5th January 2018 (two weeks)

Department for Education

More help for vulnerable children to attend top boarding schools, 24th December: News story

The Department for Education is launching a new service designed to give more vulnerable children the chance to attend some of the country’s highest quality independent and state boarding schools.

The Boarding School Partnerships Information Service – which is being launched in collaboration with the Boarding Schools’ Association – will link local authorities up with a host of children’s charities and boarding schools so they can work together to identify more young people on the edge of care who can be put forward for bursaries and scholarships.

Boost to get more top professionals into teaching, 5th January: News Story

A scheme to encourage the best experienced professionals to swap the boardroom for the classroom is to be backed by government funding to expand into Hastings, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced.

Now Teach – a charity set up to help people put skills acquired during a successful career to use in the classroom – has encouraged nearly 50 talented professionals to change their lives and retrain as a teacher in maths, science and modern foreign languages.

The £350,000 investment by the government will help the charity to drive this work forward, focusing on recruiting people from leading careers and sharing their skills in key subjects – with recruits to date including a former NASA scientist, a hostage negotiator and the head of a hospital trust.

See also Policy Exchange blog: The challenges behind the figures on teacher recruitment, 7th January, blog- John Blake, Policy Exchange

The author says that the recruitment shortage in teachers may not be anything to do with the pay. Rather insufficient care in helping people through the process of applying.

Careers guidance and access for education and training providers

Statutory guidance for schools on providing careers guidance. First published March 2015; republished with updates to reflect policy changes announced in the Government's careers strategy published on 4 Dec 2017.

Other Government

Fostering, first Report of 2017-19 session, House of Commons Education Committee, 20th December 2017

The report states in conclusion that ‘The Government must ensure that its review of the foster care system is considered in the context of the wider children’s social care landscape. The value of the work the Government has undertaken so far on different forms of care will be undermined if they are not viewed and considered as part of a whole, interlinked system. The Government should conduct a fundamental review of the whole care system, recognising the relationships between different types of care, addressing wider underpinning issues, and ensuring that the care system is fulfilling its purpose’.

The report places emphasis on three areas:

The need to value young people - For too many children and young people, their experience of care is that of something which is done to them, not with them. While legislation and Government guidelines encourage placement stability and involvement of young people in decision-making about their care, and outline a young person’s entitlement to sibling contact and advocacy services, application of these guidelines is currently lacking. There must be consistency of practice, so that all young people are able to benefit from an appropriate and positive experience of foster care.

Valuing foster carers - Foster carers do not always receive the respect and recognition they deserve. They perform a remarkable and invaluable service for thousands of young people. The Government must do more to support and value foster carers.

Valuing care - The Government needs to do more to value foster care. This means more resources and support. The Department for Education should initiate a national recruitment and awareness campaign to improve capacity in the system. It must also support local authorities and foster care providers in piloting new ways of working, especially through more early intervention and prevention.

See Fostering network response to the report, 22nd December


South Gloucestershire local area SEND inspection outcome letter published, 3rd January 2018

Key relevant findings show that:

Fixed-term exclusions from local schools are higher than national figures for those pupils who have SEN support and for those who have a statement or EHC plan, especially in secondary schools. Permanent exclusions from local schools are also higher than seen nationally for those with SEN support.

Overall, outcomes for children who have SEN and/or disabilities in early years and for those at the end of key stage 1 are positive and improving. Outcomes are improving by the end of key stage 2 in reading and writing, but are less strong in 3 mathematics. However, in 2017, the standards reached, and the progress made by the end of key stage 4 by pupils in local schools who have SEN and/or disabilities, continued to decline. At age 19, the proportion of young people achieving level 2 or level 3 qualifications is also below that seen nationally.

Bold Beginnings: The Reception curriculum in a sample of good and outstanding primary schools, first published 30th November 2017, republished 5th January 2018 with updates (Annex A- research methodology).

Children’s homes inspections and outcomes: management information, 27th December 2017

Data as at 30 September 2017 published.


Preschool predictors of later reading comprehension ability- a systematic review, Hjetland et al., December 2017

The primary objective for this systematic review was to summarize the available research on the correlation between reading-related preschool predictors and later reading comprehension skills.

The search resulted in 3285 references. After the duplicates were removed, all remaining references were screened for inclusion and exclusion. A total of 64 studies met the eligibility criteria.

Overall, findings showed that the foundation for reading comprehension is established in the preschool years through the development of language comprehension and code-related skills. Code-related skills and decoding are most important for reading comprehension in beginning readers, but linguistic comprehension gradually takes over as children become older. Taken together, these results suggested a need for a broad focus on language in preschool-age children.

The long-term impact of effective teaching, Tymms et al. (Durham University), School Effectiveness and School Improvement Journal, December 2017

This paper investigated the impact of effective schooling in the 1st year of elementary school on later academic outcomes and equal educational opportunity. A large longitudinal dataset from England was used to estimate the importance of the 1st year of elementary school for academic outcomes up to age 16. Multilevel models, controlling for baseline assessment, deprivation, sex, and ethnic status, showed that classes in the 1st year differed substantially in their progress but did not vary in their impact on equity. Those classes defined as effective and students from those classes were tracked on 3 further occasions up to the age of 16 and compared with others. Being in an effective class in the 1st year of school, when the children were aged 4 to 5 years, was significantly related to later attainment at age 16.

Technology-enhanced mathematics instruction: A second-order meta-analysis of 30 years of research, Young, Educational Research Review, November 2017

The author found that all technology enhancements positively affected pupil achievement, regardless of the technology’s purpose. However, technology that helped pupils perform computational functions had the greatest effects on pupil achievement, while combinations of enhancements demonstrated the least effects on pupil achievement.

Managing automation: Employment, inequality and ethics in the digital age, Lawrence et al., 28th Dec 2017 :IPPR

The discussion paper suggests that despite the growing capability of robots and artificial intelligence, we are not on the cusp of a ‘post-human’ economy. Automation will produce significant productivity gains that will reshape specific sectors and occupations. These gains are likely to be recirculated, with jobs reallocated rather than eliminated, economic output increased, and new sources of wealth created.

This discussion paper argues that public policy should seek to accelerate automation to reap the productivity benefits, while building new institutions to ensure the dividends of technological change are more widely shared.


A window into an atypical mind, blog Ellie Mulcahy, 8th January 2018: LkMco

In this blog, the author refers to a stage version of ‘Everything Is Going To Be KO’ at Gerry’s Studio, Theatre Royal Stratford East from 18th to 20th January. It tells the story of a girl with learning difficulties, which went undiagnosed until she failed an exam at Oxford University. As the author concludes- this exploration of how we understand and react to learning difficulties is an opportunity for us all to examine our knowledge and understanding and reflect that disability does not mean inability.

New section of the SLCF –‘Evidencing Good Practice’, Communication Trust

This showcases a series of case studies from SLCF users demonstrating how it can lead to positive changes in practice. The case studies are intended to inspire you to consider how you could use the SLCF to you make positive changes to your own.

The SLCF is a free online professional development tool, developed by The Communication Trust. It sets out the skills and knowledge needed to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication. 

Achievement for All: possible areas for considerations

Fostering, first Report of 2017-19 session, House of Commons Education Committee, 20th December 2017

LiFT programmes and resources are designed specifically to bring the expertise of Achievement for All, schools and virtual schools together, based on learning from the London Fostering Achievement programme. Since 2014, Achievement for All has worked in partnership with virtual schools and local authorities to deliver tailor-made coaching options for school leaders, governors, teaching staff, support staff and foster carers to improve the wellbeing and educational attainment of looked after children.

South Gloucestershire local area SEND inspection outcome letter published, 3rd January 2018

Key relevant findings show that:

Fixed-term exclusions from local schools are higher than national figures for those pupils who have SEN support and for those who have a statement or EHC plan, especially in secondary schools. Permanent exclusions from local schools are also higher than seen nationally for those with SEN support.

Achievement for All works with schools supporting better outcomes for children and young people at risk of underachievement; exclusions are greatly reduced.