24th August 2018

Department for Education

GCSE pupils gaining knowledge and skills for future success, 23rd August

Figures show there were more than five million entries in GCSEs in England this year, up 0.9% on last year, despite a decrease in the number of 16 year olds in the population, with around 90% of entries being in our new, gold standard reformed qualifications.


  • London remains the strongest performing region, while almost all other regions have seen improved performance on last year – with the South West seeing the biggest improvement at grades 4/C and above; and

  • Girls outperformed boys at the top grade 9 – Ofqual figures show 732 pupils who sat seven or more reformed GCSEs have managed to get straight 9s across those subjects - 68% of this group were female and 32% male. This year 2,025 candidates achieved all grade 9s in English language, English literature and maths compared to 2,050 last year.

Residential special schools and colleges: support for children, 21st August (updated). First published Nov 2017.

This has been republished with the Damien Hind- Secretary of State- response letter to Dame Christine Lenehan.

Th Secretary of State- Damien Hinds- thanked Dame Christine Lemehan for her recommendations and outlined those already taken forward and how others will be taken forward. His emphasis, reflecting her report (Nov 2017)- Good Intentions, good enough?Responded to the recommendations made in the report. His emphasis was also on the importance of mainstream schools in educating children and young people with SEN (D), particularly those with EHC Plans, where teachers and staff are given the right support and training.

He is also asking Ofsted how schools can be rewarded for their ‘often excellent’ work with children who need extra help.

Damien Hinds went on to state that he is looking closely at how the various departments- education, health, social care and NHS England can work more closely together.

He finished by highlighting what the Department has already carried out this year to improve SEND provision and its ongoing commitment to SEND reform.

Opportunity areas grant: S31 grant determination and letters, additional funding for local authorities to improve social mobility for children and young people in deprived areas, 23rd August.

Updated to addAugust 2018 grant determination letter.

These letters sent to local authorities:

  • Set out the payments made to date, in the financial year 2018 to 2019 and proposals for further payments across the remainder of the year

  • Set out the payments made in 2017 to 2018

  • Include supporting guidance outlining how we intend local authorities to use the funding

The opportunity areas programme aims to improve social mobility outcomes for children and young people in 12 deprived areas in England.

Admissions appeals in England: academic year 2017 to 2018, 23rd August

The release reports on appeals relating to admissions at the start of the 2017 to 2018 academic year. It is based on appeals submitted with the appropriate admissions authority by 1 September 2017.

The publication includes, by school phase:

  • The number and percentage of appeals submitted

  • The number which are heard by an appeals panel.

Of those heard, the number and percentage which are found in the parent’s favour (upheld) is also given.

This release focuses on the number of appeals which actually reach the stage of being heard by the appropriate authority. In 2017-18 this was 44,520, or 3.0% of new admissions, compared to 44,626 (2.9%) in 2016-17. Overall the number of appeals which were successful was 9,715 - a success rate of 21.8% of those appeals which were heard by an appeals panel. This is unchanged from the number and percentage successful last year.

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2018, 23rd August- republished with the following update:

Removed unrelated extra material from table 7c in attachment 'Schools pupils and their characteristics 2018 - LA tables'.

Also see underlying data

Core maths qualifications: technical guidance, 23rd August- first published 7thJuly 2018- republished with the following:

Updated document to use the new GCSE grading system, and to remove Ofqual's main involvement in the assessment of new core maths qualifications.

Department for Education- FE

SEND complaints: guide for young people aged 16 to 25 in education, 22nd August

The guide is for young people aged 16 to 25 if they are not happy unhappy with the help they are getting for their special educational needs or disability at school or college and need to know who to talk to.

It is also useful for individuals or organisations supporting young people.

This guide has been jointly developed by the Department for Education and Mott MacDonald, with help from young people with a learning disability and organisations that support them.

Barriers to learning for disadvantaged adults, Pennachia et al., 22nd August 

This qualitative study provides insight into the range of barriers to learning that adults face, as well as their motivations and triggers for learning.

It also presents adults’ recommendations on how to encourage others to take up learning.

It’s based on in-depth interviews with both learners and non-learners.

Recommendations are made in the report

Some of the key findings show that:

  • Being motivated to learn, and learning being made easy or easier, is not always sufficient for learning to happen
  • Participant portraits show that learning is often triggered at the intersection between larger shifts – life changing and traumatic events such as a bereavement – and smaller, pragmatic, situational experiences such as the discovery of an affordable course. ‘Trigger’ refers to the tipping of the balance where motivations for learning outweigh any barriers that are faced. Learning is triggered at the point in time when it becomes apparent, sufficiently accessible and worth it 
  • Participants suggested a range of avenues for supporting more adults to learn. These included overcoming practical barriers such as cost and childcare, and strongly and inclusively conveying the value of learning. Participants advocated awareness raising campaigns which highlight that learning is for everyone. They also advocated making information available on the internet but also in public forums so that people encounter it as they go about their everyday life.

Adult education survey 2016, 22nd August

This report presents the results from the 2016 Adult Education Survey (AES), previously called the National Adult Learning Survey (NALS). It is a repeat survey and collects information on:

  • Participation in formal, informal and non-formal learning

  • Perceived barriers and incentives to learning

  • Access to learning opportunities.

The survey sampled adults in England, aged 19 and over, who were not in continuous full-time education, or who had returned to full-time education following a break of more than 2 years.

The survey sampled individuals in England aged 19 and over who were not in continuous full-time education or who had returned to full-time education following a break of more than two years. In total, 8,822 Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) were conducted, achieving an overall response rate of 52%.

Individuals aged 19 to 24 were most likely to engage in any learning in the last 12 months (89%) compared to all other age groups, however this was not significantly higher than the 25 to 34 age group (84%). The oldest age band (65 and over) had the lowest proportion of respondents participating in any learning, with 70%.

Formal/non-formal learning

The results showed that one-in-ten (10%) respondents had participated in formal learning and four-in-ten respondents (42%) had participated in non-formal learning or training in the last 12 months. Of the respondents who undertook formal learning, the majority (97%) worked towards or completed a qualification, while 8% undertook a formal apprenticeship. Degree level qualifications (including foundation degrees and PGCEs) accounted for almost a third (31%) of the formal qualifications undertaken, followed by NVQ/SVQ (11%).

Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG)

Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents had looked for information about learning in the last 12 months. Younger respondents aged 19 to 24 (36%) were more likely than those aged 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and 65 and over to seek out information.

Barriers and Incentives

Two barriers stood out as being particularly important to respondents: ‘I don’t have the time or training takes too long’ which was selected by over half (54%) of respondents, and ‘the cost/too expensive’ which was selected by 42% of respondents.

Adult participation in learning survey 2017, 22nd August

This report presents detailed findings from a survey of over 5,000 adults who participate in learning. It explores:

  • Their motivations

  • What and where they learn

  • Their investment in learning

  • The benefits they experience.

It also includes findings on barriers to learning faced by adult learners and non-learners, and factors that could encourage adults to take up learning.

Some findings show that:  

Participation in learning is lower among adults who have higher levels of disadvantage in employment and those who live in areas that have the highest levels of multiple deprivation.

Adults’ attitudes towards post-16 provision- All respondents were asked to indicate how likely they would be to: do an apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship; go to college to do a vocational qualification; and/or go to university to do a degree. The results indicate that adults would be most likely to go to college to do a vocational qualification, followed by university and then do an apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship.


Annual teachers survey 2018: teachers awareness and perceptions of Ofsted, 20th August

The aims of the annual survey are to:

  • Explore teacher perceptions of Ofsted
  • Help improve the way Ofsted communicates with teachers
  • Measure understanding of Ofsted's myth busting campaign.

Data was collected via a survey in March 2018.The total number of respondents was 1,002 teachers; 360 teachers working in a primary school, and 642 teachers from a secondary school.

Some key findings show:

  • Personal experience remains key in shaping perceptions of Ofsted, but the organisation’s reputation is also important, with secondary school teachers reporting an increase in the importance of reputation since 2017
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of teachers who agree that Ofsted acts as a reliable and trusted arbiter. As length of service for teachers increases, agreement with this decreases.
  • Overall, over half of teachers believe Ofsted inspecting their school will mean a huge amount of unnecessary extra work
  • In 2018 there has been a small increase in the proportion of teachers that found the experience of being inspected better than they expected it to be
  • Seven out of 10 teachers feel they had no or little opportunity to feed their views and contribute to the whole experience of their school being inspected
  • Six out of 10 (62%) teachers whose school has been inspected by Ofsted feel the final judgement reached by the inspection team was a fair and accurate assessment, an increase since 2017
  • Two thirds (66%) of teachers have heard of off-rolling and a fifth (21%) have seen it happen
  • Since the 2017 survey there has been a fall in the proportion of teachers who are aware that Ofsted publishes research and analysis of relevance to the wider education sector.


The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management programme in primary school children: results of the STARS cluster randomised controlled trial, Ford et al., July 2018: Psychological Medicine (Open access article).

This report is an evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) programme. The programmeaims to improve teachers’ classroom management skills and build strong relationships with pupils and their parents. Teachers are trained to ignore low-level bad behaviour and instead develop effective behaviour plans that encourage and promote emotional regulation skills.

Method: The study employed a cluster randomised controlled trial with three cohorts of schools (clusters) in the SW of England, between 2012 and 2014, randomising them to TCM (intervention) or Teaching As Usual (TAU-control). Children who participated in the trial were in Key Stage 1 and Years 3 and 4 at Key Stage 2. TCM was delivered to teachers in six whole-day sessions, spread over 6 months. Schools and teachers were not masked to allocation. The primary outcome was teacher-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) Total Difficulties score.

Results: Eighty schools (2075 children) were enrolled; 40 (1037 children) to TCM and 40 (1038 children) to TAU. Outcome data were collected at 9, 18, and 30-months for 96, 89, and 85% of children, respectively.

The intervention reduced the SDQ-Total Difficulties score at 9 months (mean (S.D.):5.5 (5.4) in TCM v. 6.2 (6.2) in TAU; adjusted mean difference = −1.0; 95% CI−1.9 to −0.1; p = 0.03) but this did not persist at 18 or 30 months. Cost-effectiveness analysis suggested was inconclusive.

Subgroup analyses suggested TCM is more effective for children with poor mental health.

Conclusions: TCM provided a small, short-term improvement to children’s mental health particularly for children who are already struggling.

Effect of Preschool Home Visiting on School Readiness and Need for Services in Elementary School-A Randomized Clinical Trial, Bierman et al., JAMA Pediatrics, August 2018, USA

Aims: The researchers explored the sustained effects of a preschool home visiting programme on child and family competencies and on child need for services 4 years later in 3 Pennsylvania counties serving rural and urban areas.

Design, Setting, and Participants: In a randomized clinical trial, individual families with preschool children were assigned to receive the Research-Based and Developmentally Informed–Parent home visiting program (REDI-P) (intervention group) or maths home learning games in the mail (control group). Follow-up assessments occurred in third grade. Families were recruited from 24 Head Start centers. Four-year-old children from 200 low-income families participated. Families were recruited in autumn 2008 and fall 2009. The follow-up data used were collected in spring 2013 and spring 2014. The analyses were conducted in 2016 to 2017.

Interventions: REDI-P visits followed a well-specified curriculum, with 10 home visits during preschool and 6 booster visits in kindergarten. Parents received coaching to enhance parent-child relationships and home learning materials to support child development and school readiness.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Intervention focused on boosting competencies in academic performance and social-emotional adjustment and reducing child problems at home. Direct assessments, teacher ratings, and parent reports were collected. In addition, third-grade teachers recorded all services that children needed and received at school.

Results: Two hundred participating children had a mean age of 4.45 years at the start of the intervention. Third-grade outcomes were available for 153 (76.5%) of the initial sample and revealed statistically significant effects on multiple measures in each competency domain. In addition, REDI-P reduced child need for educational and mental health services at school.

Conclusions and Relevance: REDI-P produced sustained benefits evident 4 years after intervention, significantly reducing child need for school services. The results of this study appear to validate the value of preschool home visiting as a strategy to help close the gap in school readiness and child well-being associated with socio economic disadvantage.

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis, Egert et al., Review of Educational Research, first published Jan 2018

This review summarizes findings from (quasi)-experimental studies that evaluated in-service training effects for Early Childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals on external quality ratings and child development.

The aggregation of findings at teacher level (including 36 studies with 2,891 teachers) revealed a medium in-service training effect on process quality. Furthermore, a subset of nine studies (including 486 teachers and 4,504 children) that provided data on both quality ratings and child development were analyzed, and they showed a small effect at child level and a medium effect at the corresponding classroom level.

The results show that quality improvement is a key mechanism to accelerate the development of young children.

An initial assessment of the 2-year-old free childcare entitlement: drivers of take-up and impact on early years outcomes, Teager and McBride, 23rdAugust 2018: Early Intervention Foundation

Government funding of early years education and childcare support, which is projected to reach around £6 billion a year by 2019/20, is one of the biggest single investments in early intervention that the current government makes. Five years on from the start of this policy, this analysis looks at the impact of the first years of the policy.

The expansion of government-funded childcare to disadvantaged 2-year-olds was specifically targeted at reducing the early years attainment gap and is intended to better prepare disadvantaged children for the start of formal schooling. This report also looks at the early signs of impact that the introduction of the 2-year-old entitlement has had.

The report looks at what explains local variation in take-up of childcare and the impact of take-up on the government’s main measures of pupil progress in the early years.

Findings on take-up

  • Take-up of the 2-year-old offer among FSM children increased significantly over the first two years following introduction, but there remains considerable variation, with take-up particularly low in major metropolitan areas

  • Although the cultural and linguistic characteristics of families in these areas appear to play a role in explaining low take-up, these do not fully explain the difference. Among White British pupils in London, take-up remains comparatively low

  • Access to places and differences in the type of providers offering funded places to 2-year-olds also appears to be an important factor, potentially limiting take-up. 

Findings on early years educational outcomes

  • The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is an insensitive measure to use in assessing the effectiveness of a policy such as this, making it challenging to detect any impact the offer may be having. In particular, changes to the assessment since 2011/12 mean that nearly 30% of FSM children now receive the same overall attainment score. Nevertheless, it is the government’s national measure of child progress in the early years

  • Over the past five years, the performance of FSM children at the end of Reception has been improving and the gap with non-FSM children has closed by a small amount. If the gap were to continue to close at the same rate it has over the past five years, it would be over 40 years before the same proportion of FSM pupils achieved a good level of development as non-FSM pupils

  • The rate at which the gap closed did not accelerate notably in 2015/16 and 2016/17, the first years in which the effects from the 2-year-old offer would be seen. At a national level, there is little evidence to suggest the introduction of the 2-year-old entitlement has been associated with a substantial increase in the early years educational outcomes of FSM children.

Testing the impact more formally, the researchers found mixed evidence of positive effects from the expansion of provision of childcare for 2-year-olds on FSM pupils’ EYFSP results:

  • In the first year no relationship was found between the number of months of entitlement children had for the expanded offer and pupil-level differences in attainment
  • When looking at changes in attainment at the local authority level, a small positive relationship between increases in take-up over the first two years of the entitlement and increases in attainment of FSM children was found.

International -Wales

Welsh government- Education and Skills

GCSE pupils congratulated by Kirsty Williams, 23rd August

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has congratulated pupils across Wales as this year's results show the proportion being awarded top grades at A*-A has increased from 17.9% last year to 18.5% this year.

Kirsty Williams said:

“…Today marks a culture change for Science in Wales. Entries are up by 50%, with more pupils gaining A*-C and more achieving the very top grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This shows the importance that both we and schools attach to this subject and I am confident that together we will continue to go from strength to strength, as we saw with last week's A Level results.”


EEF Blog: A significant issue - how do we know when results are reliable?, 22nd August

In this blog, Danielle Mason, head of research at the EEF, explores the challenge of answering the question the EEF are often asked about their trials, “how reliable is this result?”; she gives their current thinking on the issue of 'statistical significance'. This is summarised in the following bullet points:

Otherwise, I hope this bullet point summary is as accessible and easy-to-understand as the EEF always aims to be!

  • Randomised Controlled Trials are a rigorous way to test whether an education intervention can improve attainment but even the result of a Randomised Controlled Trial is always an estimate: there will always be uncertainty around the precise size of the educational impact

  • We ask all of our independent evaluators to take account of this uncertainty in their reports. Some do this by considering ‘statistical significance’, and in some cases they use this to assess whether the intervention had an impact. The EEF publishes ‘statistical significance’ tests if the evaluator provides them

  • The EEF does not use ‘statistical significance’ tests alone to assess whether an intervention had an impact

  • The EEF’s ‘padlock’ security rating is designed to provide a user-friendly way to think about the overall security of the result from each EEF trial, using a scale from zero to five

  • Along with many others in the research sector, we are continuing to think about the best way to present uncertainty, and the role that statistical significance should play in this, if any. 

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Residential special schools and colleges: support for children, 21st August (updated). First published Nov 2017.

Damien Hinds emphasises the importance of mainstream schools in educating children and young people with SEN (D), particularly those with EHC Plans, where teachers and staff are given the right support and training.

Achievement for All supports an inclusive approach to the education of children and young people with SEN (D), providing training and support for teachers and staff, better enabling them to get the best possible outcomes for all pupils.