21st September 2018

Department for Education

Social mobility and opportunity areas, 20th September, Policy Paper

Added links to websites for Norwich, Blackpool, Bradford and Doncaster.

Keeping children safe in education, 19th September (updated since 3rd Sept)

Paragraph 132 - new link to The Childcare (Disqualification) and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. Paragraphs 158 and 159 updated to clarify the point at which a school must make a referral to DBS. Updated document 'Keeping children safe in education: for school and college staff (part 1)'. Flowchart titled 'Actions where there are a concern about a child' updated to make it more accessible.

Department for Education- FE

Evaluation of the 18 to 21 work skills pilot 1: final report, 21st September: Research and analysis

Research investigating whether online English and maths training increases the skills and employability of young Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants 18 to 21.

In response to persistent youth unemployment and causal links between unemployment, low skill levels and poor long term economic and social outcomes, the Departments of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (transferring to Department for Education in the 2016 Machinery of Government change), and Work and Pensions (DWP), collaborated to launch a new Pilot in November 2014. Known as the 18-21 Work Skills Pilot 1, it aimed to investigate whether the provision of online training in English and maths could help increase the skills and employability of young Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants aged 18-21 years who could not provide evidence of possessing these skills at Level 2.


The pilot was closed after its testing phase due to a significant change in the economic context and rates of unemployment started to reduce. However, initial findings from data collected showed that:

Young people could be convinced of the value of returning to English and maths learning and found the online training format engaging. The applied nature of the training was also important to their engagement. Providers were largely able to provide sufficient encouragement for a positive engagement to emerge and were able to supply the level of learner support that helped learners persist in training. As a result of training, learners believed they gained benefits including in respect of skills as well as attributes and behaviours.

Employer ownership of skills pilot: round 1 final evaluation, 21st September

In 2014, The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) commissioned CFE Research, the University of Sheffield and Qa Research to conduct a national evaluation of Round 1 of the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP).

The overall aim of the pilot was to test whether employers having direct access to public funds, co-invested with their own, increased their investment in skills or allowed them to demonstrate more effective ways to improve skills in the workforce than they achieved through mainstream skills funding. The evaluation was delivered over five years.

Findings showed:

Overall most employers had a positive experience on the pilot with three-quarters stating it was very good or good;

Around three-quarters of employers thought the pilot offered them value for money, that the training met the needs of the organisation and that the training providers delivering the project were responsive to their needs.

Three-fifths of learners also reported they had learnt new skills as a result of the training they undertook

Evidence from depth interviews found that developing a collaborative approach to a skills gap with other employers in their sector was a positive aspect of involvement with EOP. Some projects successfully provided a forum for businesses to cooperate towards a shared goal.

Employers said that the management of EOP was their biggest challenge. Some employers found the administration and paperwork complicated and time-consuming whereas other expressed frustration with the perceived inflexibility of the scheme.


School inspection update: academic year 2018 to 2019, 20th September

In the first edition of the 2018 to 2019 academic year, Ofsted focuses on the reformed 9 to 1 GSCEs. It also provides an update on floor standards and coasting schools, guidance on off-rolling in schools, clarification on conducting inspections in schools that are part of multi-academy trusts, guidance on in-school cadet units, and information on Ofsted’s new inspection reports website.

HMCI commentary: curriculum and the new education inspection framework, 18th September: Authored Article

Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, discusses findings from recent curriculum research, curriculum design and the new education inspection framework.

The following points are taken from her conclusion:

  • Beyond the curriculum, the content and structure of knowledge and how this is delivered is something for school leaders to decide on. It should depend on a number of factors relevant to a particular school’s context and the knowledge and expertise of curriculum leaders.

  • Ultimately, the curriculum is the yardstick for what school leaders want their pupils to know and to be able to do by the time they leave school. It is therefore imperative that the new inspection framework has curriculum as a central focus.

  • A successful curriculum is about more than just leadership. It includes how well the curriculum is implemented through well-taught and appropriately sequenced content, thoughtfully designed assessment practice and consideration of an appropriate model of progression.

  • A well-constructed, well-taught curriculum will lead to good results because those results will be a reflection of what pupils have learned. Pupil attainment and qualifications will always remain important as one measure of a school’s effectiveness and of course hugely important to young people themselves.

  • However, parents also need to know the substance of what their children are learning, not just in Years 6 and 11 but throughout their time spent in school. Providing a more rounded picture of the curriculum is where inspection can play its part.

  • In the long run, a renewed focus on curriculum should reverse the current incentives that come from inspection being quite so focused on outcomes.

  • Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are, therefore, essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.

  • Next steps -The next phase of the research will look at how curriculum implementation reflects the intent behind it.

Joint inspections of the response to children experiencing neglect, 19th September

Guidance for inspectors on carrying out joint targeted area inspections (JTAIs) of local area services, and links to the inspection reports. These reports are now all on the Ofsted website.


How are school performance and school climate related to teachers’ experience? PISA In-Focus no 88, 18thSeptember

Research studies indicate that experienced teachers are more effective, but also suggest multiple explanations why this might be the case – whether because teachers gain valuable skills on the job and through formal professional development opportunities, or because the least effective teachers tend to quit teaching earlier, while more effective teachers remain in the profession. Each of these possible reasons has distinct implications for policy: from increasing hiring standards, improving teacher training and raising the attractiveness of the teaching profession, to ensuring that novice teachers receive the necessary support to quickly learn the tools of the trade and taking measures to prevent good teachers from dropping out of the profession.

Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2018: Preparing for the Future of Work, 18th September: OECD

The report (across 21 OECD countries) calls for greater efforts to enhance skills in the workforce, particularly in rural areas, and to improve efficiency in firms at regional and city level so that they can reduce the share of workers doing the kind of routine tasks that run a higher risk of automation.

Within countries, the share of jobs at high automation risk varies the most in Spain, with 12 percentage points of difference between the highest and lowest risk regions. It is also high in the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and France. The variation, reflecting in part the fact that the sectors and jobs most susceptible to automation are not spread evenly across countries, is the least in Canada, with just 1 percentage point between the highest and lowest risk regions. Austria and Italy also show much smaller disparities than the average.

 “Technological innovation such as automation can drive productivity growth, generate new jobs and contribute to better living standards. But we must guard against any increase in regional divides in job quality and employment,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Our focus should be on improving skills and firm efficiency across all regions.”

Automation aside, Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2018 finds striking differences in access to quality employment across different regions in OECD countries. Regional disparities have increased in terms of the number and quality of new jobs created, unemployment and educational attainment. More than half of all regions saw their working age population decline from 2010 to 2016. Cities and towns continue to attract young educated workers at the expense of rural areas.

The share of people in temporary and part-time work also varies substantially between regions in the same country. In countries like France, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Spain or Greece the gap between regions exceeds 10 percentage points. In the French region of Auvergne, for example, the share of non-standard work was 33.6% of total employment in 2016 while in the Ile-de-France region that contains Paris the share was just 21.7%.

Encouragingly, the report finds that 60% of regions in the 21 countries studied have created more jobs at a low risk of automation since 2011 than the number of jobs they have lost in high automation-risk sectors. Regions with a lower share of jobs at risk of automation tend to be highly urbanised with highly educated workers and a strong tradeable services sector.


Improving School Accountability, 14th September: NAHT

The report by the NAHT-  ‘Improving School Accountability’ report contains nine key recommendations for creating better conditions for holding schools to account.

 Pupil performance data

1) Comparative performance data should be used by Ofsted to inform judgements of school effectiveness.

2) The DfE should use a ‘requires improvement’ judgement as the trigger for funded support and as a replacement for floor and coasting standards.


3) Ofsted should adopt a new role, focused on identifying failure and providing stronger diagnostic insight for schools that are struggling.

4) The DfE should end the exemption from inspection for previously ‘outstanding’ schools and commit Ofsted to inspect all schools on a transparent cycle of inspection.

5) The ‘outstanding’ judgement should be replaced with a more robust system for identifying specific excellence within the sector, to increase the take-up of highly effective, evidence-based practice.

6) Ofsted should commission research to determine the format and nature of inspection required, in order to provide reliable judgements and reciprocal benefits for schools.

School improvement

7) Existing peer review programmes should be evaluated to identify characteristics of effective practice in order to develop national accreditation arrangements.

8) An invitation should be extended to the Chartered College of Teaching, through the Leadership Development Advisory Group, to produce alternative national standards for head teachers that better reflect the professional behaviours, practice and knowledge required for achieving excellence.

9) The DfE should extend the career progression strategy to support recently appointed head teachers in the critical first years of headship.

New EEF guidance report published: Improving Secondary Science, 20thSeptember

A new report published highlights seven practical recommendations focused on improving science teaching, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.According to the 'Improving Secondary Science' report, put together by a panel of teachers and leading experts, teachers should have a clear understanding of the common misconceptions in the area they’re teaching so that they know the issues that are likely to be problematic for their pupils. Teachers should also work to uncover the specific misconceptions their pupils hold through class and group discussion, before moving on to challenge these.

Reformed GCSEs – are they disadvantaging the disadvantaged? Mike Treadaway, 21st September: Education Datalab

The author discusses the performance of Pupil Premium pupils in the reformed GCSEs and although he highlights a big gap in performance, he saysthat “any comparison of changes in Progress 8 gaps over time will need to be done with considerable caution”. The changes to examinations mean that looking at trends in attainment gaps is, problematic even at national level.

The author states:

‘……Having reduced each year from 2015 to 2017, the Progress 8 Pupil Premium gap increased by 0.12 from 2017 to 2018. This represents a difference of 1.2 points in overall Attainment 8 i.e. equivalent to just over one grade lower in one subject. This might seem relatively small, but in the context of Progress 8 scores it represents a substantial change in the overall Pupil Premium gap.

Gaps also increased for individual components within Attainment 8 – particularly for EBacc/other subjects and for English. Why has this happened?

It is surprising to see a widening of the gap in English and mathematics from 2017 to 2018 given that the examinations have remained the same. Perhaps, as they have started to become used to a new examinations, schools have found it harder to increase attainment for Pupil Premium pupils.

Assuming that gaps in entry for EBacc/other subjects have, at the very least, remained the same in 2018, then the widening of the gap suggests that, relative to other pupils, Pupil Premium pupils have found the new reformed GCSEs to be more difficult.

When national data is available we will be able to undertake a more detailed analysis to see if these trends and conclusions hold firm.

It is, for a variety of reasons, much more problematic at school level where a better approach would be to analyse the attainment and progress of Pupil Premium pupils relative to other pupils nationally within each year and then to aggregate data over three years. We are currently working on just such a report’.

International -Wales

Welsh government -Education and Skills

Actions to boost employability in Wales highlighted in progress report, 17th September

A new progress report has been published on the government’s Employability Plan- it outlines progress including: the launch of the £12m Communities for Work Plus programme, which has already helped 400 people into work; a new £10 million Skills Development Fund to boost regional skills provision and target skills gaps; and a £2 million initiative to trial an Individualised Placement Support approach for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues.

The first progress report showcases key achievements so far, highlights ongoing work and sets out developments planned for the future.

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgansaid:

“Our Employability Plan recognises that different people experience different barriers which prevent them entering work. For people with additional learning needs or disabilities, schemes like Project Search which give them the opportunity to show what they can do, maybe with some support to begin with, are vital……’

Consortia: GwE

Grant funding available for the arts, 18th September

The Arts Council of Wales manages the ‘Go and See’ grant fund which provides grants of up to £1000 to any school in Wales, offering the opportunity for their learners to experience the arts.

This is also the last opportunity for schools to apply for the ‘Wales Remembers’ fund, which assists schools in attending arts events associated with the First World War, or in bringing someone in to present a commemorative activity within the classroom.

This also makes up to £1000 available, however schools are only able to claim this grant once, and this fund closes for applications at the end of November 2018.

For more information and details of how to apply for both grants, click here.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

School inspection update: academic year 2018 to 2019, 20th September

In the first edition of the 2018 to 2019 academic year, Ofsted focuses on the reformed 9 to 1 GSCEs. It also provides an update on floor standards and coasting schools, guidance on off-rolling in schools, clarification on conducting inspections in schools that are part of multi-academy trusts, guidance on in-school cadet units, and information on Ofsted’s new inspection reports website.