Friday Update – 4 July 2014

This week we highlight the North Tyneside Learning Trust’s new Maths hub, the report on the London Schools Challenge, the extra funding made available to increase the number of PE specialist in Primary schools and what the Government’s plans are to improve Post 16 Literacy and Numeracy.

NEW MATHS HUB FOR THE NORTH TYNESIDE LEARNING TRUST 

The Education Minister Elizabeth Truss, today confirmed North Tyneside Learning Trust as one of the 32 schools and academy trusts which will lead new maths hubs across England and provide a model for schools in their area. The scheme is backed by £11 million funding from the Department for Education and will be accessible to all schools.

The hubs will implement the Asian-style mastery approach to maths which has achieved world-leading success – with children in these jurisdictions often around 2 years ahead of English children by age 15.  The programme will be developed with academics from Shanghai Normal University and England’s National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Maths (NCETM). Later this year, 50 teachers from Shanghai will be embedded in the hubs to teach pupils and run masterclasses for other teachers.

NORTH EAST LEP SCHOOLS CHALLENGE BID

This month the Government is expected to announce how it will hand out billions of pounds in local growth monies to the English regions, including deciding on the £760m North East Local Enterprise Partnership bid which includes a £30m School Improvement fund, an initiative based on the Lodon Schools’ Challenge. A report published this week by Centre Forum, a London-based think tank, examines the features behind the success of the London Challenge and looks at nine case studies of emerging challenges around the country, including the North East, and what these can learn from London. The report uses the new Progress 8 measure to reveal that secondary schools in London are adding at least half a grade more progress in each subject than schools across the lowest performing regions of England.

FUNDING TO DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF PE SPECIALIST IN PRIMARIES

The Department for Education has said specialist staff are vital to ensure children develop “a sporting habit for life” and funding worth £360,000 is going to be put towards training primary teachers with a specialism in PE. A pilot training programme was launched last year, with the first cohort of 120 PE specialists due to be working in primary schools from this autumn. It is hoped 240 primary PE specialists will take up posts by September 2015.

IMPROVING POST 16 NUMERACY AND LITERACY

Currently 40% of pupils nationally do not achieve GCSE grades A* to C in English and Maths by age 16 and 90% of those who don’t reach this by 16 don’t achieve it by age 19 either. In order to address this problem the Government has this week published plans to strengthen English and Maths in post-16 education and increase the uptake of reformed GCSEs in these subjects. From August 2014 students who haven’t achieved a good pass in English and/or Maths GCSE by age 16 must continue to work towards achieving these qualifications or an approved interim qualification as a ‘stepping stone’ towards GCSE as a condition of student places being funded.