This week’s round-up includes news on teaching schools, a new global learning programme for Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils, and a paper by the CBI on building the capacity and skills of school governing bodies.
Announcements & developments
Aim of 600 Teaching Schools by 2016
The Chief Executive of the NCTL has made a speech in which he set the aim of 600 teaching schools nationwide by 2016. He said that, by 2016, there would be: “an irrevocable shift from the centre to schools in 4 particular areas: initial teacher training, continuous professional development, school-to-school support and the recruitment and training of the next generation of school leaders.”
In terms of ITT he recognised that many schools had been very disappointed about the decision to “cap School Direct places, particularly in the most popular subjects – English, history and chemistry”. He said that the situation would be reviewed for next year, but that “as long as teacher training is funded by the government, there will have to be a limit on how many teachers can be trained every year.”
Whilst acknowledging the NCTL’s role in the development and deployment of NLEs and LLEs, he said: “in the future I would like this brokering role to be done regionally through teaching schools, local authorities, Ofsted and other outstanding schools.”
Departmental advice on school attendance
The DfE has provided non-statutory advice to help schools and local authorities maintain high standards of school attendance and plan the school day and year. It also provides information around interventions available to address pupils’ poor attendance and behaviour at school.
Global Learning Programme
The Department for International Development has launched the Global Learning Programme – a national network of schools focused on equipping teachers to deliver effective teaching and learning about development and global issues at Key Stages 2 and 3.
It aims to enable teachers to help pupils learn and think critically about issues such as poverty, inequality, and sustainability. The programme provides CPD, networking support, guidance and resources including frameworks to demonstrate how development education fits into the curriculum.
Schools can take part in the GLP either as Expert Centres of as Partner Schools.
An overview of the programme and benefits to schools, teachers and pupils can be found at: http://globaldimension.org.uk/glp
University Technical Colleges
The Daily Telegraph reports that it has learnt that the DfE may ‘block’ plans for “a new generation” of university technical colleges (UTCs).
It states that: “fears over a lack of demand and poor ratings from OFSTED” are behind the potential decision.
UTCs are academies for 14 to 19 year old pupils. They focus on providing technical education and work-related learning, combined with academic studies. There are currently 17 UTCs in operation, with a further 26 set to open in 2014 to 2015. Applications have been lodged for a further 15 more and these, according to the Telegraph, will receive “additional scrutiny”.
The full story can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10474257/Ministers-could-block-expansion-of-technical-schools.html
Select Committee begins inquiry into ‘underachievement in education by white working class children’
The Education Select Committee begins its inquiry with a session on Wednesday morning (4th). The Committee will explore with the first panel of witnesses the nature and extent of white working class underachievement, including how this should be measured, regional differences, variation of gender, and international comparisons
The second panel is intended to provide an opportunity to discuss the relative importance of factors that may contribute to white working class underachievement, including aspirations, attitudes, culture behaviour, home environment, genetics, economic deprivation, and the school system in general.
Research and Thinking
CBI report on school governance and leadership
The CBI has this week published a report on the context, as it sees it, for school leadership and governance. A particular focus was the capacity and strategic focus of governing bodies to ensure schools are held properly to account in a more autonomous system.
The report came to a number of conclusions, including:
– The main political parties still have different positions over the government’s policy of decentralisation and devolution of power to schools
– Decentralisation and delegation of controls to schools “is absolutely the right approach” and should be extended to all schools across the country.
– However, “government must put in place proper safeguards to maintain and improve standards, enhance confidence and trust and ensure new freedom are not misused or exploited.”
– A return to local authority control is not the answer. This would be a step backwards.
– Safeguards should include the promotion of excellence in our school leaders and encourage “assertive and confident” governing bodies.
– There must be: “a real movement on creating a culture of CPD in schools, in particular for current and future leaders. In this context , the idea of a Royal College of Teaching needs serious consideration”
– Governors must be focused on strategic issues, and these needs communicating to heads as well as governors.
– The composition of a governing body must revolve around skills and attributes and not be too large to impede decision making. Training and support for all governors should be available and encouraged.
– More needs to be done to attract individuals from business to be governors. A concerted effort is required, with a particular focus on attracting individuals to serve as primary school governors.
– The requirement for business to release their staff for governor duties should be extended to include academies and free schools.
The full report can be found here: http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/2487439/leading_the_way.pdf
John Howson on the teacher training landscape: “the challenge to recruitment may well be even tougher than last year”:
Professor John Howson has published a blog on the supply of trainee teachers. In it he reviews the 2014 allocation data for teacher preparation courses and makes a number of observations, including that higher education is still “massively involved in teacher preparation….however many universities find themselves with allocations that are not economic in terms of viable courses.”
He states that the number of places allocated at secondary is some 30% above what might have been allocated if the Teacher Supply Model had been followed more closely and envisages “a tussle between the School Direct route and higher education in many subjects as to which places will be filled if the government cannot attract enough potential applications into teaching.”
The full blog can be read here: http://johnohowson.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/hard-work-ahead-on
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