14th July 2017

Department for Education

Justine Greening: we should not accept Britain as it has been, 12th July, Speech to open Sutton Trust Social Mobility Summit 2017.

In a speech at the Sutton Trust's Social Mobility Summit 2017 on 12 July, Justine Greening set out new government initiatives.

She spoke of the ‘social mobility emergency’ in this country and the need to focus on cold spot areas, she said:

‘……..And of course my starting lens in the DfE is that this mission has to focus on the most entrenched forms of disadvantage. It has to target the problem of the highest urgency. And to my mind that is the challenge of region and place; the ‘coldspots’ that we have on social mobility.

Why should living in one area, growing up in one area, disadvantage you, when compared to another? It shouldn’t, but in this country it still does………………………………..

It needs to be a concerted effort across education, across businesses, and across communities.

That is why I am focussing the wider work of my department on tackling that challenge of how we have successful, place-based education strategy. It is why I’m gearing my programmes and policies to lift up those parts of the country that can most benefit from improved education.

This challenge is particularly acute in our schools. There are parts of the country where schools are not delivering the results for our young people. These areas, moreover, do not necessarily have the capacity to improve all on their own yet.

Justine Greening went on to talk about the importance of great teachers in all schools and why:

‘…….earlier this year, I announced a £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, which was all about investing in high-quality professional development for teachers and leaders working in these challenging areas.

£20 million of this can now be allocated to make a difference. The first round has now been completed and it will go to programmes helping to make a change on the ground from September this year.

We are also setting aside £10 million of that fund for teachers and leaders in those most challenging schools, to take part in the newly reformed, gold standard National Professional Qualifications to help make sure that these schools are led by the very best teachers.

Because I believe that investing in the home-grown talent that is already in these areas, with teachers who are already there, is possibly one of the most quick and effective ways we can make a difference on the ground.

This approach will begin to have an impact in these regions, and I think it will begin to really lift up the parts of the school system that are struggling to kick start their own improvement.

We also know there are some areas in need of even more intensive support. The ones that face the multiplicity of challenges – not just a few but a lot.

That is why one of the first things I introduced as Secretary of State was to establish Opportunity Areas’.

See also: Education Secretary unveils schemes to tackle social mobility

Justine Greening confirmed that leading national and local businesses have signed up to provide careers advice to young people in 12 ‘Opportunity Areas’,

She named the schools that will act as Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Research Schools in the Opportunity Areas. These schools will get a share of £3.5million to gather and share evidence of best practice on social mobility to help teachers tackle this issue in their schools.

Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Evidence Champion for the Opportunity Areas to ensure intelligence is shared effectively across the twelve areas.

Alongside this, Justine Greening reaffirmed her commitment to supporting the teaching profession, enabling teachers to be the best they can help every pupil to achieve their potential.

£30 million boost to projects supporting vulnerable young people, 10th July

Children's minister Robert Goodwill announces funding for 24 projects, as part of the Children's Social Care Innovation Programme.

The projects are part of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, which is backed by £200 million of government funding. This programme has supported 95 projects to date, providing evidence of best practice that is helping to improve children’s services across the country.

The projects that have been awarded funding include Credo Care, Derby City Council, The Adolescent and Children’s Trust, Munro, Turnell & Murphy, and Barnardo’s.

Department for Education- Research

Evaluation of Early Implementation of 30 hours free childcare, Research Report, 17 July 2017

The universal offer for three and four year olds will be extended to 30 hours for children of working parents in September 2017 when 30 hours free childcare is rolled out nationally. The universal entitlement is focused on supporting child development. The aim of the extension is that “Additional free childcare will help families by reducing the cost of childcare and will support parents into work or to work more hours should they wish to do so”

Overall, the evidence from early implementation suggests that there is no specific reason to believe that 30 hours free childcare will not be a success.

In particular:

  • A high proportion of providers were willing and able to offer the extended hours places and there was no evidence that financial implications were a substantial barrier to the delivery of the extended hours.

  • Parents were keen to take up the extended hours.

  • Take-up of the extended hours was associated with increases in the use of formal childcare; longer work hours for mothers and fathers; and some indication of higher work retention for mothers.

  • There were additional perceived benefits for families in terms of enhanced work opportunities, direct financial support and broader wellbeing.

Melhuish et al., 2017- Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): Impact study on early education use and child outcomes up to age three, research report, July 2017: DfE

The Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) is a major study designed to help the Department for Education (DfE) provide evidence on the effectiveness of early years education and to identify any short- and longer-term benefits from this investment.

The study is being undertaken by a consortium including NatCen Social Research, the University of Oxford, Action for Children and Frontier Economics.

This report is part of SEED, and focuses on the take-up of the early education offer for two-year-olds, and on exploring how early childhood education and care (ECEC) may be related to children’s development at age three. SEED aims to study children longitudinally at age two, three, four, five and seven to seek information on how variation in ECEC experience may be associated with cognitive and socio-emotional development.

The current report addresses two main objectives:

1.To explore the impact of introducing a policy of free early education for disadvantaged two-year-olds on take-up of early education for two- to three-year-old children, in the year following the introduction of the policy.

2.To study the associations between the amount of differing types of early childhood education and care (ECEC) and child development, as well as associations between child development and aspects of the home environment.

Findings showed that:

  • Against a background of a general increase over time in ECEC use by all types of families with all levels of disadvantage, there was limited evidence of increased use of funded ECEC for disadvantaged two-year-olds between the ages of two and three years in response to the introduction of the policy of 15 hours of free early education in the year following its introduction.

  • And When controlling for home environment and demographic factors, the amount of ECEC received between ages two and three years was associated with differences in cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes at age three years. Beneficial outcomes across all three levels of disadvantage studied suggest that ECEC use has a positive benefit regardless of a child’s household income disadvantage level. Although, given the lower starting point among disadvantaged children (Speight et al., 2015), and reduced likelihood to take up childcare (Speight et al., 2010a) ECEC may be of particular importance for this group.

Paull and Xu, Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): The potential value for money of early education, research report July 2017: DfE

This report is the second output from the value for money component of the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED). The value for money component of SEED will compare the costs of delivering early education with the monetary value of the impacts on child development.

Key findings show that:

  • Improvements in child development at ages three and age four can be linked to later monetary benefits from reduced SEN, truancy, school exclusion, youth and adult crime, smoking and depression and from improved employment rates and earnings. Improvements in KS1 attainment at age seven can be linked to later monetary benefits in reduced SEN, truancy and school exclusion and from higher qualifications leading to higher lifetime earnings.

Pupils and their parents or carers omnibus survey (updated with wave 2 survey)

This report draws together the findings from the second wave of the omnibus survey of pupils and their parents/carers in England, which was conducted by Kantar Public on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE). Fieldwork for wave 2 was conducted between November 23rd 2016 and January 16th 2017, and included 1,595 paired parent/carer pupil questionnaires.

Findings showed that:

In the context of parental choice of, and engagement with their child's secondary school-

12% of parents/carers had a volunteer role at their child’s school and a further 11% said they didn’t, but would like to get involved. However, the majority of parents/carers (72%) selected the option, ‘no, and I don’t want/have time to get involved’

Parents/carers most commonly want their child’s school to engage with them through ‘parent evenings’ (81%) or ‘frequent informal contact with my child’s teacher’ (61%)

54% parents wanted an extended school day- with the most popular reason for doing so to have careers guidance (with the outcome being to build character).

Changes at school- Overall, 77% of all parents/carers and 86% of all pupils said they had heard of the GCSE reforms to replace the old A* - G grading with new grades 9 – 1; 19% of parents/carers had heard of progress 8

Bullying- Looking over the past year, nearly half (45%) of pupils said they had been bullied at least once or twice, which compares with almost a quarter (24%) of parents/carers saying the same of their child.

Qualifications- Pupils were most likely to want to ‘continue with academic learning’ after Year 11 (56%).

Amongst pupils with SEND, 24% wanted to continue with academic learning, compared with 62% of those without SEND

Pupils eligible for FSM were also less likely to want to continue with academic learning (44%, compared with 59% of pupils not eligible)

See also: Parents of pupils on free school meals 'get less information from schools', 11th July: TES

Teacher Voice omnibus survey, July 2017

The questions explored teachers’ and senior leaders’ views on, and activities relating to a range of areas such as: curriculum reform, professional development, alternative provision, character education, bullying, careers, and support for pupils with special educational needs. In total, 1,936 practising teachers from 1,629 schools in the maintained sector in England completed the survey.

Pupil Premium

Nearly two-thirds of the school leaders (62 per cent) said they had not yet commissioned a PP review but only a small number said they were not aware that they could do so. A higher percentage of secondary school leaders (42 per cent) than primary school leaders (23 per cent) said they had done so. The vast majority (23 out of 24) of those who had commissioned a review said they had found it helpful or very helpful.

Supporting pupils with SEN

Teachers were asked which techniques they used to support pupils on SEN Support to improve their progress/attainment. Most teachers used two techniques in particular: using their own professional judgement (83 per cent) and ‘standard pupil monitoring’ (77 per cent). In addition, 52 per cent said they used the views of pupils, parents and/or carers to support pupils on SEN Support; 46 per cent used progress assessments from colleagues or external providers. Around a third of respondents (36 per cent) said they used more frequent and focused assessments of progress (than are used for pupils without SEN) and 31 per cent used the SEN component of a computerised management information system.

The quality of school governance: collecting and defining metrics

The research explored whether it is possible to design and collect metrics measuring the quality of governance in the school system.

The study demonstrated that defining and collecting metrics on the quality of governance is broadly feasible. However, in order to secure confidence in the metrics, the researchers recommend further validation.

The researchers have developed nine statistically-reliable metrics, validated to a certain extent by expert reviews, that broadly identify the components of effective governance.

Independent state school partnerships (ISSP): evaluation

Results from a study of 18 DfE-funded partnerships between independent and state primary schools.

Impact on pupils: Most partnerships meant pupils had a learning opportunity they may not have had; opportunities often directly supportive of changes to primary science curriculum. Their exposure to varied delivery mechanisms, supported their development, encouraged social interactions and for science partnerships in particular, an increased enthusiasm for science.

Impact on schools: The partnerships were a cost-effective means of developing relationships between the two school sectors as evidenced by partnerships continuing in the same or new subject area, reflecting agreed local priorities or joint areas of interest where they can share expertise and experience.

Safe families for children, 14th July 2017

The safe families for children programme provides vulnerable families with 3 types of support:

  • respite for children to live away from home for short periods

  • friendship for the main carer

  • resources to help make the family home a healthy environment

This research evaluates the programme in English local authorities between January 2015 and March 2016.

Safe Families provided support to 192 families, comprising 480 children in families designated as Category 1: early help or family support cases. Although these children were not deemed to be ‘on the edge of care’, Safe Families support nevertheless included the provision of 218 nights of respite care across this group of children There were fewer children in Category 2 (edge of care) referred than initally anticipated. In total during the period of the evaluation, 83 families with such children were referred. Of these, 40 families comprising 91 children received support from Safe Families.

Learning for Safe Families suggests:

  • The future of Safe Families depends on its ability to continue to support more children who otherwise would have been drawn into the foster care system.

  • Priority should be given to expanding existing hubs of Safe Families activity over developing new hubs.

  • The success of Safe Families, like any innovation for children on the edge of care, will depend on effective matching between support offered to families and the needs of those families.

  • Momentum behind existing efforts to apply learning about volunteer recruitment to non-Christian and non-faith groups should increase. 

Department for Education- Further Education

Traineeships: year 2 process evaluation

Traineeships are an education and training programme that provide young people aged 16-24 with an intensive period of work experience and work preparation training, as well as offering them support in improving their English and maths to give them the best opportunity of entering an apprenticeship or employment.

This evaluation explores the views of year two trainees: 2,153 trainees who commenced a traineeship programme between August 2014 and July 2015.

Overall, the main benefits of the traineeship were seen as improved chances of getting paid work (22%), good work experience (20%) and increased self-confidence or self-belief (19%). As in the first survey, trainees were very positive about their time on a traineeship. More than nine in ten trainees (92%) said that they would recommend traineeships to other people, and seven in ten trainees (70%) said that they would speak highly of traineeships when speaking to others.

Apprenticeship funding: how will it work? (last updated March 2017)

How apprenticeship funding will affect employers from May 2017, including the apprenticeship levy and the online apprenticeship service.

Republished with updated details of the definition of the 'English percentage'.

Department for Education- Early Years

Childminder agencies: a guide (updated), 13th July 2017

The guide has been updated with links to the Care to Learn online application and a Student Bursary Support Service online portal.


National Pupil projections, 13th July

The nursery & primary school population has been rising since 2009 and reached 4.58 million in 2017. The rate of increase is slowing, due to falling birth rates, and the population is projected to stabilise in 2019 at 4.66 million.

The secondary school population rose to 2.80 million in 2017 as the increased births from 2002 are now entering the secondary school population. The secondary school population is projected to continue increasing for most of the projection period, finally stablising at 3.33 million in 2025.

See also: Increasing pupil numbers create challenges for secondary schools, Suzanne Straw (Blog), 13th July 2017: NfER

Suzanne Straw questions whether ‘spare places ‘ in secondary schools will be areas where they are needed. In addition, will parents want to send their children to the schools with spare capacity?

Secondary school preferences by school type: 2016

Statistics showing first preference demand from parents for selective and non-selective schools, including outstanding schools.

Key findings showed that there were 35,385 first preferences expressed by parents for 24,491 places offered in the 163 state-funded selective schools in 2016. This means that demand for selective school places exceeded supply by 10,894 places.

Revised GCSE and equivalent results in England: 2015 to 2016, 14th July (published in January 2017)

Republished with updated parliamentary constituency underlying data table- to correct figures in columns 'EBACC_E', 'KS4_LEVEL2_EM_16' and 'KS4_P8PUP_16'. Also updated school location underlying data table to correct figures in columns 'EBACC_E'.

FE data library: vocational qualifications, 13th July

Vocational qualifications by level updated July 2017, covering data from January to March 2017.

Further Education and Skills: July 2017 (update)

Ofqual vocational qualification data shown in Table 17 of this release, and accompanying supplementary tables, were updated on 13 July 2017. These new data cover the period January to March 2017.

FE Choices learner satisfaction survey 2016 to 2017

This report provides an overview, at a national level, of the findings from the FE Choices Learner Satisfaction Survey 2016 to 2017.

Findings showed that:

83% of respondents would recommend their learning provider to friends or family.

Learners aged 25 or over were particularly positive about the quality of teaching, with more than 85% rating the teaching highly (8 or above).

More than three quarters of all respondents (78%) gave a score of 8 to 10 for question 4 “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the support you get on this course or activity?”


School inspections and outcomes: management information: at 30th June 2017

At 30th June 2017 20963/21956 schools had been inspected.

895 were good/outstanding.

1096 schools RI

411 schools are inadequate

Ofsted Annual Report and Accounts 2016-2017, 13th July 2017

Performance summary

Since 2010–11, Ofsted’s budget has reduced by over £54 million yet we carried out over 39,000 inspections, which is only 5% fewer than six years ago.

The proportion of providers who see inspection as contributing to their improvement increased, from 92% last year to 94% this year.

The proportion of parents who consider Ofsted judgements to be a reliable measure of a school’s quality has increased from 61% to 66%.

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information from December 2015: most recent inspections at 30th June 2017

80% of all providers inspected (1075/ 1190) by 30th June 2017 were good or outstanding.

Almost one fifth -18% -are at ‘requires improvement’

International: Wales

Drive to improve maths in schools launched, 14th July 2017

A new network for excellence to improve how maths is taught in schools and improve standards has been officially launched (Fri 14th July).

The Welsh Government is investing over £3.2 million in the network this Assembly term which will play a key role in the Education Secretary Kirsty Williams’ national mission to raise standards in Welsh schools.

It involves schools, colleges, universities and the four regional education consortia - working together to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy in Wales, in support of new curriculum developments. 

Its role will include:

  • Extra support to develop leadership in maths and help schools work together in support of higher standards.

  • Supporting teachers, teaching assistants, further education lecturers and others to develop improved classroom practice. 

  • Schools and colleges will receive guidance, access to conferences and events on effective teaching practice, alongside a new dedicated online maths zone on the Hwb learning website.

  • New accredited evidence-based professional development programmes for teaching staff to improve their mathematics knowledge, and the teaching and learning of mathematics. 

Reporting and interpreting national test results 2017, Guidance, 12th July: Learning Wales

The guidance notes can be used when working with the reading and numeracy results from the 2017 national tests.


The challenge of navigating teacher recruitment, pay and curriculum choices: Education Policy Institute, 12th July

Key findings from the analysis

 –  The Department for Education projects pupil to teacher ratios in secondary schools will increase from 14.5 to 16.0 over the next decade. The current ratio is already above international averages.

 –  Improving working conditions is crucial to attracting and retaining teachers. As recently highlighted by the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), continued pay restraint makes this more difficult. A 1% limit implies salaries falling by 5% relative to average earnings between now and 2019-20.

 –  Government targets for increasing the uptake of EBacc subjects imply an increase of 78% in the number of teachers required to join schools to teach modern foreign languages in 2019-20.

 –  Continuing to increase teacher training bursaries could represent poor value for money. The marginal cost per additional trainee of a £1,000 increase in bursaries could be as high as £60,000 some subjects.


Schools in Derby a serious concern, says Ofsted, 13th July, BBC

Derby is in the bottom 10 local authority areas for educational attainment and some of its schools will have large proportions of pupils from deprived backgrounds.

It currently has 23 primary and secondary schools and academies requiring improvement or in special measures.

Ofsted says schools are not progressing there because there are too few academy trusts in the area with experience in improving struggling schools.

It says the regional schools commissioners, who oversee standards in academies, are too slow to take action.

The neuroscience of inequality: does poverty show up in children’s brains? 13th July, The Guardian

Evidence suggests that growing up poor reduces the physical development of the brain. This study from the USA tries to establish a causal link.

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Pupils and their parents or carers omnibus survey (updated with wave 2 survey)

The omnibus survey of just over 1500 pupils and parent/carer pairs showed that parents were not that interested in being involved or did not have time to be involved in their child’s education. Achievement for All highlights significant improvements in children’s outcomes when their parents/carers are engaged in their education.

Teacher Voice omnibus survey, July 2017

Nearly two-thirds of the school leaders (62 per cent) said they had not yet commissioned a PP review but only a small number said they were not aware that they could do so.

A higher percentage of secondary school leaders (42 per cent) than primary school leaders (23 per cent) said they had done so. The vast majority (23 out of 24) of those who had commissioned a review said they had found it helpful or very helpful.

Schools which have had an Achievement for All pupil premium practice review have found it extremely helpful. They value the collaborative approach.