Friday update – 5 September 2014

Welcome back after the summer break. This week we highlight new Ofsted guidance on school inspections, a consultation on changes to the School Admissions Code, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the school exclusion trial at finding alternative provision for excluded pupils and information on national curriculum and assessment from this September.

NEW OFSTED GUIDANCE ON SCHOOL INSPECTIONS

In July, Ofsted revised its guidance on school inspections by combining all its guidance documents, including subsidiary guidance, into just three documents: The framework for school inspection; the School inspection handbook; and Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies. Although the content is largely rearranged, the revision does include some updates and substantive amendments, with key changes including:

  • a greater emphasis on actively promoting British values
  • advice for inspectors about judging how well schools track progress, following the removal of National Curriculum levels
  • specific reference to the governing board ensuring strategic direction through long-term planning, such as succession planning
  • schools with early years or sixth form provision will now receive separate numerical grades for these aspects of provision
  • inspectors are explicitly advised not to grade the quality of teaching and learning when observing lessons and not grade the overall quality of the lesson
  • inspectors will now look at how effective a school’s strategy for careers provision is and the impact it has on pupils’ next steps

CONSULTATION ON PROPOSAL TO REVISE THE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS CODE

On 22 July the Department for Education (DFE) launched a consultation on proposals to revise the School Admissions Code. The DfE has indicated its aim is to improve the fair and open allocation of places in maintained schools and academies, and to support social mobility by allowing admission authorities to give priority for school places to disadvantaged children.

It proposes making two main changes which would allow:

  • all state-funded schools to give priority in their admission arrangements to children eligible for pupil premium or service premium funding
  • admission authorities of primary schools to give priority in their admission arrangements to children eligible for the early years pupil premium, pupil premium or service premium who attend a nursery which is part of the school.

The results of the consultation and the Department’s response will be published on the GOV.UK website by the end of 2014.

EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SCHOOL EXCLUSION TRIAL

The School Exclusion Trial has tested the benefits of schools having greater responsibility for meeting the needs of permanently excluded pupils and those at risk of permanent exclusion. This included schools having more responsibility for commissioning Alternative Provision (AP), and local authorities (LAs) passing on funding to schools for this purpose.  The trial started in autumn 2011 (with changes being implemented at different times since then) and ended in August 2014 with volunteer schools drawn from 11 LAs.

The evaluation assesses the issues emerging from the implementation of the trial and the impact it has had on pupils, schools, LAs and AP providers.

INFORMATION ON NATIONAL CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT FROM SEPTEMBER 2014

The Department for Education has released information for schools on the new national curriculum and assessment process from this September.  It includes information on a range of resources available to schools to support them implementing the new curriculum as well as summarising the key changes to curriculum tests and assessments.