Department for Education

Justine Greening: teachers - the experts driving social mobility, Speech at the Chartered College of Teaching, 16th February

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education addressed the Chartered College of Teaching with her vision for the profession.

She spoke of the importance of children and young people getting a good education no matter what part of the country they grow up in. She referred to the areas designated as Opportunity Areas (social mobility coldspots) and her focus on bringing about change in these areas (from the inside- ‘home- grown’).

She also spoke about the support for the teaching profession:

‘……My aim is that from September 2019 we will introduce the newly strengthened QTS. And I want to work closely with the profession - including those of you here today - to shape what that will look like…….I believe a new focus on making sure all teachers have a clear and supported career path can help with some of these issues……..I want our teaching professionals to have clarity about how you can progress in your careers, a framework of support, and a culture that continues to embed new evidence and learning.

……And running through all this there is a recognition that we need to be conscious of the right approach for teachers working with children with special educational needs and disabilities. Every teacher is a teacher of children with SEN and disabilities, so it is important to ensure that this is mainstreamed within our NPQs, training and best practice. I think this needs to happen as they are being developed, rather than as an afterthought so that the professionals are properly equipped to support all pupils.

I think the national professional qualifications for school leaders should have the same kudos that MBAs do in business - recognised in and outside the profession as qualifications that empower individuals with high-quality leadership and management skills.

I want to make sure that these new qualifications are available to as many people as possible - particularly in the areas where they can make the biggest difference’.

Nick Gibb: the importance of an evidence-informed profession, speech to PGCE students, 16th February

Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, spoke to PGCE students at Buckingham University of the importance of evidence- informed practice and the need to develop children’s knowledge.

He said:

‘…….. Hence, it is not by having pupils behave as if they are experts that will have the best chance of them developing into experts, but rather giving pupils a strong grounding in the knowledge they will need. This knowledge provides a mental framework that pupils can then use and apply to new and novel problems - eventually, after many years of study, allowing them to become scientists and historians in their own right.

Ensuring teachers of the future are equipped with an up-to-date understanding of the latest research and a desire to use evidence to inform their teaching practice is key to improving schools. We must give trainee-teachers a firm foundation of knowledge and a healthy dose of scepticism with which to deal with the next Brain Gym.

In conclusion: Teaching is difficult. It is hard work. It is both challenging and rewarding intellectually and emotionally. And for all of these reasons, it remains one of the most honourable and important professions you can choose. To all of you, thank you for choosing to be a teacher’.

Expanding your academy trust: resources for multi-academy trusts

This provides links to a selection of sources of support and guidance for MATs looking to take on more schools and grow their academy trust.

Department for Education: Post 16

FE data library: other statistics and research

Apprenticeship completion rates, calculated using new methodology, show that one third of all those who start an apprenticeship do not complete it. Figures for 2015/2016 show a completion rate of 67%. Arts, media and publishing had the lowest achievement rates (60.4%)

See Apprenticeship achievement rates section

Further education and skills: January 2017

This has been republished to include headline 2015 to 2016 academic year qualification achievement rates (QARs)

FE data library: apprenticeships

Updates to tables on Apprenticeship starts August to October 2016 by: Geography and sector subject area, Framework, level, and age, Geography, level, and age, and Sector subject area, level, and age.

FE data library: apprenticeship vacancies archive, 14th February

This provides details on the number of apprenticeship vacancies- updated to include January 2017.

Apprenticeship funding: how it will work

Details of how the apprenticeship funding system we're introducing from May 2017 will affect employers. This has been republished with the following updates:

13 February 2017 Added a link to the apprenticeship service.

6 February 2017 Updated advice on using funds in your apprenticeship service account.

FE data library: further education and skills

This has been republished to include a data tool, providing regional data (region, parliamentary constituency, and local authority) for users on all FE and skills, apprenticeships, and English and maths participation, starts, and achievements. The data tool allows the user to easily interrogate particular geographies. It is in early stages of development, will evolve over time, and be updated on an ad hoc basis initially.

Other Government

LGA position paper: principles underpinning good careers advice and guidance, 16th February

Based on the analysis of the careers landscape and discussions with councils, this paper sets out what the Local Government Association believes should be the five guiding principles underpinning a good careers system for all ages and the role councils should play in this. The five guiding principles are:

Principle 1: Careers advice and guidance should be locally commissioned

Principle 2: Relevant support at key stages

Principle 3: Access to personal guidance

Principle 4: Work Experience opportunities

Principle 5: Careers advice and guidance should be based on local labour market intelligence  


Local area SEND inspection outcome letters

The following outcome letter have been published:

Suffolk Joint area local SEND inspection

The letter highlights weaknesses in local area practices. In relation to schools and colleges consistency and quality of inclusive practices were highlighted as areas for development along with the poor quality of some post 16 provision and the significantly high proportion of young people who are NEET.

Leeds Joint area local SEND inspection

The letter showed real strengths in the service provided for those with SEND, particularly the way CYP have a voice in shaping the service provided. However, the letter noted that outcomes for children and young people is variable, where secondary aged pupils who require support for their special educational needs and/or disabilities make poor progress.


Quality in Early Years Settings and Children’s School Achievement, Blanden et al.13th February 2017: LSE/ ESRC.

The results from the study show that although children’s outcomes are related to the nursery they attend, results suggest that quality is not dependent on staff qualifications and OfSTED ratings.

The researchers used administrative data on over two million children to relate

performance on national teacher assessments at ages 5 and 7 to the quality characteristics of the nursery they attended before starting school. Results show that staff qualifications and childcare quality ratings have a weak association with teacher assessments at school, based on comparing children who attended different nurseries but attended the same primary school.


Health Select Committee Inquiry on children and young people’s mental health–the role of education, Education Policy Institute Submission

The Education Policy Institute has published its official submission to the House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry, ‘Children and young people’s mental health – the role of education‘. The inquiry examines what part educational settings can play in promoting emotional wellbeing in children and young people and preventing the development of mental health problems. Key points in their response include the following:

Schools can help to prevent mental health problems by raising awareness, reducing stigma and having good policies in place to prevent bullying.

To address these concerns about young people accessing help, a national strategy on mental health and schools is required. This should include training for teachers and a consistent programme of evidence-based in-school support. It should also involve statutory, updated PSHE lessons and Ofsted taking wellbeing into consideration as part of any school or college inspection.

Combining primary and secondary teaching could see maths teachers multiply, 10th February: Common Space

The University of Glasgow has announced it will begin training educators to work between primary and secondary schools in a bid to boost dwindling numbers of maths teachers

Professor Trevor Gale, head of the university’s School of Education said:

 “The programme has been developed by the University of Glasgow’s School of Education to create a new kind of teacher – a middle years teacher who would teach in the upper grades of primary school and the lower grades of secondary school. The programme is part of the School of Education’s broader commitment to producing more STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] teachers in Scotland. Research indicates that academic achievement of some students can decline as they transition from primary to secondary school.” 

The scheme could see pupils taught maths by the same teacher from the latter years of primary school to the early years of secondary education – a move Professor Gale believes will improve the standard of learning and close the attainment gap between poorer and better off pupils. Achievement of some students can decline as they transition from primary to secondary school; this is particularly the case for pupils from disadvantaged background and particularly in mathematics.

Life is better for young people who are involved in helping others, #iwill survey   

The study carried out by Ipsos MORI for  #iwill highlights the benefits to young people of taking part in volunteering and social action. The young people have higher life-satisfaction than those who don’t, as well as having stronger personal networks. Involvement in social action is also shown to support confidence in gaining employment. The proportion of young people who felt it would help them to do so, rises steadily with the frequency of participation – 88% of those involved once a month thought social action would help them find work in future. Findings showed that only 17% of 10 to 20 year-olds are reluctant to take part in activities like fundraising, campaigning and volunteering; however, less than half of this age group (42%) are shown to be participating – suggesting that appetite isn’t matched by the opportunities available.

Cyber security lessons offered to schools in England, 11th February, BBC

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is providing £20m for lessons in cyber security, which will be designed to fit around pupils' current courses and exams. A Commons committee last week warned that a skills shortage was undermining confidence in the UK's cyber defences.

Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock said: "This forward-thinking programme will see thousands of the best and brightest young minds given the opportunity to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies.

It is hoped 5,700 pupils aged 14 and over will spend up to four hours a week on the subject in a five-year pilot. Classroom and online teaching, "real-world challenges" and work experience will be made available from September.