1. Recommendation for mandatory training for Governors
You can’t fail to have noticed the recent news about investigations into alleged extremism in Birmingham schools as a result of an anonymous letter, known as ‘Trojan Horse’. This week Ofsted published inspection reports into 21 schools in Birmingham, and in addition, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) conducted its own separate investigations into two of the Academy Trusts, which were published on the same day. Both the Ofsted and EFA reports highlighted instances of poor governance. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) wrote to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, setting out his key findings from the 21 inspections, including that in some of the schools there was evidence of governors exerting “inappropriate influence on policy and the day-to-day running” and forcing their personal views onto the school and school staff. Sir Michael has put forward several recommendations as a result of the inspections; in relation to governance, he advised the government to give serious consideration to mandatory training for all governors; the introduction of professional governors where governance is judged to be weak and a requirement that all schools to published a register of governors’ interests In light of the reports, both Michael Gove and David Cameron have called for schools to promote ‘British values,’ including democracy, mutual respect, and tolerance.
2. New money for LAs to to support families with SEND
The DfE has announced that councils are to receive a share of £45 million to help prepare for the reforms to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support. The additional funds are intended to help councils give young people and parents a greater say over their personalised care and assistance. It will assist in putting into place a new birth-to-25 system for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The DfE has also published the final version of the new SEN code of practice. The new code sets out in one place the legal requirements that councils, schools and other organisations that support children and young people with SEND must follow.
3. Ofsted introduces new inspection regime for teacher training
Ofsted has announced that from Monday 9 June there will be a new two-stage process for the inspection of initial teacher training. Ofsted says inspectors will check on the quality of training and the trainees’ teaching in the summer term, which will then be followed by a second check in the autumn term, when Ofsted inspectors will see new teachers implement what they have learned in the classroom. New approach to teacher training inspection from next week, Ofsted, 3 June 2014.