Department for Education

Performance tables: approved qualifications and discount codes, 4th April: Guidance

The documents provide the list of approved key stage 4 and 16-to-18 qualifications and discount codes for reporting in the 2014 to 2019 school and college performance tables. The information is for: schools, colleges and awarding organisations

Discount codes are used to group qualifications with similar content together in the school performance tables. This is so that schools are not credited twice for 2 similar qualifications.

You will also find it useful to read the: guidance about calculating performance points and for post 16, 2016 performance point scores for key stage 4 and 16-to-18 and 2015 performance point scores for key stage 4 and 16-to-18

£2.4 billion funding boost for England's schools, 3rd April: Announcement

Education Secretary Justine Greening has announced a £2.4 billion cash injection to create more school places and update buildings.  This funding comprises £980 million of funding allocations for local authorities in 2019 to 2020, to create over 60,000 school places needed. This is part of a wider investment of £7 billion in the course of this Parliament which, alongside investment in the free schools programme, we expect to create an additional 600,000 places by 2021.

The funding also comprises £1.4 billion of funding allocations for schools, local authorities and academy trusts to invest in improving the condition of the school estate. This includes £466 million through the Condition Improvement Fund to fund 1,435 projects across 1,184 academies and sixth-form colleges.

The government has also published:

Nick Gibb: empowering teachers to deliver greater equity, opens the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, 30th March: Speech

The School’s Minister, Nick Gibb, spoke about the importance of empowering teachers to provide a ‘great’ education for their pupils.

The speech was delivered around overturning the following 3 myths, which he said ‘conflict with knowledge of cognitive science and best teaching practice. Providing teachers with this myth-busting research improves their knowledge and empowers them to deliver high-quality lessons’.

The first myth is that pupils today are ‘digital natives’ and, consequently, their education should involve immersion in digital technology.

The second myth is that pupils have unique learning styles and that education must be tailored to the learning style of each pupil.

The third myth is all that one needs to know and learn is that teaching knowledge is redundant because children can now find out whatever they want with the click of a mouse.

He concluded by saying that:

‘In order to improve standards and improve equity, it is imperative that all pupils – irrespective of background – are taught a broad knowledge-rich, academic and high-status curriculum covering the core academic subjects mentioned above alongside a rich arts education that gives pupils a deeper appreciation of their culture…….. We must empower teachers to pursue well-evidenced teaching methods. We need to ensure teachers have up-to-date knowledge of cognitive science and the implications for what and how to teach. And we need to design knowledge-rich curricula so that pupils are given the greatest opportunity for success’.

Department for Education: Funding

School capital funding allocations: 2015 to 2018, 3rd April- also includes an 'Estimate your school's funding: ready reckoner'.

Department for Education- Post 16

Meeting the public sector apprenticeship target, 7th April: Statutory Guidance

The statutory guidance applies to most public bodies with 250 or more staff in England, including schools and academy trusts.

It outlines how these public bodies should: aim to meet the public sector apprenticeship target and use the data publication and apprenticeship activity return to report their progress towards meeting the target

Institute for Apprenticeships to ensure quality skills training, 3rd April: News Story

The new Institute for Apprenticeships started its first official working day on 3rd April 2017. Independent from government, the institute, which will be chaired by Antony Jenkins, has been launched to ensure that all apprenticeships are top quality and deliver the skills that employers need. It will further support the government’s commitment to deliver 3 million quality apprenticeships by 2020.

Also see : Institute for Apprenticeships: strategic guidance - 2017 to 2018, 3rd April-sets out how the Institute should carry out its functions

See also: Apprenticeship accountability statement, 3rd April: Guidance – This guidance is for employers, apprenticeship providers and assessment bodies. It sets out the responsibilities of each organisation with a role in regulating the apprenticeships system.

New levy to double annual investment in home-grown skills, 6th April: Press Release

The apprenticeship levy was officially launched by the government on 6th April. The levy requires all employers in the UK with an annual wage bill of over £3 million to pay 0.5% of it towards funding apprenticeships. Employers in England can set up an online account to manage their funds and invest in training for apprentices working for them - currently around 100 accounts are being set up every day. The government will then provide a further 10% top up to levy contributions each month into employers’ accounts.

Ofsted-Early Years

Ofsted launches new good and outstanding logos, 6th April

On 6th April Ofsted launched a new logo for use by early years, education and children’s social care providers that have been rated good and one for an ‘Outstanding provider’ across all areas they inspect.

All providers judged by Ofsted to be good can now download and display an official ‘Good provider’ logo. The new designs were created following feedback from some of the organisations they inspect, and after a review of their existing policy and guidance on the use of Ofsted’s logo. ‘Good providers’ can use their unique reference number to download the relevant logo in a variety of formats for use on their own websites, stationery and other materials.

See also Terms of use of logos

Inspecting registered early years providers: guidance for inspectors

Ofsted inspectors use this handbook when inspecting early years providers; it was updated on 3rd April with details of ‘inspection myths’.


The future of childcare in London: Devolving funding for greater affordability, access and equality, McNeil and Cory, 10th April: IPPR

Flexible childcare is an issue across the country, London faces unique challenges in terms of affordability, inequity and undersupply. This report presents the case for a comprehensive new deal for childcare in London – one in which the city would take direct control of its childcare market to ensure it meets the needs of children, parents, and the economy.

In the short-term the report authors recommend: better use of space, better planning and market making and better use of existing subsidies.

In the medium term -a key focus is quality- the authors recommend that the GLA should work with London boroughs to introduce a package of measures to improve the quality of childcare in London. This package should include:

  • introducing a ‘leaders in childcare’ scheme to help London move towards a graduate-led workforce in childcare

  • supporting the growth of childminding in London through a pan-London subsidised training scheme and start-up offer to new childminders

  • offering tailored business support to childcare providers in London.

The long term focus is funding, where the authors recommend that:

  • London Councils and the GLA should work together with LAs to pool funding at a sub-regional level to better support children with specialist needs (SEND).

  • London’s sub-regional partnerships should work with DWP and the boroughs to co-commission support for out-of-work parents who would face overwhelming childcare costs to move into work.

Free school meals is 'unreliable poverty measure', 4th April: BBC

The BBC reports on a study by St Mary's University in south-west London looking at pupils receiving free meals in Catholic schools in England and Wales. The study from St Mary's, a Catholic higher education institution, argues that such figures have become an "an unreliable indicator" of hardship. It says if the same schools are assessed by another official measure of poverty - the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index - the outcome is reversed, with disproportionately high levels of pupils in Catholic schools living in the most deprived areas. The study says that counting poverty by the take-up of free meals can miss the "working poor" who are in temporary and often low-paid jobs, moving in and out of employment.


Tackling disadvantage (V): children of prisoners, 7th April, Blog Emilie Sundorph, Researcher: Reform

The blog considers the importance of involving families with prisoner rehabilitation. Parental imprisonment not only makes young people more likely to offend, they are also at significantly greater risk of experiencing mental health problems and difficulties at school. Together, these factors constitute a social justice issue at scale.

Emile Sundorph, considers the merits of supporting families of prisoners. She refers to one of the speakers at their annual criminal justice conference, last week- Jerry Petherick of G4S- who shared some of the early outcome data from a project called Invisible Walls Wales, running at HMP Parc. By involving families with prisoner rehabilitation and working with social services, charities and schools, the project, he said, has achieved some impressive results. School attendance rates for children of the relevant prisoner cohort increased from 85 to 92 per cent, the proportion of children classified as ‘at-risk’ went from 20 to 5 per cent, and the proportion requiring ongoing social services support from 65 to 32 per cent. Prior to the project 9 per cent of the children were classified as isolated and 11 per cent were victims of bullying. These numbers went to 1 and 0 per cent respectively.

£1m project attracts more maths teachers to Stoke-on-Trent, 7th April: The Sentinel

Eighteen new maths teachers have already been recruited by the city’s schools on the back of a £1 million plan to transform education standards in Stoke-on-Trent. They include 11 trainees who have gone on to land maths jobs in local schools and a further seven experienced teachers who have relocated to the area.

The maths excellence partnership was launched last year and Shirley Robinson, a senior school improvement adviser with the council, said: “If you relocate to Stoke-on-Trent, you can also get a payment of £2,000. The idea is that, to improve outcomes for young people, you need good quality maths teachers. It’s not all about money, but this is helping to attract them to the city.”

Child mental health online trial to be held in Highlands, 7th April: BBC

A trial being led by a team from the University of Aberdeen, looking at the use of a secure, computerised system for young people with conditions such as depression and autism and their parents or guardians. Children could then get help more quickly via online psychiatric assessments.

The trial will involve four broad categories:

  • Anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, phobias

  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Autism, Asperger's syndrome

  • Oppositional and conduct disorders

During the trial, which will take place in the NHS Highland region, 50% of patients will receive the new Development and Wellbeing Assessment system and 50% will receive the current method of treatment.