Friday Update – 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas to all Governors and a Happy New Year

This final update in 2014 highlights Statutory Guidance on the new School Admissions Code which came into force today, the new school food standards that become mandatory from January 2015, the announcement of new measures to help schools instill character in pupils and findings from a research study carried out by the Literacy Trust suggesting boys are held back by their reluctance to write outside of school.

SCHOOL ADMISSIONS CODE STATUTORY GUIDANCE
As reported in previous Updates the new Code comes into force today and, unless otherwise stated, applies with immediate effect. It will apply to admission arrangements determined in 2015 for admission in school year 2016/17 and any future years.

Schools must follow this Statutory Guidance  when carrying out duties relating to school admissions.  All admission authorities must determine (i.e. formally agree) admission arrangements every year, even if they have not changed from previous years and a consultation has not been required.

Admission authorities must determine admission arrangements for entry in September 2016 by 15 April 2015 and for all subsequent years, by 28 February in the determination year.

MANDATORY NEW SCHOOL FOOD STANDARDS FROM JANUARY 2015
Back in June we reported on the launch of new food standards which become mandatory from January 2015 in all maintained schools, and academies that opened before 2010 or after June 2014. Academies set up between these dates should use the national school food standards as a guide.

The Department for Education (DfE) has produced guidance for governing bodies on the new school standards. This states:

The Governing body should ensure that it receives regular reports on compliance with the school food standards as well as take-up of school lunches and financial aspects of school food provision”.

Perhaps this could form part of the Spring term Headteacher’s Report or be provided as a separate report to the Governing body.

MEASURES ANNOUNCED TO HELP SCHOOLS INSTILL CHARACTER IN PUPILS
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced a package of measures to help schools instill character in pupils. Eight projects will be given almost £5 million over the next 2 years to support the development of character in schools using the values and expertise of the armed services to help young people do better at school and develop their character, including values such as self-confidence, respect and leadership.

Schools that develop and build character, resilience and grit in their pupils will also be recognised for the first time through the new character awards – so that more schools focus on developing well rounded pupils prepared for life in modern Britain.

Applicants will be judged on their approaches and practices to develop character by a panel of education experts, with awards including:

  • £15,000 each for up to 27 schools in all 9 regions of the country, to be announced in February;
  • A further national prize of £20,000 to 1 winner, to be announced at an awards ceremony in March.

RESEARCH STUDY SUGGESTS BOYS ARE HELD BACK BY THEIR RELUCTANCE TO WRITE OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL
Research reported by the BBC suggests that boys’ reluctance to write outside school could be holding them back. The research, carried out by the National Literacy Trust, found a third of boys never or rarely write for fun outside class, compared with 18% of girls. It also found that a significant number of boys appeared to think that writing is not “cool”.

The Trust cites evidence that those who write for fun outside school are four times more likely to be writing above the expected level at the end of primary school than those who do not.