developing a daily routine.

Exam stress rising? No, pupils are just better at seeking help, L. McInerney, 18th June, The Guardian

The author says with good support, exam stress can be positive. She says a key difference between teens now and a decade ago is that modern ones are more “work-focused” but more distressed because they feel “less in control”. This is not all bad, however. It turns out that because teens now spend more time worrying about exams, they have become much more likely to want to go on to higher education and much less likely to smoke cannabis, get drunk, vandalise or shoplift.

But, she says, this positive boost in conscientiousness isn’t the same for all young people. Children with special needs and those from low-income families remain more likely to engage in risky behaviours and less likely to be “work-focused”. But they are less likely to be “distressed” than teens from relatively advantaged backgrounds. She continues, the more educated a child’s parents, the more likely they are to focus on work but also to be stressed. “Tiger parents”, who zealously pry into their child’s revision, should take note. It seems that we cannot have our kids be the smartest in the class without something else also giving.

750,000 voters switched support as a result of school funding cuts, survey finds, M. George, 14th June 2017: TES

The poll, carried out by Survation, found that 22.6 per cent of voters switched the party they intended to back during the campaign. Of these, 10.4 per cent cited school funding policy as the reason. That equates to roughly three-quarters of a million voters. The poll suggests Labour was the beneficiary, gaining the support of 62.5 per cent of those who said school funding caused them to change their vote.

Exclusive: Ministers considering 'all the options' for increasing school funding, M. George, 13th June 2017: TES

The author says that Ministers are now considering “all the options” on increasing school funding.

He goes on to say the school budgets could grow. School funding became a key issue in the election campaign, with Labour promising a real-terms increase in per pupil funding.

He reports that prime minister Theresa May reportedly told Conservative MPs that the age of austerity was over, and there has been speculation that schools could see their budgets increased as ministers look to neutralise the issue.

A source close to the DfE told Tes: “There is now a process looking at all the options on funding.” However, they added that any decisions about increasing the schools budget would have to be taken at the top of government.

On the wider set of manifesto commitments, which include the introduction of a national funding formula for schools, they said ministers were looking at what they would be able to take forward, adding: “Any government business requiring legislation is going to have to have to take account of the new parliamentary arithmetic.” 

Share your experiences of working with parents and enter a prize draw! Communication Trust

Following a survey in 2016 to members of the children’s workforce and administered by the Communication Trust, gaps in their professional development in talking to parents about speech, language and communication were highlighted.

As a result, this year the Communication Trust have been funded by the Department for Education to develop materials to meet this learning need. They will work in partnership with Afasic (a UK based charity who provide information and support to parents who have children with speech, language and communication needs) to produce a series of online learning videos which will aim to support practitioners to engage with parents. To inform this piece of work, they are running a short survey to gather views and experiences of working with parents. You can follow this link before 6th July to access the short survey and enter a prize draw to win a set of Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools! 

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters, 16th June, 2017

(Gateshead, Halton and Middlesborough)

Middlesbrough, areas for development- In some schools and settings, staff do not have sufficient knowledge of the disability and special educational needs reforms. Equally, some staff in these settings are not knowledgeable enough about how to identify children and young people’s special educational needs. While leaders recognise that this is a barrier to effective and timely identification of needs, they have not done enough to tackle this fundamental weakness.

Achievement for All works with schools to support development of their knowledge and understanding of SEND reform.