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.

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 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.

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.

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.