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.