14th September 2018

Department for Education

School attendance: guidance for schools, 11th September (updated): Guidance

Replaced 'school attendance' guide with updated version to include advice on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

This document replaces previous guidance on pupils’ registration, school day and year, and Ensuring Children’s Right to Education, it outlines the government’s approach to school attendance. This guidance is made up of: • Section one - pupil registers and attendance codes; • Section two - school day and year.

School attendance, the government expects Schools and local authorities to:

  • Promote good attendance and reduce absence, including persistent absence;

  • Ensure every pupil has access to full-time education to which they are entitled; and,

  • act early to address patterns of absence.

  • Parents to perform their legal duty by ensuring their children of compulsory school age who are registered at school attend regularly.

  • All pupils to be punctual to their lessons.

Carers action plan 2018 to 2020, 13th September (updated to add easy read version)

The plan sets out how the government will improve support for carers in England over the next 2 years.

School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb at ResearchED, 8th September: speech at Harris Secondary Academy, St Johns Wood.

Speaking at the ResearchED conference- a teacher-led movement for a better understanding and use of evidence in education- Nick Gibb spoke about the ‘vital role’ of Research ED in promoting the evidence informed voice in education- particularly in the context of ‘adding nuance to the polarised debates that often obscure the way forward in education’.

He continued:

‘…..the debate is not a debate about ends. It is about means. How do we prepare the next generation to solve the great problems of the future? How do we ensure that all pupils – whatever their background – are equipped to thrive in the wide variety of jobs they will enter?

…..ResearchED provides a platform for a plurality of evidence-informed voices, so that teachers and researchers can share their knowledge and move beyond the tribalism that too often attracts headlines and blights progress…..

…ResearchED doesn’t have the power to stop lamentations about factory schools turning out identikit pupils ready for 19th century factory labour. But it has helped to advance an understanding of evidence, inoculating teachers from ideological headwinds and helping to inform better teaching – and, I have to say, better policy’.

UK aid to connect UK schools with classrooms around the world, 14th September

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt joined Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds and Love Actually director Richard Curtis to launch the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme on Thursday 13 September 2018 at St Joseph’s School in Wandsworth, London.

To mark the launch of the programme - which is co-funded by the British Council and unites pupils in the UK with school children in Africa, Asia and the Middle East - the visitors joined in the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ , which saw Year 6 students at St Joseph’s link up with pupils at the Marka Prep Girls’ School N2, in the Marka refugee camp in Jordan.

Department for Education- Early Years

Evaluation of the first year of the national rollout of 30 hours free childcare, Research report September 2018 Gillian Paull and Ivana La Valle, 11th September

The report, an evaluation of the 30 hours fee childcare (one year after implementation) shows that the vast majority of parents (86%) said their children were better prepared to start school ready to learn, due to spending time in government-funded childcare places.

It also showed that more than three-quarters (78%) of parents taking up the free 30 hours offer for their three and four-year-olds, reported having saved money, which they were able to invest back into their families and improve their overall quality of life. 

Other findings showed that it: 

  • Helps increase working hours: 71% of parents said 30 hours helps them balance work with their childcare needs (46% of whom said it was made a ‘great deal’ of difference), and more than two in five parents (42%) said it gave them more flexibility over their working hours.

  • Supports lower-income families: Parents from lower or middle income households were more likely to say that 30 hours makes a ‘great deal’ of difference to their ability to balance family life with work.

  • Can be tailored to a family’s needs: 71% of parents using the offer found it flexible to use, fitting it around their lifestyles

  • Improves access to childcare: It also showed that 83% of three and four year olds are now able to take advantage of some form of free childcare offer from the government.

See also: 30 hours childcare offer helping balance work and family lives, 11th September

New survey, marking the first anniversary of the 30 hours childcare offer, shows almost 70 per cent of parents are spending less money per week on childcare.

Liz Bayram, CE at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) says:

“This early evaluation reinforces the challenges the 30 hours policy is presenting those childminders, nurseries and pre-schools working in local authorities that continue to offer low funding rates, challenges PACEY has spent months highlighting to government. It shows around 40% of providers are losing money because of the new policy and some are offering 30 hours at a loss for fear of parents leaving their setting if they do not. Whilst parents are finding it easy to access a 30 hours place now, that is unlikely to remain the case in the future unless funding levels increase. The big question remains why do some local authorities have the resources needed to fund this initiative properly but others do not?"

“The evaluation also puts a spotlight on the wider impact of this flagship policy. Whilst any help with childcare is valuable to families, the report makes clear that fewer low- income and workless families have benefited to date. This issue and the lack of sustainable funding have to be addressed for this policy to be seen as a success for parents and providers.” 

Take-up of free early education entitlements, Research Report, September 2018, Albakri et al.

The National Centre for Social Research was commissioned by the Department for Education to carry out research on the take-up of the funded entitlements.


Patterns in take up

The evidence review identified distinct patterns in the take-up rates for the universal entitlement of 15 hours per week for 3 and 4 year olds and the targeted entitlement for disadvantaged 2 year olds, reflecting the fact that the 3 and 4 year old entitlement has been established for longer and is universal.

Higher proportions of children with EAL predicted lower take-up rates of the 2 year old entitlement.

For the universal 3 and 4 year old entitlement, higher proportions of children with EAL, higher population mobility and also higher proportions of children with SEND predicted lower take-up.

Provider related factors affecting take up

Across the board, there was evidence from providers that 2 year old places were less financially lucrative due to the higher staffing ratios, the need for more space and the higher needs of the children eligible for the entitlement and their families. Both school-based providers and childminders identified particular barriers to offering 2 year old places relating to structural factors and practical difficulties.

Parent-related factors affecting take-up

Five overlapping reasons for choosing not to take up the places were found:

  • Parents who were not taking up FEEE perceived the potential benefits of the funded places to be primarily childcare and consequently, if the parent was not employed, they did not regard the FEEE as necessary or valuable.

  • these parents considered it important that their child was with them and held the view that they themselves could provide input of equal or better developmental value to that received in childcare.

  • The majority of the parents taking part in the interviews were from a minority ethnic background and a range of issues relating to cultural and religious identity were highlighted.

  • For parents of 2 year olds in particular, issues of trust were important. Some parents felt uncomfortable about their child being in formal childcare before they were potty trained and before they had sufficient language to talk about their experiences.

  • Parents questioned the quality of care and some assumed that because the entitlement was free, it must necessarily be of poor quality.

Barriers to engaging with the system

From the perspective of the parents (who were not taking up the entitlement), the main barrier appeared to be confusion over the eligibility criteria. Parents had many misconceptions relating to how employment status, welfare benefits, the age of the child and local discretionary entitlements affected eligibility

Strategies to improve take-up

Four specific approaches were identified: (1) marketing and messaging activities, (2) direct contact with parents, (3) partnership working between agencies and (4) setting up online application processes. Factors which undermined these efforts included limitations to working across a wide range of community languages, which some areas were able to accommodate better than others.

Early education and outcomes to age 4, 8th September

This report presents findings for a sample of 3,930 families who took part in the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) longitudinal study. Parent interviews at ages two, three and four asked questions about early childhood education and care (ECEC) attended and characteristics of the home environment. Child development at age four was assessed through parent reported socio-emotional development and direct assessments of cognitive development. ECEC quality was measured through observations carried out in 1,000 settings attended by a subsample of children in the study. This report explores whether child development at age four is associated with:

  • The amount of differing types of ECEC that children receive aged two to four years

  • The early years home environment and the quality of the parent/child relationship at age two to three

  • The quality of the ECEC settings that children have attended at age two to four

Key Findings

Cognitive and socio-emotional developmental benefits were seen to be associated with use of ECEC between ages two and age four. Benefits of ECEC were similar for the most and least disadvantaged families.

Attending higher quality formal group ECEC settings was associated benefits for increased non-verbal cognitive development and reduced conduct problems at age four.

Characteristics of the home environment, including the home learning environment and the parent-child relationship, were associated with cognitive and socioemotional development at age four. The relationships between ECEC and outcomes were largely independent of the advantages of a rich home learning environment.

Childcare and early years survey of parents: 2017 follow-up survey, 11th September

This Research Report describes the main findings of a follow-up survey, conducted by telephone, with respondents to the 2017 Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents. A total of 774 interviews were completed. The response rate for the follow-up survey was 40 per cent.The follow-up survey was carried out between April and July 2018, with parents with a child born between 1 September 2012 and 31 March 2015. Children in working families born between these dates were eligible to receive hours of childcare under the 30 hours offer at some point in the 2017 to 2018 school year.

Key findings show:

The majority of children aged 3 or 4 (and not at Reception) (83%) were receiving Government funded hours of childcare, under either the 15 or 30 hours offers, in a typical term-time week.

  • Over two-thirds of parents (71%) using the 30 hours offer had some flexibility:

  • Most parents (69%) using the 30 hours offer said the weekly amount they were spending on their child’s formal childcare fees had fallen, compared to before they took up the offer. Over four in five parents (84%) using the 30 hours offer said these hours were making a difference to their family finances.

  • Among parents using the 30 hours offer, 13 per cent had entered work since the main survey. Of those using the 30 hours offer and in work at both surveys, 16 per cent had increased their working hours, and around two in five (41%) had made an additional change to their working patterns (aside from changes to hours worked).

  • Around seven in ten parents (71%) said the hours available under the 30 hours offer were making a difference to their ability to balance their work with their childcare needs, including 46 per cent who said the hours were making a ‘great deal’ of difference. Over two in five parents (42%) felt the 30 hours offer gave them more flexibility over the number of hours they worked. Parents in lower and middle income households (earning under £45,000 per year) were more likely than those in higher income households (earning £45,000 or more per year) to feel the 30 hours offer was making a ‘great deal’ of difference to their ability to balance their work with childcare needs, and to feel the offer gave them more flexibility over their working hours.

  • Parents were asked questions to gauge the prevalence of deferrals and delays to Reception entry. Among children expected to have entered Reception in September 2017 (based on their date of birth), 98 per cent were in Reception (including 97% who started in September 2017, and 1% who started in January 2018). The remaining two per cent were not in Reception

Department for Education- FE

Leading industry experts to design new T Levels, 10th September

New T Level panel members announced including key individuals from The British Council, Toni & Guy and the Dogs Trust

The employer led panels will shape new T Level programmes in: Animal Care and Management; Agriculture, Land Management and Production; Human Resources; Management and Administration; Catering; Craft and Design; Cultural Heritage and Visitor Attractions; Media, Broadcast and Production; and Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics, and will be first taught from 2022.

The 9 new panels will join the 16 existing T Level panels that are already up and running, designing the outline content for the first tranche of T Levels, in routes including Digital; Legal, Financial and Accounting; Education and Childcare; Health and Science; Engineering and Manufacturing; and Construction.

Employer skills survey 2017: UK findings, 11th September (republished with updates since 16thAugust 2018)

Table 5 of the UK data tables: corrected the data for the rows ‘Skill gaps only’ and ‘Neither SSVs nor Skills gaps’. The report and all other numbers in the tables are unaffected.

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: September 2018, 13th September

Statistics covering latest monthly apprenticeship starts, apprenticeship service registrations and commitments, and apprenticeship levy information.


Local area SEND inspection outcome letters,12th September  

Added inspection outcome letters for North East Lincolnshire and Birmingham.

Relevant findings - Birmingham:

‘Pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities make weak academic progress, attend less often and are excluded more frequently than other pupils in Birmingham and all pupils nationally. Not enough young people who have SEN and/or disabilities are entering employment or supported employment. The proportion of adults with learning disabilities in paid employment is below the national average’.

North East Lincolnshire

‘The outcomes achieved by children and young people who have SEN and/or disabilities vary too much. This is especially the case for those in mainstream secondary schools and young people who have SEN and/or disabilities aged 16 to 25’.

School inspections and outcomes: management information, 13th September

Published management information as at 31 August 2018.

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

Updated with figures at end of August 2018


What Impact Does Accountability Have On Curriculum, Standards and Engagement In Education? Brill et al., 14th September: NfER

The NFER produced a rapid literature review on the impact of accountability on curriculum, standards and engagement. They reviewed a small body of the best available evidence on the accountability systems in Australia (New South Wales), England, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Wales. The focus was on evidence relating to primary education. The literature offers useful insights, though there was a lack of data and robust, quantitative evidence.

Key Findings show:


  • Where pupil performance is used as a high stakes accountability measure, there is concern that schools prioritise certain parts of the curriculum over others (‘teaching to the test’).

  • Where accountability systems focus on “borderline” or “cliff edge” measures, targeted teaching may limit some pupils’ experience of the school curriculum.

  • International benchmarking can markedly affect curriculum policy.


  • To support school effectiveness, accountability systems should feature:

    • clear responsibilities

    • coherent, aligned objectives at all levels

    • transparent performance assessment criteria.

  • Accountability measures can increase or decrease the achievement gap; it is all in the application.


  • Teacher education can support teachers’ engagement with assessment data to inform classroom teaching and learning.

  • The extent to which pupils’ experiences of assessments, such as test anxiety, specifically relate to accountability is unclear.  

  • Placing undue emphasis on the performance of some groups at the expense of others may lessen pupil engagement.

Secondary School Choice in England, Emily Hunt, 13th September: Education Policy Institute

This analysis assesses how parents choose secondary schools and whether this varies for different groups of parents in different parts of the country.

  • Nationally, one-third of parents express only one preference – this is the most common response
  • White British families, those with English as a first language and parents of children with low prior attainment are more likely to express a preference for just one school. By contrast there is little difference in the number of preferences by income level, based on pupil premium eligibility.

Ofsted rating of First Preference School

  • Using Ofsted ratings as a proxy, most parents (52%) apply to a good school as their top preference, with a further 30% nominating an outstanding school. Yet one-in-six parents (17%) have a most preferred school that is rated as less than good by Ofsted and of these, over one-quarter (27%) do so despite having a good or outstanding school as their nearest school. Whilst this is only a small group nationally (around 5%), families eligible for the pupil premium are much more likely than others to fall into this group.
  • Parents who bypass their good local school and nominate a less good one further away are around 10 percentage points more likely to be offered this school than the national average.

Likelihood of being Offered First Preference School

  • Nationally success rates are high with 84% of parents offered their first preference school. But there are marked geographic differences. Virtually all parents in some areas – such as Northumberland (99%), Central Bedfordshire (99%) and Cornwall (98%) – are offered their first preference.  At the other extreme, the local authorities with the lowest proportion of parents being offered their first preference are the inner London authorities of Hammersmith and Fulham, (53%) Westminster (54%) and Lambeth (58%). Of the 20 local authorities with the lowest likelihood of being offered first preference, 19 are in London – with the exception being Birmingham (69%).
  • white British families are 4 percentage points less likely than black parents to apply to a good school yet when they do so they are 19 percentage points more likely to be offered their most preferred school. Pupil Premium families also face a lower chance of being offered their most preferred good school, though these gaps are smaller than between ethnic groups.

Prevalence of mental health issues within the student-aged population, 10th September, Johnson and Crenna -Jennings: EPI

Although this policy analysis focuses on HEI students age 16-25, it is worth noting that in 2014, the proportion of 16- to 24-year-old women who experienced a common mental disorder (CMD) was higher than the proportion of women in all other age groups.

Educational attainment in the short and long term: was there an advantage to attending faith, private, and selective schools for pupils in the 1980s? Sullivan et al., September 2018: Oxford Review of Education

This paper asks whether private, selective, and faith schools in England and Wales in the 1980s provided an academic advantage to their pupils, both in the short and longer term. Using longitudinal data from the 1970 British Cohort Study, the researchers examine academic outcomes in compulsory schooling and further education, and the highest qualification gained by age 42. School sector differences are substantially attenuated by controlling for prior pupil characteristics. Nevertheless, a residual effect of private, grammar, and secondary modern schooling remains, both in the short and long term, controlling for both pupil and school characteristics. In the case of faith schools, however, the apparent advantage is restricted to the short term once pupil characteristics are controlled. A unique feature of the analysis is that the researchers control for the individual’s faith of upbringing, which is important in reducing what could otherwise be seen as a distinctive Catholic school advantage.

See also: Religious background is more important than a faith school education for academic success, 12th September : IOE, UCL


Education at a Glance 2018, 11th September: OECD

Overall findings across OECD countries and economies show that:

Children without tertiary-educated mothers are less likely to be enrolled in early childhood education and care (ECEC) programmes.

Governments still spend a smaller share of public money on ECEC than on higher education.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are also less likely to go into further education. Those without tertiary-educated parents are more likely to enrol in vocational education and training than in general upper secondary programmes and are less likely to complete those programmes. This, in turn, affects their subsequent participation in higher education, where the share of entrants without a tertiary-educated parent is small.

Participation in higher education today matters more than ever, says the OECD. Technological change, digitalisation and innovation have placed a significant premium on advanced skills, as lower-skilled jobs are being squeezed out of the market. Those who have attained only upper secondary education will earn 65% as much as a tertiary graduate, on average, perpetuating this vicious cycle over future generations. Thus, it takes four to five generations for children of families in the bottom earnings decile to attain the mean level of earnings across OECD countries. Disadvantages in education and in the labour market translate into differences in socioeconomic outcomes and overall well-being that transmit from parents to children.  

Some of the overall findings for the UK:

Lower secondary school heads play an active role in decision making and leadership in the UK

Unemployment rates are below the OECD average for all levels of education

See also Department for EducationInternational education study highlights UK strength, 11th September

Scotland- Going to University from Care: Beyond the Headlines, September 2018: CELCIS

This is the first in a series of briefings – Beyond the Headlines – providing further information and analysis on some commonly reported statistics relating to children and young people in care, care leavers, and care experienced people in Scotland.

The report shows a more promising picture in Scotland for the progression of children in care. It points out that published government statistics are misleading.

The analysis in this report shows that 4 per cent of looked after school leavers, who were looked after for part of a year rather than the full year, also progressed directly to higher education. Another 29 per cent (full year) and 24 per cent (part year) went on directly to further education.

It’s also possible that the annual survey of school leavers does not track looked after children as successfully as other children since they are also more likely than most to move home address at this time.

Overall findings suggest that looked after children in Scotland, receive good encouragement from their carers to pursue higher education. 

International - Wales

Learning Wales

Newsletters: post-16 consistent performance measures, 14th September

The new performance measures will replace the separate measures which have been used for sixth forms (the Level 3 threshold and points scores, based on learners who take exams) and for colleges (learning activity success rates, based on learners enrolled and their outcomes within a single year of study).

They are intended to be used together to give a rounded picture of sixth forms’ and colleges’ outcomes, with no one measure being more important than the others.

The three measures are: Achievement, Value added and Destinations

The measures will be used:

By schools and colleges, to evaluate of their own performance and plan for improvement;

By Estyn in inspections, from 2019/20;

By Welsh Government to analyse the outcomes of post-16 learning and track improvements; and

To help learners, parents and employers make informed choices about post-16 learning.

Education Workforce Council

Consultation on the Code of Professional Conduct and Practice for registrants with the Education Workforce Council (The Code), 14th September

Closes 14th December 2018

The EWC have launched our consultation on a revised draft EWC Code for registrants.

In Wales, anybody working as a teacher or in a learning support role in a maintained school or further education college must be registered with the Education Workforce Council (EWC). The same also applies to work based learning practitioners and qualified youth and youth support workers.

The Code sets out the standards expected of those registered and is intended to help and guide their behaviours and judgements, both inside and outside of work. However, the Code also has an important role for learners and the public as it sets out the standards they can expect from anybody working in a teaching and learning role in Wales.

Legislation requires the EWC to review the Code every three years and the public consultation on the revised draft Code will run until 14 December.

The EWC want to hear from as many people as possible, including those already registered, the public and those with an interest in ensuring that all learners in Wales receive a high quality education.

You can download the exiting Code, revised draft Code and consultation documents here.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

What Impact Does Accountability Have On Curriculum, Standards and Engagement In Education? Brill et al., 14th September: NfER

This rapid literature review on the impact of accountability on curriculum, standards and engagement, highlighted the relevance of teacher education in supporting teachers’ engagement with assessment data to inform classroom teaching and learning.

For schools working with Achievement for All, training of teachers in effective use of pupil data and data led discussions contribute to better outcomes for pupils, where teachers know come to know their pupils well and can better adapt teaching and learning to their particular needs.

Early education and outcomes to age 4, 8th September

This report presents findings for a sample of 3,930 families who took part in the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) longitudinal study. Parent interviews at ages two, three and four asked questions about early childhood education and care (ECEC) attended and characteristics of the home environment.

Relevant findings showed that : Characteristics of the home environment, including the home learning environment and the parent-child relationship, were associated with cognitive and socioemotional development at age four. The relationships between ECEC and outcomes were largely independent of the advantages of a rich home learning environment.

Early years settings working with Achievement for All through the Achieving Early programme work with parents and carers to support the development of the home learning environment, supporting all parents and carers in creating ‘a rich home learning environment’.