Friday Update – 11 December 2015

This week I’m covering a range of subjects – an update to the statutory guidance on supporting pupils at school with medical conditions, publication of the 2015 phonics screening check and assessments at Key Stage 1 and 2, amendments to the Education and Adoption Bill to include academies and free schools, an initiative to improve better mental health provision in schools and new research into looked after children (LAC).

UPDATED STATUTORY GUIDANCE ON SUPPORTING PUPILS AT SCHOOL WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS
The Government has updated the document including clarifying the distinction between statutory and non-statutory guidance and adding references to the SEND code of practice.

PUBLICATION OF THE 2015 PHONICS, KEY STAGE 1 AND KEY STAGE 2 ASSESSMENTS
This week saw the Department for Education publish provisional information on the 2015 phonics screening check and assessments at Key Stage 1 as well as updated information on the national curriculum assessments at Key Stage 2, including breakdowns by pupil characteristics.

EDUCATION AND ADOPTION BILL UPDATE REGARDING ‘COASTING SCHOOLS’
Earlier this week, the government confirmed that the Education and Adoption Bill, which is currently passing through the House of Lords, will be amended to include academies and free schools under the same “coasting legislation” as maintained schools.

INVESTING IN BETTER MENTAL HEALTH PROVISION IN SCHOOLS
Last week the Secretary of State for Education, announced plans to establish closer co-operation between schools and the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The initiative, which will test a ‘named single point of contact’, will operate in 22 pilot areas across the country (including Sunderland) and involve 255 schools. It is intended to improve joint working and provide a more consistent service to children and young people.

NEW RESEARCH INTO LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN (LAC)
New research suggests children in long term foster families make better progress at school compared to those ‘in need’ i.e. those from troubled families who remain with their birth family. The research also found that:

  • each additional change of care placement after age 11 is associated with one third of a grade less at GCSE
  • young people in care who changed school in Years 10 or 11 scored over five grades less than those who did not
  • for every 5% of possible school sessions missed due to unauthorised school absences, young people in care scored over two grades less at GCSE
  • for every additional day of school missed due to fixed term exclusions, young people in care scored one sixth of a grade less at GCSE

Schools receive £1,900 of pupil premium funding for each looked after child (LAC). Do you know how many children at your school are LAC and what their attendance is like, have you asked what the impact of this funding is having on the progress of these children and if there are differences between these pupils and their peers, what is being done to support them?