Department for Education

School capital funding allocations: 2015 to 2018 (updated 12th May 2017)

This has been republished since April 2017 to provide updated information on the school condition allocations and devolved formula capital spreadsheet and assurance note.

2019 performance tables: technical and vocational qualifications (updated 12th May 2017)

Technical and vocational qualifications for teaching from September 2017 and reporting in 2019 performance tables. Updated the list with added qualifications.

Department for Education: Statistics

Outcomes for children looked after by LAs: 31 March 2016 (updated 11th May 2017)

First published 23rd March 2017, republished with updates. Additional tables and text have been added for attainment of children who have left care, methodology document, underlying data and additional tables pre-release access list.

Research

What is the evidence base to support reading interventions for improving student outcomes in grades 1–3? Gersten et al., National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance

The findings are based on studies of 20 interventions conducted in the US that met the What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards. Of these 20 interventions, 19 produced positive or potentially positive effects in at least one area of reading. The strongest and most consistent effects were found in word and pseudo-word reading for all three grades.

Although the evidence supports the efficacy of reading interventions, the review mainly evaluates interventions for individual pupils, as opposed to small-group interventions which are more typical in school settings. In addition, most of the interventions include high levels of ongoing support for teachers.

School discipline data indicators: A guide for districts and schools, Institute of Education Sciences (US)

This guide is designed to help educators select and analyze data to determine whether some groups of pupils are disproportionally disciplined Such information may help educators consider whether they need to reduce disproportionate rates of exclusionary school discipline (suspensions and expulsions). It provides examples of how to select and analyze data to determine whether disproportionality exists in a school or district’s discipline practices. The guide also describes how to use data as part of a Plan–Do–Study–Act continuous improvement cycle to improve desired school discipline outcomes.

Kent 11-plus, part 6: Conclusions, Rebecca Allen, 5th May (Blog post): Education Datalab

This is part of a series of posts on the 11-plus in Kent. Analysis shows that:

Children eligible for free school meals score particularly poorly in the reasoning element of the Kent Test compared to other elements – reflecting, perhaps, this being a component where some children’s scores are lifted by private education or tutoring.

Children eligible for free schools meals generally do have a better success rate at headteacher panels than those who are not eligible, but the gap may not be as great as we would expect, given other characteristics of these FSM-eligible children.

What difference does a year make? Part 3, Mike Treadaway, 12th May (Blog post): Education Datalab

The first two blogposts in this series showed that pupils’ attainment varies with their month of birth, with September-born pupils on average having higher attainment than those born in August. Among the other findings were that:

  • gaps were widest for Foundation Stage Profile (FSP), and reduced as pupils became older (Key Stages 1 and 2);
  • for lower levels of attainment, the gap has been reducing over the past 10 years at both FSP and KS1;
  • for higher levels of attainment, gaps don’t seem to have reduced in the same way.

Types of indicators

The author says that to understand the closing of the gap at FSP we need to understand differences between:

  • threshold measures, i.e. the percentage of pupils attaining at, or above, a given level;
  • points-based measures, i.e. an average score attained by all pupils.

Of the two, threshold measures are a poor measure of changes in the attainment of all pupils because they focus only upon one group of pupils – those attaining just below the threshold.

What can we conclude from this?

The first is a positive one, and is that the narrowing of the month-of-birth gap observed at FSP is not entirely explained away by there being more summer-born pupils just below the threshold level to begin with.

Analysis would suggest that about 50% of the reduction in the age gap has been caused by improvement in the underlying score, and points-based indicators such as average total FSP score seems to bear the fact that there has been a real change in the relative attainment of autumn- and summer-born children out.

The remaining 50% of the reduction in the age gap is simply a consequence of there being more summer-born pupils below the threshold level.

But given that targets for FSP have focused heavily on the percentage of pupils reaching a good level of development we should not be surprised to find that there has been more improvement for pupils below the threshold.

The second, much broader, and potentially more important conclusion, is that comparisons of the performance of groups of pupils can give inaccurate conclusions if we look only at threshold indicators.

This conclusion has implications for any analysis – not just of Foundation Stage Profile data, and not just when analysis is done by month of birth. It could affect, for example, analysis of different groups of pupils reaching the expected level at Key Stage 2, or achieving grade C or higher at Key Stage 4.

International

Rise in children in schools with autism spectrum disorder, 6th May 2017: BBC News

The article highlights the increase in the number of schoolchildren in Wales with autism spectrum disorder- an increase of more than 50% in the past five years. Welsh Government figures show there were 3,450 autistic pupils in schools in 201, rising to 5,325 in 2016.

The Welsh Government is spending an extra £7m on a national autism service.

The biggest increase was in primary schools, where the figure rose from 1,290 in 2011 to 2,055 in 2016.

Meleri Thomas from NAS Cymru said this was largely due to a better understanding of autism and improvements in diagnostic services, and the growth in autistic children getting support in school was in line with this.Ms Thomas said special educational needs reforms needed to ensure autistic children "get the support they need to fulfil their potential".

Children in care doing better in GCSE exams, Wales, 10th May 2017: BBC

In 2016, 23% of children who were looked after achieved the equivalent of five GCSEs at grade A*-C in English or Welsh first language and mathematics, up from 17% from 2015.

Last year, the Welsh Government embarked on a three-year plan to raise ambitions and attainments for the children in care. Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said research showed expectations were too often reduced for young people in care.

But she said the Welsh Government was taking action to face the issue "head on".

Developments include a new online hub to share information and resources focusing on children in care.

Literacy levels drop among Scots pupils, S. Macnab, 9th May 2017: The Scotsman

Reading and writing standards among younger pupils in Scotland have fallen, official figures have revealed. The writing performance of youngsters in the second year of secondary and the final year of Primary fell between 2016 and 2012, according to the latest Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy. The reading ability of children in Primary 4 and Primary 7 was also down slightly, according to the annual survey. 

Other

Five priorities for improving children’s mental health, P. Burstow, 5th May, Guardian

The article builds on the recommendations made by the First joint report of the Education and Health Committees of session 2016-2017. Children and Young People’s Mental Health: The role of education, 2nd May , which proposed a whole-school approach to the well-being and mental health of CYP, along with a ‘joined up’ approach of services. In this article the author sets out the following five priorities for future policy:

  • make Camhs services up to age 25 the norm.
  • mental health and wellbeing should be integral to the life and work of schools, not a bolt on.
  • a proactive approach to identifying and meeting need could do much to prevent mental distress entrenching into lifelong mental illness, offering timely support to parents to strengthen parenting and reduce parental conflict.
  • embed mental health expertise in every school as part of a richer Camhs offer ensures there is no wrong door for young people when it comes to getting the right help at the right time.
  • build on the progress already made with the Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme; deliver Camhs services that focus on outcomes; make a reality of shared decision-making; and deliver evidence-based interventions and support.

See also: Five great ways to promote wellbeing, T. Day, 3rd May 2017: SecEd

And: Charity set’s out children’s mental health priorities for next government, 9th May 2017: Children and Young People Now

Childhood bullying could mean health risks in adulthood, researchers warn, O.Blair, 9th May 2017: The Independent

The study tracked more than 300 men from first grade (aged five to seven years old) until their early 30s. They found that men who were bullies during childhood were more likely to smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, experience stressful circumstances and be aggressive and hostile more than 20 years later. 

On the other hand, men who were bullied as children had more financial difficulties, felt more unfairly treated by others and were less optimistic about their future.

The young people who don’t fall NEET-ly into the picture, Sumner and McCrone, Blog, 10th May: NfER

The authors of the blog call for the government to increase the focus on hose vulnerable to becoming NEET.

Following the General Election in 2015, NFER, in collaboration with Full Fact, reviewed the education promises made in the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos. They identified the vitally important areas that no-one was talking about. The number one issue on this list was young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs).They say:

It was heartening to see ideas proposed in the recent Industrial Strategy Green Paper that have the potential to increase the quality of education and training provision post-16, including technical routes and vocational qualifications. But there will almost certainly remain a cohort of young people, often with complex barriers to learning or employment, who get left behind. It is important that all political parties maintain a focus on this vulnerable group of young people and how to address their needs.

One of the proposals highlighted in the Green Paper is a new ‘transition year’ for the over 16s (first mooted in the Post-16 Skills Plan in 2016), which intends to reduce the number of NEETs by, ‘providing intensive support in basic skills for those who need it most’. Although, NFER research suggests earlier interventions may be more effective in preventing young people falling into NEET-hood. If an additional year can be effectively deployed to support those most in need of further developing their skills range; including raising their levels of literacy and numeracy to engage them in training and provide them with the skills valued by employers, it is to be encouraged. It has the potential to be an interesting and valuable idea, but only if is properly explained, supported and resourced.

Let’s ensure that this time policies focus on all young people, including those vulnerable groups at risk of becoming NEET, and how we address their needs too.

New rule change allows schools to remove school governors for first time, C. Turner, 6th May: Telegraph

Under current regulations, only appointed parent governors can be removed. But as of September, all governors can be forcibly removed if there is a majority vote by the rest of the board. The National Governance Association (NGA) tentatively welcomed the move, but urged ministers to give a detailed explanation about when it would be appropriate to use the powers of removal to prevent them from being exploited.

'Education providers should be preparing for T-levels now', R. Slane, 8th May: TES

A reluctance to get started on T-level preparation is understandable, but it is not sustainable, EMSI's Rob Slane writes

The author suggests that it’s time to start preparing for T- Levels- because ‘they will be coming’.

The basic T-Level system is one that teaches the skills that best serve the needs of industry and employers, and the mechanism by which this will be delivered is the streamlining of the current 13,000-plus technical qualifications down to just 15 basic routes, Slane says.

This being the case, he says, what then is the most fundamental thing a provider must do to prepare for the introduction of T-Levels? The answer is to identify the employer demand for each T-Level route in terms of the occupations they relate to in the region, and to plan a curriculum which takes this into account.

The key to successful T-Level preparation is to begin with asking the following questions:

  • What occupations do each of the T-level routes relate to?
  • What is the demand for those occupations in our region?
  • How does our curriculum align with regional demand for these jobs?

Answering these questions is not only entirely feasible, (see here for one group of colleges that has taken this approach), but also essential for T-Levels to be really effective. As Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. The flip side of this is that the provider that engages in good, early preparation is the one that is best prepared for success.