25th May 2018

Department for Education

New standards to support pupils to reach their potential, 24th May: News Story

Currently, a small number of pupils are unable to work to the standard of the national curriculum, with many of these pupils having special educational needs.

The pre-key stage standards have been developed with teachers and a range of other education experts and will help ensure these pupils are better supported to transition onto the national curriculum, when and if they are ready to do so. It will also give schools the information they need to make sure these children are realising their full potential, giving them the freedom to develop their own curriculum and assessments to meet the needs of their pupils.

The change follows a public consultation last year in response to the recommendations made by the independent Rochford Review which called for these standards to be introduced, replacing the outdated ‘P scales’ attainment targets for pupils with special educational needs.

See: Interim pre-key stage 1 standards

And: Interim pre-key stage 2 standards

New Chair of the Social Mobility Commission recommended, 23rd May: News Story

Dame Martina Milburn has been put forward as the new Chair of the Social Mobility Commission.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

‘Dame Martina has spent her career as a tireless champion for underprivileged children, young people and their families, providing better opportunities for them to fulfil their potential. Her leadership of the Prince’s Trust has improved the education, skills and self-esteem of thousands of young people, and will be key in progressing our social mobility agenda.

'I am grateful to her predecessor Alan Milburn, whose work as Chair of the Commission over five years shone a light on the injustices that still exist too frequently in this country. I look forward to working with Dame Martina as she works with us to eliminate them.'

Government response to the Education Select Committee report into the future of the Social Mobility Commission, 23rd May

The government’s response:

‘In responding to the Education Select Committee’s report into the future of the Social Mobility Commission, we have been clear that there is a consensus between the government and the Committee on the importance of the role of the Commission, on both social mobility and social justice. We look forward to working with the incoming Chair to recruit a high quality Board, allowing the Commission to continue its work on these important issues. We would like to thank the Select Committee for its careful consideration of these issues, and for its report and recommendations.'

Social mobility and opportunity areas, 24thMay (one update)

First published October 2017, now added a link to the North Yorkshire coast website.

The delivery plans for the 12 opportunity areas outline how the government plans to build young people’s knowledge and skills and provide them with the best advice and opportunities.

Prime Minister and Education Secretary host teachers at Number 10, 22nd May: News Story

Around one hundred teachers attended a reception at Downing Street to celebrate teachers' hard work and dedication.

Special educational needs: analysis and summary of data sources, 24th May

Details of data sources, analysis, annual publications on children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) in England.

Department for Education: Consultations

Children in need of help and protection: call for evidence - extended date

The closing date has been extended to 1st July 2018

This call for evidence asks what professionals across education, children’s social care, health and other specialist services are doing to improve the educational outcomes of children in need. We want to hear about the support being offered in and out of school so that these children can achieve their potential.

Department for Education - EY

EYFS staff: child ratios - DfE approved qualifications, 24th May

Republished with updated 'Early years qualifications: from 1 September 2014'

Department for Education - FE

Level 2 and 3 attainment by young people aged 19 in 2017


Attainment of Level 2 English and maths by age 19 fell from 49.8 per cent to 48.8 per cent for young people who were eligible for free school meals (FSM) at academic age 15, and was unchanged for the non-FSM group at 75.2.

This resulted in the gap in attainment of Level 2 English and maths widening by 1.1 ppts The widening gap was driven by an increase in the gap in attainment of Level 2 maths by age 19. Although both the FSM and non-FSM groups saw attainment of Level 2 maths fall, it was more pronounced for the FSM group (-2.0 ppts vs -0.6 ppts for the non-FSM group).


In 2017, 35.8 per cent of young people who were identified to have SEN (special educational needs) at age 15 attained Level 2 English and maths by age 19.

Although this was 0.4 ppts lower than in 2016, there was also a fall in English and maths attainment among young people without SEN (-0.6 ppts to 80.1 per cent) leading to the gap remaining relatively unchanged (-0.1 ppts to 44.3 per cent).

T Levels: ministerial direction, 24th May

Letters requesting and confirming a ministerial direction relating to the implementation of T Levels.

The first letter is from the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education. It requests a ministerial direction on the implementation of T Levels. The reasons for the request are set out in this letter.

The second letter is from the Secretary of State for Education to the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education. It confirms the ministerial direction on T Levels.

Department for Education - Statistics

Statements of SEN and EHC plans: England, 2018

The total number of statements and EHC plans has continued to increase-There were 285,722 children and young people with statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and 34,097 children and young people with statements of special educational needs (SEN) maintained by local authorities as at January 2018. This gives a total of 319,819, an increase of 32,529 (11.3%) from 287,290 as at January 2017. This is driven by large increases in the 16-19 and 20-25 age groups.

There were 42,162 new EHC plans made in the 2017 calendar year…

63.6% of statements in place at January 2017 have since transferred to EHC plans…

The period for local authorities to transfer children and young people with statements to EHC plans began in September 2014 and ended by April 2018.

See also updated Education, health and care plans: parents and young people survey- republished with corrected shading to the map (figure 2.11)

Other Government: National Audit Office

Ofsted’s inspection of schools, National Audit Office

This report focuses on Ofsted’s inspection of schools. Approximately 21,500 state‑funded schools in England are subject to inspection by Ofsted. They educate a total of some eight million pupils. Ofsted spent an estimated £44 million on inspecting state-funded schools in 2017-18. This is equivalent to 0.11% of the total funding for state‑funded schools in the same year.

Report conclusions

The Department for Education (the Department) plays an important part in whether the inspection of schools is value for money. The Department affects Ofsted’s funding, how it uses its resources and what it can inspect. The current inspection model, with some schools exempt from re-inspection, others subject to light-touch inspection and the average time between inspections rising, raises questions about whether there is enough independent assurance about schools’ effectiveness to meet the needs of parents, taxpayers and the Department itself. Although government has protected the overall schools budget, it has reduced Ofsted’s budget every year for over a decade while asking it to do more. We think that government needs to be clearer about how it sees Ofsted’s present and future inspection role in the school system as a whole, and resource it accordingly.

Ofsted provides valuable independent assurance about schools’ effectiveness and as such is a vital part of the school system. It has faced significant challenges in recent years, as its budget has reduced and it has struggled to retain staff and deploy enough contracted inspectors. The ultimate measure of the value for money of Ofsted’s inspection of schools is the impact it has on the quality of education, relative to the cost. Ofsted’s spending on school inspection has fallen significantly but it does not have reliable information on efficiency. It also has limited information on impact. Until Ofsted has better information it will be unable to demonstrate that its inspection of schools represents value for money.

See also: Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, responds to the National Audit Office (NAO) report, 'Ofsted's inspections of schools'.

Amanda Spielman said:

‘...Ofsted is only one lever in the school system, which is why it has proven difficult for the NAO to judge our impact and value for money. As we have made clear to the NAO, judging ourselves against school outcomes would inevitably create perverse incentives. We exist to provide an objective account of the quality of the nation’s schools.

'The NAO’s conclusion that we cannot prove the value for money we represent is explicitly not the same as demonstrating that we do not provide value, particularly considering that the costs of our school inspection work represents just 0.1% of the overall school budget. We are confident we compare well against other school inspectorates internationally, something the NAO did not look at...'


Ofsted research on lesson observation models, 22nd May

In November 2017, Ofsted hosted an international seminar on lesson observation. This paper reports on the observation models presented at the seminar and looks at how they may help Ofsted when developing future inspection frameworks.

The feedback from international delegates was the importance of lesson observation within a whole school context. Details of comments can be found on p.20ff.  Over the coming months Ofsted will look more closely at developing the ‘best’ model for lesson observation

Ofsted inspection guidance

The following documents have been republished with updated information:

Inspecting schools: leaflet for schools Updated to include privacy information under GDPR.

Inspecting schools: guidance for parents - Updated to include privacy information under GDPR and to reflect inspection timescales: schools judged as requires improvement, having serious weaknesses or requiring special measures are re-inspected within 30 months while good schools are inspected approximately every 4 years.

Letter to parents for school inspections Updated to include privacy information under GDPR. 

Short inspections of further education and skills: leaflet for providers Updated to include a privacy notice and to reflect recent changes to the further education and skills handbook about the frequency of inspection for good providers.

Inspecting further education and skills: leaflet for providers Updated to include a privacy notice and to reflect recent changes to the further education and skills handbook about which documents inspectors will look at.

Children's homes: inspection documents Updated Annex A spreadsheet to fix issues with functionality.


Poor mental health is more prevalent among teenage girls from poorer backgrounds, new findings show, 21st May

Findings published by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) show how teenage girls from less well-off families are more likely to experience mental ill-health than their better-off peers. 

The research team analysed the results of a survey of 14-year-old boys and girls who all take part in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) – a study which is run by CLS and which has been following their lives closely since they were born. 

The researchers found that certain factors, such as being overweight, not getting along with peers and being bullied, were associated with high depressive symptoms for boys and girls at age 14. 

Accounting for mental health in childhood, at age 14 girls from homes with lower family income were more likely to report poorer mental health and lower wellbeing than their better-off peers. However, family income did not appear to be a significant factor in predicting boys’ mental health or wellbeing at this age. 

The paper also found that girls who reported enjoying primary school and being engaged in their studies were less likely to have higher depressive symptoms at age 14.

A teacher who knows me: The academic benefits of repeat student-teacher matches, Hill and Jones, Economics of Education Review, Vol.64, June: 1-12

The study, carried out in North Carolina, suggests that when pupils have the same teacher for two years in a row, their performance is likely to be better; the teachers get to know them and adjust teaching more to their needs. The study, using administrative data was carried out with elementary school pupils. In addition, findings suggest that the effects are largest for minorities, with some evidence that gains are most evident for students with generally less effective teachers (as measured by value-added).

Early childhood curiosity and kindergarten reading and math academic achievement, Shah et al., Pediatric Research, April 2018

The researchers from the University of Michigan, USA, tested the hypothesis that greater curiosity would be associated with greater kindergarten academic achievement in reading and maths. They employed a sample of 6200 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort.

Findings showed that greater curiosity was associated with greater kindergarten reading and maths academic achievement. The researchers concluded that curiosity may be an important, yet under-recognized contributor to academic achievement. Fostering curiosity may optimize academic achievement at kindergarten, especially for children with low SES (socioeconomic status).

Empirically Derived Profiles of Teacher Stress, Burnout, Self-Efficacy, and Coping and Associated Student Outcomes, Herman et al., journal of Positive Behaviour Interventions

The researchers explored the effect of teacher stress on student outcomes, including disruptive behaviors and academic achievement. Participants in this study were 121 teachers and 1,817 students in grades kindergarten to fourth from nine elementary schools in an urban Midwestern school district. Findings showed that teachers in the high stress, high burnout, and low coping class were associated with the poorest student outcomes. The researchers conclude that there are strong implications for providing teachers with coping skills and environment resources to improve their well-being and that of their students.

International -Wales

Welsh government: Education and Skills

Kirsty Williams sets five new tests at Wales’s first social mobility summit, 24th May

Speaking in Cardiff at The Open University in Wales’ ‘Bridging the Gap: A Social Mobility Summit’, where she was joined by the former chair of the UK Social Mobility Commission, the Rt Hon Alan Milburn, the Education Secretary outlined ‘tests’ in the following key areas:

1. An increase of at least 10% in the number of students studying at Masters level
2. Doubling the number of students benefiting from the experience of studying or working abroad
3. An expectation that nearly every pupil will be entered for a Science GCSE
4. A 10% increase in Welsh students attending Sutton Trust universities
5. The elimination of the gap between Wales and the rest of the UK at all qualification levels in ten years, and ensure in future as a minimum, we maintain our performance relative to the rest of the UK.

Business are missing out on the skills people like Nath have to offer – Eluned Morgan, 24th May

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan speaking at an audience of Human Resources managers, said:

'There are not enough disabled people in work. Figures released just last week show that the proportion of disabled people who are able to work but who are unemployed in Great Britain is 9.2% - more than twice the proportion of those who are not disabled, which is currently 3.6%.

'Meanwhile, in Wales, just 45% of working-age disabled people are currently in employment, compared to 79% of those who are not disabled. This is not acceptable. It is something I want to see change and I need your help to achieve it.  

'This isn’t a purely altruistic process. If you aren’t employing a wide cross section of society, you’re missing out on the untapped potential of our highly skilled workforce.'

Earlier this year the Welsh Government’s Employability Plan was launched. It recognises that some people experience barriers which prevent them entering work.

One of the main actions in the plan is to provide an individualised approach to employability support that is responsive to an individual’s needs and takes account of personal circumstances, barriers, aptitudes and ambitions.



Leaders of Mathematics: What do you want? What do you need?

To inform the National Network for Excellence in Mathematics (NNEM) forward work on mathematics leadership GwE are asking that all leaders of mathematics complete a short questionnaire. 

One of NNEM’s aims is to develop mathematics leadership capacity by working with practitioners across Wales. To do so, it is important that GwE work with practitioners to develop a good understanding of what would be beneficial to them to develop in their current mathematics leadership roles or those that they aspire to. 

One of the ways that GwE have started to do this is through their recently established leadership peer coaching programme. 

To supplement the information from this, GwE are asking all leaders of mathematics to complete this short questionnaire. 

The outcomes of these activities will inform their forward work on leadership. https://hwb.gov.wales/nnem/news/article/b1ca345b-8cd7-4337-97b9-04792902a4d6 

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Poor mental health is more prevalent among teenage girls from poorer backgrounds, new findings show, 21st May

Findings published by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) at UCL Institute of Education (IOE) show how teenage girls from less well-off families are more likely to experience mental ill-health than their better-off peers. 

For schools working with Achievement for All, there is a stronger focus on pupil well- being for both boys and girls; schools report better pupil outcomes.