Department for Education

Education Secretary visits Derby on opportunity areas tour, 7th February: News

Derby is one of 12 areas across the country that will receive additional support to remove barriers to social mobility. In these areas, the Department for Education will work with local organisations, including early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, the voluntary sector and businesses to help local children and young people get the best start in life, no matter what their background. These areas will focus not just on what can be done inside schools to tackle social mobility, but also create the opportunities outside school that will help broaden horizons for young people.

Justine Greening, Education Secretary visited the Derby Moor Community Sports College to meet students, teachers and local education leaders who are benefiting from the Prince’s Trust Team programme, which helps unemployed 16- to 25-year-olds to get into work or training.

During the visit, Teach First announced that it will increase the number of its teaching placements in Derby in 2017. That will see 8 more talented graduates teaching in schools in Derby by 2017 - up from the current 14 placements.

The charity will also be increasing the number of placements in 5 other opportunity areas by 40% in September 2017. Those areas are:

  • Blackpool
  • Norwich
  • Oldham
  • Scarborough
  • West Somerset

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

‘As Britain prepares for its future outside the EU, it’s never been more important that everyone in our country has a fair chance to go as far as their talent and their hard work will take them.

On my previous visits to Derby as Education Secretary, I’ve seen the great work being done at the University of Derby, and just recently I met apprentices honing their skills at Bombardier.

Each visit reinforces to me just how crucial for our nation’s success it is that none of these talents are wasted, and especially the talent of young people growing up in Derby……..’

Formal school interventions in England: cost and effectiveness, 9th February

The report examines the cost and benefits of 3 intervention strategies:

  • academy sponsorship (largest number of interventions looked at)
  • interim executive boards (mostly by Las, but some by the Secretary of State)
  • LA warning notices

The research covers the period 2010 to 2015.

The evaluation was commissioned by the Department for Education following a recommendation by the Public Accounts Commission in January 2015.

The evaluation considered estimated costs and schools’ subsequent academic attainment (not Ofsted judgements) for the three types of formal intervention in maintained schools.

Findings showed that:

The improvements observed at sponsored academies are more persistent than those from other types of intervention. During the 5 years 2010 to 2015, the cost of a sponsored academy is estimated to have been between £600,000 and £1.7 million

The average costs of IEBs is difficult to establish due to the small number of IEBs involved and the lack of systematic documentation of associated costs and effort (in terms of time). There is also great variability in the challenge faced by schools and in stakeholders’ cooperation in the process. The cost an IEB varies: between

  1. £45,000 and £500,000 for the period of operation (between 6 months and 2 years). Primary schools tended to improve following IEBs, but secondary schools tended not to (but caution is needed when not comparing like with like).

Schools that only received WNs did improve compared to the average school and to statistically similar schools, though the improvement was not as persistent as for other interventions. The cost of issuing WNs to LA maintained schools is estimated to be very low (between £150 and £370 over a few weeks).


Department for Education: Post 16

Apprenticeship funding: how it will work, update 6th Feb 2017

Details of how employers will be affected by the apprenticeship funding system the government is introducing from May 2017. This has been republished to include updated advice on using funds in the apprenticeship service account.


Local area SEND inspection outcome letters: Hillingdon, 7th Feb: Ofsted

Children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities achieve well academically in Hillingdon. Outcomes are particularly strong for these pupils at the end of the early years foundation stage and in the Year 1 phonics screening check. They achieve well because their needs are well catered for in schools, colleges and early years providers. A high proportion move on successfully to employment or further education.

However, the progress made by middle prior attainers who receive SEN support is not as strong as that made by other groups. Last year, pupils with middle prior attainment who receive SEN support made less academic progress at key stages 2 and 4 than those who had low or high prior attainment.

Ofsted Parent View: management information

Ofsted publishes this data three times a year to provide a more up to date picture of the results within Parent View. This new management information covers submissions received in the previous 365 days, for independent schools, and maintained schools and academies in England.  Details provide:

  • an overall question by question breakdown of the results for both school types
  • a further breakdown of these results by phase and region for maintained schools and academies
  • data on the number of submissions received and the response rates for the above categories

Results show a generally positive parent view of schools, with the exception of how well the school deals with bullying. Parents were more likely to disagree that this was handled well.

See also research: Preventing Bullying and Cyberbullying: Research-Based

Policy Recommendations for Executive and Legislative Officials in 2017, Child Trends

The report provides information on the current state of bullying research using data from the US Department of Education, journal articles and existing research by Child Trends, and provides recommendations for addressing and preventing bullying behaviour. This includes addressing cyberbullying as part of a broader approach to bullying prevention. Strategies targeting cyberbullying alone without addressing the broader issue of bullying are unlikely to be effective.

Further education and skills inspections outcomes: management information from December 2015

This gives in-year and most recent inspection outcomes by individual provider.


Global Gaps: Comparing socio-economic gaps in the performance of

highly able UK pupils internationally, Jerrim, Feb 2017: Sutton Trust

The provide provides an analysis of PISA results across reading, science and maths for the UK. Findings show that bright 16 year olds from socio economic disadvantage are likely to be two years and eight months behind their better off peers. 

Colleges forced to refer students with mental health issues directly to A&E, 7th February: Association of Colleges

The number of college students with mental health issues is increasing. 85% of colleges that responded to the survey reported an increase in students with disclosed mental health issues in the past three years. Four-fifths (81%) also reported having significant numbers of students who had undisclosed mental health difficulties.

The survey shows that almost all colleges (97%) are providing education on wellbeing as part of extensive work to support students in maintaining mental wellness. Additionally, the majority have dedicated counselling and welfare staff to support and refer to specialists, those students who are experiencing mental ill health.

Three quarters (74%) of further education colleges in England have been forced to refer students experiencing mental health crises to Accident and Emergency (A&E) in the past academic year (2015/16).

No Shortcuts: quality and the free childcare extension, Cameron and Harding: Family and Childcare Trust

The report found that childcare providers and local authorities were worried that the policy change could mean that there is less childcare available, a reduction in the quality of care, and that settings might find it harder to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

It also found that the extension of the free hours could compromise the things that parents felt were priorities for high quality childcare.

The quality of childcare is vitally important: only high quality childcare helps to boost children’s attainment and ‘close the gap’ between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers.

See also: Sonia Blandford – Untapping potential in early years practitioners, 6th Feb, Schools Improvement

The article highlights the need for focused approaches in the early years of education; settings which have worked with Achievement for All through the Achieving Early programme have achieved this, with very positive outcomes for children.

Professional development in speech, language and communication: findings from a national workforce survey, The Communication Trust

A report from The Communication Trust presents the findings of a recent consultation with the children and young people’s workforce, seeking to hear about their experiences of professional development around supporting speech, language and communication development (SLC) and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

More than 1200 members of the workforce responded, representing all regions of England and a large variety of roles across health and education, including early years, primary, secondary, and further education.

Key findings include: 

53% of respondents reported having had little to no initial training around SLC development - this increased to 60% when asked about training around SLCN

Only a third of those who responded felt very confident supporting children's SLC development

39% of teachers said they had received no learning at all in their initial training about typical SLC development and 42% had received no initial training around SLCN


Exclusive: Pisa boss warns England's school funding squeeze will hit standards, 3rd Feb. TES

Andreas Schleicher, education director at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which publishes the Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) world rankings, raised his concerns over school budget cuts in England. speaking at the Education world Forum in London, he said:

"If you take the same system and you take money out of it, you lose and lack in quality. I think there’s no question around it."

He went on to say that in high-performing education systems, such as China, parents and governments prioritised spending on educating children, adding that "they invest in the future”……."The school system today is your economy tomorrow, and that is something I worry about when governments have an attitude of, ‘Oh well, let’s cut some corners here’."

Northern Powerhouse report: Schools need urgent attention, 3rd Feb: BBC

The first report launched by think tank -The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, set up by George Osborne last year, brought focus on the need to close the North-South gap.

The report recommends urgent attention be given to improving the performance and aspiration of the North's schools and the quality of adult skills, along with better transport and broadband provision and more ambitious local decision making.

Mr Osborne said:

The initiative has already "shifted the North into a new gear"…."We can either make use of the momentum behind the Northern Powerhouse to really close the North-South gap - or we can let the moment pass and leave our country divided and the North left behind….."Get it right and the northern economy will be £100bn bigger, with more jobs and higher living standards for all."

Postcode lottery' created by devolution of SEND funding, 3rd Feb: TES

The Association of Colleges (AoC) is calling for additional government guidance to be published to clarify how funding for 16-25 learners is allocated. It says that there are very big disparities in the support and funding available to students with SEND.

Katie Buckingham looks back at The Big Shout Conference and shares her views on the importance of encouraging and supporting girls with autism, 10th Feb, Opinion: NAHT

Katie Buckingham calls for closer partnership working to better support girls with autism. She says:

‘Encouragement and positivity will give girls the confidence to know that they can achieve in life and help build the resilience and self-awareness that will help them deal with setbacks and adjust to the workplace environment.’