Dedicated schools grant (DSG): 2016 to 2017 (update), 17th March

This provides details of how much funding local authorities are getting for their schools budget for the 2016 to 2017 financial year. The dedicated schools grant allocations 2016 to 2017 financial year spreadsheet has been updated.

Also see Education Policy Institute report: The Implications of the National Funding Formula for Schools, Perrera et al., 17th March

The report suggests that even though a greater share of funding is proposed to be allocated to disadvantaged pupils, the overall impact of redistributing the schools budget results in shifting funding away from the most disadvantaged pupils towards what is considered the ‘just about managing’ group.

Findings show that:

  • The most deprived primary and secondary schools (those with more than 30 per cent of pupils on free school meals) experience a small net gain of £5.6m, overall, but the most deprived secondary schools will actually see falls.
  • Other primary and secondary schools (those with less than 30 per cent of pupils on free school meals) gain an additional £275m overall. Many of these schools have very low levels of disadvantage.
  • Pupils who live in the least deprived areas (as measured by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) experience the highest relative gains.
  •  Additional funding for low prior attainment means that the lowest performing schools in the country are set to gain £78.5m more, overall, than the top performing schools. This is particularly acute in London, where we find a net loss to the highest performing primary schools of around £16.6m overall.

And also see: How big’s your slice of the cake? The National Funding Formula Blog George Doublys, LMKco, 17th March

And: Tory councils warn on school funding, 13th March: BBC

A group of Conservative councils have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to warn of their "alarm" at inadequate school funding in England.

But the joint letter - from representatives of councils including Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Devon, Hampshire, Leicestershire, West Sussex and Wiltshire - says: "We are struggling to understand where more cuts can be made in the lowest funded authorities."

The councils are part of the F40 group, which has campaigned for years against what it saw as unfairly low levels of funding compared with other parts of England.

But Monday's letter says: "We are extremely concerned that the government is in danger of replacing one injustice with another."

The councils question whether the funding formula should allocate so much towards additional needs, such as for schools with high levels of deprivation or pupils with English as a second language.

And they say all schools need a guaranteed basic level of funding to cover essential costs such as staffing.

The Department for Education says a consultation is still taking place on how the funding formula is calculated - which will end next week.

"We have protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at more than £40bn in 2016-17 - and that is set to rise, as pupil numbers rise over the next two years, to £42 billion by 2019-20."

Independent special schools and colleges, 16th March

This provides an updated list of independent schools for pupils with special educational needs, including those approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act.

Department for Education- Early Years

Early years national funding formula: allocations and guidance, (first published December 2016, republished with updates)

This provides details of how much funding local authorities will get for the financial year 2017 to 2018, and guidance to help them implement the funding changes. The Maintained nursery school data assurance exercise document has been added.

Department for Education- Post 16

Top-quality training providers announced in new register, News story, 14th March

The Department for Education (DfE) and the Skills Finding Agency (SFA) have published a new register of apprenticeship training providers; this is to ensure that anyone taking an apprenticeship is doing so with a top-quality, registered provider of apprenticeships.

All providers on the register have been through a rigorous assessment process to make sure they meet apprenticeship quality expectations. Levy-paying employers will be able to choose their apprenticeship training delivery from this flexible and responsive provider base for all apprentices starting their programmes from May 2017.

Apprenticeships reforms: guide for schools, 14th March: guidance

This guidance explains what apprenticeships are, how schools can use them, and how the apprenticeship levy and the public sector apprenticeship target apply to schools.

Skills funding letter: April 2017 to March 2018, 14th March

The skills funding letter is published annually and sets out the government’s funding priorities for the skills system. It includes information for the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to set provider allocations for 2017 to 2018, and shows indicative budgets up to 2020.

The letter shows the government’s commitment to investing in and strengthening the further education (FE) sector.

For 2017-18, the government is investing:

£1.9bn to fund participation in apprenticeship training for all ages;

£1.5bn to support participation in adult further education through the Adult Education Budget; and

£325m available for provision at Levels 3 to 6 through Advanced Learner Loans.

The budget for the Offender Learning and Skills Service was transferred to the Ministry of Justice in October 2016 following a Machinery of Government change.

Both departments remain determined to maintain articulation between the adult skills system and the prison education system given the movement between the two by offenders.

Further education and skills: January 2017 (update 14th March)

First published 26th January, updated 14th March with the most recent Ofqual vocational qualifications data.

16 to 18 completion and attainment qualifications: 2016, 16th March

This provides a list of qualifications included in the 2016 completion and attainment measure, and national average attainment data.

A Level attainment: characteristics, 16th March

Highlights show for 2015/2016 that:

Students not eligible for FSM were more than twice as likely to get 3A’s at A Level than those eligible for FSM; 11% of those not eligible for FSM achieved this in comparison to 4.9% of those eligible for FSM

Pupils with no identified SEN achieved better outcomes than those with SEN; and those who had a statement achieved better than those who did not. 6.4% of those with SEN (no Statement) achieved 3 A’s at A Level. This compared to 8.2% of those with SEN with a Statement and 10.8%of those with no SEN.

A level and other 16 to 18 results: 2015 to 2016 (revised) (first published Jan 2017, republished with updates)

This has been republished to include a new document on retention measures, completion and attainment measures, and tech level minimum standards. It also includes revised quality methodology.

Department for Education- Consultations

School Exclusion Guidance: proposed revisions

Open: 14th March 2017

Closes 11.45am 25th April 2017

The 2012 statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils is going to be revised. To this the end the Department for Education is seeking views on the rules of exclusion and the process of review; it believes these should be a lot clearer.  This also applies to CYP with SEND. The reason for the review, over very few areas, is to provide greater confidence and clarity for those involved in the exclusion process. The proposed amendments do not change the rights of, or requirements on, schools, children or parents over exclusion.  


Amanda Spielman's speech at the Association of Colleges Ofsted conference: 'A new direction', 17th March

Amanda Spielman,new Chief Inspector of Schools, spoke about the emphasis she is placing on improving standards in post 16 colleges. she said:

‘…..Too often, although more than half of 16- to 18-year-olds are on a mainly vocational route, both commentators and policy makers see this route as something for ‘other people’s children’. And for decades, phrases like ‘parity of esteem’ have been thrown about as though they solve the problem. It is seldom acknowledged that you cannot dictate parity: the quality of vocational education must speak for itself.

So the role of colleges and the FE sector is critical. Many of you take on the difficult job of educating young people who haven’t reached their potential in school. That is why my approach to colleges will be to treat them with the same rigour, and with the same regard to the evidence, as any other area we inspect. Because that is what you and your students deserve.

But while we must recognise the good practice, we can’t lose sight of the fact that inspection grades have been in decline for at least 2 years now. This is a worrying sign and a trend that needs to be reversed: too many colleges are struggling to maintain quality and too few that require improvement are demonstrating the capability to do so.

…… we need high-quality leaders and managers who have the right experience to run what are becoming even larger and more complex colleges.

We need to recruit and invest in high-quality teaching and support staff with the right industry experience and expertise.

And, most importantly, we need to make sure the curriculum offer meets the needs of, and is shaped by employers, communities and the economy – both now and in the future.

…..It is imperative that college education gives students at least a level 2. As our annual report highlighted, the employment rate for adults whose highest qualification was below level 2 was less than 60% compared with around 80% for those qualified to level 2 or above. Too many students finish their education with nothing more than a level 1’.

And speaking about the poor success rate of those who fail to achieve the required grades in English and maths at GCSE level, she said:

‘……For Ofsted’s part, we will continue to evaluate English and maths provision in the round and consider this proportionately in the context of the wider curriculum’.

Ofsted -Early Years

Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 December 2016, 14th March

This release contains:

  • the number of Ofsted registered childcare providers and places, and their most recent inspection outcomes as at 31 December 2016

  • the number of providers that have registered with Ofsted (joiners) and the number of providers that have left (leavers) between 31 August 2016 and 31 December 2016

Findings show the total numbers by three main provider types on any register as:

  • childminders – 44,000 providers as at 31 December 2016, down 700 from 31 August 2016. This continues a downward trend of 23% since 31 August 2012.

  • childcare on non-domestic premises – 26,900 providers as at 31 December 2016, the same as seen as at 31 August 2016. Numbers have decreased by 3% since 31 August 2012.

  • home childcarers – 10,800 providers as at 31 December 2016, down by over 100 from 31 August 2016. Numbers are at a similar level to those seen at as at 31 August 2012. There was a rise in numbers in 2013, peaking at 12,100 as at 31 August 2013, followed by a steady year-on-year fall

As at 31 December 2016, the proportion of childcare providers on the EYR judged to be good or outstanding was 93% .This is up from 91% since 31 August 2016 and up from 74% since 31 August 2012. This rise is mostly due to an increase in the proportion of providers judged good.

More than nine in 10 providers on the Early Years Register (EYR) were judged to be good or outstanding

Childminder agencies: As at 31 December 2016, nine childminder agencies were registered with Ofsted and active. This is an increase of one since 31 August 2016. Of these nine agencies, only one has been inspected and judged “Effective”.

See also FOI: early years dataset as at 31 December 2016, 14th March

Published as part of a Freedom of Information request, this is an up to date list of childcare providers and inspections.


Life After School, Impetus PEF 17th March

The report considers what happens to those young people who fail to achieve an A*-C in their English and maths GCSEs at 16, where they go next and what they study and their chances of success.

Impetus PEF commissioned Education Datalab to analyse data available through the National Pupil Database (NPD) and Individual Learner Records (ILR); hey also carried out their own research, speaking to providers, learners and decision makers in the 16-19 education sector. This report presents their findings, which, it says paints a picture of a crisis within the sector.

Findings show that:

Nearly double (61%) the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds fail to attain an A*-C in their English and maths GCSEs at 16 compared to their peers (34%)

But regardless of background only 25% of non-FSM students get English GCSE (A*-C) by age 19, compared to 17% of those on FSM; for maths these figures are 13% and 8% respectively.

Students are more likely to achieve these qualifications post 16 at a VIth form college than an FE college

The majority of students who need to catch up in English and maths at 16 are either taking below Level 2 courses, are not enrolled in catch-up provision or are not recorded in education at all.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of both FSM and non-FSM students needing to catch up in both subjects, drop out at the end of year 12.

Very few catch-up students progress to Level 3 pathways in year 13. Only 4% of catch-up students start A-Levels and 28% in either vocational or mixed (combination of vocational and academic) Level 3 courses.

The above findings highlight the poorer performance of students in maths resit GCSEs. It does not have to be like this. See Sonia Blandford – We Can Do Maths, 14th March: Schools Improvement which shows with a whole approach to maths and a focus on ‘developing positive attitudes’ children and young people can achieve in maths

Wespieser, K., Sumner. C., Garry, J., Bernardinelli, D. and Coiffait, L. (2017). The Performance of Partially Selective Schools in England. Slough: NFER.

The analysis was based on data from the 38 partially selective schools in England that select more than ten per cent of pupils but are not wholly selective grammar schools. Since the current Admission Code permits schools with a subject specialism to admit up to ten per cent of pupils by aptitude in the specialism (music, sport, technology, languages or the arts), any proposal to expand selection would involve raising the limit and allowing the first increase in selection by ability in English schools for twenty years.

Key Findings:

  • Pupils with high prior attainment make less progress in maths at partially selective schools than their peers at non-selective schools

  • Pupils with low prior attainment are significantly less likely to achieve 5 good GCSEs, including English and maths than their peers at non-selective schools

  • Some partially selective schools have over-complex admissions policies and over-subscription criteria that are lengthy and difficult to navigate and which may act as an additional barrier to applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Education Fellowship Trust (TEFT) becomes first academy chain to give up all of its schools, 11th March: TES

An academy trust with 12 schools has become the first in England to give up control of all its academies, following concerns about educational standards.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“Following ongoing concerns regarding the educational performance of the majority of The Education Fellowship Trust schools, we have agreed to a request from the trust to terminate their funding agreement.

“One of the strengths of the academy system is that where underperformance is not addressed, we are able to take action to tackle it. Our priority now is to work with the trust to transfer its schools to new sponsors to drive up standards and ensure all pupils receive an excellent education.”

Design and technology GCSE axed from nearly half of schools, survey finds, 10th March 2017: The Telegraph

The Telegraph is reporting that GCSE courses in design and technology have disappeared from nearly half of schools under pressure to succeed in core compulsory subjects. Julie Nugent, chief executive of the Design and Technology Association, said:

‘We absolutely need subjects like design and technology. It is about innovation, engineering, manufacturing, and the principles of how to improve the world.’

Eight-year-olds to get lessons in happiness, March 12th: The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times is reporting that primary school children are going to receive lessons in mindfulness, to support their well- being and happiness.

Sir Antony Seldon, put mindfulness on the map for schools, when he introduced it at Wellington College soon after he arrived in 2006.