20th July 2018

Department for Education

Plans to help children in foster care experience loving and stable homes, 20th July

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi announces new measures to improve foster care, as part of the government's response to two fostering reviews.

Followingthe Department for Education response to the independent review, Foster Care in England by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers and the Education Select Committee’s fostering report, Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said:

‘We want every child in foster care to have a loving, stable home and trusted relationships so they can have the ‘normal’ life they desperately want and experience the same opportunities as other children.

We also want to support and empower foster parents to make the daily decisions they would for their own children and make sure they receive the recognition they deserve for their incredible work’.

The report sets out six priority areas for the government’s vision for a better care system, driven directly by children’s needs and views.

These priority areas include:

  • Improving the experience of children in foster care – guidance for foster families on physical affection will made clearer and social workers will be urged to help children in foster care have contact with loved ones.

  • Greater stability for children in care – a new training package will be created for social workers to help more children have long-term foster placements and a new national board will be set up to promote better life chances for children in care.

  • Empowering foster families – working with councils to help foster families to make more day-to-day parenting decisions and explore ways digital technology can support foster families’ training.

  • Driving improvements in fostering practice – working with a group of councils and agencies to develop best practice for foster care and reviewing guidance to make it clearer on practice issues.

  • Better ways of matching children with families – funding new approaches to commission foster placements for children.

See details of the reports below:

Fostering better outcomes, 20th July: Policy Paper

This paper sets out the government’s response to two reports into foster care: The Education Select Committee Inquiry into Fostering and the Foster Care in England report, an independent review commissioned by the Department for Education. The response describes the government’s vision for foster care and improvements for the system, based on the recommendations of the two reports.

Foster care in England, 20th July

A review of the fostering system in England which includes 36 recommendations to the government about how the outcomes of children in foster care can be improved. This is an independent report led by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers. It follows a closed consultation seeking views on the current state of foster care in England and how to improve the prospects of children in care.

Anne Longfield responds to the Government’s statement on fostering, 20th July

‘The Government is right to make stability its top priority for children in foster homes, but it must follow through on these ambitions with action. Foster carers must be given help and training to deal with issues like children’s mental health problems, so they can provide the best support to vulnerable children who often have very complex needs…….’

New multi-million pound deal to boost skills across West Midlands, 18th July: News Story

Education Secretary, Damien Hinds visited Dudley College to announce a new deal with West Midlands Combined Authority.

The new deal includes:

  • Creating hundreds of new apprenticeships at small and medium sized businesses in priority areas, including in construction, automotive and digital sectors – helping increasing job opportunities for all.

  • A multi-million investment in local colleges – ensuring they have access to the latest equipment and facilities to teach the skills the region and the country need, including digital, and construction.

  • Up to £5million to work with employers to develop a National Retraining Scheme (NRS) pilot to drive adult learning and retraining.

  • £1million to boost Edtech and the way it supports adult learners in the West Midlands.

  • £1million to improve careers advice for young people, including a new careers hub in the West Midlands.

  • Piloting an innovative online portal for businesses to share work experience opportunities with schools.

See also press release: New relationships and health education in schools, 19th July

Measures announced to help schools reduce teacher workload, 21st July

Education Secretary announces new online resources for teachers to reduce time spent on 'unnecessary' tasks and support to focus on teaching.

Head teachers will receive more support to free their staff from unnecessary and time-consuming tasks, under plans set out by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

Research also published on the same day in the School Snapshot Surveyshows that almost three-quarters (73%) of surveyed school leaders and teachers say their schools have already taken action to reduce unnecessary workload, such as an overhaul or reduction of marking practices.

Building on his pledge to champion the teaching profession and reduce workload in schools, Damien Hinds announced a series of online resources  to help head teachers take action to remove burdensome responsibilities – freeing teachers to focus on what matters: inspiring pupils in their classrooms.

Details below:

Ways to reduce workload in your school: tips from school leaders, 21st July: Policy Paper

This document was developed by school leaders, teachers, and experts in education technology and initial teacher education, following consultation with schools across the country. It provides tips to remove unnecessary workload and make policies and processes in schools more efficient, including through the effective use of technology. It also links to case studies of how schools have changed their practice. The document supplements the principles and recommendations from the three independent workload reports on marking, planning and resources, and data management. This document is aimed at school leadership teams, including executives of MATs and other groups of schools, but may also be helpful for governors, middle leaders, teachers and support staff.

Areas include:

  • Using technology effectively

  • Feedback and marking

  • Curriculum planning

  • Data management

  • Communications

  • Managing change

  • Performance management

  • Staff support

See also: The following guidance documents provide materials to help leaders and teachers review tasks associated with communications in schools, so they can reduce workload.

Managing change: reducing teacher workload, 21st July: Guidance

Communications: reducing teacher workload, 21st July: Guidance

Feedback and marking: reducing teacher workload, 21st July: Guidance

Curriculum planning and resources: reducing teacher workload, 21st July: Guidance

Data management: reducing teacher workload, 21st July: Guidance

Reducing workload: identify the issues in your school

Practical tools developed by school leaders and teachers to help identify workload issues in schools. 

Supporting early career teachers: reducing teacher workload, 21st July: Guidance

Materials to help school leaders and staff support teachers in the early stages of their career, to help reduce workload.

Curriculum support resources in schools, 21st July: Research and analysis

The DfE commissioned CooperGibson Research (CGR) to conduct in-depth qualitative research with senior leaders and teachers in primary and secondary schools in England. The research aimed to explore the types and format of curriculum resources currently being accessed and used most often by schools and individual teachers, the challenges faced, how teachers judge the quality of curriculum resources, and the current gaps and priorities for the development of future resources.

Key findings included:

  • Curriculum planning In secondary schools - the curriculum planning process was led specifically by Heads of Department. Schemes of work (sequenced plans to show delivery over a period of time, by subject) were developed by discrete departments.
  • Individual lesson planning -  In terms of using resources specifically for planning individual lessons, several primary schools reported drawing on subscription services to help planning for certain subjects.
  • Using and accessing existing resources - A wide variety of resources were being accessed and used by respondents for a range of purposes.
  • Workload associated with accessing resources - It was commonly suggested by teachers that using existing resources in general did not always reduce their workload, because their time was taken in identifying, accessing, and then tailoring resources to need.
  • Resource types - Pupil resources, lesson and curriculum planning tools, diagnostic tests/assessment tools, schemes of work and teacher guides
  • Challenges and gaps - The key challenges for accessing and using curriculum resources were reported to be cost, and not having enough time to find, review and tailor resources. Overall, respondents did not feel that resources which were currently available met the criteria of being ‘knowledge rich’.

Department for Education- Statistics

Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England: 2016 to 2017, 19th July

Key findings show that:

  • The overall rate of permanent exclusions has increased from 0.08 per cent of pupil enrolments in 2015/16 to 0.10 per cent in 2016/17. The number of exclusions has also increased, from 6,685 to 7,720

  • The overall rate of fixed period exclusions increased, from 4.29 per cent of pupil enrolments in 2015/16 to 4.76 per cent in 2016/17. The number of exclusions has also increased, from 339,360 to 381,865.

Exclusions by characteristic

Age, national curriculum year group and gender

  • Over half of all permanent (57.2 per cent) and fixed period (52.6 per cent) exclusions occur in national curriculum year 9 or above.

  • A quarter (25.0 per cent) of all permanent exclusions were for pupils aged 14, and pupils of this age group also had the highest rate of fixed period exclusion, and the highest rate of pupils receiving one or more fixed period exclusion.

  • The permanent exclusion rate for boys (0.15 per cent) was over three times higher than that for girls (0.04 per cent) and the fixed period exclusion rate was almost three times higher (6.91 compared with 2.53 per cent).

Free school meals (FSM) eligibility

  • Pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (FSM) had a permanent exclusion rate of 0.28 per cent and fixed period exclusion rate of 12.54 per cent - around four times higher than those who are not eligible(0.07 and 3.50 per cent respectively).

  • Pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (FSM) accounted for 40.0 per cent of all permanent exclusions and 36.7 per cent of all fixed period exclusions.

Special educational need (SEN)

  • Pupils with identified special educational needs (SEN) accounted for around half of all permanent exclusions (46.7 per cent) and fixed period exclusions (44.9 per cent).

  • Pupils with SEN support had the highest permanent exclusion rate at 0.35 per cent. This was six times higher than the rate for pupils with no SEN (0.06 per cent).

FE Choices learner satisfaction survey 2017 to 2018, 19th July

This information provides an overview, at national level, of the findings of the FE Choices learner satisfaction survey 2017 to 2018; there were over 300,000 respondents. The survey asked learners to rate their providers on training delivered in 2017 to 2018.The purpose of FE Choices is to provide consistent and comparable information for learners and employers to help them make informed choices about publicly funded education and training, as well as providing consistent management information on key performance indicators.

Key findings show that:

  • 90% of learners were satisfied with their FE provider

  • 91% of learners were satisfied with the teaching from the FE provider

  • 82% of learners were likely to recommend their learning provider to friends or family

See also news story - Students praise quality of colleges and training providers, 20th July

Department for Education- Consultations

Relationships (and sex) education and health education, 19th July

Closes: 7th November at 11.45am

The Department for Education is proposing that schools are required to teach relationships education at primary school, relationships and sex education at secondary school and health education at all state-funded schools. The DfE is seeking views on draft regulations, statutory guidance and a regulatory impact assessment for relationships and sex education and health education. 

Changes to teaching of sex and relationship education, and PSHE, outcome, 19th July

Mental health was also raised as an important topic to be included in PSE and having knowledge to support success in adulthood was also mentioned frequently for secondary school PHSE.

Education Select Committee

Education Select Committee: life chances inquiry- Letter of Minister of State for Children and Families  to Chair of the Education Committee, 18th July

The letter sets out how the Minister of State for Children and Families will address the following areas:

  • The impact of changes in local authority funding and its early intervention programmes on children’s life chances, and how this work is joined-up across government.
  • Analysis of the correlation between new children’s centre models and the disadvantage gap at age 5 on the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP).
  • An update on the commitment in the Early Years Workforce Strategy to conduct a feasibility study into developing a programme to grow the graduate workforce in disadvantage areas to narrow the quality gap between settings in disadvantaged and more affluent areas.
  • The apprenticeship strategy for the early years sector.


School inspection handbook, 17t hJuly (last updated 12th April)

The handbook has been updated to include: privacy notice information, updated ‘Inspection of religious education and collective worship’ section (in annex). Updated ‘Clarification for schools/Ofsted inspection myths' document: added new information in 'Evidence for inspection section' about attainment, added new sections on performance management, safeguarding, and the curriculum.

Handbook for short, monitoring and unannounced behaviour school inspections, 17th July- updated with privacy notice 

Obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in primary schools, 18th July: Research and Analysis

The report states that schools are about education and that schools should do what they are best placed to do:

  • Plan a challenging and well-sequenced curriculum, including learning about the body in PE and science about healthy eating and cooking

  • Provide ample opportunity for children to take physical exercise during the school day – with lots of opportunities to ‘get out of breath’

  • Teach particular skills like how to cook or how to dance

  • Update parents on their children’s physical development such as agility, balance and coordination 

See also press release: Schools not ‘silver bullet’ to tackling childhood obesity

Ofsted- Consultation

Proposed changes to joint inspections of secure training centres, 17th July 26, 2018

Closes: 14th August 2018

This consultation seeks your views on the proposed changes to joint inspections of secure training centres. In particular:

  • A revised judgement structure for joint inspections of STCs

  • A strengthened response to inadequate judgements of STCs

  • The introduction of a ‘point-in-time’ survey of children’s views, replacing the current HMIP-led on-site survey undertaken during the inspection.


Potential for success:Fulfilling the promise of highly able students in secondary schools, R. Montacute, 19th July: Sutton Trust

The report analyses how high attaining students fare in secondary schools in England. The report also explores issues surrounding how to maximise the potential of high attaining young people through analysis of existing literature and case studies of good practice in schools that do particularly well for these students.

Key findings show:

  • Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to be in the top 10% for attainment in English and maths at the end of primary school.Disadvantaged students are three times less likely to be in this high attainment group than their more advantaged peers: only 4% of disadvantaged students have high attainment at KS2, compared to 13% of non-disadvantaged pupils.

  • Furthermore, even for those disadvantaged pupils who do perform strongly in primary school, they are much more likely to fall behind at secondary school, compared to other high attaining students, across a range of measures.

  • They are also less likely to achieve the top grades that open doors to universities and employers: while 72% of non-disadvantaged high attainers achieve 5 A*-A grades or more at GCSE, only 52% of disadvantaged high attainers do. If high attaining disadvantaged students performed as well as high attaining students overall, an additional 1,000 disadvantaged students would achieve at least 5A*-A at GCSE each year.

  • High attainers from disadvantaged backgrounds who are white have the lowest level of attainment at GCSE compared to their peers in any other ethnic group. Only 45% of disadvantaged white students with high prior attainment gain 5A*-A at GCSE, compared to 63% of black students and 67% of Asian students from similar backgrounds.

  • Students with high attainment do better at GCSE in schools with lower proportions of students on free school meals, schools in London, in converter academies, and in schools with higher numbers of other previously high attaining students.

  • Disadvantaged students make up a much smaller proportion in grammar schools, compared to those in comprehensives, with disadvantaged high attainers only half as likely as high attainers overall to enter a grammar. In grammar schools, only 1 in 17 of all high attainers are from disadvantaged backgrounds, compared to 1 in 8 high attainers in comprehensive schools.

  • Maximising the potential of highly able young people poses three main challenges in schools: identifying the right students, offering them the right programmes and interventions, and managing the process organisationally in a sustainable way. While highly able students from certain backgrounds, in certain parts of the country, and attending certain types of schools face substantial barriers, what schools actually dofor such students can be crucial for success.

Most employees can work smarter, given the chance, 20th July

These findings are published in the Skills and Employment Survey (2017).The survey seeks the views of employees working across a range of sectors. A total of 3,300 workers from across the UK, aged 20 to 65, were interviewed for the research, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Department for Education and Cardiff University.

Findings showed that:

Often employees yearn for the opportunity to tell employers what should be done with 18% of them estimating that their suggestions, if acted upon, would increase their productivity a great deal. These changes include:

  • ‘Being allowed to put more ideas forward rather than being told what to do by people who can’t do it,’ (a machine operator working for a chemicals company)

  • ‘The skills of the team need to be up-to-date; this would make me more productive. So, I wouldn’t have to check their work all the time like now,’ (a foundry technician working for a bronze sculpting company)

  • ‘Better connectivity internationally, such as video conferencing between Singapore, Denver and London offices,’ (a business analyst working in banking).


International -Wales

Welsh Government- Education and Skills

Food and Fun scheme offered to 2,500 pupils in most deprived parts of Wales, 19th July

Primary school pupils in some of Wales’ most deprived communities will enjoy nutritious meals and fun educational activities in the summer holidays thanks to a £500,000 investment from the Welsh Government.

An estimated 2,500 learners will take part in the scheme which will run in approximately 56 schools, covering 16 local authorities and all 7 Local Health Boards. Approximately 1500 children benefited from the scheme in 2017.

Food and Fun / Bwyd a Hwyl will run in two special schools this year and two local authorities will receive additional grant funding for special needs provision.

One of the aims of the  scheme is to help close the attainment gap between pupils from deprived communities and those from more prosperous areas.

Education Secretary launches the Summer Reading Challenge, 16th July

The Summer Reading Challenge, aims to get children between the ages of 4 and 11 to read six books or more from their library during the summer holidays. In Wales the challenge has a distinct Welsh focus and includes Welsh medium books.

Young people aged 12-24 can also take part through the Welsh Books Council’s ‘Reading Hack’ initiative which sees them volunteer in libraries to support the Summer Reading Challenge.

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge including how to get involved, and resources for schools, go to: https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England: 2016 to 2017, 19th July

Key findings show that:

  • Pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals (FSM) had a permanent exclusion rate of 0.28 per cent and fixed period exclusion rate of 12.54 per cent - around four times higher than those who are not eligible(0.07 and 3.50 per cent respectively).

Special educational need (SEN)

  • Pupils with SEN support had the highest permanent exclusion rate at 0.35 per cent. This was six times higher than the rate for pupils with no SEN(0.06 per cent).

National statistics show that too many pupils with SEN or those eligible for FSM are excluded.

Schools working with Achievement for All have reduced exclusions and better attendance.