8th November: Weekly strategic round-up

This week’s strategic round-up includes news on the expansion of Teaching Leaders, an overview of the education select committee’s report on partnership and co-operation, and a summary of research from NAHT and Teach First.

Announcements & developments:

GCSE maths, English and English literature – subject content and assessment objectives

Alongside changes to grading and assessment (see last week’s update – 1st November) new subject content and assessment objectives for GCSE maths, English and English literature, for teaching from September 2015, have now been published.

Maths: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcse-mathematics-subject-content-and-assessment-objectives

English & English literature: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcse-english-language-and-gcse-english-literature-new-content


Expansion of Teaching Leaders

The number of teachers participating on the ‘Teaching Leaders’ programme will more than double by 2015. The programme provides training for teachers who are working in challenging schools and have potential to become outstanding school leaders.  365 schools have so far benefited from the programme – which is government funded – and this is set to expand

The minister for schools said: “This new funding will allow them (Teaching Leaders participants) to work with schools outside our main cities ensuring that wherever a child goes to school and whatever their background they will receive the best possible education.”

The eligibility criteria for participating schools has changed in line with the new ‘Ever 6’ measure, and now is:

  • Ever 6 FSM (children who have been eligible for free school meals at any point over the last 6 years) of 50% or over
  • or Ever 6 FSM of 25% to 50% and fewer than 59.4% of these disadvantaged pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C GCSEs (including English and maths)
  • or fewer than 40% of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C GCSEs (including English and maths)



Education select committee report into school partnerships and co-operation

The education select committee has published the report of its inquiry into school partnerships and co-operation. It emphasises the importance of partnership and co-operation in a self-improving, school-led system, and draws some key conclusions and recommendations:

–          Schools should be able to adopt models of partnership and cooperation that suit their needs within a legislative and policy framework that is as non-prescriptive as possible.

–          While there are tensions between competition and collaboration, these are largely creative tensions and collaboration is growing in many forms within a competitive school system.

–          Definitive evidence of the impact of school partnership is lacking. Government should embed evaluations into future partnerships and collect systematic evidence of what works.

–          Much is needed to be done to provide richer and more easily accessible information to help schools identify partners and to make this an effective resource for schools.

–          It is regrettable that no one has yet devised a workable model of school accountability that incentivises school partnerships.

–          Government should widen the funding for collaboration beyond academy chains sponsorship to assist other partnerships, in particular using the Primary Chains Grant to help schools cover the cost of forming federations.

–          The Government should re-introduce targeted ‘seedcorn’ funding for sustainable Independent State School Partnerships.

–          Local Authorities have a key role to play in a school-led system. The committee recommends that Government set out clearly the role of local authorities in helping to broker school to school partnerships and acting as champions of all pupils and children in their region.

–          The government should set out how organisations in the middle tier will be held to account for strategic oversight of partnership working in all schools. The DfE and NCTL should identify NLES and Teaching Schools in areas where they are currently lacking and increase incentives for existing leaders to work in the areas of greatest need.

–          Academy chains will play an increasingly important part in a self-improving system. The committee recommends that Ofsted is provided with the powers it needs to inspect academy chains. The committee also recommends that procedures for schools to leave a chain by mutual consent are formalised and published. Government should also explain how an outstanding school would be able to leave a chain when this is against the wishes of chain management.

–          Convertor academies are expected to support other schools in return for their academy status and yet the evidence to us suggested that this is not happening. The committee recommends that the DfE urgently reviews its arrangements for monitoring the expectation that convertor academies support other schools.

The full report can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmeduc/269/269.pdf


Academies financial handbook:

An updated version of the academies handbook was published last week:



Conditions of the PE and sport grant:

The Department for Education has published guidance on what conditions schools are required to fulfil when in receipt of the PE and sport grant.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255448/PE_Sport_academies_conditions_of_grant.pdf


Latest research & thinking:

NAHT survey

A survey by the NAHT has found that many head teacher deliberately seek out the most challenging schools in order to make difference. 80% of those surveyed said that they would work in a ‘requires improvement’ school but a majority of those warned that the high risk associated with doing so would need to be ‘set off by significant incentives.’

The survey also found:

–          Heads are working long hours (an average of 60 hours per week)

–          80% said their work load is increasing

–          Heads take an average of 4.8 weeks holiday per year.

In order to encourage aspirant leaders to step up to headship, the union recommends:

–          “streamlining accountability to a few clear stable goals and giving heads time to turn around the most challenging schools;

–          reducing the constant stream of new initiatives so schools can focus on doing the essential things well;

–          respecting the work and expertise of the profession to rebuild confidence and innovation. “

The full report can be found here: http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/news-and-media/key-topics/pay-and-conditions/head-teachers-up-for-challenge-despite-risks-says-naht-survey/


Teach First report: ‘My Education’

Teach First and Pearson have this week launched a report called ‘My Education’ drawing together the views of more than 8,000 young people across the UK.

The report provides a unique insight into young people’s views on their education, including the importance they attach to high quality qualifications, work experience, being taught life skills and better careers advice.

Young people felt strongly that teachers should have more time to get to know their students so to help them reach their goals. 93% of young people said the top qualities of a teacher were passion for subject and an enjoyment of learning. 76% agreed that encouraging tougher discipline in schools would help students to achieve their goals.



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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