13th April 2018

Department for Education

New measure for fairer recording of primary school performance, 11th April

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced that assessments to measure the progress pupils make from the start of primary school will be designed and delivered by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

The Reception Baseline Assessment will be administered as a twenty-minute, teacher-recorded assessment of children’s communication, language, literacy and early mathematics skills. It will cover material that many children will already be familiar with and pupils will not have to prepare for it, either at home or in school. It will replace the statutory tests which pupils have faced at the end of Key Stage 1, freeing up teacher time and resources so they can focus on what really matters in the classroom.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

‘…..This quick, simple assessment will us help to capture the progress that children make throughout primary school and provides a fairer measure for school accountability. I would encourage teachers and headteachers to work with us through the trials and pilot to make sure we get the assessment and measures right…..’

See also Measuring progress in primary schools This update follows the publication of the ‘Primary assessment in England: government consultation response’ in September 2017.

The government confirms:

For first and infant schools- KS1 assessments will be non-statutory for first and infant schools, at the same time they are made non-statutory for all-through primaries. However, all schools with a reception year, including infant and first schools, will have a statutory responsibility to administer the new reception baseline assessment when it is introduced. In terms of the measures published, there will not be any change from the status quo for first and infant schools which do not have progress measures published now. They will continue to be responsible for demonstrating the progress their pupils have made to Ofsted and those with an interest in school performance.

For middle and junior schools- After KS1 assessments have become non-statutory, middle and junior schools will be in a similar position to infant and first schools, in which they will have responsibility for evidencing progress based on their own assessment information. KS2 attainment information will continue to be available for middle and junior schools. We will work with sector representatives and Ofsted before providing further guidance about the types of information that schools could make available to inspectors, ahead of current progress measures being removed.

GCSE new grading scale: factsheets, 12th April

Information about the new GCSE grades for parents, employers and further and higher education providers.

School leadership 2010 to 2016: characteristics and trends, 11th April: Research and Analysis

This report builds on the statistics presented in the annual School Workforce Census Statistical First Release (hereafter the SFR) by providing further analysis looking at the characteristics and trends of teachers in leadership roles. It aims to generate new insights and is intended to be an accessible resource to stimulate debate, improve the public understanding of our data, and generate ideas for further research, rather than to provide authoritative answers to research questions.

The report is structured in three distinct sections:

Section 1 examines the number of teachers in each leadership role and how this has changed over time. Teachers with a senior leadership role (headteacher, deputy or assistant headteacher) form a small proportion of the overall teaching population, smaller in secondary (10.8%) than primary (18.5%) schools, which has grown since 2010 (up from 9.7% and 18.1% respectively).

Section 2 compares the characteristics of teachers in leadership roles with those of classroom teachers and considers how these have changed over time. The number of teachers retiring peaked between 2010 and 2011. This has provided an opportunity for some teachers to advance to leadership positions sooner in their careers than their older peers, and has consequently resulted in an overall younger population of teachers in leadership roles.

Section 3 explores progression to leadership and how this is affected by the characteristics of gender, ethnicity and region, and then once there how well these leaders are retained. Teachers took less time, on average, to reach a leadership role in secondary schools (50% achieved this by seven years) than in primary schools (50% achieved this by nine years).

Measures to deliver quality education across all settings, 10th April: News Story

A package of measures to help make sure children receive the best possible education either at home or outside of school have been announced by School Systems Minister Lord Agnew. The announcement will support the families of the estimated 45,500 children that are educated at home, providing parents and local councils with strengthened guidance so both understand their rights and responsibilities.

The government is also consulting on revised guidance for parents and local authorities to support them in making sure home education provision is of the highest possible standard. This guidance will set out the processes by which local authorities should identify children who are being educated at home and how best to intervene if they are not receiving a suitable education.

Call for Evidence has been launched to ask for the views of parents and local authorities on how to ensure children receive the expected standard of education at home, including:

  • How local authorities can monitor the quality of home education to make sure children are taught the knowledge and skills they need;

  • How effective registration schemes are for children who are educated at home; and

  • How government can better support those families who choose to educate their children at home.

The Education Minister also announced £3 million to support the joint working of local authorities, the police, Ofsted, the government and other agencies in tackling the minority of out of school settings that seek to undermine British values or expose children to other harmful practices. This work will help to share best practice across the country. The announcement builds on the recently launched Integrated Communities Strategy, which had education at its core.

Details of the consultation are below (in consultation section)

Mathematics subject knowledge enhancement guide: 2018 to 2019, 10th April

The guidance explains:

  • What subject knowledge enhancement is

  • Who can benefit from it

  • How to apply

  • How providers will deliver the programme

Subject knowledge enhancement programmes:

  • Help applicants gain the depth of subject knowledge needed to train and teach their chosen subject

  • Only apply to mathematics

  • Are only for pre-service, post-graduate programmes

  • Specifically support programmes which allow trainees to teach maths to GCSE and level 3

Funding boost for the arts to support talented pupils, 10th April: News Story

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced new funding to support talented music, drama and dance pupils to realise their potential and kick-start a career in the arts. Music, art and design, drama and dance are included in the national curriculum and compulsory in all maintained schools from the age of 5 to 14. The additional £96m takes the total level of support for music and arts programmes to £496 million since 2016. Many recipients of these funds have moved on to successful careers in the arts.

Strategic School Improvement Fund: application guidance, 12th April

Guidance on how to complete an application for the Strategic School Improvement Fund.

And see: Strategic school improvement fund: evaluation of round one - An evaluation of the processes relating to the first round of applications to the strategic school improvement fund (SSIF), which closed in June 2017.

Teacher recruitment bulletin, April 2018 

Contains news on the following:

Confirmation of 10% over-recruitment tolerance in fixed subject allocations

Teachers’ student loan reimbursement scheme

Prestigious maths scholarships - support to recruit maths teachers

Return to Teaching pilot schools - now open for applications

Spain’s Visiting Teachers programme (SVTP) - support to recruit modern foreign languages (MFL) teachers

Future Teaching Scholars programme - recruiting A level students now 

Workload reduction toolkit

Research to improve teacher recruitment systems - have your say!

Promote free skills workshops to your candidates

Promote free coffee shop appointments with trainee teachers to your candidates

Great applicants need great support - ITTapplication workshops available now 

Case studies to support the Get into Teaching campaign

ITT professionals - advance notice of associate re-procurement advert

Agency supply teacher commercial framework - receive updates

UCAS reduction of the application fee

UCAS provider systems planned maintenance Thursday 19 and Friday 20 April 2018

Management information on the number of 30 hours free childcare codes issued and validated for the summer term 2018


Home education: call for evidence and revised DfE guidance, 10th April

Closes: 11.59am, 2nd July

This consultation has 2 parts.

The first is a call for evidence on issues connected with elective home education. In particular:

  • Registration of children educated at home

  • Monitoring of home education provision

  • Support for home educators

The second part is seeking comments on draft versions of 2 DfE guidance documents about elective home education. One is designed for local authorities and the other for parents.

Performance reporting: FE college groups and multi-site colleges, 10th April

Closes: 11.45am 10th June

This consultation sets out proposals for changes to the performance reporting system for FE colleges (including both general and specialist colleges), sixth-form colleges, and institutions designated as being within the further education sector.

Department for Education: FE

FE Commissioner intervention report: Barnfield College, 11th April


Annual parents survey, 12th April

Findings from online surveys conducted by YouGov on behalf of Ofsted on parents' awareness and perceptions of Ofsted.

Six out of ten parents of children 0-18 years old agree that Ofsted provides a reliable measure of a childcare provider’s quality

The quality of teaching is the factor most commonly ranked as the most important aspect parents consider when their child is attending a childcare provider, school or college

School inspections and outcomes: management information, 12th April

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information asa t 31st March 2018

Management information showing in-year and most recent inspection outcomes.

School Inspection Handbook

Updated paragraphs 21 and 23 to clarify that good schools are now inspected approximately every 4 years.

Handbook for short, monitoring and unannounced behaviour school inspections, 12th April

Updated the requires improvement and special measures/serious weaknesses sections: section 5 inspections can take place up to 30 months after the last section 5 inspection for these categories. Good schools are inspected approximately every 4 years.

International -Wales

Shortlist revealed for Professional Teaching Awards, 12th April

24 educational professionals from Wales have been announced as finalists for the national awards.

Professional standards for teaching and leadership 

Look out for the latest poster which will be available for every school in Wales. Download an online introduction to the professional standards for teaching and leadership to find out what they will mean.   



Introduction of Personalised Assessments

Welsh Government is phasing in new online personalised assessments from the next academic year (2018/19). Starting with online procedural numeracy, these assessments will replace the paper national tests. The personalised assessments are based on the skills in the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) and will provide information on the reading and numeracy skills of individual learners and whole classes which teachers can use to plan next steps in teaching and learning. 

These assessments will be ‘adaptive’, meaning that questions are generated based on a learner’s response to the previous question. This provides an individual assessment experience and tailors the level of challenge for every learner. Other benefits include faster feedback for schools, automatic marking, and the flexibility for schools and teachers to schedule the assessments at points most beneficial to inform teaching and learning. 

It will remain a statutory requirement for all maintained schools in Wales to ensure that learners in years 2-9 take the assessments once during the academic year. In response to feedback from practitioners involved in the design and development of the assessments, they will also be available for an optional second use by schools. 

Education Wales - Our National Mission

An update on Education in Wales: our national mission

April 2018 / Issue: 02: The latest edition of the stakeholder newsletter is available.


Basic skills: the missing ingredient in England’s apprenticeships, Blog by M Kuczera, 11th April: OECD

The author looks at the ‘recipe for a good apprenticeship’.

And says

‘It includes two essential ingredients: education and training, provided both on and off the job. As with any recipe, results depend on the quality of the ingredients and the way in which they are mixed together. And as any great chef will tell you, the recipe only improves with repetition and continuous refinement. 

England is investing more in the development of its apprenticeship system than nearly any other country. Current reforms have created a new structure for apprenticeship programmes developed by employer groups and funded by a new levy on all large employers. Much has been achieved so far, as described in Apprenticeship in England, a new OECD study that compares England’s recent reforms with practices in other countries. Here, though, we’ll focus on a key ingredient in the English recipe that demands closer attention: basic skills.

Young English apprentices receive far less general education than apprentices in other countries. In England, general education (including maths and English) adds up to between about 50 and 100 hours over the duration of an apprenticeship; and it is only mandatory for those not meeting the requirements in English or maths. German and Swiss youth apprenticeships, by comparison, require around 400 hours of general education covering a range of subjects. Norwegian apprenticeships require nearly 600 hours of general education.

The remedy, as described in the OECD's new report, is for England to include more general education in youth apprenticeships – though doing so is not exactly straightforward.  Increased general education will demand more time from apprentices, taking them away from the workplace.


Latest updates to the Teaching and Learning Toolkit, 13th April

The EEF have updated their toolkit with the following new evidence on nine educational topics. Three of these have resulted in changes to the Toolkit’s headline findings.

Mentoring: Added two new meta-analysis to this strand which means the evidence base is now more secure. The padlock rating has increased from '3' to '4' (out of 5) to reflect this. It also means we have better information on the impact of mentoring programmes and, with the inclusion of the latest evidence, the average months’ progress for this approach is now 0 instead of +1.

Metacognition and self-regulation: There’s a lot of research out there on metacognition and today we’ve added several new meta-analyses and single studies to this particular strand. While the increasing evidence base gives us a better idea of what effective metacognitive strategies look like, the addition of new research means the average additional months’ progress for this approach has fallen slightly, from +8 months to +7.

Reading comprehension strategies: Added one new meta-analysis to this strand which takes the average additional impact on attainment for this approach from +5 months' progress to +6. The evidence is clear that both phonics and reading comprehension are effective strategies for teaching literacy.

Guidance reports on teaching literacy in Key Stages 1 and 2 suggests that reading strategies are most effective as part of a broad and balanced approach to developing effective literacy.

EEF launches new grant-funding round, 13th April

The EEF has launched its latest grant-funding round, seeking applications for high-potential projects which aim to improve attainment and related outcomes for disadvantaged children and young people. 

This latest funding round highlights three categories for which the EEF is particularly keen to receive applications:

  • Improving teaching in secondary schools;

  • Popular programmes that are widely used by schools, and where there is demand from schools for better evidence of impact; and

  • Proposals aiming to support 16-18 year-old learners who have not achieved the expected standard (grade 4 or above) in GCSE English or maths by age 16.

In addition, the EEF is interested in proposals from researchers about how best to evaluate the impact of widespread school practices for which there is currently limited evidence.

Further details and guidance notes are available on the EEF's Applying for funding page.

This funding round closes on 5 July 2018.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

School leadership 2010 to 2016: characteristics and trends, 11th April: Research and Analysis

Achievement for All works with schools through a framework, which includes supporting and driving leadership