Monthly Archives: March 2015

Friday Update – 27 March 2015

This week I provide an update on the Deregulation Bill and how it will impact on schools, highlight the publication of updated statutory guidance for all schools on Keeping Children Safe in Education, statutory guidance for secondary schools on providing Careers Guidance and non-statutory guidance on Mental Health and Behaviour and improving counselling services in schools.

UPDATE ON THE DEREGULATION BILL
The Deregulation Bill was designed to lessen the burden of regulation in many areas of public life and is scheduled to receive Royal Assent before the dissolution of Parliament. The Bill contains a clause and a schedule on schools and these remove several powers and requirements as follows:

  • the power of the Secretary of State for Education to make regulations requiring maintained schools or local authorities to set performance targets;
  • the requirement for governing bodies to establish pupil behaviour principles, on which the Headteacher has had to base the school’s behaviour policy;
  • the requirement of schools to have home-school agreements;
  • the requirement on schools to produce paper copies of Ofsted reports, denominational inspection reports or reports by HMCI following certain types of complaint against a school.  Schools must still inform parents about the outcome of inspections.

UPDATED VERSION OF KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION
Yesterday the Department for Education issued an updated version of the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’.  The document contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which they must comply.  It should be read alongside statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’ which applies to all the schools, and departmental advice ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused 2015- Advice for practitioners’.

Governing bodies should ensure all staff in schools read at least part one of this guidance and I would anticipate the LA’s Schools HR Team will provide an update in due course.

STATUTORY GUIDANCE ON CAREERS GUIDANCE PROVIDED BY SCHOOLS FOR YEAR 8 TO YEAR 13 PUPILS
This statutory guidance outlines why schools (and local authorities that maintain pupil referral units) must secure independent careers guidance for young people.  What they must do to comply with their legal responsibilities in this area and the role of the Governing body and Headteacher in shaping the guidance and support offered by the school.

NON-STATUTORY MENTAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOUR GUIDANCE
The DfE has recently published non-statutory advice clarifying the responsibility of schools in supporting children and young people whose behaviour may be related to an unmet mental health need. Alongside this guidance the DfE has also published advice on how to improve counselling services in primary and secondary schools. It sets out the Government’s expectation that over time it would expect to see all schools providing access to counselling services and recognises that effective counselling is part of a whole school approach to mental health and well-being.

Friday Update – 20 March 2015

This week I highlight additional Government funding to recruit highly skilled governors, report on the Government’s commitment to PHSE provision in schools and the publication of the Government’s response to it its consultation on proposals to establish a College of Teaching and a professional development programme for teachers.

£1 MILLION TO HELP SCHOOLS RECRUIT HIGH CALIBRE GOVERNORS
Schools Minister Lord Nash announced on 18 March that more than £1 million would be provided to help schools across England recruit highly skilled governors. The funding provided by the Department for Education (DfE) will support a new partnership between SGOSS – Governors for Schools and the Education and Employers Taskforce to recruit and place more high calibre governors in schools.

An online tool will be developed to help more schools search for suitable volunteers and more bespoke support will be available to the schools that find it the hardest to recruit the experienced governors they need.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR PSHE PROVISION
In a speech to the Bright Blue foundation on 10 March, the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP, reiterated the government’s commitment to more robust and comprehensive Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) provisions in schools. In particular, she outlined her concern for young peoples’ responses and reactions to offensive digital content which had put pressure on the government to act.

Her speech was in response to recent criticism that the government is taking PSHE too far and proposing to teach young people about sex and consent at too young an age. Defending the government position, Nicky Morgan outlined that ‘a good PSHE education should cover all of the skills and knowledge young people need to manage their lives, stay safe, make the right decisions, and thrive as individuals and members of modern society’.

CONSULTATION OUTCOME ON PROPOSALS TO ESTABLISH A COLLEGE OF TEACHING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR TEACHERS
From December 2014 to February 2015 the Government sought views on proposals to establish a new, independent professional body for teaching (a College of Teaching); and raising the quality of teachers’ professional development by using teaching schools to design and deliver programmes that were evidence based and had an impact on improving teaching practice. The evidence base would be accessible in formats that teachers could apply to their own practice through a new online professional development portal.

The outcome document published today provides a summary of the responses received to the consultation, and of the discussions that took place in various groups of teachers, Headteachers and their representatives. It also outlines the steps that Government proposes to take in response to what it heard during the consultation.

Friday Update – 13 March 2015

This week I highlight proposals that will require new nursery and pre-school staff to undertake paediatric first aid, the launch of a sports coach website for primary schools, the announcement of members of the Commission on assessment without levels and new Department for Education non-statutory advice on basic rules of procurement which aim to ensure that public funds are spent openly and fairly.

New nursery and pre-school staff will be required to undertake paediatric first aid for the first time
New Government proposals will mean newly qualified staff with a childcare level 2 and 3 qualification must have an emergency paediatric first aid or full paediatric first aid certificate. The announcement follows a review by the Department for Education (DfE), carried out in response to a petition by Joanne and Dan Thompson, the parents of Millie Thompson, who tragically passed away following a choking incident at her nursery in October 2012.

The training proposals will be subject to a full consultation during the next Parliamentary session. The proposals are expected to come into effect by September 2016 and will cover all early years settings except childminders.

New sports coach website launched for primary schools
A new website was launched this week to help primary schools recruit and develop sports coaches using more than £450 million of funding set up to secure an Olympic legacy. The Coaching in Schools Portal, unveiled by Sports Coach UK, will provide advice for Headteachers on how to recruit, develop and use coaches effectively using the government funding. To coincide with the launch, Sport England has produced some short films to illustrate how schools can use the funding.

Members of new Commission on assessment without levels announced
The DfE has recently established the membership of the Commission on assessment without levels. The Commission will support primary and secondary schools to implement new assessment systems following the removal of levels. It will identify and share best practice in assessment with schools across the country and ensure they have information to make informed choices about effective assessment systems.

Effective Buying for your School
The DfE has updated its non-statutory guidance on buying practice in schools to reflect new public contracting regulations. You may want to receive and note this document in your Finance Committees and pass on the link to your School Business Managers.

Friday Update – 6 March 2015

This week I highlight new DfE non-statutory advice on the transition to the 0-25 SEND system and plans to improve reading standards in primary schools

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION ADVICE ON THE TRANSITION TO THE NEW 0 TO 25 SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY SYSTEM
Non-statutory Departmental advice has been produced by the Department for Education to help recipients understand their obligations and duties in relation to the Children and Families Act 2014 (Transitional and Saving Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2015. Section 8 is specifically intended for schools.

PLANS TO IMPROVE READING STANDARDS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
A new action plan  to help improve reading standards in primary schools, including new funding for book clubs, has been announced by School Reform Minister Nick Gibb to mark World Book Day.

‘Reading the next steps’ outlines new measures, including:

  • a new programme to support up to 200 primary schools, where reading attainment at key stage 2 is currently low, to set up book clubs and promote library membership, to inspire thousands more pupils to develop a love of literature;
  •  urging all primary schools to arrange library membership for all their year 3 pupils (age 7 to 8);
  • boosting the promotion of poetry in schools by funding new resources to help primary teachers to introduce poetry recitation to their pupils at an early age, as well as funding a further year’s extension of the national poetry recitation competition, Poetry by Heart.