Weekly strategic round-up: 11th October

Our weekly round-up includes news on the SEN consultation, a profile of new shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, and links to interesting research published by the Varkey Gems foundation.

Announcements & key developments

–          Draft new special educational needs (SEN) code of practice, associated regulations and transitional arrangements.

The Department for Education and Department of Health have launched a consultation on a draft new 0-25 special educational needs (SEN) Code of Practice and associated draft regulations, which are due to be come into force in September 2014 (subject to royal assent of the Children and Families Bill). The Children and Families bill proposes replacing SEN statements (for schools) and Learning Difficulty Assessment (for young people in further education and training) with a single 0-25 Education, Health and Care plans. The consultation also covers arrangements for transfer to these new plans. The consultation documents can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-0-to-25-special-educational-needs-sen-code-of-practice-draft-regulations .  Submissions must be made by 9th December.

The Children and families bill includes measures to:

“• give young people with special educational needs in further education and training aged 16-25 rights and protections comparable to those in school;

• require local authorities and local health services to plan and commission education, health and social care services jointly;

• require local authorities to publish in one place a clear and easy to understand ‘local offer’ of education, health and social care services to support children and young people with SEN and their families;

• require co-operation between local authorities and a wide range of partners, including schools, academies, colleges, other local authorities and services responsible for providing health and social care;

• require local authorities to consult children and young people with SEN and their parents in reviewing special educational provision and social care provision;

• introduce a more streamlined process for assessing the needs of those with more severe and complex needs, integrating education, health and care services and involving children, young people and their parents;

• replace statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments with a new 0-25 Education, Health and Care Plan, which will co-ordinate the support for children and young people and focus on desired outcomes including, as they get older, preparation for adulthood; and

• give parents and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan the right to a personal budget for their support. “

The Bill would place legal duties on local authorities, early education providers, schools, colleges, health bodies and those who work with them for identifying children and young people with SEN, assessing their needs and providing support both to them and their families. The detailed requirements of those legal duties are set out in the draft regulations and guidance on carrying out the duties in the Bill and regulations are given in a draft 0-25 Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

Subject to Parliament, the Bill will come into force from September 2014.


–          Tristram Hunt appointed shadow education secretary

On Monday it was announced that Tristram Hunt MP had been appointed shadow education secretary by leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband. Hunt replaces Stephen Twigg who had been in the role for two years. Here are some key facts about Tristram Hunt:

  • Elected MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central in May 2010
  • Attained a first class degree in history at Cambridge University.
  • Worked for Labour’s 1997 election campaign team before becoming Special Advisor to Science Minister Lord Sainsbury in government.
  • From 2000 – 2010 combined a post as lecturer of history at Queen Mary’s, University of London, with work as a history broadcaster.

Tristram has made speeches and written a number of articles on education issues, including on

SureStart centres (June 2013): “it would be a terrible mistake to dismantle the Sure Start system – one of the most effective ways of reducing inequality, poverty, obesity, and illiteracy. What we need are children’s centres that join up local services under one roof; genuine community hubs able to look at health problems, midwifery services, speech and language therapies, mental health, childcare, nursery education and drop-in playgroups. All new babies – Princes included – could be registered there so that even the most isolated parents become familiar with the support available to them. Such reforms alone would not solve the childcare costs crisis, which is a deep-seated and more complex issue. But it would be a start. And it might just help in the battle against another pressing problem facing our children: their happiness.”

Careers advice and post-16 learning (June 2013): “We all want as much academic achievement as possible in our schools; we all want that excellence and rigour, but we also need to be aware of different learning and career pathways…. We need careers services with strong links to employers, good local labour market intelligence, impartial advice on different routes and a robust system of accountability. We should not stifle innovation with over-prescription and bureaucracy, but we must not abdicate responsibility to provide clear and rigorous standards to drive performance.”

On the importance of governance and local accountability (October 2012): “Surely good school governance is about respecting local democracy and civic engagement. It is about having the right people round the table with the right composition of skills and a balance of capabilities, and providing effective strategic oversight, not day-to-day management….Good school governance is about conducting professional recruitment procedures, drawing on specialist expertise, and, where necessary, holding teachers to account in the interest of parents and pupils. …..They need professional induction training and professional clerking services. I take the points made about mandatory training and the costs involved, but we want that to become almost the norm, without it necessarily being mandatory. …..Instead of talking governors down and undermining their role in the school ecology, we should celebrate them as civic heroes.”

Tristram has stated that he is “not ideologically opposed to the academies programme” (October 2012)

Nick Pearce of leading think tank IPPR has written an article about Tristram Hunt’s appointment in which he states: “Labour should embrace the civic energy and innovation that many free schools and academies have brought with them into the education system” whilst also ensuring an insistence on local democratic accountability for schools.


–          New work experience guidance for colleges and six forms published

The DfE has published guidance to help ensure that ensure all students get the high-quality, relevant work experience needed for good jobs. The guidance, which follows the evaluation of a work experience pilot for 16 – 18 year olds, says each college and school sixth form should consider either appointing an existing member of staff as a specialist work experience co-ordinator, or recruiting one. The trials found that “co-ordinators raised the status of work experience in institutions, were a cost-effective way of ensuring work experience became a priority and were vital in developing relationships with employers so they offer placements”.

The guidance also says colleges and school sixth forms should:

  • “ensure that students who have completed work experience get some form of feedback from employers and also to provide employers with feedback to improve the quality of future placements
  • match students to placement opportunities – by looking at their existing skills, the qualifications they are taking and their possible      future career options – and then prepare them fully beforehand
  • be flexible in terms of timing and length of placements – they could be once a week throughout a term, longer block placements, or a      rotation of shorter placements at different employers so students can experience different aspects of the sector. This will depend on employers’ capacity and what the student needs to become work-ready”

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-guidance-on-work-experience-published


–          16 – 18 core Maths package announced

The Education minister, Liz Truss, has announced new core maths qualifications for 16 – 18 year olds. The courses will include topics such as statistics, probability, advanced calculation and modelling, and will develop students’ mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills. The qualifications will also count as the maths element of the new TechBacc (to be introduced from September 2014 to recognise high performance by students in vocational education). The DfE statement said “new core maths qualifications will suit students who achieve a B or C in GCSE maths – usually around 50% of pupils every year, the vast majority of whom currently drop the subject afterwards. It will also be available for those with an A* and A grade who are not taking A or AS level maths.” It said it will: “spend £20 million from 2014 to 2016 on a programme to support schools and colleges to develop teaching for the new courses.”

The government is currently consulting on introducing a new measure in the 16-19 performance tables showing what proportion of students at colleges and school sixth forms achieve level 3 maths qualifications (equivalent to AS/A level).

The full announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-maths-qualifications-to-boost-numbers-studying-maths-to-age-18



The Varkey Gems foundation have released the findings of their Global Teacher Status index. The survey considers public perceptions of the teaching and school leadership professions in 21 countries including the UK, Finland, Korea, Singapore and the USA.

Some of the key findings from the study included:

–          The average respect ranking for a teacher across the 21 countries was 7th out of 14 professions, indicative of a mid-way respect ranking for the profession.

–          There are significant contrasts between countries over the extent to which they would encourage younger generations to become teachers. While 50% of parents in China provide positive encouragement, only 8% do so in Israel.

–          Rather than raising teachers’ wages in the hope of producing higher learning outcomes, many have asked whether teacher pay should be subject to the achievement of their pupils. In all 21 countries more than 59% stated teachers ought to be paid according to the performance of their pupils. The average across countries was 75%.

–          In the UK, and in many European countries, more people support unions having more influence over pay and conditions than those that support them having less influence.

–          Heads in the UK have higher status amongst the public than their peers in other countries studied. Teachers in the UK have a higher than average status when compared with the other 21 countries studies.

The full report can be found at: https://www.varkeygemsfoundation.org/sites/default/files/documents/2013GlobalTeacherStatusIndex.pdf


Further Reading:

The Guardian professional network have this week published a number of interesting articles on CPD, including the opportunities and challenges around delivering school-led CPD: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/oct/07/professional-development-teaching-learning; and an article capturing a number of teachers’ experience of CPD in their schools: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/oct/07/cpd-diaries-teacher-insights-professional-development


Some MPs spent their first day back at work following the party conferences debating ‘school governance and school improvement’. The debate, led by Neil Carmichael MP, included discussions around the size of governing bodies, collaboration between schools and governor training. The full debate can be read here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131008/halltext/131008h0002.htm#13100822000002


The Economist highlights new research from the US investigating the effect teachers have on pupil performance. The article, whilst reinforcing the significant influence high quality teachers have on pupil outcomes, also highlights other interesting findings from the papers:

–          Pupil background (including family income) does not generally predict how teachers perform – dispelling the often suggested link between good teaching and better pupil circumstances.

–          Variability in teacher quality is more profound within schools than between schools

–          Across schools higher performing pupils were assigned to better teachers (exacerbating the achievement gap)

–          Unsurprisingly, exposure to better teachers leads to a greater chance of attending university and higher earnings in later life.

–          Good teachers also seem to reduce the odds of teenage pregnancy and raise participation in retirement savings.

The full article can be found here: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21587784-good-teachers-have-surprisingly-big-impact-their-pupils-future?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/knowledgeforearningssake


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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