Friday Update – 27 June 2014

This week continues with the issue of the promotion of British values with a new DfE Consultation on new standards for independent schools and academies which will come into force from September this year, information on new Statutory guidance for supporting pupils with medical conditions, and a new consultation on providing Early Years Pupil Premium funding.

1.     NEW POWERS TO INTERVENE IN SCHOOLS THAT FAIL TO PROMOTE BRITISH VALUES?

Independent schools, including academies and free schools, are already required to encourage pupils to respect British values through the Independent School Standards.  However this new consultation proposes to replace the existing standards with new standards which, if adopted, will include:

  • the introduction of a new standard on leadership and management to enable more effective action to be taken where leadership needs to be improved or replaced;
  • strengthening the quality of education standards;
  • strengthening the standards on pupil welfare to improve safeguarding;
  • strengthening the standards on spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils to help combat extremism;
  • technical amendments relating to the suitability of staff and proprietors.

The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy (values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs) and this definition has been used in the Independent School Standards since January 2013 and remains the same in the new standards.

It is expected these strengthened regulations will take effect in September 2014 and will sit alongside the requirements of the Equalities Act, which also apply to all types of school.  It will also introduce a new requirement for schools to publish their inspection reports on their websites.

Currently there is no similar standard applied to local authority maintained schools.  Ofsted will introduce an equivalent expectation on maintained schools through changes to the Ofsted framework later this year. The Department for Education’s governors’ handbook will reflect the new advice and highlight governors’ role in setting and securing an appropriate ethos, and monitoring practice in the school.

2.     SUPPORTING PUPILS AT SCHOOL WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS

On 1 September 2014 a new duty will come into force for governing bodies to make arrangements to support pupils at school with medical conditions.  Proposed statutory guidance has been published in advance which is intended to help governing bodies meet their legal responsibilities and sets out the arrangements they will be expected to make, based on good practice. The aim is to ensure that all children with medical conditions, in terms of both physical and mental health, are properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential.

3.     CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED EARLY YEARS PUPIL PREMIUM FUNDING

The Department for Education is currently consulting on the introduction of an Early Years Pupil Premium for all disadvantaged three and four year olds from April 2015, and on moving to participation funding for the early education entitlement for two-year-olds from 2015-16.

The aim of the Early Years Pupil Premium is to close the gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers by providing funding to early years providers to help them raise the quality of their provision. It will complement the Government-funded early education entitlement by providing nurseries, schools, and other providers with up to an additional £300 a year for each eligible child.