Department for Education

P scales: attainment targets for pupils with SEN, Statutory guidance, 2nd June

This was first published in July 2014 and has been republished with updates-information on the introduction of pre-key stage standards to assess pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests. This applies to pupils in KS 1,2 and 3 (for KS4 the guidance will help, but it is non-statutory).

National curriculum (NC) tests and assessments consist of statutory NC tests and teacher assessment frameworks at the end of key stage 1 and key stage 2. Those working below the standard of these assessments are assessed using either the pre-key stage standards or P scales.

Department for Education: Statistics

Children accommodated in secure children’s homes at 31st March 2017: England and Wales, 1st June 2017

There were 203 children accommodated in secure children’s homes in England and Wales at 31 March 2017, a decrease from 210 last year.

The number of places contracted to the Youth Justice Board (YJB) has decreased, from 138 places at 31 March 2016 to 117 places at 31 March 2017.

The percentage of children placed on welfare grounds at 31 March 2017 increased to 51% from 50% in 2016. Children detained or sentenced and placed by the Youth Justice Board has increased to 46% from 42% in 2016. Whereas children placed by local authorities in a criminal justice context has decreased to 3%, down from 8% in 2016.

At 31 March 2017, 80% of approved places in England and Wales were occupied. This has fallen since 31 March 2016 when it was 83%.

Department for Education: consultations

Analysing family circumstances and education

First published on 12th April, the consultation period has been extended to 11.45am, 31st July 2017

The consultation seeks views on the government’s preliminary investigation of the relationship between household income and education for pupils in schools in England.

International

Could subjects soon be a thing of the past in Finland? P.Spiller, 29th May 2017: BBC

The article discusses a new approach to teaching and learning being trialed in schools in Finland. Known as phenomenon-based learning (PBL), where children work on projects, covering many disciplines at the same time – it aims to equip children with skills necessary to flourish in the 21st Century. Among the skills singled out by Kirsti Lonka, a professor of educational psychology at Helsinki University are critical thinking to identify fake news and avoid cyber-bullying, and the technical ability to install anti-virus software and link up to a printer.

Critics of PBL say in does not give children the depth they need in a particular subject and is leading to an increasing gap between the more able and less able children.

In the UK, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) funded a trial of PBL that involved mixed-ability Year 7 children in 24 UK schools between 2014 and 2016.

The findings were skewed because a large number of schools dropped out of the study, largely because of the high level of management support and organisational change needed.

The trial found no evidence that PBL had a positive impact on pupils' literacy or their engagement with school and learning, the EEF said.

However, the independent evaluators did find that - from observations and feedback from schools - it could enhance pupils' skills in communication, teamwork and self-managed study.

Other

Plans to restrict autism diagnoses will increase pressure on schools, headteachers say, A. Bloom, 28th May 2017: TES

NHS commissioners in South West London are currently considering proposals to reduce the number of children being diagnosed with autism.

South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust is in discussion with local clinical commissioning groups about plans to restrict autism diagnosis only to those children who are suffering from an additional mental-health condition, such as depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Board papers from a meeting of the trust state: “The effect of reviewing and revising the criteria must be to reduce the number of children and young people who are able to access a full diagnostic assessment from the Trust, and will require extensive engagement to stimulate existing resources across social-care and education services.”

Heads' unions have spoken of "huge frustration" at proposals to limit autism diagnoses to children also suffering from mental-health problems, arguing that if children need additional support they should get it and schools should not have to cope it.

'Politicians don't seem to have any interest in helping children to actually enjoy learning', 30th May 2017, John Dunford: TES

John Dunford examines the party manifestos and concludes that although there is plenty on education none of them talk about the enjoyment of learning and the need for teachers to pass that on.

School funding: Why we must not lose focus on addressing disadvantage, 1st June 2017, Sharp and Williams blog: NfER.

The blog considers the benefits and importance of pupil premium funding, but warns about funding cuts and disadvantaged pupils being the ones to lose out. In a time when schools are being asked to redouble their efforts for disadvantaged pupils, there is no doubt that most schools are willing to do so. But the concern is that increasingly tight school budgets may dominate the agenda and hold back much-needed progress in helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their potential.

'Staggeringly high' numbers of teachers threatening to quit the classroom, R. Pells, 28th May 2017, Independent

In this article Rebecca Allen, director of the Education Datalab think tank discusses the “crisis” in teacher recruitment and retention. She says that teachers need something to improve the experience of teaching at the start of their career, which could include measures such as mentoring, smaller teaching workloads, or extending the teacher training period.

Professor Becky Francis, director of the UCL Institute of Education said the prospect of taking longer to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) may be off-putting to some would-be teachers.

Instead, she suggested there could be a scheme where an initial QTS is awarded at the end of teacher training and then again at further stages of development, which recognise a teacher’s work and progress.

Research has shown that a third of all teachers who started teaching in 2010 were no longer in the profession 5 years later.

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

School funding: Why we must not lose focus on addressing disadvantage, 1st June 2017, Sharp and Williams blog: NfER.

The blog highlights the importance of schools having a continuing focus on pupils from socio economic disadvantage- despite funding cuts. Since the introduction of pupil premium funding the attainment gap between the advantaged and their less advantaged peers has narrowed. Schools working with Achievement for All have contributed to this.