23rd March 2018

Department for Education

Funding boost to give more children healthy start to the day, 19th March: News

The boost to breakfast provision will be funded through the soft drinks industry levy and will benefit over 1,770 schools across the country. This investment will be targeted at the most disadvantaged areas of the country – including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas – to help make sure every child gets the best start in life.

Family Action, in partnership with Magic Breakfast, have both been named as the charities that will run the clubs.

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds visits engineering academy and outstanding special school in the East Midlands, 23rd March

On his visit to the special school, he said:

The Secretary of State added:

‘I’ve really been inspired by my visit to Rosehill School and the way the teachers work with the children to provide an excellent education with the deepest understanding of their additional needs. The happiness of the parents I met was a real testament to the quality of the education the hard-working teachers and staff provide.

It’s a mark of a strong society how we treat children who are most in need of our support. Every child, no matter what challenges they face, should have access to a world-class education that prepares them for life in the modern world’.

Nick Gibb welcomes teachers to international conference, 23rd March: speech

School Standards Minister addresses teachers from across the world at the International Conference for the Teaching Profession.

Speaking at the Lisbon conference, Nick Gibb outlined what England had done in the context of their commitment last year -to promote greater equity through commitments to ensure that:

  • Every pupil has the opportunity to achieve their potential, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds;

  • We raise the status of the teaching profession; and

  • Teaching is firmly grounded in high quality research.

This included the introduction of the EBacc, the expansion of academies and free schools, curriculum reform and evidence based practice.

Nick Gibb opened the conference. He said of England:

‘We are striving for a world-class education for every pupil, whatever their background. Thanks to the hard work of teachers and our reforms, academic standards are rising in this country, with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

We must further raise our game to ensure our education system is fit for the future. By bringing together governments, teaching unions and experts, this summit provides the opportunity to share examples of excellent teaching and best practice from around the world and to celebrate our teachers’ achievements…..’

National pupil database: user guide and supporting information, 20th March 2018

This has been updated to include the addition of 'NPD data tables' and 'NPD data sources by year' up to March 2018.

School performance: key stage 4 similar schools, 20th March

How to use school performance tables to see how a school is performing at key stage 4 compared to a school with a similar intake of pupils.

This has been updated with 2017 data.

Small-scale research projects: summary

Much of the analysis undertaken through the Associate Pool (DfE) is too small-scale to be published on its own, and this report summarises these smaller pieces of analysis. More substantial work is published in stand-alone reports throughout the year. See page 11 for details and links to projects already published. A relevant one -Teaching Leadership and Governance in FE.

Published small scale projects include: teacher supply, transferable skills mapping, Skills Literature reviews for Technical Education Rates.

Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme grant, 22nd March

How much funding local authorities are getting for the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.This has been updated to include a Section 31 determination letter for March 2018.

DfE monthly workforce management information: 2017 to 2018: Staff numbers and costs for the Department for Education (DfE) group for the financial year 2017 to 2018.


Pupil absence in schools in England: 2016 to 2017, 22nd March

  • The overall absence rate has increased from 4.6 per cent in 2015/16 to 4.7 per cent in 2016/17.

  • The authorised absence rate stayed the same at 3.4 per cent and the unauthorised absence rate increased from 1.1 per cent in 2015/16 to 1.3 per cent in 2016/17.

  • The rise in unauthorised absence rates is due to higher rates of unauthorised holidays

  • The percentage of enrolments in state-funded primary, state-funded secondary and special schools that were classified as persistent absentees in 2016/17 was 10.8 per cent, an increase from 10.5 per cent in 2015/16.

  • Persistent absence rates are highest in special schools. 

Parental responsibility measures: 2016 to 2017 academic year, 22nd March

Information on parental responsibility measures for attendance used by schools and local authorities to improve poor attendance in schools.

The number of penalty notices have decreased by 5.4 per cent in the latest year, from 157,879 in 2015/16, to 149,321 in 2016/17. The number of penalty notices issued has followed a general upward trend from 2009/10 up until 2015/16, rising steeply between 2012/13 and 2014/15. Regulations amended in September 2013 state that term time leave may only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and may relate to the sharper increase in penalty notices issued. The most common reason for a penalty notice being issued was unauthorised family holiday absence

Parental responsibility measures statistics: guide

The guide sets out what the parental responsibility measures statistics are and how DfE collects the data.


Eligibility for free school meals and the early years pupil premium under Universal Credit: outcome, 21st March

Key findings

Free schools meals and EY pupil premium

The majority of those who replied through the consultation website (56% of 560) agreed with the proposed net earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum.

Taking this forward the government will introduce an annual net earnings threshold of £7,4004, which will typically equate to an overall household income of between £18,000 and £24,000 once benefits income is taken into account, depending on individual circumstances.

The free early education entitlement for two-year-olds

Overall, 80% of respondents agreed with the proposed threshold. Eighteen percent of respondents disagreed with the threshold, citing various reasons, including that the threshold should be higher or that the two-year-old entitlement should be universal.

Taking this forward the government will We will introduce an annual net earnings threshold of £15,4006, which will typically equate to an income of between £24,000 and £32,000 once benefits income is taken into account, depending on individual circumstances. Under this new threshold, the government estimates that by 2023 around 7,000 more children will benefit from the two-year-old entitlement compared to the previous benefits system.

See also Free School Meals: guidance for schools and local authorities, 22nd March

Updated model forms that schools can use to determine which children are eligible for free school meals and the pupil premium.

Key points

The Education Act 1996 requires maintained schools and academies (including free schools) to provide free school meals to disadvantaged pupils who are aged between 5 and 16 years old.

In April 2018, the criteria used to determine which pupils are eligible for free school meals will be updated to reflect the introduction of Universal Credit and the phasing out of other income-based benefits. The updated criteria are being introduced following a public consultation, and the full list of qualifying benefits for free school meals eligibility is provided on page 5. Under the updated criteria, it is estimated that by 2022 around 50,000 more pupils will benefit from a free school meal compared to the previous benefits system.

The government have also taken steps to protect free school meals for those families that would otherwise lose eligibility following this criteria change. These protection arrangements are described on page 10.

Department for Education- Early Years

Early education and childcare: Statutory guidance for local authorities on the provision of early education and childcare, 21st March

Republished to replace 'Early education and childcare: valid from 1 September 2017' with an updated version.

EYFS staff:child ratios - DfE approved qualifications, 22nd March

This has been republished to include updated spreadsheets to meet new titling requirements from Ofqual.

Department for Education- Further Education

Funding for personal adviser support for care leavers to age 25, 21st March

A section 31 grant determination letter showing the amount of new burdens funding allocated to each local authority for 2018 to 2019.

2020 performance tables: technical and vocational qualifications, 20th March

Technical and vocational qualifications for teaching from September 2018 and reporting in 2020.

This provides an updated list of qualifications for reporting in the 2020 performance tables in the following categories:

  • Technical awards

  • Technical certificates

  • Tech levels

  • Applied general qualifications

Technical awards are practical qualifications for students aged 14 to 16. Technical certificates, tech levels, and applied general qualifications are for students aged 16 to 19.

Further updates to the list are anticipated during the summer.

National achievement rates tables 2016 to 2017, 22nd March 2018

Apprenticeship, education and training annual national achievement rate tables (NARTs), including open data CSVs.

The NARTs are summary indicators of performance in apprenticeships and education and training. Individual providers use the data to benchmark their own targets and actual performance.

Key findings

  • Overall achievement rates within the 19+ Education and Training cohort have increased from 86.0 per cent in 2015/16 to 86.9 per cent in 2016/17. Compared with 2014/15 they are up by 0.5 per cent. Rates have increased at all levels since 2015/16 except for at level 3 which has decreased.

  • Overall the apprenticeship achievement rate has increased by one percentage point compared to last year. Caution should be used interpreting simple averages because changes in provision mix across sectors will lead to changes in the high-level averages. Therefore National Achievement Rate Tables should be looked at in detail to fully understand performance in the sector.

FE Commissioner intervention report: Cadbury Sixth Form College


Maintained schools and academies inspections and outcomes as at 31 December 2017, 22nd March

Overall the picture has remained broadly consistent. The proportion of outstanding schools has increased very slightly, to 22%, although the proportion of schools judged to be good has decreased from 68% to 67%. There has been gradual improvement in inspection outcomes over a number of years.

Ofsted Parents Panel, 19th March 2018

The panel lets parents of children who are school-aged or younger give their views and shape how Ofsted works. You can find out how to join and read the annual report. Parents have commented over the following areas: Review of the curriculum, KS 2 curriculum, extra-curricular activities, EY reports, homework, maths and English, Ofsted email alerts, private tutoring, short inspections of good schools, teaching, learning , assessment graded judgement and webinar topics.

Local area SEND inspection outcome letters, 23rd March Sutton report published.

In the context of schools, areas for improvement include:

Leaders lack sufficient knowledge of the relative performance of pupils who have different primary needs or who face different circumstances. They recognise that more needs to be done to bring together information so that leaders have a deeper analysis of variations in outcomes between groups.

Outcomes in EHC plans issued by the local area are often not clearly defined and are not sufficiently aspirational. This is particularly the case for young people over 16. Offers of support from colleges to help improve this are not being used effectively.

Too many children and young people who have SEN and/or disabilities have been excluded, especially at primary school, over time. Leaders have taken recent action to improve the transition of pupils at risk of exclusion to secondary school, with early signs of success. They rightly see this as an ongoing priority.

Some providers say that the expertise in supporting children and young people with behavioural, social and emotional needs is limited. This is having a negative impact on outcomes for these pupils. Some parents agree with this and it links to concerns about the risk of exclusion for this group of pupils. 

Amanda Spielman speech to Annual Apprenticeships Conference, 23rd March

Ofsted's Chief Inspector discusses the quality of apprenticeships, changes in the sector and Ofsted's role at the Annual Apprenticeship Conference in Birmingham.

Children's homes: inspection documents

Added revised versions of Annex A for inspections from April 2018.

Using Ofsted’s inspection data summary report (IDSR): 16 to 19, 19th March

Information for inspectors and stakeholders on using the 16 to 19 inspection data summary report or IDSR.


Sanchez et al., The Effectiveness of School-Based Mental Health Services for Elementary-Aged Children: A Meta-Analysis, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

The study examined the overall effectiveness of school-based mental health services, as well as the relative effectiveness of various school-based intervention models that differed according to treatment target, format and intensity. The findings are based on a meta-analysis of 43 controlled trials involving almost 50,000 primary school children.

Overall, school-based services had a small to medium effect (effect size = +0.39) in reducing mental health problems. Interventions that targeted child behaviour problems demonstrated the largest effect sizes (+0.76). Interventions that were implemented multiple times per week were found to be more than twice as effective as those that were only implemented on a weekly (or less) basis.

Hurwitz, Getting a Read on Ready To Learn Media: A Metaanalytic Review of Effects on Literacy: Child Development

The Department of Education's Ready To Learn (RTL) initiative was established to promote school readiness among children ages 2–8. Synthesizing data from 45 evaluations (= 24,624 unique child participants), this meta‐analysis examined the effects of RTL media exposure on young children's literacy skills. Results indicate positive effects of RTL media exposure on children's literacy outcomes, especially vocabulary and phonological concepts. These effects are equivalent to about one‐and‐a‐half months of literacy learning above and beyond typical growth. Findings are robust across a variety of research designs and for exposure to both television and new media.

Mazenod et al.,Grouping students into ability-based sets holds back less able pupils, 23rd March: UCL, IOE

Researchers used questionnaire data generated from almost 600 Maths and English teachers based in 82 UK secondary schools, alongside interviews with teachers, to understand how grouping students into sets influenced the independence of lower attaining students. 

They found that 70% of studied teachers modified their teaching methods to match students’ prior attainment. Students in lower sets typically faced a reduced curriculum based on more structural, repetitive tasks, and more one-to-one time with teachers. Teachers of these pupils were often reluctant to risk overstretching them by teaching overly complex content.  

Findings showed that teachers’ expectations of pupils in lower sets, which are based on their prior academic record and closely tied to the belief that their behaviour will be more challenging, could instil a damaging ‘culture of dependency’ on teachers among these groups. 

EEF publishes new review of evidence on Maths teaching, 23rd March

Using calculators in maths lessons can boost pupils’ calculation and problem-solving skills, but they need to be used in a thoughtful and considered way, according to this review of the evidence.

The age of pupils matters too, the research finds. Primary school pupils should use calculators regularly but not every day. Secondary school students should have more frequent access to calculators so that they’re able to make decisions about when, and when not, to use them.

The report has clear implications for teachers: they need to teach pupils how to use calculators. For example, pupils might be taught strategies for estimating tricky calculations that they would then use a calculator to work out accurately.

See also Calculators can help boost children’s maths skills, research suggests

23 March 2018

Hillary, J., Andrade, J. and Worth, J. (2018). Teacher Retention and Turnover Research. Research Update 4: How do teachers compare to nurses and police officers? Slough: NFER.

Key Findings:

Teachers work as many hours as police officers each year, but in fewer weeks. Teachers work the longest hours at 50 hours per week during term time, followed by police officers (44) and nurses (39). Even after taking account of school holidays, full-time teachers still work the equivalent of 45 hours per week.

Teachers’ average hourly pay has decreased most since 2009-10. Each profession has seen a reduction in real-terms earnings between 2009-10 and 2015-16. However, teachers’ average hourly pay (in real terms, after adjusting for inflation) has decreased by 15 per cent since 2009/10. Over the same period, average hourly pay has fallen by 4 and 11 per cent for nurses and police officers.

Teachers are satisfied with their jobs and income, but not with their leisure time. Nearly four in five teachers say they are satisfied with their jobs and income levels, which is mostly higher than the other professions. However, only 47 per cent of teachers say they are satisfied with their leisure time, the lowest of the three professions.


Valuing our Teachers and Raising their Status

How Communities Can Help: OECD 

This report shows how education systems can support teachers to meet the new demands and encourage a paradigm shift on what teaching and learning are about and how they should happen. Education systems need to create the conditions that encourage and enable innovation. They need to promote best practice through policies focused on professionalism, efficacy and effectiveness in order to help build teachers’ capacity for adopting new pedagogies. Due attention should also be paid to teachers’ sense of well-being so that classroom learning environments remain conducive to students’ own well-being and development.

International -Wales

Supporting more bale and talented pupils: How best to challenge and nurture more able and talented pupils: Key Stages 2 to 4, 22nd March: Estyn.

Estyn’s report, ‘Supporting more able and talented pupils’ outlines how highly-effective teaching, strong external partnerships and opportunities for pupils to learn independently are enabling schools to stretch their more able and talented pupils successfully.

The report highlights Ysgol y Preseli which used guidance from the National Association for Able Children in Education to develop a consistent, school-wide approach to meeting the needs of its more able and talented pupils. The creation of a pupil mentoring programme for more able pupils in key stage 3 supports them to develop their social and academic skills . This approach has had a strong impact on pupil outcomes since its introduction in 2013.

In addition to identifying effective and innovative practice, the report also outlines the role that local authorities and regional consortia can play in providing suitable training and guidance to enable schools to meet the needs of more able and talented pupils.

EWC submission to the independent review of school teachers’ pay and conditions in Wales, 19th March

New employability plan aims to tackle unemployment and economic inactivity, 20th March 2018

The plan aims to address unemployment as well as setting out a long term vision to ensure workers of the future have the skills businesses will need.Launched by Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan the plan sets out how the Welsh Government will support those furthest from the labour market, the economically inactive and those at risk of redundancy, into work. It brings together and builds on several existing programmes such as Communities for Work, PaCE, Jobs Growth Wales, ReAct, Better Jobs Closer to Home and Lift to help people build the skills and confidence to find and stay in work and to ensure employers can find the skills they require for their businesses to flourish.

School business managers playing vital role in reducing headteachers’ workload - Kirsty Williams, 22nd March

Speaking at the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) conference in Cardiff’s City Hall, the Education Secretary said:

‘……last year, I announced funding of £642,000 for the School Business Manager project.

“Coupled with match-funding from Local Authorities this means that over £1.2m is available for pilots in 11 areas.
“The aim of the project is to help headteachers manage their workload and focus on raising standards and school improvement.

“The pilots are currently supporting over 100 schools with dedicated support for headteachers and teachers.”

“We are already seeing encouraging results with business managers freeing up headteachers’ time by working on areas such as HR, Finance, Audit, Facilities Management and Procurement issues.”


Parental relationships: how we weather family life, or not, Honor Rhodes, Director of Strategy at Tavistock Relationships and trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation, 22nd March

This short article considers EIF’s work on the impact of parental conflict on children, which has highlighted the links between key moments of stress in family life and levels of relationship conflict, and the negative impact, in turn, on children who experience, frequent, intense and poorly resolved – harmful – conflict between their parents. Understanding when and how these stressful moments arise, and how relationship quality works to withstand these stressors, is therefore an important part of support to minimise the impact of parental conflict on children.

The author concludes that ‘because we can improve most relationships – not just the ones that are damaged by domestic violence or abuse, but also the vast majority that are not as strong and resilient as they could be, that might start to unravel when the next strain is placed on them, at the next tricky transition point perhaps.

We do not need to be therapists or counsellors to have a ‘couple thought’, to ask a question about relationship quality, to offer effective, evidence-based interventions that reduce conflict and improve communication. Most people feel confident intervening in a parent’s relationship with their child; we know that this matters, because we know improved parenting improves children’s outcomes. But now we also know that parental relationship quality improves children’s outcomes, improves mental and physical health for all, makes life less precarious and parental couples more resilient.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Mazenod et al.,Grouping students into ability-based sets holds back less able pupils, 23rd March: UCL, IOE

The findings of this research, which showed that teachers’ expectations of pupils in lower sets, which are based on their prior academic record and closely tied to the belief that their behaviour will be more challenging, could instil a damaging ‘culture of dependency’ on teachers among these groups. This does not happen in schools working with Achievement for All, where there is a strong focus on school culture in the context of children’s aspirations, access and achievement.