18th May 2018

Department for Education

New gold-standard GCSEs prepare pupils for careers Britain needs, 14th May: Press release with update from the CBI

The gold-standard qualifications for 20 new GCSEs – including the sciences, French, German, Spanish, history and geography – have been designed with employers in mind. These qualifications are underpinned by more rigorous content, preparing pupils for future careers in the industries that Britain needs. The new science GCSEs now include space physics and the human genome and the new Computer Science GCSE now includes a greater focus on programming.

CBI Managing Director for People and Skills policy Neil Carberry said:

‘A world-class education has the power to give young people the knowledge and character needed to navigate a rapidly changing world. CBI members welcome the Government’s commitment to high educational standards in schools, of which the new GCSEs are part.

Just doing well in exams isn’t enough though - firms want to see all young people leave education as well-rounded individuals. They appreciate what teachers and leaders are doing in schools to develop great people - and are ready to step up and do more themselves. As part of today’s important focus on knowledge, this partnership must also ensure we are prioritising teaching that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork’.

Boost for maths education in the North for National Numeracy Day, 16th May: Press release

Schools in the North of England will benefit from a £6 million investment to improve maths teaching across the region and help increase pupils’ confidence in mathematics, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb confirmed.

To mark the first National Numeracy Day, Mr Gibb has confirmed that £1.75 million of funding will be used to create two new ‘Hubs’ in Central Lancashire and Cheshire to help spread best teaching practice and improve local pupils’ knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of mathematics.

The remaining funding will support the expansion of a south Asian ‘mastery’ approach to teaching maths in the region. Some of the leading performers in maths in the world, including Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong use this teaching style.

The announcement is part of the government’s plans to raise academic standards across the country, helping more people to secure a good job, an apprenticeship or go on to further study or training. 

Schools to get expert advice from leading business advisers, 17th May: News story

Business advice is being offered to schools across the country to help them make every penny of education funding count, the School Systems Minister Lord Agnew has announced.

Speaking to over 200 Business Leaders at the Association of School and College Leaders annual conference, Lord Agnew confirmed that over 40 business advisers – who are all experts in the field – are signed up to start offering hands-on bespoke business support to schools, with 26 already benefitting.

Schools spend millions of pounds each year on running costs and the advisers will offer tailored advice to help school leaders maximise their resources and budgets. This could include smarter ways to buy essential services like water or electricity, or innovative ways of timetabling classes to free up teachers time.

Evidence shows up to £1 billion of savings could be made on non-staff spend in schools by 2019-2020 which could be reinvested in frontline resources. This will help raise standards in schools even further, with 1.9 million more children now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

See also: Find, join or create a network for school business professionals, 15th May

The guide describes how business professionals working in schools can join or create a school business professional network. Networks help professionals to connect and share information.

And see Charging for school activities

Guidance to help schools set out their policies on charging for school activities and visits.

Strengthened guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding, 17th May: News story

The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance has now been published, following a 10-week public consultation launched in December.

Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, said:

‘Pupils and parents rightly expect schools to be safe places, where children are free to enjoy their time in education without fear of violence or harassment.

Schools and colleges play an important part in keeping children safe, so it’s right that we take the necessary steps to ensure staff have the guidance and support they need to deal with concerns about a child’s wellbeing’.

Children’s services omnibus, 17th May

A summary of responses from senior leaders in local authorities to questions asked in waves 1, 2 and 3 of the children’s services omnibus survey.

Related and relevant responses are recorded below:

Wave 1:

Special Educational Needs and Disability

  • All responding LAs offered support for parents with a disabled child in finding childcare. This support included publishing information about childcare options (91%); Families Information Services (91%); brokering childcare places with providers (79%) and providing help with transport (23%).

  • LAs’ key systems for monitoring progress in implementing the 2014 SEND reforms were multi-agency boards, internal staff meetings, stakeholder engagement and internal self-assessment.

  • LAs monitored outcomes for children and young people with SEND at three main levels:

    1. At the level of the individual child / young person, such as through monitoring outcomes in line with their Education, Health and Care Plan, or through ongoing casework and formal Annual Reviews;

    2. At provider (e.g. school) level, such as through school visits and data audits; and

    3. At the level of the LA, such as through Quality Assurance Groups and centralised outcomes systems.

Wave 2:

Assessment of mental health needs

  • Most commonly LAs would assess the mental health needs of looked after children on entry to care (with 67% saying assessments taking place at that stage) and/or annual intervals during care (59%).

  • In eight per cent of cases LAs did not systematically assess the mental health needs of looked after children or commission an agency to do so.

Early Years workforce training

  • In the financial year running from April 2016 to March 2017, 85% of responding LAs experienced demand for training from childcare providers rated ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’.

  • Requests for training covered a wide range of subjects, but demand was particularly strong for safeguarding and child protection (98%), Early Years Foundation Stage framework requirements (96%) and meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities (91%).

  • When experiencing demand from childcare providers, virtually all responding LAs provided the training requested. While 28% of LAs provided the training free of charge, 70% did charge for the training.

Main challenges to effective delivery of SEN services and provision

  • Influencing SEND provision in schools in an environment of increasing school autonomy was seen as the key challenge to effective delivery of SEN services and provision (71%). Securing sufficient high quality school placements for children with SEND was also mentioned by 65%.

  • When asked about steps authorities are taking to use their high needs funding as effectively as possible in 2017/18, 90% said they are undertaking a strategic review of supply of specialist provision. Working with mainstream schools and parents to manage demand were mentioned by 89% and 64% respectively.

Wave 3:

Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND)

  • A total of 54 LAs answered questions on SEND. Responding LAs were asked how their SEND team would rate the quality of engagement of colleagues during the development of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans for children and young people with SEND. Most LAs found the quality of engagement with colleagues to be fairly or very good overall. Responses about the quality of engagement of colleagues in schools were particularly positive, with 92% of responding LAs rating engagement with these colleagues ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’.

  • A majority of LAs were also positive about the quality of engagement with Early Years Provider colleagues (83%), health colleagues (70%), social care colleagues (68%) and providers (66%).

Department for Education Areas of Research Interest, 17th May

The document, which is not an invitation to tender, sets out the areas where the Department for Education would like more research. Areas include: early years, schools, FE and cross cutting

Department for Education - FE

16 to 18 accountability headline measures, 17th May

Guide for schools, colleges and local authorities on new measures in the 2017 to 2018 performance tables. Updated to include new Level 3 mathematics qualifications eligible for the TechBacc in 2018.

New support for young care leavers starting an apprenticeship, 17th May

Care leavers who choose to start an apprenticeship will receive a £1000 bursary to help the transition into the workplace.

The extra financial support will be for those aged 16-24 and help them in the first year of their apprenticeship as learners transition into the workplace for their practical studies.

This change is one of a small number of improvements – including increasing the number of apprenticeship funding bands - which will come into effect from August 2018.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

‘We know those leaving care can experience additional barriers to getting an apprenticeship.

Everyone should get a chance to be able to start an apprenticeship and change their life, so I’m really pleased that as we see how we can make the apprenticeship system work better we are able to offer this extra support for those leaving care’.

Education Secretary marks Mental Health Awareness Week in Hastings, 18th May

Damian Hinds visited Sussex Coast College in Hastings to learn about the mental health support services available through the Opportunity Area programme.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

‘Young people in Hastings have told us mental health is one of their big concerns, and we know that it can have a real impact on their lives – that’s why the Opportunity Area programme is spending over £600,000 a year to improve training for school staff, increase access to local services and strengthen family relationships to boost wellbeing at home.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important to hear first-hand from the people running these important projects in Hastings and from the young people who benefit. The more we can improve the support that is in place for them, the more likely it is that they will grow up feeling confident and positive about their future’.

Confirming the funding during Mental Health Awareness Week, the Education Secretary was joined by Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye and met with young people who have benefitted from the i-Rock project, as well as school and college leaders and members of the Hastings Opportunity Area independent board to discuss the programme’s wider work.

Exploring funding for apprentices with additional needs, 17th May

Key findings

Providers and employers recognise that there are a range of factors which mean individuals may require additional support to help them access and progress in apprenticeships.

These are broadly consistent with the areas where additional funding is currently made available by the DfE, including factors relating to LDDs and disadvantage.

Most commonly, providers interviewed claim funding from the ESFA through two streams: Additional Learning Support and Disadvantage Uplift. Drawing on this funding, as well as core funds, providers and employers adopt different approaches to provide individualised support to apprentices.

  • Defining and identifying support needs - Most providers believe the definitions for apprentice support needs should be wider than they are currently defined in funding, based on the apprentices they work with and the barriers they experience.
  • Support provided - Providers and employers offer support to individual apprentices on a case by case basis and are reluctant to offer one-size-fits-all programmes. Providers believe apprentices are more likely to engage and succeed in a programme of support that is tailored to their specific needs.
  • Potential implications of apprenticeship reforms - Wider apprenticeship reforms, such as the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, standards and end-point assessment, do not appear to have affected the support offered by the providers and employers involved in the research, or the funding they receive.

Considerations for future policy

The evidence suggests there are currently two main issues in funding provision that require further consideration and/or clarification:

Funding to support apprentices with undiagnosed LDDs and apprentices with a learning support need that is not related to an LDD.

Funding to support apprentices with mental health conditions. Most providers interviewed do not claim Additional Learning Support for these apprentices as they are unsure of the eligibility criteria and/or find it challenging to evidence the specific impact that mental health issues have on learning.

Apprenticeship reform programme: benefits realisation strategy, 18th May

Added the 'Progress report on the apprenticeships reform programme'.

See also: The Education Committee hears from Anne Milton MP, the Institute for Apprenticeships, Ofsted and the Education and Skills Agency, on the quality of apprenticeships and skills training, 15th May

Department for Education - Statistics

Pupil absence in schools in England: autumn term 2017, 17th May


The overall absence rate for state-funded primary and secondary schools was 4.3 per cent in autumn 2017, the same in autumn 2016. However, when breaking this down further - levels of authorised absence have decreased and unauthorised absence has increased.

Until recent years, overall absence rates followed a generally downward trend since autumn 2008 when the overall absence rate for state-funded primary and secondary schools was 6.4 per cent.

More than one in ten pupils were persistently absent during autumn 2017

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: May 2018

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

See also Apprenticeship funding policy in England from August 2018'- updated since May 2017.


  • An increase in the number of funding bands to 30, as set out in Chapter 3. This funding band structure will take effect for new starts from August 2018 and we will allocate newly developed standards into the 30-band structure.

  • The continuation of a payment equivalent to 20% of the funding band maximum to providers training 16-18 year olds on frameworks, and additional payments to providers training individuals from disadvantaged areas on frameworks.

  • Additional payments for apprentices who require learning support

  • The research found that some providers do not clearly understand when they can claim additional learning support. Providers might not be claiming for individuals who would benefit from support, and therefore may be reducing their chances of successfully completing the apprenticeship.

  • Therefore, there will be an update to the funding rules to provide greater clarity on eligibility and the support available.

  • Research also shows that some apprentices experience challenges with their mental health, which can prevent them from fully participating in their apprenticeship. Understanding of available support is also limited, and greater emphasis will be placed on ‘Supporting Apprentices’ mental health service, operated by Remploy on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, which provides a range of free advice and support.

  • The introduction of a £1,000 bursary payment to support care leavers aged 16-24 starting an apprenticeship.


Ofsted launches point-in-time surveys, 14th May

Surveys for residential special schools and further education colleges with residential provision are now open for children, learners, parents and residential staff.

Ofsted has issued its annual point-in-time online surveys for residential special schools and further education colleges with residential provision.

The surveys are for children and learners, their parents and residential staff.

Ofsted inspectors want to hear what they have to say about the school or college. Their responses will help inform future inspections.

Ofsted is asking for responses by 22 June 2018.

Schools and colleges should provide a link to the surveys to everyone on Ofsted’s behalf. Alternatively, anyone who wants to give their views can contact us on 0300 123 1231 (select option 5 and then option 2) or email enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk.#

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters

City of London report published on the Ofsted reports site.

A generally positive picture of  the City of London for Children and young people with SEND.Children and young people who have SEN and/or disabilities attend good or better schools. Leaders work effectively with parents and carers when deciding on a suitable provider for children and young people who have an EHC plan.

 The overall numbers of children and young people in the local area who have SEN and/or disabilities is low.


Worth, J., Rennie, C. and Lynch, S. (2018). Teacher Supply, Retention and Mobility in London. Slough: NFER, 18th May

This report explores the characteristics and dynamics of London’s teacher labour market in depth with quantitative analysis of school workforce data, supplemented by discussions with London teachers.

Key Findings

  • London has a higher rate of young teachers leaving the profession than other large cities and the rest of England. It also has a steady outflow of teachers in their thirties and forties to teach elsewhere. The most important factor driving low teacher retention in London is higher housing costs.

  • London has more new entrants to its teacher workforce each year than in other large cities and the rest of England, driven by a greater proportion of newly qualified teachers (NQTs). But these new teachers are not enough to replace the many teachers who leave teaching in London each year.

  • Higher proportions of schools with vacancies and of unqualified teachers employed in London, compared to other areas, suggests that the labour market is already experiencing significant shortages in many areas.

  • Early-career teachers are accelerated into middle leadership positions more quickly in London than they are in other areas, due to a lack of more experienced teachers to fill the roles.

EasyPeasy Evaluation in Newham: findings from the Sutton Trust Parental Engagement Fund (PEF) Project, 18th May

EasyPeasy is a programme that aims to improve child development by increasing positive parent-child interaction through play at home. It uses the mobile phone as a channel to reach parents and carers, giving them inspiration and ideas for real-world games and activities. It sends game ideas combined with information on child development, communicated through engaging videos. The games help parents to support the skills needed to make a strong start in school and life.


This study found that families in the intervention group (those with access to EasyPeasy) had significantly higher scores than the comparison group on two parent-reported outcomes: children’s cognitive self-regulation and parents’ sense of control.

First, these results suggest a positive effect of EasyPeasy on children’s cognitive self-regulation, as reported by their parents. This measure includes the ability to ‘work things out for oneself’, ‘persist in completing difficult tasks’ and ‘making decisions independently’. Cognitive self-regulation, including persistence and concentration, is agreed to be an important pre-requisite of children’s ‘school readiness’.

Second, a promising effect of the EasyPeasy app was observed for parental sense of control. Parents, for example, reported feeling more ‘in control’ as a parent and had a greater sense of being able to ‘get their child to behave well’ and ‘respond to boundaries’. They also reported being able to ‘stay calm when facing difficulties’.

These results must be interpreted with caution. The analyses have not accounted in a sophisticated way for the clustered nature of the data, i.e., children and parents were not randomly assigned within each centre; instead, centres were randomly assigned to intervention or comparison group. Although analysis after completion of the trial showed negligible centre effects, analysis at individual level means that important information about the nesting in the data has not been taken into account. For this reason, the positive findings for the intervention group could be said to be promising at this stage

The Impacts of Reading Recovery at Scale: Results From the 4-Year i3 External Evaluation, Sirinides et al.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s i3 program, researchers conducted a 4-year evaluation of the national scale-up of Reading Recovery. The evaluation included an implementation study and a multisite randomized controlled trial with 6,888 participating students in 1,222 schools. The goal of this study was to understand whether the impacts identified in prior rigorous studies of Reading Recovery could be replicated in the context of a national scale-up. The findings of this study reaffirm prior evidence of Reading Recovery’s immediate impacts on student literacy and support the feasibility of successfully scaling up an effective intervention.Effect sizes tended to be larger in schools where pupils had lower average reading performance overall.

Reading Recovery is an example of a widely used early literacy intervention for struggling first-grade readers, with a research base demonstrating evidence of impact.

International -Wales


Curriculum innovation in primary schools, 17th May

The report, ‘Curriculum innovation in primary schools’, describes approaches that schools should consider when planning a curriculum to develop capable, enterprising and confident learners. The report draws on visits to 30 primary schools and identifies four distinct stages of development in schools as they transform their teaching and learning practices.

Chief Inspector, Meilyr Rowlands, said: 

The journey towards curriculum reform needs careful planning. All schools, including primary schools can use the four stages outlined in our report as a structure to support their curricular thinking and professional learning, from self-evaluation and planning, to realising and evaluating change.”

Welsh Government- Education and Skills

The best in Welsh education revealed, 13th May

Nine education professionals from across Wales win at the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018.

Janet Waldron from Pontarddulais Comprehensive School was named Headteacher of the Year. Judges commented how she lives and breathes the life of her school and truly cares about every person in it, pushing staff to challenge themselves and encouraging pupils to realise their potential.

Janet, said: ‘This award isn’t just for me, it is in recognition of the fantastic work carried out by pupils, staff and my amazing headship team. Being a head really is the best job and it’s something that anyone can do with commitment and a desire to make a difference’

Other winners can be found at this site

New support for education leaders, 16thMay

Launch of the National Academy for Educational Leadership

The National Academy for Educational Leadership will work with partners across the system to provide strategic support for those in current leadership roles as well as providing encouragement and inspiration for those who wish to pursue a leadership career in education.

Learning Wales

Parents’ and carers’ guides: How is my child doing in the Foundation Phase? How was school today? – primary and secondary

Every year, Learning Wales have provided the How is my child doing in the Foundation Phase? and How was school today? (primary and secondary) guides to parents and carers covering:

  • Foundation Phase

  • primary school aged 7–11

  • secondary school aged 11–14.

The guides also give parents and carers information on how their children’s progress will be measured and reported, together with some tips on how to support their learning.

Electronic copies will be published online at the end of the school summer term and schools are urged to upload to their websites and share in their communications with parents and carers. 



EAS Professional Learning Offer 2018-19, 18th May

This document details the range of support and development services provided by EAS teams and partner schools across the region. For the first time this year, there will be no charges for any of the core professional learning activities outlined in the professional learning offer.

This year’s professional learning offer has been shaped by the findings from the professional learning consultation undertaken during the spring term, which set out the principles through which all future EAS professional learning programmes will be developed. These principles have been established to ensure that all schools are prepared for the significant changes in government policy that have emerged over the last few years and which are encapsulated within the National Mission.

The National Mission requires that there is an emphasis through professional learning on: 

  • The new transformational Curriculum for Wales that will emerge following the ‘ Successful Futures’ review

  • The new Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership, which will be utilised by all staff from September 2018

  • The approach to developing schools as learning organisations

  • Supporting equity and wellbeing for all learners in schools.

The EAS seeks to meet the requirements set out in the National Mission with a continued shift of services from centralised delivery to school-to-school working and the self-improving system, which will be evident in a sharper, more focused professional learning offer.

The learning offer is available here.


Central South Consortium moving

From 1st September 2018, the Central South Consortium will be based at:

Valleys Innovation Centre, Navigation Park, Mountain Ash, Abercynon CF45 4SN


Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018 – WINNERS

On Sunday, 13 May 2018, the achievements of teachers throughout the country were honoured at the ‘Professional Teaching Awards Wales’ awards ceremony at Hensol Castle, Vale of Glamorgan. GwE wishes to congratulate all nominees, and especially the winners. 

The winners from within the GwE consortium included:Lorraine Dalton – Ysgol Esgob Morgan, St Asaph, Teacher of the Year.


Chances of success at Key Stage 4, part two, Fisher and Treadaway, 17th May: Education Datalab

Comparable outcomes – the approach used by Ofqual to maintain comparability of standards over time – is based on an assumption that “if the ability of students stays the same, and nothing else that could affect their performance changes, results should be stable over time“.

Ofsted annual reports show a trend for improvement, with an increase in the percentage of schools rated as good or outstanding. If this were to continue then might we expect outcomes to be higher than that predicted from a comparable outcomes approach?

Other factors

There are, though, some other factors to consider. Looking at progress from FS to KS1 shows that improvements in FS-to-KS1 progress have been for pupils with the top 75% of FS scores. For pupils with the lowest 25% of FS scores there has been a slight decline, suggesting that the strategies leading to overall improvement are not having an impact on the lowest attainers.

This pattern of lowest attainers improving much less rapidly than others was something we also noticed when we looked at long-term disadvantage. The attainment of pupils eligible for free school meals for over 90% of their time at school improved slightly but at a slower rate than that of other disadvantaged pupils.

We also know that the lowest attainers at KS1 – those with a KS1 reading and writing score below five, are around three times more likely to be in the long-term disadvantage group by the time they reach the end of KS4.

The authors conclude that if we find ways of extending improvements at KS1 to the lowest 25% of attainers and also enable them to build on this in subsequent Key Stages then we would see further increases after that.

This raises some challenges relating to the moderation of KS4 examinations:

  • For how long will the ‘comparable outcomes’ approach be applied at KS4?

  • What is the impact of using KS2 outcomes to ‘moderate’ KS4 attainment?

  • Will the new national reference test reflect improvements at KS1 and improvements in subsequent progress?

Value added measures in performance tables: A recap of the main issues for primary schools, 14thMay: Education Datalab, Blog Dave Thompson

We see three main issues with the Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 value added measures published in primary school performance tables.

  1. They are biased against junior and middle schools.

  2. They take no account of context.

  3. There is no overall measure of value added, which might help alleviate some of the noise that exists in the separate reading, writing and mathematics measures.

  4. They can be subject to a high level of volatility due to small cohort sizes.

The author concludes that:

‘Value added measures do not provide an index of school effectiveness that ranks schools from best to worst. They are just descriptive statistics about attainment that take account of pupils’ prior attainment. Unfortunately, they are sometimes interpreted as measures of school effectiveness, which can undermine their usefulness as descriptive statistics.

For that reason, we suggest inspecting value added scores alongside supplementary measures that deal with the issues known to bias them. And we will keep on trying to identify where bias may be affecting the measures’.

Value added measures in performance tables: A recap of the main issues for secondary schools, Blog Dave Thompson, 14thMay: Education Datalab

The author says there are four main issues with Progress 8, the value added measure rolled out to all secondary schools in 2016.

  1. It takes no account of school context.

  2. It only includes pupils who were on roll in the January of Year 11.

  3. It offers incentives to pursue particular qualifications.

  4. It can be disproportionately affected by outliers.

He concludes that:

‘As we’ve often said, value added measures do not provide an index of school effectiveness that ranks schools from best to worst. They are just descriptive statistics about attainment that take account of pupils’ prior attainment. Unfortunately, they are sometimes interpreted as measures of school effectiveness, which can undermine their usefulness as descriptive statistics.

For that reason, we suggest inspecting value added scores alongside supplementary measures that deal with the issues known to bias them. And we will keep on trying to identify where bias may be affecting the measures’.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

EasyPeasy Evaluation in Newham: findings from the Sutton Trust Parental Engagement Fund (PEF) Project, 18thMay

Although this shows relatively positive results in terms of parental engagement, those parents and children and settings which have been involved in the Achieving Early programme, welcome the increased parent and carer engagement in children’s learning and development of the home learning environment.