The Education Secretary defends controversial plans to convert every school into an academy – Friday 29 April 2016

Concerns around the implications of the Education White Paper continue to make headlines and this week I highlight the Education Secretary’s appearance in front of the Education Select Committee, confirmation that the DfE will be using the results from schools that sat the Key Stage 1 spelling, punctuation and grammar test early to set expected standards for next year and the implications of new nursery staff being required to have achieved a good GCSE in English and Maths.

MPs GRILL EDUCATION SECRETARY OVER ACADEMY PLANS
Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary appeared in front of the Commons Education Select Committee on Wednesday for the first time since the publication of her department’s White Paper Education, Excellence, Everywhere. Just hours after the Prime Minister had ruled out any possible U-turn over plans to convert every school into an academy, Ms Morgan spelled out her intention to see through the controversial proposals. Responding to questions, the Education Secretary said “it is absolutely the government’s commitment to have all schools as academies by 2022”.

The hearing can be watched on Parliament TV, as well as the House of Commons oral questions.

DITCHED PRIMARY SATS WILL STILL SET STANDARDS
Schools Week has reported that primary schools that carried out the now-defunct Key Stage 1 test must still provide their results to the Government so they can be used to set expected standards. The DfE has indicated there would be “sufficient data” from those who sat the test early to set standards, despite tens of thousands of pupils, parents and teachers potentially having seen the answers. Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said there was “no possible way” schools could have confidence in any standard that emerged.

NEW NURSERY STAFF TO HAVE GOOD GCSE GRADES IN ENGLISH AND MATHS
Starting in September, all Level 3 Early Years Educators (EYEs) will be required to have C grades or above in GCSE English and Maths before being able to enter the childcare sector. Alternative equivalent qualifications such as functional skills qualifications will no longer be acceptable.

Currently, there is a limit to how many children each member of staff is allowed to look after and after September, staff who do not have the requisite grade Cs in GCSE Maths and English will still be able to work in nurseries, but will not count towards the ratios.

According to the Save our Early Years campaign employers are already feeling the recruitment crisis and there are worries that this will be intensified as the new requirement to deliver 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year olds comes into effect from next year.