22nd November: weekly strategic round-up

This week’s round-up includes news on projects for disengaged pupils, OFSTED’s report on children missing out on education, and a report by Centre Forum on teacher CPD and recommendations for how it can be improved and enhanced.

Announcements and developments

New funding for projects led by ex-armed forces personnel

The government is providing further funding to projects led by ex-armed forces personnel aimed at tackling the underachievement of disengaged pupils.

Evidence and feedback from some of the 300 schools involved in the projects so far has demonstrated positive feedback on improving engagement and attainment among the most disengaged.

Activities supported by the funding have included: one to one mentoring to address behaviour issues and keep pupils committed to their education; military style obstacle courses to engage and motivate hard to reach pupils; team building exercises designed to encourage discipline, leadership and good behaviour; and helping primary school children in their transition to secondary school through building self-confidence.

The following 6 projects will receive funding:

  • Commando Joe’s which provides trained mentors and challenging activities for schools in some of the most deprived and hard-to-reach areas of the UK: http://www.commandojoes.co.uk/
  • Challenger Troop, which provides leadership and engagement programmes for vulnerable or disengaged pupils aged 8 to 16 across the UK, particularly in the toughest areas of London and the South East,: http://challengertroop.org/
  • Knowsley Skills Academy which provides young people with a programme of physical activities, team-building and work-related learning and prepare them for post-16 education, training or employment: http://www.knowsleyskillsacademy.co.uk/
  • SkillForce which provides a programme of challenges in the outdoor environment, integrated to support literacy and numeracy: http://www.skillforce.org/
  • CVQO which works with pupils from all backgrounds and abilities, delivering education to help them improve their lives: http://www.cvqo.org/
  • The Prince’s Trust, which works with disadvantaged young people to help them into work, education and training. The funds will be used to get more former military personnel working on the youth charity’s programmes, including clubs run in schools across the UK for pupils at risk of truanting and exclusion: http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/

For more information please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-for-military-ethos-projects


Minister for School responds to Select Committee

The Minister for Schools has provided a response following his appearance at a hearing in October to discuss school places and qualified teacher status (see our 1st November round-up: http://www.forumeducation.org/weekly-strategic-round-up-1st-november/)

In the letter, the Minister outlines the work LAs are doing to create places where they are needed (“many LAs and others are thinking creatively to make good use of space and opportunities”), the average size of infant classes (27.2 in 2012) and the percentage of infant classes with more than 30 pupils (4.1%).

He also responds to issues such as: building on playing fields (stating that in such instances he challenges: “whether Local Authorities have looked at all alternatives…these numbers reflect a very small number of schools and expansions”); the calculation of Target Basic Need funding; and the number of academies with sixth form provision.

On the issue of QTS he states: “the data show that the vast majority of teachers in state-funded schools are qualified and we expect that to continue”.

The full letter can be read here: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Education/GrahamStuart-ESCschoolplaces.pdf


OFSTED highlights concerns about pupils missing out on education

OFSTED has published a report: ‘Pupils missing out on education’. It finds that too many local authorities do not know how much education some pupils, such as excluded children and those with mental and physical health needs (who do not attend school in the usual way) receive.

It concludes that:

–          Some local authorities are failing to properly arrange and monitor the effectiveness of education for children directly in their care

–          Only a third of local authorities surveyed kept a close eye on those children and gather information and analyse it centrally.

The report provides a number of recommendations for local authorities and schools. It says that they should:

–          establish a central record of children not accessing full-time education, including those who are accessing alternative provision full-time away from mainstream school

–          identify clear lines of accountability

–          share information across local authority boundaries and other agencies

–          ensure every child is on the school register, regardless of circumstances, unless parents and carers have decided to educate their children at home.

It also makes recommendations for schools saying they should:

–          stop unlawful exclusions

–          inform local authorities of any part-time education arrangements

–          respond quickly to any early signs of children and young people’s raised anxiety or dips in their progress, attendance or learning.


Changes to early entry GCSE – updated information

The DfE has provided further clarification around the changes to early entry GCSE. The updated page can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-early-entry-at-gcse


Early years apprenticeship bursary is doubled for first 200 successful applicants

The bursary for early years apprenticeship scheme has been doubled to £3,000 for the first 200 successful applicants. Recruitment for the scheme, which is intended to attract high quality candidates into the early years sector, began in September with a target to recruit 1,000 apprentices.

To be eligible for the scheme and funding, apprentices must fulfil a number of criteria, including that they:

–           have a minimum of Grade C maths and English at GCSE;

–          have been accepted for an apprenticeship position in a nursery, school nursery, or children’s centre that delivers early education places for two-year-olds;

–          will be undertaking the level 3 advanced apprenticeship in children and young people’s workforce to be eligible.

Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/early-years-apprenticeship-bursary-doubled-to-3000


Research and thinking

Centre Forum publish report on teachers’ professional development

The think tank Centre Forum has published a report on teacher CPD.

It concludes:

–       It is astonishing that there is currently no expectation that teachers undertake a structured programme of certified and accredited career long continuous professional development (CPD)

–       It is hard to justify much of the current CPD practice as either ‘continuous’, or ‘professional’ or even ‘developmental’

–       The best way to improve the quality of teaching is through teachers making a commitment to enhancing their pedagogical skills, understanding of learning and child development, and subject knowledge within a culture of continuous improvement.

–       Teachers should have more responsibility for their CPD, achieved through a number of approaches, including:

  • As a profession, signing up to the aim of developing its own system of post initial teacher training qualification, CPD obligations, and revalidation or recertification processes.
  • Each teacher should have an individual CPD plan, with schools satisfying themselves that this was in place but not expected to approve its contents
  • Teaching school alliances and others have an important role and should seek to foster learning communities of teachers across their network of schools.

Amongst its recommendations it suggests:

–       The remit of the Education Endowment Fund should be extended to include a wide-ranging responsibility for encouraging the evaluation, dissemination and application of research into classroom practice.

–       The government should encourage schools to pilot a system where teachers access a personal budget to fund their CPD costs and an allocation of time in which to undertake it.

To view the full report, please use this link: http://www.centreforum.org/assets/pubs/teacher-cpd-web.pdf


CBI published annual assessment of schools system

The Confederation of British Industry has published its annual assessment of the education system.

The CBI said that: “The government is headed in the right direction on ensuring that there is more rigour in the education system, but business needs more than this. Too many young people are failed by a system which is primarily focused on getting them through exams rather than nurturing and developing the whole person.”

It added that moving away from traditional league tables and proposing more technical qualifications was helpful but that changes were still required in the way schools are judged, empowered and governed. The CBI would: like to see Ofsted run broader assessments of school performance moving away from metric-only judgments towards a more rounded assessment of pupils through more narrative reporting. And we should be investing in school governance – backing Governors, training and supporting them better to challenge school leaders supportively, in the manner of the board of a company.”

The full report can be read here: http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/2473815/First_steps_end_of_year_report.pdf


Please Note: Forum Education Limited updates are intended to help colleagues keep up to date with national developments. Information is correct at time of writing and is offered in good faith. No liability is accepted for decisions made on the basis of the information given. Briefings are not intended to be exhaustive and some developments will not be included. Whilst we take due care to ensure weblinks are to reputable sites, we cannot be responsible for the content of external websites.



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