Friday Update – 16 January 2015

This week we highlight publication of the updated version of the Governors’ Handbook, the opening of the window for applying for a new DfE Character Award and confirmation that Level 1 and 2 Certificates (IGCSEs) will no longer be included in School Performance tables.

The Department for Education and the National College for Teaching and Leadership has today issued an updated version of the Governors’ Handbook. Full details of the changes are outlined in Annex A and include information on:

  • A more detailed explanation of what it means for Governors to play a strategic role (Pages 9-10, Section 1, Point 1.3);
  • Clearer expectations around Governors’ school visits (Page 16, Section 1, Point 1.4.4);
  • Updated Ofsted Inspection Criteria to judge the effectiveness of school governance (Pages 19-20, Section 1, Point 1.7.1);
  • An updated section on the National Curriculum (Page 50, Section 3, Point 3.1).

As reported in the 19 December 2014 Update, the Department for Education has launched its new Character Awards. A recent DfE press release has confirmed schools can submit an online application from now until Friday 30 January 2015 and the winners will be announced at the end of February/beginning of March.

To enter you should be able to prove your programme develops character traits, attributes and behaviours that underpin success in school and work, including:

  • perseverance, resilience and grit
  • confidence and optimism
  • motivation, drive and ambition
  • neighbourliness and community spirit
  • tolerance and respect
  •  honesty, integrity and dignity
  • conscientiousness, curiosity and focus

All primary and secondary schools, including academies and special schools can apply as well as pupil referral units. Schools and/or organisations can apply in partnership but applicants must state a lead applicant who will be awarded the full prize.

There will be up to 3 winners selected from all applicants within each region (North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West) and awarded £15,000. From amongst the regional winners, 1 national prize winner will be chosen and awarded an additional prize of £20,000.

The Minister of State for School Reform, Nick Gibb, has today confirmed that academic level 1/2 certificates (sometimes known as IGCSEs) will no longer be included in school performance tables. Having been counted in performance tables from June 2010, the Department for Education announced in July last year that with the introduction of reformed GCSEs in Maths and English in 2015 the certificates in these subjects would not be included in the 2017 performance tables.

The Department for Education having worked closely with exam boards and Ofqual to see if these alternative qualifications could also be reformed to ensure they are as rigorous as the new GCSEs has today confirmed this hasn’t been possible. Accordingly they will only be included in performance tables until the reformed GCSE in each subject is first examined and counted.