8th June 2018

Department for Education

New free website for schools to advertise vacancies, 3rd June: News Story

To help combat costs of agency fess for schools recruiting teachers, the Secretary of State has announced the launch of a free website to advertise vacancies, which currently costs schools up to £75 million a year. This website will include part-time roles and job shares to help keep experienced teachers working in the classroom and make schools attractive 21st Century workplaces.

In another step to tackle unnecessary costs, Mr Hinds will launch a new nationwide deal for headteachers from September 2018 – developed with Crown Commercial Service – providing them with a list of supply agencies that do not charge fees when making supply staff permanent after 12 weeks.

International teacher recruitment: attitudes and experiences, 7th June: Research and analysis

In November 2016, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Brighton were commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to research schools' approaches to recruiting teachers from abroad, their motivations, behaviours and the perceived benefits and barriers to recruiting internationally. More specifically, the research aimed to help inform decisions on how the DfE might support the recruitment of international STEM and MFL teachers, and to identify key principles for the design and delivery of international recruitment initiatives.

Data was collected, by telephone interview, from44 head teachers, principals, Human Resources (HR) representatives, and other school leaders in secondary schools across England. And via a survey to 13,436 teachers who trained in another country and obtained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) between September 2014 and December 2016, according to DfE records.

Findings showed that:

The main driver of international recruitment was the desire to fill a vacant post with a specialist teacher. Most school leaders felt strongly that they should not need to recruit international teachers and that more should be done to ensure a sufficient supply of nationally based teachers, including taking steps to improve the retention of existing teachers. Some school leaders cited a need for additional information, support and guidance in order to make a more fully informed decision about whether to appoint international teachers.

Two thirds of schools that had recently recruited international teachers did not plan to recruit from abroad in future, but would consider it again as a last resort if they could not find teachers nationally.

Amongst the reported benefits of international teacher recruits, they are seen to bring different perspectives and experiences to schools, to diversify the staff profile, to introduce new content to subjects, and to broaden students’ horizons. However, these positives were not the reasons for recruiting teachers from overseas.

Forty-seven per cent of international teachers currently employed in schools in England worked in secondary schools. They taught a variety of subjects including arts and humanities, science, and English. More than one third (38 per cent) of these teachers were working at schools in London, with only ten per cent in rural areas. Three quarters of international teachers working in secondary schools were recruited by agencies, but this was more common among teachers from EEA countries.

Recent publications on qualifications and point scores and discount codes

English Baccalaureate: eligible qualifications - an updated list ofqualifications that count towards the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

Key stage 4 qualifications, discount codes and point scores -updated Key stage 4 qualifications and discount codes: 2014 to 2020 performance tables

16 to 18 qualifications, discount codes and point scores -Updated 16 to 18 qualifications and discount codes: 2018 to 2020 performance tables

End of direction issued to Isle of Wight council for poor performance in children’s social care and education - The 5-year statutory direction ended on 5 June 2018.

Department for Education- Statistics

Children accommodated in secure children's homes: 31 March 2018

  • The number of children accommodated in secure children’s homes was 204 at 31 March 2018 and similar to last year when there were 203.

  • At 31 March 2018, 80% of approved places in England and Wales were occupied, the same as last year.

  • The percentage of children placed by the local authority on welfare grounds at 31 March 2018 has fallen to 47% from 51% in 2017.

  • The percentage of children detained or sentenced and placed by the Youth Custody Service has increased slightly to 48% from 46% last year.

  • In addition, children placed by local authorities in a criminal justice context has increased to 5% from 3% last year.

Other Government- Ministry of Justice

Youth custody data, 8th June

Monthly statistics on the population in custody of children and young people within the secure estate.

Custody population for children and young people:

For April 2018, the population of the secure estate for children and young people, for under 18 year olds was 940.

This is an increase of 14 from the previous month and an increase of 31 compared to the previous year.

The overall occupancy rate was 88%, compared to 86% in the previous month

Department for Education - Consultations

Improving further education workforce data: call for evidence, 7thJune

Closes: 5pm 20thJuly 2018

The Department for Education is seeking the views of the further education (FE) sector and its main stakeholders on:

  • What workforce data is currently collected

  • What data might be needed

  • How the sector thinks this could be achieved

This will be reviewed along with their our own data needs to help the DfE understand what future data collections should look like. This will help ensure the best data is provided.


Amanda Spielman at the Bryanston Education Summit, 6th June

Ofsted's Chief Inspector discusses the future of school inspections, how we use data and ongoing work on a new education inspection framework.

Amanda Spielman, made three key points about the future of inspections:

‘…To summarise, I have talked about 3 of the key things we are considering in developing the new framework.

'First, that inspection should be more than just a grade sticker.

'Secondly, that inspection should complement not intensify the focus that measured outcomes.

'And thirdly, inspection should not become a catch-all for every societal ill…

'All of these principles are underpinned by our commitment that Ofsted should be a force for improvement in all it does...’

Letter to parents for school inspections, 7thJune-updated to include contact details of the Data Protection Officer.


EEF publishes two new evaluation reports, 7thJune

Voice 21: Improving Oracy

12 schools took part in the evaluation of a pilot of the Voice 21 Oracy Improvement Programme. Developed by School 21, the intervention is designed to support schools to develop their pupils’ use of speech to express their thoughts and communicate effectively.

The EEF funded the trial to find out whether School 21’s approach to oracy could be scaled to other schools; and whether the programme is a promising way to improve oracy outcomes.

Schools taking part in the trial spent one hour a week of lesson time developing pupils’ spoken language skills, and received materials and training in oracy based approaches.

The independent evaluators from Alpha Plus reported that the programme showed promise. They found that it was well received by teachers and all school staff felt there were improvements to pupils’ oracy skills. Teachers also believed that the programme could be implemented in most schools. Although teachers were not confident that the observed improvements to oracy skills would have an immediate impact on attainment, some felt that there could be longer-term academic benefits.

The EEF will explore options for funding a larger-scale evaluation of the approach.

Zippy's Friends

70 schools took part in a trial of Zippy’s Friends, an intervention designed to improve children’s coping skills.

Teachers delivered sessions to Year 1 and 2 pupils built around stories about a stick insect (Zippy) and his friends, who are young children. The stories involved issues children might encounter, such as: friendship, conflict, change, and difficult feelings. The children discussed the issues raised, and took part in games and role-play activities about emotions and coping.

The trial was designed to find out the effect of Zippy’s Friends on reading attainment and emotional self-regulation. The independent evaluators from Queen’s University Belfast found no difference between pupils who took part in the programme and those who didn’t. However, it is thought that positive academic outcomes from Social and Emotional Learning programmes may take longer to feed through so the EEF will monitor the long term attainment outcomes for the schools that received Zippy’s Friends.

Is the Pen Mightier Than the Keyboard? The Effect of Online Testing on Measured Student Achievement, Backes and Cowan, Working Paper 190: CALDER

Nearly two dozen states now administer online exams. The researchers examine the rollout of computer-based testing in Massachusetts over 2 years to investigate test mode effects. Crucial to the study design is the fact that the state administers the same exam (PARCC) in online and offline formats each year during the transitional period. Findings show that students taking the written tests score higher than those taking the same test online, with larger differences for students scoring at the bottom of the achievement distribution.

In Plain Sight: Reading Outcomes of Providing Eyeglasses to Disadvantaged Children, Slavin et al., 31stMay 2018, Journal of Education of Students Placed at Risk

This article reports the findings of a study in Baltimore City in which disadvantaged second and third graders were assessed for vision problems. Of 317 students, 182 were given glasses. Those who needed glasses were given two pairs, one for home and one for school, as well as replacements if glasses were lost or broken. School staff assisted in ensuring that students wore their glasses, storing them safely, and replacing glasses when necessary. Students who received glasses improved more on Woodcock reading measures than those who never needed glasses (ES = +0.16, p < .03). The study demonstrates the potential of providing eyeglasses to disadvantaged students who need them to improve their reading performance.

Links between young children’s socio-emotional skills, behaviour, mathematics and literacy in Serbia, 4th June: CEM

Research by Gabrijela Aleksić, Christine Merrell, Dieter Ferring, Peter Tymms and Jasmina Klemenović investigated the links between the personal, social and emotional development (PSED), behaviour and cognitive development in literacy and mathematics during pre-school and Grade 1 in Serbia.

The PIPS On-entry Baseline Assessment was adapted for use in the research and a sample of 159 children were assessed at three time-points over a period of 14 months through their time in pre-school and Grade 1. The children were aged between 5 ½ and 6 ½ over this period.

The study found that teachers in Serbia generally gave higher ratings for girls’ PSED than boys. This echoes the findings of research from other countries, including England and Scotland. The Serbian children’s PSED were closely related to their mathematics and literacy skills. However, there was a weaker relationship between inattentive behaviour and cognitive development than has been found in other countries.

It should be noted that attendance at pre-school in Serbia is significantly lower than other European countries.

International -Wales


Involving parents – Communication between schools and parents of school-aged children’, 6th June

The report found that schools do not always involve fathers as well as they do mothers. Also, parents from areas of high deprivation are sometimes harder to reach. The report contains case studies outlining innovative strategies from schools that have successfully achieved effective parental communication and involvement.

Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector says,

‘It’s generally recognised that parental support can have a significant impact on pupils’ achievement. Many schools are improving the ways in which they involve parents. The most successful schools have a well-planned and structured approach that meets the needs of all parents and is based on parents’ preferences. All schools should read today’s report to discover strategies to support how they can better involve parents’.

The report is a short study is a review of how effectively schools communicate and engage with parents of school-aged children and it explorse parents’ views on the approaches taken by schools. The findings are based on a combination of interviews with school leaders by telephone and during inspection, an online questionnaire and focus group interviews with parents, and information from inspections during the last cycle (2010 to 2017). In this report, the term ‘parent’ is used to include parents, carers and guardians.

A Learning Inspectorate - Independent review of Estyn, 7th June

HM Chief Inspector of Education, supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, commissioned this Review of key aspects of Estyn’s role and operation. The Review’s prime purpose was to analyse the implications of the Welsh educational reform agenda for the work of Estyn, with a particular focus on school inspection. Although the Review was not asked to look at the entirety of Estyn’s work, it has also identified a number of wider implications.

The report contains 34 detailed recommendations. These include:

  • An enhanced role for Estyn in providing evaluation and support at the school, local authority, regional, and national levels.

  • Mobilisation of Estyn’s resources to kick-start reform with an initial short pause in the inspection cycle to allow inspectors and schools to work together on the reforms.

  • Increased responsibility for schools to evaluate their own performance with confirmation of the quality of that self-evaluation by Estyn.

Welsh Government-Education and Skills

Written Statement - Pupil Development Grant – Access, 7th June

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education:

‘…..Today I am pleased to announce a further expansion of PDG with the introduction of ‘PDG Access’.  PDG Access will sit alongside the other elements of PDG and will have a particular focus on supporting parents with the additional costs associated with their children starting education, and with progressing into secondary school. 

'This new fund – amounting to £1.7 million – will be more flexible and relevant to the needs of disadvantaged learners than the previous school uniform grant; it will also support more learners.   We are focusing the new grant on the entry point into education and transition into secondary school.   For the first time, learners in both Reception and Year 7, who are eligible for free school meals, or are children who are looked after, will fall within scope of the funding.  

'Unlike the previous school uniform grant, all looked after children in these year groups will be covered, reflecting the particular barriers this group of learners face in terms of their education.

'Funding of up to £125 will be available per learner, which is an increase on the previous school uniform grant. The funding will be distributed via local authorities...’

See also : Extended Pupil Development Grant to reach well beyond the classroom, 7th June

Parents in Wales will soon be able to access a new £1.7m fund to help cover the cost of school uniforms, school sports kit and for wider activities such as scouts and guides and sports outside of school.

Brexit funding gap could hit Welsh colleges, 6th June

Life Long Learning Minister Eluned Morgan told an audience of FE leaders that Further Education (FE) Institutes in Wales mustn’t lose a penny because of Brexit. This followed a visit to Coleg Gwent’s Newport campus where she met those who have benefitted from EU funded courses and projects.  

Over the past 10 years, FE Institutes in Wales have reported1 that they have been involved in the delivery of EU funded projects worth a total value of nearly £600m, made up of EU funds and match funding from public and private sources.

The Welsh Government wants guarantees from Whitehall that EU funding will be replaced after the UK leaves the EU and for decisions on how it is invested to continue to be made in Wales.

Consortia- EAS

The Road to Cross Regional Working – May 2018, 7th June

The four regional consortia first came together to begin the process of cross regional working in September 2015. It was apparent at this time that collaborative working would provide many benefits for each of our regions, most critically for all learners. However, while we agreed that cross regional working provided a logical way forward, at this stage the infrastructure was not in place to move forward consistently and coherently.

Where are they now?

Clarity of purpose exists in the form of a well-defined joint plan. The recommendation made in the 2016 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report that “regional consortia should coordinate and collaborate among themselves, enhancing consistency in the quality of services” has been realised.

As the consortia leads, each sponsosr specific projects within the joint plan and regularly share information about project progress as well as activity in other consortia areas with a view to eliminating duplication and providing consistent, high quality provision across Wales.

They will ensure a planned and consistent approach that establishes standardised levels of expectation and service. All learners, regardless of individual need and location, should receive a learning experience that is of the highest standard and has demonstrable impact on their life chances. The cross regional work fundamentally drives and supports this ambition. 


Attachment aware schools project – open days, 7th June

In line with ERW’s commitment to school –to-school working, lead schools across the region are holding open days to share their relational practice in either Emotion Coaching, or Relationship-based Play. They would like to welcome colleagues from other schools to see their work, including those schools that have not been able to attend any of the training opportunities offered so far.

Ysgol Llwyn-yr-eos in Aberystwyth is holding an open morning on Tuesday 12th June to highlight its use of Emotion Coaching.

Groes Primary School in Port Talbot has also been part of this initiative. Along with Cadle Primary in Swansea, another Emotion Coaching school, the two assistant Heads [Jenny Tomkins in Groes and Clare Jones in Cadle] have developed a peer-to-peer training programme. Groes are holding an open afternoon on Thursday 14th June.

Ysgol T Llew Jones in Brynhoffnant is also holding an open morning on Friday 22nd June to share its work on Relationship-based Play.

You can contact the schools directly for more details.

Digital learning awareness events, 5thJune

In partnership with the Hwb team and Microsoft, ERW are hosting a number of digital learning awareness events during the month of June and July. These events are an opportunity for staff to learn more about the latest additions and developments on Hwb, including Google for Education. You can book the event at this website.

Learning Wales

International - other

In which countries do the most highly qualified and experienced teachers teach in the most difficult schools? PISA in Focus no.85

In 2015, a majority of countries and economies that participated in PISA compensated disadvantaged schools with smaller classes and/or lower student-teacher ratios. However, in more than a third of countries and economies, teachers in the most disadvantaged schools were less qualified or less experienced than those in the most advantaged schools.

  • Gaps in student performance related to socio-economic status were wider in countries where socio-economically disadvantaged schools employed fewer qualified and experienced teachers than advantaged schools.

  • Greater school autonomy for managing teachers is associated with more equitable sorting of teachers across schools.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Estyn’s report on Involving parents – Communication between schools and parents of school-aged children’, 6th June

The report found that schools do not always involve fathers as well as they do mothers. Also, parents from areas of high deprivation are sometimes harder to reach.

Achievement for All works with schools, early years settings and post 16 providers, through a structured approach, supporting and encouraging parents and carer engagement in their children’s learning; this has a strong positive impact on pupil outcomes.