6th July 2018

Department for Education

Education Secretary makes inaugural speech to children's services sector, 5thJuly

Secretary of State Damian Hinds spoke for the first time to directors of children's services at the ADCS conference in Manchester.

Damien Hinds started by thanking the directors for all their hard work but highlighted the need for consistency in provision across health, social care and education (across local authorities) and for a more ‘ambitious’ outlook  ‘for the most vulnerable kids, helping them to overcome the difficult starts and disadvantages (children with SEND, those in care or those from troubled families). That is what progress for our country should mean…..’

He mentioned the new guidance just published - Working Together to Safeguard Children - and the importance of safeguarding being a shared responsibility. The new guidance emphasises the need for a more integrated system where the police and health services work with local authorities and with schools and early year’s providers.

Children with SEND

He referred to the wide gap in outcomes between children with SEND and their peers. He referred to the steady movement of children with SEND into alternative provision, home education and specialist provision and referred to the stories he has heard of schools off-rolling and the rise in exclusions.

He said:

‘And I want to be clear right now: this is not okay. SEND pupils are not someone else’s problem. Every school is a school for pupils with SEND; and every teacher is a teacher of SEND pupils…Children, young people and parents should – and do – have a strong say in all of this, and I am clear that specialist provision can be the right choice for those with more complex needs.

'But mainstream schools and colleges – with the right support and training – should also be able to offer strong support for many more children and young people with EHC plans, as well as high quality SEN Support for those without plans.

'So I want to both equip and incentivise schools to do better for children and young people with SEND.

'This includes working with Ofsted to make sure our accountability system sufficiently rewards schools for their work with pupils who need extra support, and to encourage schools to focus on all pupils, not just the highest achievers.

'...And I want to increase our efforts to help young people with SEND access opportunities that will help them find employment – building on the work we’re already doing such as the supported internships programme.

'SEND is a huge priority for my department – and we’ll be saying more about all of this in the coming months...’

He went on to say that exclusion from school should only be a last resort, he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to improving Alternative Provision and spoke of the importance of care leavers getting the support they need and the redesign of the Local Offer taking care leavers views into consideration and offering more relevant advice to services.

Strengthened guidance to protect children at risk, 4th July 10, 2018

Children at risk of abuse or neglect will now be protected through improved partnerships between local police, councils and health services.

Strengthened guidance just published sets new legal requirements for the three safeguarding partners, who will be required to make joint safeguarding decisions to meet the needs of local children and families.Senior police, council and health leaders will jointly be responsible for setting out local plans to keep children safe and will be accountable for how well agencies work together to protect children from abuse and neglect.

Children and Families Minister addresses ADCS conference, 5th July

Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi spoke to directors of children's services at the ACDS conference 2018 in Manchester.

Nadhim Zahawi spoke of the need to work together to get the best for all children. In relation to care leavers, he said:

‘… Today I am promising to work for these young people and their futures. To make sure that looked-after children and care leavers can benefit from the good things that this country has to offer. They can get into, and stay at, the best schools; they can take up apprenticeships or places at university if they want to. …..There is a limit to how much we can offer alone. That is why I am so excited to be launching the Care Leaver Covenant this autumn….The Covenant is a pledge from organisations across our society, in which they make concrete commitments to help improve outcomes for care leavers….’

Skills boost for the North as maths school to open in Liverpool, 4th July

The University of Liverpool Mathematics College is likely to become the first of its kind in the north of England and will follow in the footsteps of successful schools opened by King’s College London and the University of Exeter.

When the school opens, it will welcome 80 talented A level pupils per year to study subjects like maths, further maths and physics.

Find, join or create a network for school business professionals, guidance updated, 3rd July

Added new contacts in 'Find a school business professional network', to the following networks: Lancashire and West Yorkshire RSC, East Midlands and the Humber RSC, East of England and North East London RSC, North West London and South Central RSC and South East and South London RSC. One contact updated in West Midlands RSC.

Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE): course providers, guidance updated, 3rd July

Removed the University of Worcester as a maths SKE course provider. Added Spectrum Spanish as a Spanish SKE course provider. 

Department for Education- Early Years

Multi-million pound fund to support disadvantaged children in the early years, 1st July

Parents who need help teaching their children reading, writing and language skills will get practical help such as home visits and online tools through a £6.5 million scheme.

Projects that can bid for the funding could include home visits from trained early years professionals, to help parents support their children in learning new words through simple steps like reading and singing nursery rhymes. Or they could involve easy-to-use online tools that help broaden the vocabulary parents use with their children in these early years.

National voluntary and community groups will also be able to bid for funding to work with disadvantaged communities to encourage families to access the Government’s early education offers for children under five, as evidence shows high-quality early education can have a lasting impact on a child’s future.

The new scheme just announced builds on the £13.5 million investment announced in April to improve early language and literacy for disadvantaged children. This includes £5million for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to trial projects that support parents to help their children learn new words, and an £8.5 million programme for local authorities to make improvements in early learning for local communities.

Funding will be awarded to organisations that can demonstrate that projects will be self-sustaining, to ensure they will last to support future generations of children.

Other government- Education Select Committee


School inspection update: academic year 2017 to 2018, July 2018

This update provides revised information on the following areas:

  • Information on the revised inspection timings for good, requires improvement and inadequate schools

  • Guidance about what inspectors should do where they identify safeguarding concerns about children absent from school

  • Guidance on what should be looked at on inspection from September 2018 regarding the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in schools

  • Information on the DfE’s newly published guidance on gender separation in mixed schools

  • Guidance on focusing on groups of pupils on inspection

  • Clarification on inspecting religious education (RE) and collective worship

  • Clarification on assessing achievement in foundation subjects in primary schools

  • Guidance on informing governors about an inspection nschool performance data systems − third party suppliers

  • Guidance on changes to statutory assessment for key stages 1 and 2

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters, 6th July 

Added report for North Somerset and Newcastle upon Tyne on the Ofsted reports website.

Growing up neglected: a multi-agency response to older children, 6th July: Ofsted, HMI ‘Commission (CQC) and HMI Probation.

Key findings show that:

  • Neglect of older children sometimes goes unseen.

  • Work with parents to address the neglect of older children does not always happen.

  • Adult services in most areas are not effective in identifying potential neglect of older children.

  • The behaviour of older children must be understood in the context of trauma.

  • Tackling neglect of older children requires a coordinated strategic approach across all agencies.

The report calls for:

  • A ‘whole system’ approach to identifying and preventing neglect, including from adult services working with parents

  • Better training for professionals in identifying the signs of neglect in order children

  • A more co-ordinated, strategic approach across all agencies working with children and parents

  • The behaviour of older children to be understood in the context of the trauma they have experienced.

The News Story can be accessed here

Amanda Spielman at the Education Policy Institute conference, 3rd July: Speech

Speaking about the‘implications of key system wide challenges are for Ofsted’ she referred to the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum and the increasing number of MATs and how Ofsted were trialling a better inspection process for MATs over the summer.

She said there are many high performing MATs which share the following characteristics:

  • An ability to recruit and retain strong executive leaders

  • A well-planned, broad and balanced curriculum

  • A commitment to providing a high-quality education for all pupils

  • Investment in the professional development of teachers and the sharing of knowledge and expertise across a strong network of constituent schools

  • A high priority given to initial teacher training and leadership development to secure the pipeline of talent

  • Clear frameworks of governance, accountability and delegation

  • Effective use of assessment information to identify, escalate and tackle problems quickly

She concluded that:

‘At the end of the day our job is to look at what decisions are made, how they are translating into practice, and how schools know they are having the intended effect. I cannot stress enough, what we want is a dialogue to help make sure that every child gets a full, deep, rich education….’


Children’s Commissioner- Vulnerability Report 2018, 4th July

Key findings show that:

  • Around 2.1 million children in England – one in six – are living vulnerable lives due to complex family circumstances 

  • Six million ‘invisible’ children are living in vulnerable situations but receiving no known support or help from the system

  • Report estimates 825,000 children are living in a family with domestic violence and that over 100,000 children are living in a family with the so-called ‘toxic trio’ of domestic violence, mental health and alcohol or substance abuse.

Does the claim of ‘1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools’ stack up? Andrews, 2nd July 2018, Education Policy Institute

The author of the paper identifies a number of factors that question the statistic of 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools, these are:

  • Increases in the pupil population and shifts in the schools pupils attend, account for 578,000 pupils of the increase in the number of pupils attending good or outstanding schools – over a quarter of the total

  • 579,000 pupils attend schools that are rated as good or outstanding but have not been inspected since at least 2010. There are 124,000 pupils in schools that have not been inspected in the last 10 years

  • There are 309,000 pupils are in schools that have not been inspected since at least 2010 and are converter academies not inspected in that form

  • For primary schools, the introduction of the requires improvement grade was associated with a large increase in one year in the proportion of schools improving their grade at inspection.

How do shortages of maths teachers affect the within-school allocation of maths teachers to pupils? Allen and Simms, FFT Education Datalab: Nuffield Foundation

The research, commissioned by the Nuffield Foundation and carried out by FFT Education Datalab using data from the School Workforce Census shows in broad terms, that secondary schools:

  • Deploy their more experienced maths teachers with the most relevant qualifications to teach year groups where the external stakes are high: GCSE, A-Level and GCSE retakes (Key Stages 4 and 5)

  • This pattern is consistent across all schools, although those in disadvantaged areas are less likely to have teachers who fit this criteria, meaning that teacher shortages are having the biggest impact on pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

  • This deployment of more experienced teachers at Key Stage 5, while understandable, means that the shortage of maths teachers is being felt most keenly at Key Stage 3 (and to some degree Key Stage 4).

The researchers conclude that this is likely to have a negative impact on the uptake of maths at more advanced levels.

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis, Egert et al., Review of Educational Research (first published Jan 2018).

Researchers from Germany and Amsterdam have reviewed various studies to explore the impact of teacher/practitioner professional development on programme quality and children’s outcomes. The review summarizes findings from (quasi)-experimental studies that evaluated in-service training effects for early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals on external quality ratings and child development. Variance in effect sizes at child level was significantly related to in-service effects on quality ratings (53% explained variance). The results show that quality improvement is a key mechanism to accelerate the development of young children.

How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis, Ritchie at al., Psychological Science, first published June 2018

Intelligence test scores and educational duration are positively related. This relationship  could be interpreted in two ways: Students with greater tendency for intelligence go on to complete more education, or a longer education increases intelligence. The researchers meta-analyzed three categories of quasiexperimental studies of educational effects on intelligence: those estimating education-intelligence associations after controlling for earlier intelligence, those using compulsory schooling policy changes as instrumental variables, and those using regression-discontinuity designs on school-entry age cutoffs. The researchers found consistent evidence for beneficial effects of education on cognitive abilities of approximately 1 to 5 IQ points for an additional year of education. Moderator analyses indicated that the effects persisted across the life span and were present on all broad categories of cognitive ability studied. They concluded that education appears to be the most consistent, robust, and durable method yet to be identified for raising intelligence.

Hierarchy, Markets and Networks: Analysing the ‘self-improving school-led system’ agenda in England and the implications for schools, Greany and Higham, July: IoE, UCL

The four-year study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, evaluated the government’s ‘self-improving school-led system’ (SISS), which has become an overarching narrative for education policy since 2010, making schools more autonomous and accountable for their own improvement. 

The reforms have included an expansion in the number of academies and the development of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), the roll back of Local Authorities (LAs) from school oversight, and the development of new school-to-school support models, such as Teaching School Alliances (TSAs). 

The researchers found that despite the government’s claims to be ‘moving control to the frontline’ and giving schools more autonomy, the reality is very different.  Schools are more tightly regulated than ever, facing pressure to get good exam results and Ofsted grades or face being taken over by a MAT. Many schools have felt the need to narrow their curriculum and focus relentlessly on test outcomes in response.  


Response to the announcement by head teachers in Kent, 2nd July: The Fostering Network

Responding to an announcement from some head teachers in Kent that they will no longer accept looked after children from London unless ministers take personal responsibility for their safety, The Fostering Network’s chief executive, Kevin Williams, said: ‘Moving fostered young people from their local area is a decision that should not be taken lightly and in the majority of cases it will be more beneficial for the young person to have the stability of staying near family, friends and their wider support network. This is one of the reasons we are calling on the Government to prioritise the funding of foster care and the recruitment and retention of foster carers around the UK. The more foster carers available in a locality, the higher the chance a young person will be able to live with a foster family that can meet all their needs and remain close to their home.

International -Wales

Education Workforce Council

ITE accreditation announcement

From September 2019, all initial teacher education (ITE) programmes in Wales must be accredited by the EWC. This new function is being carried out by the EWC through its ITE Accreditation Board, which was established in August 2017. Partnerships intending to provide ITE programmes were asked to submit programme proposals to EWC by 1 December 2017. Programme submissions were received from six partnerships across Wales.



Introduction of Personalised Assessments

Welsh Government is phasing in new online personalised assessments from the next academic year (2018/19). Starting with online procedural numeracy, these assessments will replace the paper national tests as follows:



Professional Learning for Schools in the Central South Wales Region

This professional offer is an interim offer meeting national and regional needs for the period Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019. This interim regional professional learning offer is in partnership with over seventy schools in the region that are facilitating programmes as either a professional learning hub, a curriculum hub or as a lead practitioner.

Details can be found at this website (above)


On the money? Targeted funding to improve educational outcomes, 6th July

In March 2018 ERW presented to the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee as part of its inquiry into Targeted funding to improve educational outcomes, the impact of the Welsh Government's Pupil Development Grant (PDG) and its role in closing the attainment gap for pupils on Free School Meals.

The Committee concluded that, whilst they support the Welsh Government’s use of PDG   it is clear that there is more work required in order to ensure that every school is using the money effectively.

The Committee made 31 recommendations, the majority of which focus on maximising the impact of the investment in the PDG and include:

  • Emphasis that the PDG should be used to support all eligible learners, including those who are more able and talented.

  • All schools should be encouraged to take full account of the available evidence and expertise on what constitutes effective use of the PDG, whilst also enabling school leaders to take appropriate decisions for their own pupils.

  • Increased promotion and support so that effective systems and processes can be made available to all schools for tracking pupils’ progress.

  • Greater emphasis on the use of PDG to improve FSM pupils’ attendance.

  • Strategic Advisors for the PDG in each consortia be proactive and, where necessary challenge use of PDG, in order to ensure maximum impact and value for money.

For more information contact Dylan Williams, ERW’s Leader of Learning for Pupil Development Grant. Dylan.Williams@erw.org.uk

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Education Secretary makes inaugural speech to children's services sector, 5th July

Secretary of State Damian Hinds spoke for the first time to directors of children's services at the ADCS conference in Manchester.

He referred to children with SEND- calling for more support for them in mainstream schools (including support and training for school staff). Schools working with Achievement for All, provide the support needed for children and young people with SEND, enabling them to get good academic and wider outcomes. Attendance is better and there are fewer exclusions.