Two weeks to 10th August 2018

Department for Education

Outcomes for Pupils eligible for Free School Meals and identified with Special Educational Needs, 31st July

  • 60% of individuals who were eligible for free school meals in year 11 were in sustained employment at age 27, compared to 77% of their peers who were not eligible for FSM.

  • 58% of individuals who were identified with special educational needs in year 11 were in sustained employment at age 27, compared to 78% of their peers who were not identified with SEN. 

  • 24% of individuals who were eligible for FSM in year 11 were on out-of-work benefits at age 27, compared to 8% of their peers who were not eligible for FSM.

  • 26% of individuals who were identified with SEN in year 11 were on out-of-work benefits at age 27, compared to 7% of their peers who were not identified with SEN. Therefore, pupils who were identified with SEN in year 11 were 3.7 times more likely to be on out-of-work benefits aged 27 when compared to their peers who were not identified with SEN.

See also: Education Secretary sets vision for boosting social mobility, 31st July

Damian Hinds speaks at Resolution Foundation about closing the attainment gap by tackling the 'last taboo' of education - the home learning environment.

Multimillion investment in early years education and boost social mobility, speech at Resolution Foundation, 31st July

Damien Hinds gave details of a £30 million fund, part of an investment announced in the government’s social mobility action plan, to create more nursery places run by successful schools in disadvantaged areas so more children can access a high-quality early education. This fulfils a government manifesto pledge to help primary schools develop nurseries where they do not currently have the facilities to do so.

Schools will be invited to run projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers, with a focus on creating partnerships between schools and councils, Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), or charities.

Alongside this another £20 million will be spent on training and professional development for early years staff in disadvantaged areas to increase their ability to support children’s early speech and language development. This work will drive up standards in the pre-school years, so more children arrive at school with the foundations in place to make the most of primary school.

During the speech Mr Hinds set out his ‘Seven Key Truths’ that drive better outcomes for children by giving them the support, skills and character building experiences that will unlock their potential.

These include:

  • The early learning from birth to age three;

  • A good school education;

  • High-quality teaching;

  • Making more extracurricular activities available;

  • Increasing access for university;

  • Second chances later in life; and

  • Developing resilience and emotional wellbeing.

EYFS staff:child ratios - DfE approved qualifications, 1st August

Updated with new qualifications to the pre-Sept 2014 spreadsheet.

See also Early years educator (level 3): qualifications criteria

(details section updated)

School and college performance tables 2018: statement of intent, 31st July

The statements of intent explain which data the DfE has or will publish for schools and colleges in the primary, secondary and 16 to 18 performance tables. It includes information on the data that will appear for the first time in these tables, as a result of government reforms to the way schools and colleges are accountable for their performance.

Main changes to 2018 performance measures:

Primary performance

  • Primary assessment and accountability were reformed in 2016. The accountability measures have been broadly the same since then.

  • As announced on 25 January in the primary accountability guidance, in 2018 some minor changes to the primary progress measures will be implemented that reduce the disproportionate effect that extremely negative individual scores can have on the overall picture of performance for a school.

  • This is the third year since the new curriculum assessments have been administered; both attainment and progress headline measures as three-year time series (i.e. the 2016, 2017 and 2018 data alongside each other) will be presented along with three-year averages for headline measures, for attainment measures only and only where the schools has three years of assessment data.

Secondary performance

  • Following the introduction in 2017 of reformed GCSEs in English and maths, reformed GCSEs in a much wider range of subjects will be included in performance tables in 2018. This means that most GCSEs will be graded 9 to 1 and will attract performance table points on a 9 to 1 scale. A further, much smaller number of reformed GCSEs will follow in 2019 and 2020.

  • To encourage schools to ensure that all students benefit from the reformed qualifications, only new GCSEs will be included in the secondary performance tables as they are introduced for each subject.

  • The headline secondary performance measures are broadly unchanged from 2017, with the exception of the EBacc attainment measure.

  • From 2018 the EBacc threshold attainment measure will change to an EBacc average point score measure (APS).

  • Additional measures will be published in January- two EBacc threshold attainment measures: the proportion of pupils achieving the EBacc at grade 5 and above in reformed subjects, and at grade C and above in unreformed subjects; and the proportion of pupils achieving the EBacc at grade 4 and above in reformed subjects, and at grade C and above in unreformed subjects.

  • As announced on 25 January 2018, in 2018 a minor change to Progress 8 will be implemented to reduce the disproportionate effect that extremely negative individual scores can have on the overall picture of performance for a school.

Strategic School Improvement Fund, 1st August, List of successful projects

Working together to safeguard children, 1st August - updated to correct a small error in chapter 5, footnote 99.

16 to 18 accountability headline measures, 2nd August

Added a link to UK Government Archive for guidance from previous years.

Projects to improve education for children with additional needs, 6th August

Nine projects across the country have been awarded a share of £4million to transform the education and outcomes of children taught in alternative provision.

The nine projects, spanning the East Midlands, West Midlands, London, East of England, Yorkshire and Humber, South West, and the South East will be funded by the £4 million Alternative Provision Innovation Fund which launched in March 2018.

The projects include:

  • Three projects to help get children back into school, led by Bradford Central Pupil Referral Unit, Francis Barber Pupil Referral Unit in London, and Hospital and Outreach Education in the East Midlands.

  • Three projects to help young people into further education or employment, led by Cognus in Sutton, Futures Advice, Skills and Employment in Nottingham, and Salford City Council.

  • Three projects to support parents and carers to be more involved in their child’s education, led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in London, The Tutor Trust and Talk Listen Change in Greater Manchester, and Portsmouth Education Partnerships.

National funding formula tables for schools and high needs: 2018 to 2019 (last updated 18th July 2018)

This provides the latest versions of all national funding formula tables. 

Social mobility and opportunity areas, 6th August

Delivery plans for the 12 opportunity areas, and the methodology and data used to select them- links to the delivery plans for West Somerset, Derby, Oldham, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire and Ipswich have been added.

Children in good or outstanding schools: August 2018, 9th August 2018

The data expands on figures already published on Ofsted’s state-funded schools inspection and outcome statistics which were published on 31 March 2018.

Findings show that the proportion of children attending good or outstanding schools has increased from 66% in 2010 to 86% in 2018. 

New technology to spearhead classroom revolution, 7th August

The Education Secretary is calling on industry – both the UK’s tech sector and Silicon Valley giants like Apple and Microsoft – to help tackle the five biggest issues facing schools and classroom teachers today.

These include developing innovative teaching practices, cutting teacher workload and promoting lifelong learning.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

‘I’ve been fortunate enough to see technology being used in revolutionary ways. Students are able to explore the rainforest, steer virtual ships or programme robots from their classroom, while teachers are able to access training, share best practice with colleagues and update parents on a pupil’s progress without being taken away from their main focus – teaching.

Schools, colleges and universities have the power to choose the tech tools which are best for them and their budgets. But they cannot do this alone. It’s only by forging a strong partnership between government, technology innovators and the education sector that there will be sustainable, focused solutions which will ultimately support and inspire the learners of today and tomorrow’.

There are five key opportunities for the sector to create a change in education, improving teaching and cutting workload. These include developing innovative:

  • Teaching practices to support access, inclusion, and improved learning outcomes for all

  • Assessment processes, making assessment more effective and efficient

  • Methods for delivery of teacher training and development by upgrading educator support so they can learn and develop more flexibly

  • Administration processes to reduce the burden of ‘non-teaching’ tasks

  • Solutions to lifelong learning to help those who have left the formal education system to get the best from online learning

In the coming months, the Department for Education will be working with businesses and schools to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to be in a position to implement some of this technology to improve the school day for both pupils and teachers.

Department for Education- FE

Further education: flexible learning fund, 8th August (update)

Funding for learning providers, employers and other organisations to develop flexible and accessible methods of teaching adults. Added the total amount of funding available and the list of projects and their providers. Removed application guidance and forms.

Department for Education- Statistics

Early years foundation stage profile results: 2016 to 2017, 31st July-updated

Added 'Additional tables - communication and language, and literacy: SFR60/2017'.

30 hours free childcare: eligibility codes issued and validated for August 2018

Eligibility codes issued by 06 August 239,339

Eligibility codes validated by 06 August 153,865

Eligibility codes validated as a percentage of codes issued 64%

Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England: 2016 to 2017, 6th August (first published 19th July)

Republished with updated exclusion rates for Gypsy/Roma pupils, to include extended ethnicity categories within the headcount (Gypsy, Roma and other Gypsy/Roma).

Special educational needs in England: January 2018, updated- first published 26th July

Made a correction to column Y of table 14 – percentage of pupils with SEN support in special schools.

Department for Education- Research

Academic performance of disadvantaged pupils in and out of London, 8th August

The report presents the findings of an analytical assessment of the London Effect – the observation that educational performance in London has been improving compared to the rest of England since the late 1990s, especially for economically deprived pupils.

Key findings show:

A London Effect-confirming that factors beyond demography and socio-economic characteristics have a role in London’s improved performance over time.

The majority of ethnic groups, including White British pupils, perform better in London than in the rest of England in all academic years. As such it can be concluded that the London effect is not explained by ethnicity alone.

The size of the attainment gap between London and the rest of England is dependent on the measure of attainment that is used – specifically, whether GCSE equivalent qualifications are included in KS4 attainment measures.

When equivalent qualifications to GCSEs are excluded the performance of London’s pupils’ has improved over the last decade, compared to their peers in the rest of England.

When equivalent qualifications are included, the attainment gap between pupils in London and the rest of England has remained stable, but has not increased.

A further difference between educational performance in London and the rest of England involves pupils that have lower levels of attainment. London has a relatively small population of these pupils compared to the rest of England, and the performance of the lowest attaining pupils has been improving more in London than in the rest of England. 

Analysis at Local Authority level finds that in general London Local Authorities have been consistent high performers compared to those in the rest of England. However, there has been significant variation in the attainment in Local Authorities across London. While London overall is different in terms of educational performance, it is the case that Central and Western Local Authorities in London have been consistently better performers compared to other Local Authorities in London.

School culture and practice: supporting disadvantaged pupils, 8th August

Key findings

School cultures and practices varied more by a school’s performance than by location

High-performing schools across both phases tended to: hold particularly high expectations that tended to have a more tangible influence on teacher practice; engender particularly positive relationships between staff, parents and pupils; have greater conviction that their practices were enough to ‘make a difference’ with disadvantaged pupils, and respond positively to pupils’ aspirational goals and clearly structure their practice around them.

Lower-performing primary schools outside London were most different from other schools

Certain cultures in lower-performing primary schools outside the capital appeared to differ considerably from those in other schools. These schools: were less likely to believe that disadvantaged pupils could achieve in line with, or above national average attainment for all pupils, and were less likely to believe that data could be used for the benefit of individual pupils, rather than serving a wider system of accountability.

High-performing schools, regardless of location, adopted a wide range of approaches to supporting disadvantaged pupils

High-performing schools across both phases tended to: engage in a variety of community partnerships to deliver extra-curricular activities (and work experience opportunities in the case of secondary schools); evaluate the impact (but not necessarily value for money) of interventions to support disadvantaged pupils, and ensure all staff are confident in handling data and using data to inform their practice

High-performing schools, regardless of location, were positive and solutions-focused

High performing schools saw hiring newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) as a positive opportunity, whereas lower-performing schools sometimes felt they were unable to provide the support that inexperienced teachers needed; believed unanimously that their behaviour management systems worked effectively, or that the school had the capacity to resolve persistent behaviour problems; emphasised the importance of supporting teachers’ career development, regardless of any potential impact on retention; reported high morale amongst staff, driven by team relationships and positive relationships with pupils, and believed that they were able to shift parents’ aspirations and expectations of their children.

A subtle but discernible ‘London culture’

Regional differences in attainment in the early years, 8th August

The analysis addressed 2 main research questions:

  • Are there regional differences in attainment, and cognitive and socio-emotional development across the course of early life (early years and key stage 1)?

  • What are the reasons for regional gaps in attainment and development and do they vary by age?

Key findings show:

  • Are there regional differences in attainment and development by age 5?
  • There were significant regional differences in 5 year olds achieving a “good level of development” in 2015. The proportions were highest in the South East (67.6%) and London (67.2%) but they were lowest in the East Midlands (54.9%).
  • Current trends mask significant historic variations. In 2007, London was the lowest performing region in England, but by 2011 it had moved into the middle of the regional distribution. Although the EYFSP used a different assessment tool in 2007 and 2011, the upward trajectory of London to its current rank in 2015 is clear.
  • Moving in the opposite direction, the East Midlands has shown a steady decline in the proportion reaching a good level of development, as has the North West to a lesser extent.
  • Attainment also varies by sub-group. Disadvantaged pupils in the South and London are more likely to achieve a good level of development at age 5 than pupils in the North or Central regions.
  • Where differences were seen, it was the regional variation in ethnic composition and the socioeconomic profile which were the most consistent factors driving attainment differences between London and other English Government Office Regions and ONS clustered neighbourhoods. Aggregated neighbourhood characteristics such as local area unemployment were important contributors to the regional gap, though with less consistency.

Children and young people's mental health: focus group research, 8th August

Reports from 3 organisations that were funded by DHSC to research people's views about the proposals in the green paper.

Student Insight Report- YoungMinds

The researchers engaged 55 students including: 18 students in the London Borough of Barnet, aged 16 to 18, 17 students in St Helens, aged 11 to 16 and 20 students aged 14 to 17 in Loughborough. 34 students were female and 21 were male.

Headline findings from the student sessions are:

  1. Students are broadly in favour of the core three proposals but felt that overall there needed to be an additional focus within the new approach around causes of ill mental health amongst young people. Students particularly raised the stress caused by school and felt this was not acknowledged in the proposals.

  2. Students believe they have the right to be, and want to be, involved in the implementation of all the proposals.

  3. Students believe there is an important role for peer support both within schools and potentially within the new mental health support teams, as part of a cohesive support offer.

  4. Students want the pilot to focus particularly on two measures of success: the number of young people receiving support and the quality of referrals.

  5. Students believe educational attainment should not be prioritised as a measure within the pilots as they feel there is already a lot of pressure on this within schools.

  6. While students raised an awareness that implementing the proposals would take time and needed to be done well, they also highlighted that improvements are needed urgently now and were concerned about the long- time frames set out. Students raised that the changes would happen once many of them had left school.

Consultations with young people on the green paper Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision, Youth Access

In total 82 young people were consulted. Of those who completed demographic forms: ·37% were aged between 11-15, and 63% between 16-25 years ·58% were female, and 36% were male. 3% identified as Transgender and a further 2% as ‘other’ ·70% were in education, 18% were in employment, 3% were in training and 8% were not in education, employment or training.

The focus groups considered the following areas: Mental health support in schools and colleges; Further education; 16-25 partnership; Trailblazer areas; How should we ensure that the needs of all young people are met? And Next steps: How should the Government continue to involve young people. 

Some of the key findings showed that:

Participants liked the idea of having a designated mental health lead in schools. They felt that it would have a positive impact on the culture around mental health in the school environment. Attendees felt that it was important for all school staff to have a basic level of understanding of young people’s mental health, and that having a designated lead would help to encourage this.

Young people were supportive of additional support being provided in schools. They felt that it would be particularly helpful for those young people who did not know how or where to access support, and that there would be a better chance of getting help if they could access it in school. However, they felt that this support should be offered in a flexible way and that young people should be able to seek support outside of the school setting as well. Every focus group stated that their local YIACS should play a key role in the mental health support teams, meaning that young people could use community based services if preferred.

Many young people would not be willing or able to access support in a school setting. The focus groups listed reasons such as bullying, stigma, confidentiality and missing lessons as some of the reasons that they would not feel comfortable in seeking support while at school. There were also discussions around young people who have low attendance and it was pointed out that mental ill health can make it difficult to go to school in the first place.

Transforming Mental Health Provision for Children and Young People Summary findings of consultation events with children’s sector practitioners and parents, NCB

As part of the consultation process, the Departments commissioned the National Children’s Bureau to run consultation events for professionals and parents. Two events were held - in London on 19th February 2018 and in Leeds on 6th March 2018. There were over 80 participants in total, including representatives from parents, schools and colleges, Clinical commissioning groups, The social care sector, Educational psychology, Health services, The voluntary and community sector and Headstart, the Big Lottery funded projects.

Some of the key findings:

The green paper proposals were broadly welcomed by those in attendance at the events. However, participants did identify gaps where they felt the green paper did not sufficiently reflect their concerns.

They suggested that further consideration should also be paid to:

  • Ensuring children in the early years develop well emotionally and are prepared for the transition into school;

  • Support and advice for parents, children and young people;

  • Better continuity of care for young people with mental health conditions transitioning to adult services;

  • Greater emphasis on wellbeing and good mental health. Participants felt that the language and proposals in the green paper were more focussed on mental ill health rather than prevention.

  • The negative influences within the education system which can adversely affect children and young people’s mental health and which undermine the promotion of good emotional well-being – with particular reference to exam stress and the focus on academicstandards over other measures of success.

Secondary school choice and selection: national preferences data, 9th August

The research presented in this report was commissioned by the Department for Education and undertaken by Lancaster University. It uses data on parent’s stated choice of secondary schools and their subsequent experience of gaining admission to chosen schools.

The analysis explores how choices and admissions vary across different English cities, and for different socio-demographic groups within those cities.

Some key findings

  • In England 93% of white British families obtain their most-preferred school, compared to only 73% of black families and 75% of South Asian1 families.
  • The difference between Pupil Premium and non-Pupil Premium families is more modest: 86% of Pupil Premium eligible families obtain their first choice, compared to 89% of non-Pupil Premium families.
  • In London, Manchester and Birmingham we find that families of minority ethnicities appear to weigh academic performance more highly than white families in choosing a school. For example, black and South Asian parents on average travelled more than twice as far as white parents for a similar improvement in the school’s average test scores (measured by the percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C at GCSE), although this may be partly explained by residential sorting. In the Pennines sample, in contrast, families of minority ethnicities appeared to travel a shorter distance, on average, for test score improvements than white families.
  • Parents do not always use all of the preferences they are allowed, but families of minority ethnicities rank more schools on average than white families.
  • Black families are 68% more likely to choose a Church school than white families, yet they are significantly less likely to be admitted to a Church school than a similar white family living nearby. If a white child and a black child apply for a single remaining seat at a Church school in London, the black child is less than half as likely to be admitted.
  • Similar results for other ethnic groups in London and other cities were also found.
  • A Pupil Premium-eligible child is significantly less likely to be admitted into a Church school she applies to, than a similar non-Pupil Premium child living nearby

School leadership in an international context, 9th August 

The report reviews leadership practices and continuing professional development in 6 high-performing countries to inform policy development on school leadership.

Some key findings

In Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands aspiring school leaders can self-nominate to train as a school principal - without a guarantee of a job - and then apply for a position in a school. Singapore, however, uses a markedly different approach, which involves the Ministry of Education identifying and developing school teachers who demonstrate leadership potential and establishing a ‘pipeline’ that provides a steady flow of school leaders.

With the exception of Singapore, the countries have an ageing workforce and are experiencing difficulties attracting and retaining school principals. This is consistent with the situation in many countries with established education systems.

Singapore and Estonia have put systems in place that are designed to ensure that CPD programmes are linked to key leadership competencies. There is less consistency in the approaches adopted in the other countries, although there have been calls for this issue to be addressed in Finland.

There is a lack of research on the suitability of borrowing and adapting elements of CPD models in countries with high performing education systems as a basis for reform in other countries (including England).

Literacy and numeracy catch-up strategies, 8th August (update)

Updated 'Literacy and numeracy catch-up strategies’ introduction to explain that the costs listed are the costs from running the intervention programmes during the trial. Footnotes added to reiterate this on page 3 and page 14.

International early learning and child wellbeing, 8th August

The International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study (IELS) is a new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to understand children’s abilities at age five.

The main objectives of the study are to:

  • Assess children’s non-cognitive as well as cognitive skills in the following domains: Social and emotional skills, Self-regulation, Emerging literacy and Emerging numeracy

  • Analyse the influence on children’s learning and development of: Early childhood education and care (ECEC) experiences, Home learning environment and Individual characteristics

England is participating in the first wave, with 32 schools and 453 children taking part.

The field trial demonstrated that:

The design of the study is successful in ensuring children’s wellbeing, in particular: The delivery of the direct assessments over two days worked well: children were willing to return on the second day to complete the activities and study administrators reported that the spacing of the activities over two days was appropriate for children of this age.

The vast majority of children engaged well with the activities.

Children’s own ratings of their enjoyment of the tasks were positive.

Other Government

Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions- Education Select Committee 25th July

The Education Committee expresses concerns about the over-exclusion of pupils and at the 'alarming' increase in 'hidden exclusions' where children are internally isolated, or informally excluded, in its report: Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions. 

The report calls for their recommendations- below- to be read as a Bill of Rights for pupils and their parents:

  • Schools should not rush to exclude pupils: schools should be inclusive.

  • Parents and pupils have a right to know how often schools resort to exclusion: schools should publish their permanent and fixed term exclusion rates every term, including for pupils with SEND and looked-after children, as well as the number of pupils who leave the school.

  • Parents deserve more information when their children are excluded: the exclusions process is currently weighted in favour of schools and leaves parents and pupils fighting a system that should be supporting them.

  • Pupils and their parents should have someone in their corner: when a pupil is excluded from school for more than five non-consecutive days in a school year, the pupil and their parents or carers should be given access to an independent advocate. This should happen both where pupils are internally or externally excluded from school, or where the LA is arranging education due to illness.

  • Parents and pupils should be given accurate information about the range and type alternative provision that is available locally: all organisations offering alternative provision should be required to inform the local authority in which they are based of their provision. The local authority should then make the list of alternative providers operating in their local authority available to schools and parents on their website.

  • Independent Review Panels should be able to direct a school to reinstate pupils: legislation should be amended at the next opportunity so that this can happen.


Matthew Coffey's speech to the Unlocked Graduates event, University of Suffolk, 9th August

The Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Inspector discussed tackling the neglect of older children and the important role of learning, skills and work in preventing criminality.(Unlocked Graduates is a unique two-year leadership development programme aimed at training graduates to become inspirational and supportive prison officers).

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters- Wigan, 6thAugust

Key areas for improvement in education include:

Children and young people who have SEND typically start secondary school unprepared for the challenges and demands that they will face. Consequently, children and young people continue to make slow progress throughout secondary school and levels of attainment remain low at the end of Year 11.

Children and young people’s attendance rates decline when they get to secondary school. Too many children and young people who have SEND in secondary schools miss out on large chunks of their education.

There are a concerning number of children and young people who have SEND excluded from mainstream schools. Many of these children and young people have not had the underlying causes of their behaviour correctly identified. Moreover, the rise in exclusions means that there are insufficient places for these young people at the alternative provision academy. This is compounded by more children and young people, most of whom have SEND, staying at the alternative provision academy for longer periods of time while they wait for suitable school places to come available.

Too many children and young people who have SEND are socially isolated. This is because suitable community-based activities are either poorly communicated or dependent upon where young people live and their parents’ ability to transport them.

How Ofsted will select new schools for inspection, 6th August

This has been updated to reflect that good schools are inspected approximately every 4 years and a paragraph added explaining the position for exempt schools that undergo significant change.

School inspections and outcomes: management information,10th August

Published data as at 31 July 2018.

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information from December 2015 to August 2018, 10th August.

Added July 2018 figures.


Improving Struggling Readers’ Early Literacy Skills through a Tier 2 Professional Development Program for Rural Classroom Teachers: The Targeted Reading Intervention,Lynne Vernon-Feagans, University of North Carolina: The elementary School Journal

This article reports the results of a randomized controlled trial that replicated and extended research on the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI), a professional development program for kindergarten and first-grade teachers in low-wealth rural schools that helps enhance literacy skills of struggling readers. In weekly webcam coaching sessions, literacy coaches delivered real-time feedback to classroom teachers as they worked one-on-one with struggling readers. The study was conducted in kindergarten and first grade (Year 1 and Year 2) classrooms in ten schools in high-poverty south eastern rural counties in the US. Teachers worked with 1 child for 15 minutes a day for 6 to 8 weeks before moving to another struggling reader. Hierarchical linear models replicated previous findings that struggling readers in TRI treatment classrooms showed greater gains in early literacy compared with struggling readers in control classrooms. This study extended previous TRI work by examining whether teachers who received a second year of TRI training produced greater gains for their students compared with their first year. Results showed no advantage of teachers’ 2-year TRI participation.

The trials of evidence-based practice in education: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials in education research 1980–2016, Paul Connolly et al., Educational Research Journal

The use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in education has increased significantly over the last 15 years. However there are criticisms which have included the claims that: it is not possible to undertake RCTs in education; RCTs are blunt research designs that ignore context and experience; RCTs tend to generate simplistic universal laws of ‘cause and effect’; and that they are inherently descriptive and contribute little to theory.

The authors of this review sought to address the criticisms, by considering all RCTs conducted in educational settings and including a focus on educational outcomes between 1980 and 2016. The search is limited to articles and reports published in English.

The systematic review found a total of 1017 unique RCTs that have been completed and reported between 1980 and 2016. Just over three quarters of these have been produced over the last 10 years, reflecting the significant increase in the use of RCTs in recent years.

The findings suggest that it is possible to do RCTs in education, but suggest that there remains significant progress to be made. The article concludes by outlining some key challenges for researchers undertaking RCTs in education.

The Effect of Teacher Coaching on Instruction and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence, Kraft et al., Review of Educational Research

Teacher coaching has emerged as a promising alternative to traditional models of professional development. The authors review the empirical literature on teacher coaching and conduct meta-analyses to estimate the mean effect of coaching programs on teachers’ instructional practice and students’ academic achievement. Much of this evidence comes from literacy coaching programs for prekindergarten and elementary school teachers in the United States. Although these findings affirm the potential of coaching as a development tool, further analyses illustrate the challenges of taking coaching programs to scale while maintaining effectiveness. Average effects from effectiveness trials of larger programs are only a fraction of the effects found in efficacy trials of smaller programs. The authors conclude by discussing ways to address scale-up implementation challenges and providing guidance for future causal studies.

Education Policy Institute (EPI) and the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) have published two reports examining the key features of quality in early years childcare provision that have the greatest potential to maximise child outcomes, 8thAugust. 

The reports undertake detailed reviews of factors relating to structural quality (EPI) and process quality (EIF).

Teaching, Pedagogy and Practice in early years childcare: An evidence review, Sim et al., 8thAugust: Early Intervention Foundation

This report is intended to provide a clear and accessible overview of the literature on effective pedagogy and practice, focusing on studies with high-quality empirical evidence of impact.

The report focuses on ‘process quality’, which refers to children’s daily experiences and the interactions between early education staff, children and parents, such as pedagogical quality, cognitive stimulation, emotional care and support. It is distinct from aspects of structural quality, which is concerned with more objectively measurable factors, such as teacher training, class sizes or child–teacher ratios.

  • The high-quality studies included in this review (systematic reviews, meta-analyses or counterfactual studies) provide robust evidence on the effectiveness of programmes or interventions in terms of improvements to children’s outcomes in early years childcare.

  • Overall, the studies reported favourable outcomes for children who were attending the examined programmes, across the domains of language and literacy, mathematics, cognitive, socio-emotional and physical outcomes.

  • However, the literature reviewed did not allow for a more fine-grained assessment of the specificpedagogical practices that work for improving outcomes. This is in part a result of the design of existing studies and in part a result of the lack of details about the programmes in the publications reviewed. In particular, many studies lacked detailed descriptions of the programmes they were examining, lacked controlled comparisons of the different components of the programmes, or lacked measures of fidelity of implementation of the programmes. This makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions about whether there are particular aspects of programmes that are more effective for children and to assess whether programmes have adhered to these prescriptions or lack fidelity.

Structural elements of quality early years provision: a review of the evidence, Sara Bonetti, 8th August: EPI

Overall findings showed that structural elements have an impact on children’s outcomes across several domains, both socio-emotional as well as cognitive.

  • A formal degree with at least some specialised training in early childhood education or child development is useful in delivering the skills and knowledge that support optimal teacher behaviour. However, a clear strategy to deliver systematic, sustainable and transformative continuing professional development to staff working in different roles is needed for training to make a difference for quality;

  • More favourable ratios (fewer children per staff) lead to better children’s outcomes as they provide the opportunity for more individualised attention and are conducive to better teacher and child behaviour.

  • Early years settings are required to adhere to ratios that are in line with generally agreed upon guidelines, yet ratios in Reception year classes are much higher than what those recommended to maximise the impact on children’s outcomes.

  • Smaller class sizes for the entire school day are associated with improved children’s outcomes, greater educational effectiveness and other benefits at classroom level. While classroom sizes for children aged 0–4 are not regulated in England, they are usually kept in line with what is considered best practice. In Reception year, however, 30 pupils per class in England is the norm, despite international evidence showing that the maximum average size of 20 children per class as best practice for this age group.

  • Failure to sufficiently support each element of the ‘iron triangle’ – workforce training and professional development, child-to-staff ratios and group size – is likely to result in adverse outcomes for children.


We join government-led coalition to address early years language gap, 31st July: National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust announce that they are a founding member of the Department for Education’s new coalition which aims to halve the number of five-year-olds who start school without good early language and communication skills by 2028.

Curriculum based financial planning, J. Andrews, EPI, 2nd August

The author considers how efficiency savings can be made through better staff deployment.

The MATs that he spoke to have reported significant savings through taking a more structured approach to workforce planning; each does it slightly differently. The author gives the following example of one way of doing this:

Taking the total number of pupils and dividing by the desired class size gives you the number of sessions that you need to offer. Dividing that by the teacher contact ratio then shows you the total FTE teachers that are required.

For example:

  • School A has 1,500 pupils;

  • if the desired class size is 27 pupils then we need 1,500/27 = 55.56 sessions; and

  • if the contact ratio is set at 0.78 this means we need 55.56 / 0.78 = 71.2 FTE teachers.

  • In practice the calculations become more complicated as you start to take decisions to tailor the approach to your curriculum needs. This could include allowing different year groups or different subjects to have different class sizes (for example you may have larger classes in year 7 than year 11 or smaller classes in music than in English).

This method, says the author is often referred to as a ‘bonus’. A positive bonus would mean putting on more sessions with classes that are smaller than the class size of 27 and vice versa. Balancing in this way enables schools to deliver subjects that may benefit from smaller groups, deliver subjects that may not otherwise be viable, or provide smaller classes for particular pupils. In this way the contact ratio and the bonus are central to this approach to workforce deployment.

The importance of stability- Alison O’Sullivan comments on the Stability Index 2018: Children’s Commissioner  

The author, who sits on the Children’s commissioner for England Advisory Board says, there needs to be a policy and professional imperative but it also needs to be at the heart of local organisational arrangements to support children in care and central to individual social work practice. The Stability Index keeps this firmly in view.

EEF Blog: Going global - scaling up evidence from the national to the international, 8th August

Sir Kevan Collins, the EEF's chief executive, explains why this summer the EEF launched a £10 million programme in partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation, to improve the use of evidence in schools around the world.

International -Wales

Welsh Government- Education and Skills

Want to turn your passion into a successful career? The answer is apprenticeships, 30th July

A new campaign titled The Answer is Apprenticeships highlights the breadth of apprenticeships on offer to young people in Wales. Timed to coincide with students receiving exam results over the summer but aimed at all young people, including those who are NEET, the campaign highlights that apprenticeships could be the answer to gaining the qualifications and skills young people might need for their chosen career. 

The campaign will signpost people to Apprenticeship Matching Service on the Careers Wales website where details about the levels and subjects are available to them and individuals can search the range of opportunities and apply online for vacancies.

David Hanson MP to lead review of prison education in Wales, 1st August

A review aimed at improving education and employability support in prisons and for prisoners on release in the community across Wales will be carried out by David Hanson MP.

Education Workforce Council

The final countdown to this year’s results - Jo Richards, Qualifications Wales, Blog, 6th August

Jo Richards from Qualifications Wales highlights the changes in Welsh qualifications as students receive their A’level and GCSE results.



Press Release - Teacher voice heard at seminar organised by regional educational body, 1st August

Teachers from across Gwent were invited to a seminar hosted by the Education Achievement Service (EAS) for South East Wales on July 4th  at the Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran.. The event aimed to inform teachers of the work of the EAS and to listen to teachers in a bid to improve communication between the service and schools within the region.  

The event was the first of its kind and provided information to staff who may not have been involved in direct communication with the EAS. The half day interactive seminar was welcomed by those who attended. The seminar aimed to encourage the voice of teachers with a view to developing and maintaining effective communication, participation and engagement with school staff for the future. 

Hwb hub

Five new playlists about mental health and the internet have been published for children and young people, education practitioners, parents and carers, and governors.

These new playlists explore the positive and negative impact the internet can have on children and young people’s mental health, including:

  • Relaxation and stress reduction

  • Excessive time online

  • Self-identity and self-confidence

  • Relationships

  • Harmful content

  • Help and support

The playlists include a range of resources, support services and agencies which schools, colleges, their governors, parents and carers may find helpful.

International - other


Falling through the Cracks: A Report into the effectiveness of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and the life chances of Scotland’s care experienced community, 30th July: Kezia Dugdale MSP, The Scottish Parliament.

This report is in two parts: the first part explores Fatal Accident Inquiries in relation to the deaths of care experienced young people, while the second part explores the implementation of Continuing Care in Scotland’s local authorities. The two-part approach highlights serious concerns relating to data collection - or a lack thereof - on a local authority level regarding the lives of care experienced young people.

Findings showed that:

The most common reasons for the premature death of a care experienced young person are: suicide; overdose; accidents; and complex health issues.

There are no recorded or published statistics about the lives of care experienced young people’s lives nine months after leaving care and into adulthood.

Across 21 local authorities there were 3,161 young people eligible for the Continuing Care provision, however only 177 young people - 6% - had requested or been offered the option to remain in care.

In many local authority areas, the Continuing Care provision is underfunded and places additional pressure on already stretched council budgets.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Outcomes for Pupils eligible for Free School Meals and identified with Special Educational Needs, 31st July

  • 60% of individuals who were eligible for free school meals in year 11 were in sustained employment at age 27, compared to 77% of their peers who were not eligible for FSM.

  • 58% of individuals who were identified with special educational needs in year 11 were in sustained employment at age 27, compared to 78% of their peers who were not identified with SEN. 

  • 24% of individuals who were eligible for FSM in year 11 were on out-of-work benefits at age 27, compared to 8% of their peers who were not eligible for FSM.

  • 26% of individuals who were identified with SEN in year 11 were on out-of-work benefits at age 27, compared to 7% of their peers who were not identified with SEN. Therefore, pupils who were identified with SEN in year 11 were 3.7 times more likely to be on out-of-work benefits aged 27 when compared to their peers who were not identified with SEN.

The above government statistics show a bleak future for many young people with SEN. This does not have to be the case. Schools working with Achievement for All enable their pupils with SEN to get good outcomes in English and Maths.

School culture and practice: supporting disadvantaged pupils, 8th August

The recent Department for Education funded research report found that ‘high-performing schools across both phases tended to: hold particularly high expectations that tended to have a more tangible influence on teacher practice; engender particularly positive relationships between staff, parents and pupils; have greater conviction that their practices were enough to ‘make a difference’ with disadvantaged pupils, and respond positively to pupils’ aspirational goals and clearly structure their practice around them’. 

Schools working with Achievement for All also develop this culture or enhance existing cultures through working with AfA.