Friday Update – 3 October 2014

This week we highlight the DfE’s launch of a review of standards for Teaching Assistants, an Ofsted report on low level disruption in classrooms; the piloting of a new resource for Secondary School governing bodies about Science and Maths education and the release of Key Stage 1 Phonics results.

REVIEW OF STANDARDS FOR TEACHING ASSISTANTS
The review aims to replace the current set of standards with a clearer and more concise version which reflects the diversity of the existing schools system.

The review panel will aim to draw up standards which are unequivocal; clear and easy to understand; can be used to assess the performance of teaching assistants; steer the professional development of teaching assistants at all levels; inspire confidence in teaching assistants and ensure that schools use their skills and expertise to best effect and to focus primarily on the key elements of their professional relationship with teachers to ensure that all pupils attain the highest possible standards.

OFSTED REPORT ON LOW LEVEL DISRUPTION IN CLASSROOMS
Low-level disruptive behaviour in classrooms across the country is impeding children’s learning and damaging their life chances, according to an Ofsted report published on 25 September. The report found that pupils were potentially losing up to an hour of learning each day in English schools because of low-level disruption in the classroom – the equivalent of 38 days of teaching lost per year.

Ofsted found the impact of this to be greater in secondary schools than primary schools.

SCIENCE AND MATHS QUESTIONS FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL GOVERNORS
Last  academic year, the Wellcome Trust launched a new resource for secondary school governing bodies about Science and Maths education. Questions for Governors is a tool to help governors better understand Science and Maths teaching in their school, by facilitating discussions with the Headteacher and, where appropriate, other school staff. Each question comes with background evidence, benchmarking data, and ideas for improvement.

The National Governors Association is piloting the resource on behalf of the Wellcome Trust to help further develop and improve the Questions.

KEY STAGE 1 PHONICS RESULTS
The Department for Education released the figures for Key Stage 1 (KS1) phonics results on 25 September, demonstrating a continued positive trend in the number of pupils achieving the expected standard. By the end of Year 2, 88% of pupils had achieved phonics proficiency, a 3% increase since 2013. Children with special educational needs had also shown a marked improvement in their scores, with 61% achieving the expected standard by the end of Year 2; an increase of 6% on the previous year.