Department for Education

Teacher workload survey 2016

93% of respondents stated that workload in their school was at least a fairly serious problem. Teachers worked on average 53 hours and 13 hours out of school.

Senior leaders said they used different strategies to try to manage and plan

professional time. The most common mechanisms were statutory protected blocks of non-teaching time, working collaboratively with other staff to plan work and using existing schemes of work and associated lesson plans which can be adapted by teaching staff. Over one in five (22%) senior leaders in schools rated as Outstanding by Ofsted reported the existence of a committee to monitor teachers’ workload. The proportion in other schools is 9%.

Reducing teacher workload, Policy paper, 24th February

This has been republished to include an action plan of what the government is doing to reduce unnecessary workload for teachers, including details of the workload challenge.

One action is to publish the useful teacher workload poster and pamphlet (below).

Teacher workload: poster and pamphlet, 24th February

These materials feature the main recommendations from the 3 independent teacher workload review groups looking at:

  • marking

  • planning and resources

  • data management

The recommendations were produced by the Department for Education with Ofsted and the teaching unions.

The full recommendations from the 3 independent review groups are available.

See also Recruitment and Retention of Teachers, House of Commons Education Committee, published 21st February (the key themes outlined by Justine Greening are discussed further in this report)

Subject excellence clusters: evaluation, 23rd February

The evaluation examined heads of subject departments’ use of detailed information on GCSE entries and performance to make decisions on:

  • examination entry for groups of pupils

  • allocation of pupils and teachers to classes

  • performance management of teachers within departments

Findings showed that:

Heads of department are confident about their ability to interpret and use pupil performance data.

  • However, departmental heads tend to overestimate the ability and performance of their department relative to others. This tendency to overestimate performance could be kept in check by encouraging heads of department to collectively review each other’s exam performance.

  • Providing information to schools is not sufficient to improve attainment outcomes or change entry patterns; using information to aid decision-making and to implement change is more difficult for schools.

  • Schools find collaboration with other schools challenging- this is because of time constraints, workload pressures, a lack of clarity about the purpose of collaboration projects and being unable to make contact with counterparts in other schools. There is an appetite for knowledge sharing and senior leadership teams influence the degree of collaboration taking place.

Department for Education: Post 16

SEND: 19- to 25-year-olds’ entitlement to EHC plans, 21st February

This is a guide for local authorities about EHC plans for 19- to 25-year-olds with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

It provides detail on how to support 19- to 25-year-olds:

  • to find a supported internship

  • to access further education

  • to extend or finish their EHC plan

  • who need more time to study

  • with their health and social care

2019 performance tables: technical and vocational qualifications, 22nd February

The tables provide a list of all technical and vocational qualifications for teaching from September 2017 and reporting in 2019 performance tables. They include the following categories:

  • technical awards

  • technical certificates

  • tech levels

  • applied general qualifications

Network established to encourage diversity in apprenticeships, 21st February

The Department for Education has announced a group of employers who have come together to help promote diversity within apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) is comprised of 23 employers, including Rolls Royce, BBC, BAE Systems and a number of small- and medium-sized employers. The network has been established to champion apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers and encourage more people from underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, women and members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, to consider apprenticeships.

Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon said:

‘……Although last year saw record numbers of people with a disability or from disadvantaged backgrounds start on a high-quality apprenticeship, we need to do much more. That is why it is vital that so many diverse employers have come together to pledge to do more to ensure apprenticeships are truly open to everyone. I am also extremely pleased that we are announcing Nus Ghani as the chair – with her knowledge, commitment and expertise, I am sure she will do a brilliant job in making sure apprenticeships can work for as many people as possible’.

DfE encourages more businesses to offer apprenticeships, 23rd February

Get In Go Far - the government’s flagship campaign to promote apprenticeships – has launched a new wave of activity focused on promoting apprenticeships to employers.

New analysis in support of the campaign highlights that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to recruit 202,000 new apprentices in the next 12 months, helping more young people get their foot in the door at leading companies across the country.

Additional research also highlights the many ways in which apprentices boost the businesses they work for:

  • more than 24,000 apprentice-employing SMEs in the private sector reported that hiring an apprentice has actually helped them win business

  • 3 in 4 SMEs that employ apprentices report increased productivity thanks to apprenticeships with product/service improvement

  • nearly all (96%) SMEs report at least one business benefit to hiring an apprentice

However, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure employers of all sizes gain the skills they need for their workforce. Almost three-quarters of SMEs still remain to be convinced about the merits of taking on an apprentice.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:

‘We know that apprenticeships give people of all ages and all backgrounds a ladder of opportunity to get the skills they need. That is why more than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their scheme ends…’

Apprenticeships for Northern Growth: Challenges, trends and current reforms., Education Policy Institute, 22nd February

Key Findings

  • 36 per cent of all apprenticeship starts in England are in the North, despite representing 23 per cent of the working age population.

  • With higher levels of public employment in the North compared to other regions, the North may be especially affected by the Government’s new public sector apprenticeships target.

  • As in the rest of the country, there is significant uncertainty among Northern employers about the likely effects of the Apprenticeship Levy. When northern employers were asked about the likely impact of the Levy:

    • 47 per cent expected it to create new apprenticeship programmes;

    • 28 per cent expected a decrease in graduate recruitment; and,

    • 39 per cent anticipated reductions in other forms of training that were not apprenticeships.

Further education area reviews: policy and reports

The following area reviews were published on 24th February

East and south east London

West London

South London

Central London


Statistics Quarterly Brief October to December 2016, England, 23rd February

The proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) decreased slightly, on the same period last year, for the 19-24 and 16-24 age groups and remained the same for the 16-18 age group.

Over the same period, the 16-18 NEET rate remained the same at 6.6%

A level and other 16 to 18 results: 2015 to 2016 (revised) (first published 19th January 2017)

This has been republished to include an updated maths and science table 13b with corrected region names in the main text.

Department for Education- Early Years

Childcare and early years providers survey: 2016

The survey shows that there are:

  • 25,500 group-based providers; 17,900 school-based providers; 46,600 registered childminders (figures based on survey estimate). A group based provider is defined as a childcare provider, registered with Ofsted and operating on non-domestic premises.

  •  39% of places are by Group based providers; 53% by school based and 9% by childminders

  •  3.1 million Ofsted registered childcare places (estimate)

  •  452,100 early years staff (estimate)

  • A large percentage of early years staff were qualified to at least level 3. Staff in school-based settings were more likely to be qualified to degree level than those in other settings.


Ofsted launches new social care common inspection framework, 22nd February

A new social care common inspection framework will take effect in April 2017.

From 1 April, the following three principles will link all our inspections of children’s social care providers:

  • to focus on the things that matter most to children’s lives

  • to be consistent in our expectations of providers

  • to prioritise our work where improvement is needed most

At present there are several variations in the inspection guidance for social care providers across the range of settings, and differences in the criteria used by Ofsted to make judgements on each type of service. The experiences and progress of children are central to the new SCCIF. The framework will support inspectors to focus on the difference the provider makes to the lives of children and other service users.

See also Future of social care inspection, consultation outcome

And: The social care common inspection framework: questions and answers


Closing the attainment gap in maths: a study of good practice in early years and primary settings

Achievement for All, which co -chairs the Fair Education Alliance numeracy group with KPMG have just published a case study report highlighting best practice in early years and primary maths; the report was launched at KPMG offices in Canary Wharf on 23rd February. Findings from the report show that when primary schools and early years settings have a whole school or setting approach to maths, children’s outcomes are better and in many cases exceed expectation. A whole school approach means focusing on maths across leadership, attitudes (children, teachers, practitioners, teaching assistants, parents), teaching and learning, progress and assessment, the environment, parent and carer engagement, wider opportunities and well-being.

Although family background has a significant impact on children’s achievement in England, the case studies in the report show that with a whole school or setting approach to maths, the link between underachievement and socio-economic disadvantage can be broken. The schools and early years settings that are getting it right, as shown by the case studies, are delivering a high quality education irrespective of children’s social or economic background.

A Global Britain: From local start-ups to international markets, tech and digital policy for skills, investment & trade, February 2017: The Coalition for a Digital Economy

The report by the  Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) explored the skills currently in greatest demand by tech startups. They found three major skills shortages, which were “most likely to be in high demand in the future”:

  • Software development (interchangeable with software engineer)

  • Advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills (STEM)

  • Basic skills in literacy and numeracy

Rachel Wolf, co-author of the report and a former government policy advisor, said that while the focus of the report was the technology sector, the findings could be applied to the wider economy.

The report calls for basic levels of literacy and numeracy, at GCSE level, to be “a requirement for all further and higher education”, as is the case in many other countries. 

See also: Sats-style maths exam for university applicants 'could help post-Brexit Britain compete', 21st February: TES


Exclusive: Teachers fall down graduate pay league table, 20th February: TES

The report by Incomes Data Research, commissioned by NASUWT teaching union, shows that the pay of both secondary and primary teachers has slipped relative to comparable graduate professions since 2005.

In 2005, secondary teachers were ranked sixth out of 12 graduate professions for median gross earnings, while primary and nursery teachers were ranked tenth.

By 2015 secondary teachers had fallen to ninth and primary and nursery teachers had dropped to eleventh.

Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, said that the “stark differences in graduate pay” would worsen what was already “a recruitment and retention crisis”.

She added: “[Pupils] cannot receive their entitlement to high-quality education when talented teachers are leaving and potential recruits can find jobs in other graduate occupations that recognise and better reward their talents.”

Norfolk's school improvement service to become separate not-for-profit company, 21st February: TES

Norfolk County Council will turn its Norfolk Better to Best programme into a community interest company, funded entirely by membership fees from schools that join it; this could make it the first of its kind in England.

The scheme, which was launched in 2013 with £1.5 million of council funding for four years, will become the Viscount Nelson Education Network (VNET) on 1 April. Denise Walker, who has led the programme since its inception and will become the new company's chief executive.

The programme initially aimed to help 120 schools with an Ofsted "requires improvement" grade to become "good", but it was later opened up to all schools, and now has 240 on its books – including schools that have broken away from the council to become academies.

Since the launch of the scheme, the proportion of the county’s schools judged "good" or "outstanding" has risen from 63 per cent to 88 per cent – just below the national average.

Pupils to sit times tables check from 2019, 22nd February, BBC

Mr. Gibb, told the Commons Education Select Committee on Wednesday that the times table check would go ahead.

He said: "It was in our manifesto in 2015. We think times tables are a very important part of mathematical knowledge."

If a child was trying to perform long multiplication or long division they needed to know their times tables, he added.

The check will be taken by Year 6 pupils in the spring of 2019 - alongside their national curriculum tests, known as Sats tests.