Department for Education

Primary school accountability in 2016. 24th March

This guide is for all primary schools. It sets out how the government calculates primary school accountability measures. The 2016 school performance tables will reflect these calculations.

A summary document is also available, along with a video.

Creating a Culture: how school leaders can optimise behaviour, Tom Bennett, 24th March

Tom Bennett’s independent review provides practical guidance to teachers on how to tackle bad behaviour in classrooms. The report concludes that while there is no ‘silver bullet’, there are a variety of strategies that can be used to tackle poor behaviour.

It also highlights that although standards of behaviour can be a challenge for schools, leadership is key to creating the right culture to tackle this issue.

Tom Bennett said:

‘How well students behave in school is crucial to how far they succeed, socially and academically. There are many tremendous schools doing a superb job, and some schools that could improve a great deal.

I spoke to leaders of coastal schools, inner-city schools, rural, primary, secondary, alternative provision and asked them what they did. Every school has different circumstances and challenges, but we found that some themes were almost universal: clear routines, robustly administered, high expectations and a focus on building a strong sense of identity and good relationships where children feel they belong, are safe, and are expected to do their best. That’s why I called it ‘creating a culture’. Because these things don’t happen by accident….’

See also: School behaviour management case studies report, Department for Education, 24th March. Examples of behaviour management practices used in schools rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

See also BBC article-Tom Bennett told the BBC that: "Behaviour has not been taken seriously enough in the past, and the official data underestimates the extent of the problem in all schools."

See also New report with practical advice for teachers on pupil behaviour, 24th March: press release

Congratulatory letters for schools at key stage 2, 24th March

A list of schools which received a congratulatory letter from the Minister of State for School Standards Nick Gibb based on their 2016 key stage 2 results.

Schools had to meet one or more of the following criteria at key stage 2:

  • schools which have a progress measure in the top 10% for all of reading, writing and mathematics

  • 100% of pupils reach the expected standard in reading, writing or maths

  • 100% of pupils reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (all 3)

Work experience and related activities in schools and colleges, NatCen Social Research and SQW, 20th March: Research

Generally, student satisfaction with work-related activities and work experience placements was high; schools, colleges and employers also supported this view.

In schools where work experience had the greatest impact on students, the following contributed to this:

  • Work experience placements were offered as part of a structured programme of opportunities that were delivered over the course of a young person’s programme of study.
  • Staff took responsibility for identifying work experience opportunities for students and considered it important that young people played an active role in the process.
  • Staff felt it was important that students were provided with support in undertaking background research on the company that they would be working with.
  • Staff felt it was important that employers provided personalised feedback for the students on placements in order to support their ongoing development and to ensure that they had an opportunity to learn from the experience

However, staff working in schools in areas of high deprivation were less likely to feel that their school or college offered students enough placements of the right type; many schools in deprived areas found it difficult to identify appropriate placements for students.

See also: Children in poor areas don't get the work experience they need, study finds, 21st March: TES

Evaluation of the Family Learning Intervention programme (Hackney), Boxford et al.20th March, Research.

The Family Learning Intervention Programme (FLIP) is described as ‘an innovative model for the delivery of edge of care interventions’ which focuses on ‘working with families to strengthen their long-term resilience, raise aspiration, and empower and enable parents to parent effectively’

The overall aim behind FLIP is to improve outcomes for adolescents on the edge of care, through supporting them to remain with their families or within a stable foster placement.

For some children and adolescents who have participated in FLIP there is emerging evidence that the programme has had a positive effect on outcomes. This includes: improved family relationships, improved educational engagement, improved emotional wellbeing and reduced youth criminal offending.

Tri-borough alternative provision residence project (TBAP Evaluation, Interim Report. Knibbs at al.) 20th March: Research

The Tri-borough Alternative Provision (TBAP) Multi Academy Trust is a provider of alternative education for young people who have been excluded from mainstream schools. Since its opening in January 2016, a total of 15 learners have stayed at the Residence for varying periods of time, typically between one and 3 half-terms. These learners were all male, aged between 12 and 16, from diverse ethnic backgrounds and receiving SEN support at school.

Findings showed that the Residence had a positive effect on behaviour, as approximated by achievement points and in comparison with a group of Academy learners who had been referred to the Residence but not yet attended. Those who had attended the Residence at least once experienced an overall increase in average net achievement during the year, in comparison with a decrease in net achievement shown by the learners who did not attend.

School performance and house prices: analysis, 19th March, Transparency Data

Findings show that house prices near the 10% best-performing primary schools are 8.0% higher than in the surrounding area. Near the 10% best-performing non-selective secondary schools, house prices are 6.8% higher.

The analysis splits schools into 10 groups based on their performance in key stage 2 and key stage 4 tests.

Innovative projects to get £36 million funding boost, 20th March, press release

11 projects have been awarded a funding boost. They are part of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, which is backed by £200 million of government funding. The programme has supported 59 projects to date, providing evidence of best practice that is helping to improve children’s services across the country. It is a key part of the government’s work to explore and develop the best possible services for vulnerable children and their families.

see also: Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme grant- How much funding local authorities are getting for the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, DfE: Guidance  

Department for Education: Statistics

Outcomes for children looked after by LAs: 31 March 2016

At KS2, in 2016, 25% of looked after children reached the new expected standard or above in the headline measure reading, writing and mathematics. This compared to 54% of all other children.

Looked after children are four times more likely to have a special educational need (SEN) than all children and are almost 10 times as likely to have a statement of special educational need or an education, health and care plan (EHC plan).

In 2016, 57.3% of children looked after had a special educational need, compared to 14.4% of all children.

In 2016 there has been an increase in the percentage of looked after children achieving an A*-C in English and mathematics from 15.9% to 17.5% (this could be due to a change in methodology) and also in entering EBacc.

However, the average Attainment 8 score for looked after children is 22.8 compared to 48.1 for other children.

Looked after children make less progress at KS4 than other children

At KS2 looked after children progress less well than other children, with least progress in maths. However, when the proportion of looked after children with SEN is taken out they progress better in reading and writing than other children.

Pupil absence in schools in England: 2015, 23rd March

Special educational needs:

Pupils with a Statement or EHC Plan had overall absence rate of 7.7% compared to 4.2% for those with no identified SEN.

Pupils with a Statement or EHC Plan that are persistent absentees is at 22.6%, almost three times higher than the percentage for enrolments with no identified SEN.

(Due to recent SEN reforms, figures for 2015/16 are not directly comparable to years before 2014/15)


The overall absence rate for pupil enrolments known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (FSM) was 7.0%, compared to 4.1% for non FSM enrolments

The percentage of FSM eligible enrolments that were persistent absentees was 21.6%, compared to 8.2% of pupil enrolments that were not eligible for free school meals

Department for Education- Early Years

UK families will soon see bills cut as date announced for the launch of Tax-Free Childcare, 22nd March: News story

The introduction of the government’s Tax-Free Childcare scheme will begin on 28 April, for parents of the youngest children. It will be gradually rolled out over 2017 – cutting childcare costs for working families across the UK by up to £2,000 per child per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

Parents can now pre-register for the government’s new childcare offers, with the launch of a new Childcare Choices government website.

30 hours free childcare: eligibility, 22nd March: Guidance

This document provides information on who will or will not qualify for 30 hours free childcare.

Department for Education- Post 16

Stoke-on-Trent's house project: evaluation, 20th March: Research

This report on Stoke-on-Trent's house project (HP), evaluates the extent to which the project enabled care leavers to take control of their transitions from care to after care.

The HP is a housing company based on a tenant-managed housing co-operative model, run for, and by, young people aged 16-18 who are leaving care. The model involves the transfer of void properties from the council to the HP on a short-term lease and peppercorn rent. The HP provided the first cohort of young people with opportunities to take an active role in developing and running the HP company. In addition to the support they received to set up the company, young people received targeted support. Project delays meant that only 5 had moved in at the time of reporting (instead of hoped for 10).

There was evidence that the HP had made good progress towards achieving its aims and intended outcomes, albeit slower than planned. The young people highlighted increased communication skills, confidence and feelings of community, integration and a “group to depend on” as well as access to individual and flexible support. The negative aspects were almost exclusively related to the timescales and delays in being allocated and moving into their HP homes.

Further Education and Skills: March 2017

All age government funded Apprenticeship participation increased to the highest number on record in the 2015/16 academic year.

Participation in government funded adult (19+) further education continued to fall in 2015/16 from its 2011/12 peak.

Learner satisfaction survey 2015 to 2016: national reporting, 23rd March

This report provides an overview, at national level, of the findings of the FE Choices learner satisfaction survey 2015 to 2016. The survey asked learners to rate their providers on training delivered in 2015 to 2016. The 325,467 survey respondents who took part in the survey is equivalent to 19% of the eligible learner population.

Key findings show:

A high level of learner recommendation appears to be associated with providers with outstanding or good Ofsted grades. 87% of learners at providers rated as outstanding by Ofsted would recommend the learning provider. This compares with 76% of learners at providers who were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and 70% of learners at providers who were rated as inadequate by Ofsted (based on Ofsted scores from the 2012 to 2013 academic year onwards).

Learners living in the Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership areas were more likely to recommend than learners in any other LEP area, with 87% being extremely likely or likely to recommend.

Northamptonshire LEP had the lowest percentage of learners who would recommend their learning provider.

FE data library: other statistics and research, 23rd March

This has been updated with the addition of publication of apprenticeship starts from 2009/10 to 2015/16 by ethnicity and by learning difficulty or disability (figures in numbers).

Also see: FE data library: apprenticeships- Updated data release as part of the further education and skills: March 2017 statistical first release, including the release of apprenticeship data tools.

FE data library: vocational qualifications, 23rd March

This has been republished to include Vocational qualifications by level updated to reflect the latest data released in March 2017. The National Vocational Qualifications included in the tables cover all those accredited by Ofqual and are competence-based qualifications built on national occupational standards and criteria established by Ofqual. This includes Vocationally Related Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications.

Other Government

Growing up with the internet, House of Lords Select Committee on Communication, 21st March

The report argues that ‘digital literacy should be the fourth pillar of a child's education alongside reading, writing and mathematics and be resourced and taught accordingly’.

It highlights both the dangers and benefits of the internet and the need for responsible use of the internet for children.

See also Pupils need internet lessons to thrive online, say Lords, 21st March: BBC


Maintained schools and academies inspections and outcomes as at 31 December 2016, 22nd March

The data covers the period: September to December 2016 (provisional) and September 2015 to August 2016 (revised).

Findings show that:

6% of schools were judged to be outstanding in the autumn term 2016 compared to 8% in 2015/16. 64% of schools were judged to be good compared to 65% last year. These changes have had minimal impact on the profile of outcomes for all schools at their most recent inspection.

There were 473 full inspections between September and December 2016 of schools that were previously judged to require improvement. 61% of these inspections resulted in the school improving to good, and less than 1% (two schools) improved to outstanding. A higher proportion of primary than secondary schools improved to good or outstanding: 67% compared to 39%. Additionally, fewer primary than secondary schools declined to inadequate: 8% compared to 18%. The proportion of schools that improved from requires improvement to good or outstanding has fallen for both primary and secondary schools this year, when compared to last year.

Regional outcomes of schools at their most recent inspection: London has the highest proportion of outstanding schools for both the primary and secondary phases (26% and 37% respectively). Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest proportion of inadequate primary schools (2%) and the North East has the highest proportion of inadequate secondary schools (9%).

Inspection of apprenticeships from May 2017, 23rd March, speech delivered by Paul Joyce, Ofsted's Deputy Director, Further Education and Skills, at the FE Week Annual Apprenticeship Conference.

Paul Joyce spoke about the need for high quality apprenticeships and how Ofsted would support this. He said:

‘In summary, Ofsted is fully supportive of the apprenticeship reform programme and of the government’s target to create 3 million apprenticeships. We do however, want these apprenticeships to be of high quality, in the sectors where there are skills shortages and in the age groups where they are needed. We need to ensure that the apprenticeship brand is protected and valued. We must not allow the increase in apprenticeship numbers to come from inappropriate roles and a further rise in the validation of pre-existing skills and competences, rather than the development and accreditation of new skills for apprentices aged 16 to 25.

……I believe the apprenticeship reforms provide a good opportunity for employers to play an even greater role in training, and for providers, I hope to see the development of even stronger partnerships to ensure that training programmes better equip apprentices with the knowledge, skills and behaviours employers want and need.

That is what we will be looking for during our inspections and I will do all I can to work with you and support you in further raising the quality of apprenticeship provision for the good of employers, the economy and most importantly of all, for the apprentices’.

See also the Department for Education Employer satisfaction survey 2015 to 2016: national reporting, 23rd March

As in previous years of the survey, employers were very positive about the training received by their employees.

This report provides an overview, at national level, of the findings of the FE Choices employer satisfaction survey 2015 to 2016. The survey asked employers to rate their providers on training delivered in 2015 to 2016.

Northern Education Trust: inspection outcome letter, 21st March

Ofsted have recommended that as a matter of urgency, the Trust should establish an effective strategy to bring about sustainable school improvement.

The letter states that trustees and trust leaders have failed to secure sustained improvements in too many of NET’s schools.

The proportion of pupils reaching the expected standards in reading, writing and mathematics was below the national average in eight out of the 10 primary schools in 2016. In the secondary phase, attainment at the end of key stage 4 compared poorly with the national average in nine out of the 10



What are the 21st-century skills every student needs? World Economic Forum, 10th March

Today's job candidates must be able to collaborate, communicate and solve problems – skills developed mainly through social and emotional learning (SEL). Combined with traditional skills, this social and emotional proficiency will equip students to succeed in the evolving digital economy.

This summary, from research presented at the World Economic Forum lists the skills students need for today. It highlights the big gap in what children learn during their school education and what they need for the world of work.

Through the Looking Glass: Is universal provision what it seems? Youth Driver Trust, 22nd March

This report examined recent reports on literacy that inform the education agenda and asks – is universal provision what it seems? The report concludes that there is a need to more fully address the literacy needs of those with SEN in the school setting. It suggests that until that is done, we will fail to meet our literacy targets.

The report made the following recommendations for schools:

  • Ensure that SEND and literacy strategies work harmoniously, with a particular focus on how learners, who may never reach ‘mandated’ standards in literacy, are supported.

  • Consider how funding could be used to boost the number of specialists across a cluster of schools.

  • Increase targeted sharing of effective practice in relation to literacy between for example, SENCOs, faculty and subject leaders across curricula and educational settings.

See also: Focus on phonics excludes SEND children from the discussion on literacy, charity warns, 23rd March: TES


Chinese maths textbooks to be translated for UK schools, 20th March: The Guardian

HarperCollins and a Shanghai publishing house have signed a deal to release 36 maths books, which will be translated to English. The books promote the mastery approach to maths used in many Asian countries. Oxford University Press already publishes Inspire Maths, a primary maths programme based on the Singapore maths series My Pals are Here!

Warning over segregation in England's schools, 22nd March: BBC

A report from The Challenge - working with the iCoCo Foundation and SchoolDash - measured how segregated a school was by comparing its numbers of white British pupils and those eligible for free school meals with those of the 10 schools closest to them. The researchers regarded a school to be "segregated" if the proportion of ethnic minority pupils or pupils on free school meals was very different to the proportions at the neighbouring schools.

They found secondary schools were more likely to be segregated by ethnicity than socio-economic status, while primary schools were more likely to be segregated along socio-economic lines.