27th October 2017

Department for Education

Education Secretary puts teachers at the heart of social mobility, 24th October 2017

Education Secretary Justine Greening addressed an audience of 4,000 teachers at the Teach Frist Conference in Wembley Arena. She set out plans to help pupils from all backgrounds reach their full potential and highlighted the pivotal role teachers have to play in boosting social mobility.

She also announced 2 new initiatives aimed at ensuring schools can recruit and retain the very best teachers, building on the government’s wider programme of support. She announced:

  • The 25 areas across England (Barnsley; Blackpool; Bracknell Forest; Bradford; Cambridgeshire; Derby; Derbyshire; Doncaster; Halton; Knowsley; Luton; Middlesbrough; Norfolk; North East Lincolnshire; North Yorkshire; Northamptonshire; Northumberland; Oldham; Peterborough; Portsmouth; Salford; Sefton; St. Helens; Stoke-on-Trent; and Suffolk) elected to run a pilot programme to reimburse student loan repayments for modern foreign languages and science teachers in the early years of their careers

  • And 2 new projects- Tom Bennett Training and EdisonLearning- that will receive a share of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund.

Access the full speech- Justine Greening: We can challenge the impossible

See also Increasing flexible working in schools: Policy paper

How the government is working with the education sector to help schools adopt flexible working arrangements that benefit both teachers and children.

Also see research section below for NfER Teacher retention report

PE and Sports Premium doubles to £320 million, 24th October 2017

The department for education is doubling the funding that primary schools receive to improve the quality of their PE and sport provision from £160 million to £320 million a year. Details of the individual allocations at school level are published, along with funding guidance for this scheme alongside case studies showing how some schools have delivered a real impact for pupils through sports and physical activity.

The government is delivering a series of actions to improve children’s health. Alongside the doubled PE and Sport Premium, it is investing £100 million through the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to facilitate improvements to children’s physical and mental health by increasing and improving access to and use of relevant facilities, such as kitchens, dining facilities, changing rooms and sports facilities.

And as part of the wider programme of work, the DfE are also investing a further £26 million in breakfast clubs. This money will encourage innovation and kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in at least 1,500 schools, with a focus on increasing provision for disadvantaged pupils in Opportunity Areas.

Performance tables: approved qualifications and discount codes, republished 27th October 2017 with updates

Updated Key stage 4 qualifications and 16 to 18 qualifications spreadsheets to finalise discount codes.

And Key stage 4 qualifications, discount codes and point scores (updated)

And School performance: 2017 point scores for 16 to 18 qualifications, updated

The ‘Performance points for qualifications counting in the 16 to 18 performance tables 2017’ has been updated with corrected points for 42 qualifications.

High needs strategic planning fund, updated 27th October 2017: Guidance

Information for local authorities about strategic reviews and funding of high needs provision for children and young people with SEND. The high needs benchmarking tool has been updated to include the latest available data for 2017 to 2018 and the impact of the final national funding formula.

Richard Pennycook appointed Lead Non-Executive Board Member, 23rd October: Announcement

Richard Pennycook, former CEO of The Co-Operative Group, will work with the Department for Education leadership team on the Building Our Department Together programme, to make it an even better place to work. Richard has first-hand experience in change management and staff engagement, and in creating a workplace driven by core values.

Torbay children's services: commissioner's report, 27th October 2017

This report recommends that the council should enter into a contractual arrangement with Plymouth city council to deliver its services.

And Direction issued to Torbay council, 27th October 2017

Alternative provision census 2018: guide, 25th October 2017

This document is for local authorities and providers of alternative provision (AP) to:

  • Understand the purpose and scope of the alternative provision census

  • Add the right level of data to their management information system

  • Update and maintain their data during the year

  • Complete the 2018 alternative provision census data collection

Department for Education- Further Education

New programme launched to improve colleges, 24th October 2017: Press Release

The Department for Education is introducing a programme to recruit a team of high-performing leaders to provide specialist support to struggling FE colleges.

The National Leaders of Further Education (NLFE) will be comprised of experts from the FE sector who will work to improve colleges judged as “Requires Improvement” or “Inadequate” in their most recent Ofsted inspection.

Successful applicants will provide mentoring and support to develop the skills of senior staff at impacted colleges and will partner their colleges on the delivery of improvement programmes.

They will also work with other NLFE as part of a network and share best practice with institutions across their region.

The NLFE programme is modelled on the National Leaders of Education scheme in schools.

Interested applicants should contact FE.leaders@education.gov.uk. Applications will close on 14 November 2017.

Minister appoints new apprenticeship ambassadors, 24th October 30, 2017

Anne Milton, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills has made the following ‘ambassador’ appointments to encourage people from all ages and backgrounds to consider an apprenticeship:

  • Three new MP Apprenticeship Ambassadors – Maria Caulfield MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Trudy Harrison MP

  • Helen Grant MP has replaced Nus Ghani MP as the Chair of the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network

  • Trudy Harrison MP has been appointed as the Co-Chair of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board

  • Dominique Unsworth has been appointed as an SME Ambassador

The ambassadors will champion the opportunities and benefits that apprenticeships can offer and will work across the UK to target specific areas and raise awareness. The appointments are part of the wider work to ensure the opportunities apprenticeships offer are open to all; the minimum English and maths requirement for apprentices with a learning difficulty was recently changed to Entry Level 3 Functional Skills.


Academy Schools sector in England, Consolidated annual report and accounts For the year ended 31 August 2016

This report sets out the expenditure and performance of the academy school sector over the period from 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2016, including:

  • Performance statistics, as a successor report to Academies Act reports for previous academic years

  • Governance arrangements for the sector

  • The financial performance of the sector for the academic year to 31 August 2016

Overall, the percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals (FSM) in primary academies is higher than the national average across all state-funded primary schools. In January 2016, 17.0% of academy pupils were known to be eligible for and claiming FSM, compared with 15.2% across all state funded primary schools.

Conversely, the percentage of FSM pupils in all secondary academies is lower than the average across all state-funded schools. In secondary academies, 13.5% of pupils were known to be eligible for and claiming FSM compared with 14.1% across all state-funded secondary schools.  

In January 2016, across all state-funded primary schools, 13.4% of pupils were identified as having a special educational need. In primary sponsored academies, the percentage was 15.4% and in primary converter academies it was 12.5%. In primary free schools, 11.7% of pupils were identified as having SEN. 3.10 Across all state-funded secondary schools, 12.7% of pupils were identified as having SEN. In secondary sponsored academies, the percentage was 15.7%31 and in secondary converter academies it was 11.2%. In secondary free schools, 14.0% of pupils were identified as having SEN.

Although offering a different type of provision, three-quarters of pupils in alternative provision (AP) have SEN requirements, with a smaller proportion with a statement of SEN or EHC plan. Converter AP academies have 83.5% of pupils identified as SEN, while sponsored AP academies have 78.3%, both slightly higher than LA provision. However, AP free schools have 53.9% of pupils identified as SEN, lower than other types of state-funded AP.


Primary academies

The gap between the percentage of FSM pupils and all other pupils meeting the expected standard in all three assessments (reading, writing and maths) is smallest in sponsored academies compared to other school types. The gap is 14 percentage points in sponsored academies compared with 22 percentage points in converter academies and 20 percentage points in LA maintained schools.

On average, pupils in sponsored academies made less progress than pupils with similar prior attainment in other types of schools, in reading, and mathematics, but more progress in writing. On average, pupils eligible for FSM made less progress than those not eligible for FSM at the same school.

Secondary academies

The percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C GCSEs including English and maths has increased by 1.9 percentage points since 2014 for sponsored academies. These schools have improved for the last two years but remained below the national average.

In converter academies, the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C GCSEs including English and maths has increased by around 0.2 percentage points since 2015 for converter academies. This means that there has been an improvement in performance for the last two years and that performance remains above the national average for LA maintained schools.

For both sponsored and converter academies open for three years or more, there is correlation between the length of time the academy has been open and percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C GCSEs including English and Maths.

Attainment 8 scores are higher in converter academies than other types of school when viewed by pupil characteristic, while sponsored academies have lower scores

Further Education: Outcome based success measures, academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15, 24th October 2017

The measures cover all Apprenticeships, all Traineeships, and adult (19+) Further Education and Skills learners that completed an Education and Skills Funding Agency funded aim in academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15.


Outcomes for FE learners are generally stable across academic years, with a small fall in sustained employment in 2014/15

Of the 1.5 million learners that completed an eligible learning aim in academic year 2014/15:

  • 71% had a sustained positive destination into either employment or learning, 1 percentage point lower than in 2013/14.

  • 62% were in sustained employment, of which 12% were also in sustained learning.

  • 21% were in sustained learning, of which 12% were also in sustained employment.

Over half of learners in sustained learning were on an apprenticeship or studying for a qualification at level 4 or higher (including Higher Education)

  • 59% of learners that completed an Access to Higher Education course were in sustained learning on a Higher Education course (as reported in Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data).

Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2017, republished with updates 26th October 2017

Updated provisional information includes pupils who did not have a record in the school census.

Initial teacher training (ITT) allocations and the teacher supply model (TSM), England 2018 to 2019, 26th October 2017

In 2018 to 2019, there were 73,100 places initially allocated to ITT providers and School Direct lead schools with recruitment unrestricted in most subject and route combinations.

Recruitment was unrestricted this year for all postgraduate courses except Primary School Direct (salaried), Physical Education (all routes) and Early Years ITT

There were 73,100 initial allocations in total. This includes 59,919 unlimited allocations, 11,431 fixed allocations and 1,750 places available for Teach First. The number of places allocated to each route does not reflect the number of eventual trainees per route. Some routes fill a higher proportion of their allocated places than others.

Other Government: House of commons Education and Health Committee

Children and young people’s mental health—the role of education: Government Response to the First Joint Report of the Education and Health Committees of Session 2016–17

The Education and Health Select Committees published a report of their inquiry on the role of education in children and young people’s mental health on 2 May 2017. This document sets out the Government’s response to the report. It highlights the variability in access to children’s mental health services across the country. The response shows the government’s strong commitment to children’s mental health and well being in a whole school approach. Detailed responses to the recommendations are in the report.

The government will take forward details outlined in the Queen’s Speech, including funding Mental Health First Aid training for a teacher in every secondary school, trials of what works to support the mental wellbeing of pupils and a pilot of how to set up peer support schemes.

‘The Committees acknowledged, teachers are not mental health professionals and need support from specialist services. This is why we have been trialling approaches to help schools and colleges work closer together with local NHS services to provide dedicated children and young people’s mental health services. The Government has also commissioned the Care Quality Commission to carry out a major thematic review of children and adolescent mental health services across the country, with input from Ofsted. This is now underway. We remain committed to the publication of a children and young people’s mental health green paper by the end of this year. The green paper will focus on how to go further in improving prevention and access to specialist support. In this context, the Government welcomes the Committees’ focus on the role of education in mental health. ….’


Maintained schools and academies inspections and outcomes as at 31 March 2017; republished since June 2017 to include updates

The ‘Maintained schools and academies inspection outcomes as at 31 March 2017: data, charts and tables charts and tables’ have been republished. A correction has been made in ‘Table 3 Outcomes most recent’, where a lookup reference was incorrect for ‘All schools’ which were ‘inadequate’ when filtering for the sub judgement of ‘Personal development, behaviour and welfare’. All underlying data remains correct.

And Maintained schools and academies inspections and outcomes as at 31 August 2016, republished with similar updates


Walker, M, Sims, D, Kettlewell, K. (2017). Leading Character Education in Schools Slough: NFER.

This study provides the school sector with practical insights and illustrations about different approaches to leading character education. The project was commissioned by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and Pearson, and undertaken by a team from the NFER. The study involved visits to five schools (two primaries and three secondaries), all past winners of the Department for Education’s Character Award – an award scheme designed to act as ‘a gold standard as to what works in character education’ (Morgan, 2016).

Key Findings:

The research identified five key features of the effective leadership of character education. These emphasise the need for schools to:

  • Ensure that senior leaders drive character education and involve all teachers and support staff in its delivery

  • Place character education at the core of the school ethos, rather than view it as a ‘nice to have’

  • Take a long-term approach to promoting and developing character education. Based on our study, this is typically five years or more

  • Build a collective understanding and language to facilitate dialogue between staff, between pupils and staff, and between pupils and pupils

  • Maintain focus, momentum and ongoing communication to help keep and reinforce character education as a priority

Worth, J., De Lazzari, G., and Hillary, J. (2017). Teacher Retention and Turnover Research: Interim Report. Slough: NFER.

Recruiting and retaining enough teachers to serve growing numbers of pupils is one of the key challenges currently facing England’s education system. This interim report is part of the research funded by the Nuffield Foundation to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the teaching workforce in England.

Using data from the School Workforce Census, the report explores factors associated with teacher retention and turnover and offers recommendations for policymakers with an emphasis on retention. Key findings and recommendations from the report include:

Key Findings:

  • The Government and stakeholders in the secondary sector need to urgently look at ways of accommodating more part-time working in secondary schools to help alleviate teacher supply challenges in these schools across England.

  • The Government should explore why the rate at which older teachers have been leaving the profession increased between 2010 and 2015 and explore whether they could be incentivised to stay in the profession longer, particularly in subjects with specialist teacher shortages.

  • There appears to be little evidence to date that multi-academy trusts (MATs) are better able to retain teachers by providing opportunities to move within their structure. Leaders of MATs should do more to promote the benefits of working in their organisation to their teachers; for example, by raising the profile of the MAT as the structure that teachers belong to.

  • The teacher supply challenge in London is particularly acute when compared to other geographic areas. Policymakers should look at how policy interventions, such as housing subsidies, could help to retain teachers in high-cost areas.

See also blog The 10 per cent retention challenge, Matt Davis, Regional Director UK, Education Development Trust, 27 October 2017: Reform

The author says that spending a bit more time and money on worthwhile incentives to persuade existing teachers to stick at it, seems like a good first step. The author goes on to make a few suggestions:

As teacher quality is so important, a scheme which pays a one-off incentive payment to any classroom teacher reaching their fifth year of teaching might mean an in-service bonus of about £4,000 (calculated from the 24,000 new teachers trained in a given year, with a 30 per cent attrition rate, leaving 16,800 to share the £70m). This begins to look more enticing, but might not stop people leaving after the incentive is paid.

Turning to conditions, the obvious approach is to do something which directly addresses the specific issues which are driving teachers from the profession- workload and disempowerment on what is taught and how and introduce sabbaticals


How can we tell if artificial intelligence threatens work? 27th October 2017: Education and Skills Today, Stuart Elliott blog: OECD

In light of a new report by the OECD- Computers and the use of skill demand, Stuart Elliott considers if artificial intelligence is going to displace current skills and jobs. He says economic history suggests that job destruction and creation have always gone together, with a shift in jobs and skills that leaves most people still employed.

He says:

‘A new OECD study uses PIAAC to assess whether artificial intelligence (AI) can perform these skills as well. The study is only exploratory, but its results are sobering. Current AI techniques are close to allowing computers to perform at Level 3 on the 5-level scale in literacy and numeracy—at or above the proficiency of 89% of adults in OECD countries. Only 11% of adults are above the level that AI is close to reproducing.

If literacy and numeracy were the only work skills, this new study would suggest that AI is not like other technologies. As current AI techniques are applied, many workers with moderate proficiency in literacy and numeracy would be displaced and would not have the higher-level skills for the jobs that remain. The usual shift of workers between jobs and skills would break down.

Of course, if this happened, we would need to improve education. The results of the Survey of Adult Skills show what might be possible. For adults with tertiary education, 21% are above the computer level in literacy and 23% are above the computer level in numeracy. And in the highest performing countries, these percentages for adults with tertiary education reach 37% in literacy and 36% in numeracy, for Japan and Sweden, respectively. These results are much better than the current OECD average of 11%’.

Can Computers Perform Workplace Tasks Better Than People? Andreas Schleicher: OECD

In this short article Schleicher concludes that:

….Over the coming decades, it is likely that there will be strong economic pressure to apply the computer capabilities for skills measured by the Survey (OECD Survey for Adult Skills) across the economy. This is likely to reverse the recent pattern of increasing proportions of workers using low and mid-level literacy skills. Without knowing where new applications will be successful, it is reasonable to conclude that there will be an overall decrease in demand for those workers – the vast majority – whose proficiency in skills that were measured is no better than that of current computer capabilities. This does not mean that these workers will become unemployed; merely that they will become less valuable for many work tasks, making them more vulnerable. 

‘While it remains difficult to assess the immediate implications of these findings for the world of work (since not every job task that computers can manage will be taken on by computers right away,) the results show that we need much better and more systematic intelligence on the capabilities of computers, currently and prospectively, if we want to educate tomorrow’s workers for their future, rather than our past’.

International - Wales

£2.7m supply teacher project announced, 24th October 2017

A new £2.7m project to improve the way supply teachers support schools was announced by the Education Secretary Kirsty Williams. The new funding will support 15 local authorities to create new supply teacher arrangements across 86 schools. The project will support the appointment of around 50 recently qualified teachers who will work across groups of schools, covering teacher absence and supporting wider school improvements and learner outcomes..

Investing in the skills of the future for an Ambitious and Learning Wales - £50m capital boost for FE and HE and £260m for apprenticeships, 24th October 2017

Kirsty Williams, Education Secretary said:

“Our £50m capital investment for the FE and HE sector will enable them to provide state of the art facilities, improving learning environments for students and satisfying local employer needs. This investment is crucial both for our learners and for the wider  economy.

New incentives to teach in Wales – Kirsty Williams, 25th October 2017

New and improved incentives to teach physics, chemistry, maths, Welsh and modern foreign languages for those with a first class degree, Masters or PhD, along with a new Welsh medium incentive, have been announced by the Education Secretary Kirsty Williams.


Thinking of becoming a HLTA?

What is HLTA status?  

Higher level teaching assistants undertake a wide variety of roles – some work across the curriculum, some act as specialist assistants for a specific subject or department – the work varies according to the needs, type and age-phase of the school. ERW are running a course for those thinking of becoming a HLTA


Analysis: why aren’t there any opportunity areas in the north east? Natalie Perera, 25th October 2017: Education Policy Institute

The author points out that the existing Opportunity Areas were selected based on their ranking in two indices – the Social Mobility Commission’s Index and the Achieving Excellence Areas Index (taken from the DfE’s 2016 White Paper).

The 12 Areas that have already been selected were in group 6 (the weakest sextile) in both indexes, which is why they were chosen. There were a further 19 LA Districts which were also in group 6 across both indexes but which have not been selected (yet).

She suggests that if the DfE uses the same method for selecting Opportunity Areas as it has used so far, it might be a while before the North East is included.

International school spending – how does the UK compare?

Blog Marie Williams, 23rd October: NfER

The author considers how UK spending per pupil has risen by 25% over the last five years- more than twice the OECD average of 10%.

At the same time the UK faces resource challenges-poor school buildings and recruitment issues including for subject specific teachers. But as the author points out for high-income countries, there is no clear relationship between school funding and PISA scores

New book explores the challenges of transitioning into adulthood, 24 October 2017: IoE, UCL

Pathways to Adulthood’, by Professor Ingrid Schoon and edited with Professor Rainer Silbereisen from the University of Jena in Germany, tackles three main themes as young people navigate this transition: how to reduce social inequality in educational opportunities; to promote motivation and engagement in the school context and beyond; and to enable young people to effectively cope with social change.

The book highlights socio-economic inequalities and their impact on educational attainment. The authors emphasise the importance of reducing structural inequalities to increase motivation and engagement in the school context, and suggest mechanisms that could help young people realise their full potential. For example, they assess how the influence of socio-economic family background on academic attainment varies across culturally similar countries such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia, which highlights the critical role of institutional leverage in supporting youth transitions.

The authors also explore the development of motivational processes related to achievement and wellbeing, particularly regarding students’ engagement in school. Students’ engagement is an important and malleable precursor of academic achievement that can be shaped by experiences in the school context. Professor Schoon argues that, to raise engagement, pupils should be taught in ways that establish meaningful connections between the usefulness of a taught subject (for example mathematics) or activity in their daily lives and how it can help them to achieve future goals. 

Over third of children and young people are affected by sleep issues, 24th October 2017

The Children’s sleep charity, along with PACEY and others have committed to raising the profile of the importance of sleep to improve children’s health and well being.

'Children and Young People's Sleep Manifesto 2017', raises awareness of the importance of sleep to support the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of children, young people and their families.

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

New programme launched to improve colleges, 24th October 2017: Press Release

The Department for Education is introducing a programme to recruit a team of high-performing leaders to provide specialist support to struggling FE colleges. It is based on the National Leaders schools programme.

Through the Achieving Further programme, Achievement for All also works successfully with college leaders to drive whole college improvement

Children and young people’s mental health—the role of education: Government Response to the First Joint Report of the Education and Health Committees of Session 2016–17

Achievement for All supports a whole school approach to children’s mental health and well being and works successfully with schools to improve children’s outcomes