10th November 2017

Department for Education

Visiting children in residential special schools and colleges, 6th November

Statutory guidance for professionals supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in residential settings. It explains responsibilities for safeguarding children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and health conditions placed for consecutive periods of 3 months or more in a residential school, hospital or other residential establishment.

Residential special schools and colleges: support for children, 6th November 2017

The report by Dame Christine Lenehan and Mark Geraghty sets out:

  • How children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) are currently supported in residential special schools and colleges

  • Recommends the following: ensuring children and young people with SEND get the services and support they need in their local community (in mainstream or special provision); ensuring that local areas have planned and commissioned provision strategically, so that it is available when required and ensuring the accountability and school improvement systems enable children and young people to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The review, informed by a call for evidence and fieldwork visits to schools, colleges, local authorities and other services, found that:

  • Some children and young people in specialist residential placements can have negative experiences earlier in their education prior to seeking residential placements

  • Some LAs are reluctant to use residential provision, even when they lack a viable alternative placement. This is partly because it can be more expensive, but also because some are hostile toward independent/non-maintained providers. As a result, families felt they had to fight to access these placements

  • While experiences in residential placements tend to be good, outcomes are sometimes not as good as they could be, with some providers prioritising wellbeing over educational progress

The government responded with the following:

‘…I have instructed my officials to look at them in greater depth, with a view to responding to them more fully next year. However, to demonstrate our commitment to the findings of the review, I am today announcing some actions we will take forward immediately.

These are:

- As recommended in the review, we will establish a national leadership board for children and young people with high needs, reporting to the minister for children and families. I would like to invite you both to sit on this board to continue your involvement in taking this agenda forward;

- As recommended in the review, we are today publishing updated guidance for local authorities, making clear their statutory responsibility to visit children and young people with SEND or health conditions in long-term and

- To improve how schools and colleges support children and young people with SEND, we are today announcing the publication of a new resource, developed by ASK Research and Coventry University, setting out evidence on effective approaches for these children and young people, and examples of current practice in good and outstanding schools and colleges.

See also: Residential special schools and colleges: a call for evidence, 6th November 2017- consultation outcome

See also: Chair of Residential Care Leadership Board appointed - Alan Wood has been appointed as Chair of the new Residential Care Leadership Board.

Reducing Teacher workload, 10th November 2017

This is republished (since 2015)- updating the policy paper with information about the workload reduction toolkit that's in development.

Department for Education- Further Education

Anne Milton: Good careers advice helps you to a rewarding career, 7th November 2017

In her speech, at the Careers Education and Guidance Summit, the Skills Minister Anne Milton, sets out the vision for improved careers guidance.

The following four priorities will form the bedrock of the Careers Strategy:

Gatsby and Careers Leaders- a high-quality careers programme in every school and college.

Encounters with providers and employers- As Britain prepares to leave the European Union it is crucial to meet the skills needs of the economy, to provide opportunities for people to learn about different jobs and careers and to develop the skills and behaviours needed to thrive in the workplace.

Tailored advice, to meet individual needs- make sure everyone can benefit from tailored support. Personal guidance from a qualified adviser can have a real impact.

Data - make the most of the rich sources of information about jobs and careers that exist. There is a vast array of information and data available which has extraordinary potential to help people make informed decisions on the education, training and employment options available to them.

FE residential accommodation: national minimum standards, 7th November 2017

Closes: 26th January 2018

The government is proposing revisions to the national minimum standards for residential accommodation for 16- to 18-year-olds in the further education (FE) sector, to bring them up to date. It invites views on revised minimum standards for residential accommodation for 16- to 18-year-olds in further education institutions and 16 to 19 academies. Ofsted inspects against these standards and providers can use them to assess their own services, to train staff, and as a guide for parents and students.

Department for Education- Early Years

Robert Goodwill: speech to Nursery World Business Summit, 8th November 2017

Robert Goodwill, spoke about the Conservative Government’s vision for the early years, and what it means for the quality and outcomes for all children:

He spoke of the importance of: a well qualified early years workforce, the development of language and literacy skills and the success of the 30 hours in enabling parents to work.

He said:

‘….That’s why, over the course of 5 years, we’ll be spending over £2.5bn on the 15 hours free childcare entitlement for disadvantaged 2 year olds, and investing in the early years pupil premium, worth £300 per year per eligible child, to support better outcomes for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year-olds.. As a key part of delivering 30 hours we want to make sure that children with special educational needs and disabilities are able to get the best from it, and our evaluation of early delivery showed that local areas which put support in place were able to successfully deliver 30 hours places for children with SEND.

We’ve put in place measures to support local areas - for example, our new Disability Access Fund, worth £615 per year per eligible child, and a requirement that local authorities establish a special educational needs Inclusion Fund….

…We will provide more funding to help schools strengthen the development of language and literacy in the early years, with a particular focus on reception. As a part of this, we’ll establish a £12m network of English Hubs in the Northern Powerhouse to spread effective teaching practice, with a core focus on early language and literacy as their first priority. We have also opened up the £140m Strategic School Improvement Fund to bids focused on evidence-based ways to improve literacy, language and numeracy during the critical Reception year.

…..we will use £5 million to trial evidence-based home learning environment support programmes in the North of England, focusing on early language and literacy’.

And, ….’by revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and more closely aligned with teaching in Key Stage 1….We’ll be working closely with schools and early years experts as we implement changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.

This will take time - to ensure that we get it right - and we expect any changes to be rolled out nationally in the 2020 to 2021 academic year. We’re committed to supporting maintained nursery schools, and have provided local authorities with supplementary funding of around £60 million a year to enable them to maintain their current levels of funding until 2019-20….’

Supporting early years providers to run sustainable businesses, 10th November 2017

In September 2017, the government introduced 30 hours of funded childcare for working parents with 3- and 4- year-olds.

The government review of childcare costs shows that there is scope for some providers to improve their business practices in order to develop and grow their businesses and respond to increasing demand.

The government wants to support early years providers of all sizes to build sustainable and successful businesses and help them access the business support they need. This policy paper provides details of how settings can go about this.

See also: 30 hours free childcare: eligibility codes issued and validated, October update


Education and training statistics for the UK: 2017, 9th November

Statistics on schools, post compulsory education, training, qualifications and spending.

Schools - In academic year 2016/17, there were 32,113 schools across the UK. Primary schools accounted for 65% (20,925) of all schools; secondary schools 13% (4,168); and nursery schools 9% (3,022). Schools in England constitute 76% of the UK total, with an additional 16% in Scotland, 5% in Wales and 4% in Northern Ireland.

Pupils - Within the maintained sector, the number of primary school pupils increased by 83,100 (1.5%) from 2015/16 to 2016/17. The number of secondary school pupils also increased from 2015/16 to 2016/17, by 24,200 (0.6%) to 3.8 million.

Teachers - The total number of full time equivalent (FTE) qualified teachers across the UK has decreased by 739 FTE (0.1% of total FTE) from 2015/16 to 2016/17 . The decrease in teacher numbers in the last year is caused by a decrease in full time teachers of 3,343 (0.7% of full time teachers) from 2015/16 to 2016/17, though this has been partly offset by an increase in the full-time equivalent contribution of part-time teachers of 2,604 FTE (3.0% of part time teachers FTE). The number of full-time qualified teachers has increased in maintained nursery and primary (0.2%) and non-maintained schools (0.5%) from 2015/16 to 2016/17, however the number of full-time qualified teachers has decreased in maintained secondary schools by 2.2% in the last year.

16 to 24 year olds Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) by age shows a fall in the percentage of 16-24 year-olds Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the UK between 2012 and 2016, from 14.8% in 2012 to 11.6% in 2016. The NEET rate for 18-24 year olds has fallen each year between 2012 and 2016, from 17.4% in 2012 to 13.4% in 2016, including a 0.7 percentage point (ppt) fall between 2015 and 2016. At age 16-17, the NEET rate fell each year between 2012 and 2015, but between 2015 and 2016 there was a rise of 0.9ppts, leaving the NEET rate in 2016 (4.3%) only slightly lower than in 2012 (4.6%).

GCSE (or equivalent) attainment in England -In 2015/16, 53.5% of pupils at the end of key stage 4 achieved 5 or more GCSE (or equivalent) passes at grade A*-C including English and mathematics. This reflects their attainment according to their first attempt only.

Total (central government and local authority) expenditure on education in 2016/17 was £86.3 billion, a reduction in real terms of 2.3% compared to 2012/13. As a percentage of GDP, government expenditure on education has decreased over the period from 2012/13 to 2016/17 from 4.9% to 4.5%.

Education and training statistics for the UK: 2016, 7th November, republished with the following updates- for Northern Ireland, the overall percentage achieving 2 or more passes has been corrected from 34.4% to 52.1%. For the combined England/Wales/Northern Ireland total, the overall percentage achieving 2 or more passes has been corrected from 54.4% to 55.0%.

Other Government- Education Committee

Fostering Enquiry, 7th November 2017

Young people with experience of foster care join the Education Committee in questioning the Minister for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill MP, on the current state of fostering in England.


Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 March 2017, updated since June 2017

Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 March 2017 official statistics charts and tables Excel file updated to correct leavers' information in Tables 3 and 4.

Analysis – Developing the early years workforce: what does the evidence tell us? Rachel an and Sarah Bonetti, 8th November 2017

The authors say that despite the difficulty in identifying exactly which specific qualifications and characteristics make for highly-qualified staff, both researchers and practitioners tend to agree that a highly qualified workforce is crucial for high-quality provision. And while further research is needed in order to explain this relationship, they consider it important in the meantime to address the inherent problems of low pay, low qualifications and a poorly valued workforce. 

The authors look at two examples where the early years workforce and recruitment do well- Finland and New York City. In Finland, early years teachers are valued and enjoy high status. They also consider a recent initiative in New York City, which managed to find and recruit such a high number of qualified early years teachers over the course of just several months. This was achieved through high investment. Unlike Finland, where high cultural valuation of teachers provides a surplus of those willing to teach, New York had to attract teachers – both from students who might not have considered teaching and from already qualified teachers outside their system – to meet their needs. This was made possible in large part by the acknowledgment and subsequent willingness of the city to spend an unprecedented amount on the early years. The city successfully battled for $340 million per year of funding from the state of New York, and dedicated $6.7 million for a large-scale partnership with the early childhood professional development institute at the City University of New York to maintain a supply of qualified teachers.

Amanda Spielman's speech at the Nursery World business summit, 8th November 2017

Chief Inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman spoke about- in the context of the strategy- Ofsted being a force for the good in the early years. In addition, she mentioned the importance of children developing good literacy skills and being school ready

Ofsted Consultation

Inspection visits to further education and skills providers judged to require improvement, 10th November 2017

Closes 11.45pm on 22nd December 2017

Ofsted is seeking views on proposed changes to inspection visits to further education and skills providers who are judged to require improvement. They currently carry out support and challenge visits to providers that require improvement, resulting in unpublished letters. Instead, Ofsted proposes to carry out a single monitoring visit, which will result in a published report with progress judgements.


Increasing structured teacher observations makes no difference to GCSE English and maths results, 10th November 2017: EEF

Introducing more frequent and structured lesson observations – where teachers observe their colleagues and give them feedback – made no difference to pupils’ GCSE maths and English results, according to a report published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)

14,100 pupils in 82 English secondary schools took part in the randomised controlled trial of Teacher ObservationThe intervention was designed and delivered by a team from the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the University of Bristol, and the independent evaluation was conducted by NFER.

Maths and English teachers in the intervention schools were asked to take part in at least 6 structured 20-minute peer observations over a two-year period (with a suggested number of between 12 and 24). Teachers rated each other on specific elements of a lesson, like how well they managed behaviour, engaged students in learning or used discussion techniques.

A US study found that structured lesson observation led to gains in student and teacher performance. The EEF funded this evaluation to explore the impact of structured teacher observation in the English context.

The independent evaluation by researchers at the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) found that the GCSE pupils (15 and 16 year olds) whose teachers were eligible to take part made, on average, no more progress in combined English and maths scores than a similar group of pupils whose teachers were not eligible to take part.

See also the NfER press release

Centre for Policy Studies, Economic Bulletin, Why Britain Needs More Robots, 8th November

In summary the report states that it is unlikely that net employment will fall as a result of mechanisation – and the UK is at lower risk than other developed nations. If anything, the UK’s problem is having too few robots, not too many. There are only 71 for every 10,000 employees in manufacturing, compared to more than 300 in Germany. Other key points include:

  • Worries over the impact of automation on jobs are increasingly widespread, with the Labour Party floating measures that would impede mechanisation.

  • Taxing robots would not protect jobs. On the contrary, impeding mechanisation would further suppress productivity growth, depress wage growth and encourage economic activity to locate elsewhere – thereby reducing the tax base to pay for public services.

  • Calls for a Universal Basic Income are premature. It would be costly, distort the labour market and income inequality has been falling.

  • The potential for automation to lead to growing income inequality is a concern. The best way to counter this, however, is not by nationalising the robots, but by reforming skills and training.

International- Wales

Bumper £2.3bn building fund for schools and colleges, 10th November 2017

The money will allow the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education Programme – a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme – to continue for a second wave of investment.

Band A of the programme will conclude in 2019 after a £1.4bn spend over 5 years. This second wave of investment, Band B, will comprise 2 funding streams; one using traditional capital, and one using revenue funding, via a new form of Public Private Partnership called the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).



Professional teaching awards - stakeholder toolkit, 9th November

Closing date: 30th November 2017

Building on the success of last year’s awards, nominations for the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018 are open. and ERW are looking to celebrate the commitment, dedication and hard work of teachers across Wales.

They want you to help spread the word about the Awards and encourage as many nominations as possible. They have developed a toolkit which includes:

  • How you can help

  • Key dates

  • The categories

  • How to make a nomination

  • Example newsletter copy

  • Example social posts

  • Resources to use across your channels

Access it at:  gov.wales/teachingawardscymru

See also: Professional teaching awards Cymru - nominations

Special schools and ALN provisions conference, 7th November 2017

60 Head Teachers, senior leaders and teachers from Special Schools and specialist provisions from across the region met for the first ERW conference of its kind on Tuesday October 10th. Betsan O’Connor opened the event with key messages about the challenges and opportunities ahead with ALN and curriculum reforms. Felicia Wood from Kate Cairns Associates delivered the Keynote with a focus on the ‘5 to Thrive’ model that has been developed by KCA and supports adults to build nurturing relationships based upon research and evidence from the world of neuroscience and child development. Many delegates were interested in using ‘5 to Thrive’ in their settings and ERW will be developing a plan to introduce it across the region.

Sessions included:

Presentations from: Ysgol Heol GoffaYsgol Hendrefelin, Carmarthenshire Teaching and Learning Centre (CTLC) and Canolfan Elfed. Head Teacher Nikki Symmons delivered a presentation which outlined the journey that she and her staff in Heol Goffa are on towards becoming an attachment and trauma informed school.

The afternoon sessions provided delegates with updates on ALN reform, the new Estyn framework; ITE and Curriculum for Wales. Charlotte Thomas, Welsh Government’s Head of ALN Transformation, explained the reasoning behind some of the amendments being made to the Bill as well as summarising the recently published national mission document.

Moderation 2017-2018 - key messages, 8th November 2017

  • Since September 2015 it is statutory for a headteacher to ensure that the school becomes a member of a moderation cluster group that meets at least once in every school year during either the spring or summer terms. The main duties of the cluster group is to moderate a pupil’s school work at the end of key stage 2 and key stage 3. This is still a statutory order.

  • The ERW standardisation and moderation calendarhas been set for 2017-2018. The main aim is to ensure consistency across the region. The LA Assessment Leads have agreed to offer a moderation window from March 19thuntil May 18th, 2018 in order to give clusters the choice to hold the cluster moderation day before the Easter holidays or to arrange a day for the summer term, 2018.

  • The cluster moderation site on HWB is still active for 2017-2018. This is not a statutory order. The aim is to offer a platform to facilitate the statutory process across ERW. 

  • Nearly all clusters use the pupil learner profiles on HWB to highlight the levels and to write a short paragraph (no more than 200 words) justifying the best fit level. This ensures that the cluster feedback on the next steps for the pupil is recorded effectively and available instantly to the relevant school. It is the responsibility of the headteacher to ensure that the school responds to these recommendations.

  • Pupil learner profile sheets for the revised outcomes in the foundation phase are on HWB.

  • ERW will continue to fund three assessment leaders for each cluster – one for the foundation phase, one for key stage 2 and one for key stage 3.

  • Collating the evidence for moderation should not be an additional workload for teachers.

  • It is the responsibility of the headteacher to ensure arrangements for the annual cluster moderation in the core subjects. The education improvement grant can be used to releaseteachers to attend the cluster moderation meeting as it is a statutory order at the end of key stage 2 and key stage 3.


National Education conference for headteachers and key stakeholders

Curriculum for wales: turning the corner - important next steps for all schools, Thursday, 23 November 2017 - Venue Cymru, Llandudno


How do teachers become knowledgeable and confident in classroom management? Insights from a pilot study, 9th November: OECD

The Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) Teacher Knowledge Survey is the first international study to explore the nature, function and development of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge, i.e. what teachers know about teaching and learning. In-service and pre-service teachers exhibited higher knowledge on the classroom management portion of the assessment than in other areas related to instructional process, such as teaching methods and lesson planning. Results suggest that the more teachers learn about classroom management, the more confident they feel about mastering the teaching and learning process in general. Classroom management also seems to have a larger impact on self-efficacy than does learning about lesson planning. In-service teachers who report feeling confident about managing classrooms also report higher quality instructional practices in this domain. Knowledge related to learning and development; incorporating aspects of cognitive learning strategies, memory and information processes, is the area with most room for improvement in the pedagogical knowledge base.

See also What matters for managing classrooms? - Francesca Gottschalk, November 09, 2017

The author poses the question- How can we establish if teachers have the “protective factor” and are confident in their abilities? Referring to and discussing the pilot, the author, concludes that ‘strong education systems depend on having an effective teaching workforce. It is therefore essential to equip them with the knowledge and skills for them to be effective and confident in the classroom. In order to keep them there, countries need to focus on piecing together the “shattered dreams” of teachers, and supporting them as much as possible along the way’.


Improving mental health support for our children and young people, Expert Working group Final Report, 6th November 2017: Social Care Institute for Excellence

The report contains the findings and recommendations of an expert working group established by the DfE and the DoH. The mental health of young people is a strong focus in our society, and the government commitment that by 2020 there will be system-wide transformation of the local offer to children and young people is welcome. Work has begun with principles of service integration across health, education, justice and social care now feeding into sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and Local Transformation Plans (LTPS) across the country.

However, through the Expert Working Group meetings, stakeholder events and Call for Evidence findings show that too often children and young people are being failed by the system. Multiple testimonies highlighted that some looked after children and young people are not accessing services when needed.

The report concludes that change needs to happen now, and it is hoped that the report provides a platform for that change and the necessary call for action. The report makes a number of recommendations including building on the success of the virtual school head (VSH), developing a similar oversight role of a virtual mental health lead (VMHL) This is to ensure that every child and young person in the system is getting the support they need for their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

See also The Fostering Network comment.

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network and a member of the expert working group, said: ‘Half of all looked after children have a diagnosable mental health disorder and five times as many children in care have low subjective wellbeing compared to children in the general population; the issue of transforming the mental health of looked after children could not be more urgent. Three-quarters of looked after children live with foster carers, so any such transformation must have foster carers and fostering at its centre.

‘There is much in this report to be commended and we hope that the recommendations will be taken forward with energy and urgency. We must prioritise the consistency of the quality of assessment and support children in care receive to meet their mental health needs.

Longitudinal studies learning resource launches, 6th November 2017,IoE (UCL)

An online teaching resource has been produced by Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER) to introduce longitudinal studies to non-experts in both academic and policy settings. The Learning Hub is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students, and those who teach them. But it should be equally valuable to those working in government or the third sector who are new to the field but could benefit from improving their understanding of longitudinal studies and the data they collect. 

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Analysis – Developing the early years workforce: what does the evidence tell us? Rachel an and Sarah Bonetti, 8th November 2017

The authors suggest from evidence that England is behind other countries in terms of a well qualified early years workforce. Findings from the Achieving Early pilot have shown how effective and focused professional development enhances practitioner and teacher performance, leading to better outcomes for children.