Monthly Archives: November 2014

Friday Update – 28 November 2014

This week we have a jam packed update highlighting new guidance from the Department for Education on promoting British values, revisions to the 20 Key Questions for School Governing bodies,  a new campaign to encourage more foreign exchange trips, a series of free national careers roadshows for Governors and new guidance on the purchase, installation and maintenance of defibrillators in schools.

NEW DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION GUIDANCE ON PROMOTING BRITISH VALUES
The Department for Education issued a press release yesterday regarding new guidance on promoting British values in schools.

The guidance aims to help schools understand their responsibilities in this area. Until now schools have been required to ‘respect’ these values, but as a result of changes brought in earlier this year all schools must now have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so.

REVISED 20 KEY QUESTIONS FOR SCHOOL GOVERNING BODIES
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Education Governance and Leadership is holding its next meeting on 8 December 2014 in the Houses of Parliament. The discussion will be centred on Neil Carmichael MP’s new bill for school governor appointments which is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons in January 2015. His bill is designed to address the changing role of school governing boards, their greater autonomy and responsibilities.

The Group will also be considering an update to the 20 key questions for school governing bodies which has been updated by the National Governors’ Association and the Wellcome Trust as part of the new Framework for Governance: A flexible guide to strategic planning which is due to be launched soon.

NEW CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE MORE FOREIGN EXCHANGE TRIPS BETWEEN SCHOOLS
This week, the British Council has launched a new campaign designed to encourage school foreign exchange trips. Its aim is to allow more children to learn about foreign countries and gain vital language skills.  In conjunction with this the British Council has published a survey into the take-up of foreign exchange programmes. The findings reveal that only 39% of secondary schools currently run foreign exchange trips. This is despite the fact that, of all the foreign exchange students consulted in the survey, 62% outlined that the experience had made them pursue a language degree. Responses from the 450 schools taking part suggested that health and safety fears, and a reluctance to take pupils out of school in term time, were the main deterrents for schools considering running an exchange programme.

FREE NATIONAL CAREERS ROADSHOWS FOR GOVERNORS
The National Careers Service, in partnership with national charity Career Academies UK, is launching a series of six roadshows called Let’s Do Business across the UK in 2015.  The first event is scheduled for 15 January 2015 in Liverpool with  other venues to include Birmingham, Teesside, London and Manchester.  The events will provide an opportunity for Headteachers and Governors to meet with employers who are keen to engage with them and their students.

The roadshows will support schools to understand what opportunities are available to work with local and national businesses, as well as what services are offered by the National Careers Service and their contract partners. They will also hear from teachers and businesses who are already engaged through the Career Academy programme, about how an employer engagement programme can be incorporated into the curriculum and budget, and how it can be embedded within the school to support students across all year groups.

The Roadshows are free for governors to attend and for more information contact Karen Marriott, Career Academies UK, at karen.marriott@careeracademies.org.uk.

AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILATORS IN SCHOOLS
The Department for Education has announced it has negotiated a substantial discount for schools when buying defibrillators and published a new guide covering the purchase, installation and maintenance of them. Children die every week of sudden cardiac arrest, often due to previously undiagnosed heart conditions, and this scheme and guidance is intended to help prevent such tragic incidents by giving schools access to tools and information.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation supports the announcement and is also offering free cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training kits to all secondary schools.

Schools wishing to purchase a defibrillator through this programme are able to do so by contacting NHS Supply Chain by emailing medicaldevices@supplychain.nhs.uk or telephoning 0113 385 4858.

Friday Update – 21 November 2014

This week we have an update on the Great North Maths hub and highlight the announcement of increased pupil premium funding in primary schools for 2015/16 and new action from the Department for Education on supporting pupils’ mental health.

UPDATE ON THE GREAT NORTH MATHS HUB
Back in July the Learning Trust was confirmed as one of 32 schools and academy trusts leading new Maths hubs across England funded by the Department for Education, and co-ordinated by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

Two primary school teachers from Shanghai have now arrived in North Tyneside for a three week period teaching maths at Benton Dene Primary School. The exchange is part of a project to help English primary school teachers understand and implement some of the key elements of Shanghai maths teaching that have proved so effective in helping school pupils in Shanghai reach levels of attainment far ahead of their counterparts in England and the rest of the world.

INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR THE PUPIL PREMIUM IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS FOR 2015/16
Primary schools will receive £1,320 for every pupil who has been registered for free school meals at any time in the last six years.  Announcing the funding, Schools Minister David Laws said:

“We have already made significant progress towards closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. This additional funding will ensure teachers continue to have the resources they need to give all pupils the best possible start at school, regardless of their background.”

CHILDCARE AND EDUCATION MINISTER OUTLINES NEW ACTIONS TO SUPPORT PUPILS’ MENTAL HEALTH
On 20 November Childcare Education Minister Sam Gyimah indicated mental health was at the centre of a new vision for schools  as 1 in 10 children had a diagnosable mental health disorder, and the new plans aimed to help make sure young people got vital support when they needed it.

The Government will be working with the PSHE Association to help schools know how to teach pupils about mental health and banish the stigma which can leave young people with mental health problems feeling isolated.  Additionally, for the first time, it will set out a blueprint for schools to use when delivering their counselling services, which will be informed by young people and experts to make sure the advice will meet the needs of the people it is intended to support.

Friday Update – 14 November 2014

This week we highlight a new national campaign to encourage the study of STEM subjects, the announcement of the new Children’s Commissioner for England and a call for evidence on longer term changes to funding for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE THE STUDY OF STEM SUBJECTS
This week, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan helped launch the Your Life campaign a partnership between some of the country’s leading companies, entrepreneurs and government to encourage the study of STEM subjects. The three-year national drive aims to ‘inspire young people, especially girls, to study maths and physics as a gateway into wide-ranging careers whilst also triggering employers to recruit and retain this talent’.

The Your Life website has case studies, role models and myth busting around the practical application of STEM subjects in the workplace and a competition has also been launched as part of the campaign called Formula 100. The competition aims to encourage innovation and the inventors of the future and is open to 11 to 18 year olds and offers the chance for the best workplace inventions to become a reality.

NEXT CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER FOR ENGLAND
Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children (a national charity which works to support children, young people and families) has been appointed as the next Children’s Commissioner for England. She will take up her post on 1 March 2015 and will replace the current Children’s Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson, who has held the post since 2010.

CALL FOR EVIDENCE REGARDING LONGER TERM CHANGES TO FUNDING FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH SEND
In July, the Minister for Schools, David Laws, announced changes to the distribution of funding for mainstream schools within local authorities’ dedicated schools grant for next year to address some of the unfairness in the current allocations. He acknowledged that there wouldn’t be a completely fair education funding system until the distribution of funding for pupils with high-cost SEND was reformed, and explained that this would be a priority for reform during the next parliament.

The Department for Education has commissioned some research by Isos Partnership to help it move to a better basis for distributing this element of local authority funding in future. Isos is reviewing the available literature and data and will be conducting in depth fieldwork in 13 local authority areas including Newcastle. The research will focus on finding new and improved formula factors for distributing funds relating to SEND from national to local level and from local level to institutions.

The DfE is also inviting other interested parties to help it with its work and to provide answers to some other questions about how it can distribute SEN funding more fairly. The consultation is open until the end of February 2015 and if schools/Governing bodies would like to submit information and/or responses to the questions it can do so using the email address SENfunding.consultation@education.gsi.gov.uk or via post to: SEN Funding Call for Evidence, Department for Education, Infrastructure and Funding Directorate, Sanctuary Buildings (4th floor), Great Smith Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3BT.

Friday Update – 7 November 2014

This week we highlight the call for evidence with regard to the development of a new set of professional standards for Teaching Assistants, new Department for Education guidance on preventing and responding to bullying and confirmation of the proposed revisions to the School Admissions Code and Admissions Timetable.

DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW SET OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR TEACHING ASSISTANTS
As reported in the 3 October 2014 Friday Update, teaching professionals, unions, parents and others have been invited by the Department for Education to give their views as part of a nationwide review to create a new set of professional standards for teaching assistants.

The independent review will be supported by a panel of experts with a diverse range of expertise. To help the panel develop the new standards, a call for evidence has been made inviting headteachers, governors, teachers, teaching assistants, union representatives, local authorities, parents and other interested parties to submit their views. Responses will be accepted until 21 November 2014 and can be completed on line at http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations or by downloading a response form which should be completed and sent to: Teaching Assistant Standards Review (John Motley), Department for Education – Ground Floor, Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington, DL3 9BG.

The review is expected to report back to the Secretary of State for Education in Spring 2015.

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION ADVICE ON PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO BULLYING
Guidance has been produced to help schools prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall Behaviour policy. It outlines the Government’s approach to bullying, legal obligations and the powers schools have to tackle bullying, and the principles which underpin the most effective anti-bullying strategies in schools. It also lists further resources through which school staff can access specialist information on the specific issues that they face.

REVISIONS TO THE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS CODE
As Governors will remember we outlined the Government’s consultation on proposed revisions to the School Admissions Code in our 5 September 2014 Friday Update. The consultation closed on 29 September and the proposals were broadly welcomed as providing improvements and clarity to the current system of school admissions.

  • Priority for children eligible for the pupil or service premium – this change allows schools to give admission priority for all children attracting the pupil premium, the early years pupil premium and the service premium. There will be no requirement for admission authorities to include this priority in their admission arrangements. This will be an option open to schools, who may adopt it if they wish. Admission authorities can use this priority flexibly and do not have to give admission priority to every pupil premium recipient.
  • Priority for nursery children eligible for the early years pupil premium, pupil or service premium – this change allows admission authorities of primary schools which have a nursery to give priority in their admission arrangements to disadvantaged children who attend the nursery.
  • Changes to the Admissions Timetable – the prescribed period within which admission authorities may consult on their admission arrangements and the minimum length of consultation will be altered; and a number of deadlines relating to the determination and publication of admission arrangements will be brought forward.
  • Admission of summer born children – these changes will clarify the provisions around the admission of summer born children outside of their normal age group.

The revised Code was laid before Parliament in October 2014 and, subject to Approval, will come into force in December 2014.