This week I highlight guidance on the new primary school accountability system, proposed changes to the schools admissions process and the announcement of additional funding to help Local Authorities with the transition from SEN Statements to Education, Health and Care Plans.
NEW PRIMARY SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY GUIDANCE
This week the Department for Education (DfE) published guidance on the new primary school accountability system that will be implemented from 2016, including information on how a school’s progress scores will be measured and a new floor standard.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE SCHOOLS ADMISSIONS PROCESS
On Monday the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, announced there would be a public consultation on proposed changes to the schools admissions process. The Government intends to change the rules to:
- prevent objections to a school or local authority’s admissions arrangements from outside the local area;
- stop vexatious complaints against faith schools from secularist campaign groups;
- require admissions authorities to consult on their admission arrangements every 4 years rather than the current 7.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR THE TRANSITION FROM SEN STATEMENTS TO EDUCATION, HEALTH AND CARE PLANS
As many of you are already aware SEN Statements have been replaced by new Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND). There is a period of transition for the move from SEN Statements to EHCPs and it was announced today that Local Authorities will receive £35.8 million in implementation funding in 2016/17 (an increase of £4 million from last year) to recognise the additional duties placed on them as a result of the transition to EHCPs.
In addition, the Government is also pledging to fund this work for an additional year in 2017/18, to ensure the transition to the new system by April 2018.
This week I highlight the new website to help prevent extremism in children and young people, North Tyneside’s success with the publication of the latest GCSE performance data and the DfE’s first symposium on character education.
PREVENTING CHILDREN FROM EXTREMISM
Earlier this week saw the launch of a new website (Educate Against Hate) by the Department for Education, offering advice on preventing extremism for parents and teachers. Further measures were also announced to protect children in and out of school including:
- a significant escalation of Ofsted investigations into unregistered, illegal independent schools, following the closure of 3 unregistered schools in Birmingham before Christmas;
- a new tougher approach to prosecuting illegal unregistered schools, including publishing details of when the government will take forward prosecutions and a call to local authorities to identify any settings of concerns that Ofsted can follow through, with a commitment to strengthen closure powers;
- a consultation on registering children that go missing from school, improving information shared between schools and local authorities, to reduce the risk that children taken out of school go missing, following Ofsted inspections of schools in Tower Hamlets and Birmingham last year.
LATEST GCSE PERFORMANCE TABLES
The latest GCSE performance tables were published this week and whilst almost 65% of pupils in our region scored 5+A*-C grades at GCSE level, this was below the national average of 66.5% in the latest performance tables.
The great news is that the highest performing Local Authority area in the North East is North Tyneside, where 72% of our pupils achieved 5+ A*-C grades. We also topped the national average of 91% for 5+A*-G grades by 1.8 percentage points.
CHARACTER EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM
Yesterday the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan hosted the Department for Education’s first character symposium, discussing what excellent character education looks like. Listing traits as “those qualities that enhance us as people: persistence, the ability to work with others, to show humility in the joy of success and resilience in the face of failure. Character is about being self-aware, playing an active role within communities. It’s about selflessness and self-discipline as well as playing a full role in society.”
The DfE is currently building the evidence base to develop the best approaches and will look to the Character Awards as a gold standard as to what works in character education. An online digital platform will be provided where teachers can share best practice about character education, evaluate new ideas and find online professional development materials – as well as sharing their own data to build a proper evidence base.
In this week’s Update I highlight the new school efficiency metric tool, updated timeline guidance and the launch of a new mentoring campaign to support struggling teenagers.
NEW SCHOOL EFFICIENCY TOOL
The DfE has introduced a new metric tool to help mainstream schools understand whether they can improve their efficiency relative to other schools and you might want to consider whether you want to use this tool at your next Finance/Resources Committee meetings.
The metric provides schools with an indication of their efficiency, based on pupil attainment and the money used to achieve it, relative to statistically similar schools. This is intended to prompt schools to think about where they can become more efficient and how they could focus their resources to support measures to increase attainment.
The DfE has provided guidance for Headteachers and Governing bodies of maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units, to help understand and plan for the compulsory legal requirements schools must meet.
MENTORING CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT STRUGGLING TEENAGERS
The Government has announced the Chair of Capgemini UK and the Careers and Enterprise Company, has agreed to lead a major campaign to encourage business people and professionals to volunteer to act as mentors to young teenagers at risk of dropping out of education or achieving less than they could.
The new campaign will be led through the Careers and Enterprise Company, which was set up to give young people better access to access to high quality careers education, advice and guidance through more effective employer engagement with schools.
Welcome back after the Christmas break. In this week’s Update I highlight the consultation on revisions to statutory guidance on keeping children safe in education, amended guidance on behaviour and discipline, best practice advice on handling complaints and issues around parental responsibility, as well as the announcement of the new National Schools Commissioner.
CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED REVISIONS TO GUIDANCE ON KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION
On 22 December last year the Government issued a consultation on proposed revisions to its statutory guidance for schools on keeping children safe. The consultation document explains the proposed changes which include:
- In the “Summary” reinforcing the importance of Part One as a starting point for all staff in schools and colleges to read and understand;
- Increasing the focus on the importance of a child centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding;
- Emphasising further the role that individual staff play in safeguarding and the fact it is everyone’s responsibility;
- Highlighting the importance of early help and how it sits in the wider safeguarding system;
- Highlighting the importance of data sharing;
- Clarification on the role of the designated safeguarding lead and cover for the role;
- A new section to cover online safety;
- Aligning and clarifying training requirements for the designated safeguarding lead and staff;
- Updating the inspection section to reflect the Ofsted framework; and
- A new section covering children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The draft guidance has also been issued and if you would like to respond to the consultation, responses should be submitted by 22 February 2016, either online or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post (Michael Bell, Level 3, Bishopsgate House, DfE, Feethams, Darlington, DL1 5QE) using this response form.
AMENDED GUIDANCE ON BEHAVIOUR AND DISCIPLINE
The DfE has updated its advice for school leaders and school staff on developing a school behaviour policy to reflect that, from this month, schools will no longer have an obligation to use home-school agreements.
BEST PRACTICE ADVICE FOR SCHOOL COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES 2016
This new advice from the DfE provides best practice for schools in creating and revising complaints procedures and how to deal with complaints, replacing the School Complaints Toolkit 2014. Over the next couple of weeks, I will compare this with our existing Complaints Guidance and Procedures document and will bring a revised document to Governors this term if any changes need to be made.
The DfE has also produced advice on dealing with issues relating to parental responsibility which you might find helpful.
NEW NATIONAL SCHOOLS COMMISSIONER
A new National Schools Commissioner has been appointed by the Department for Education. Sir David Carter, currently the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for the South West, will succeed Frank Green who completes his term as Schools Commissioner at the end of January 2016.