This week I highlight the NUT strike taking place on Tuesday next week with many schools in our Borough affected, news on the Competency Framework for Governors promised in the Education White Paper and the requirement for schools to collect data on immigrant children from the Autumn.
NUT strike on Tuesday forcing many schools to close in England and Wales
Members of the National Union of Teachers have voted to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday (5 July) in protest at cuts to school budgets as well as workload concerns. Support for the strike was high among those who voted, at about 92% supporting the move. But only about 50,000 votes were returned by the 210,000 members balloted, a turnout of just 24%.
The Department for Education (DfE) said the union’s reasons for holding a strike were unclear. It said: “It is disappointing the NUT has chosen to take unnecessary and damaging strike action, which less than a quarter of its members voted for. It is even more disappointing when we have offered and committed to formal talks between ministers and the unions to address their concerns about pay.”
The DfE has recently updated its Guidance on handling strike action in schools in relation to managing school meal options on a strike day.
Working group to develop a competency framework for governors
The DfE has provided further information about the competency framework for governance promised in March’s Education white paper. The National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, has convened a working group of experienced Chairs of Governors and one Clerk to support the production of the framework, which will set out the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for effective governance.
A first draft will be produced by early July and will be put out to consultation with stakeholders. It is the DfE’s intention that the final framework will be published in the Autumn term. The framework will be used as a basis from which to make recommendations about the content of the National College of Teaching and Leadership’s professional development programmes for Chairs and Clerks from September 2017. It will also be used to produce a national standard for governor induction training.
Schools must collect data on immigrant children from the Autumn
The Government is to start collecting data on how many children from immigrant families are being taught in England’s schools. The DfE has changed the information that will be collected from schools this Autumn to include details about pupils’ nationality and country of birth. The change in the census records will expand the current collection, which just records pupils’ ethnicity – i.e. black, white British, Asian, etc.
The information about pupils’ nationality will come in addition to a new measure also being introduced this Autumn, which will ask schools to assess how good at English are those pupils classed as “having English as an additional language”, on a five-point scale.
A DfE spokesperson said: “The department will collect data on pupils’ country of birth, nationality and level of English proficiency through the school census in line with the national population census. “The information will be used to help the DfE better understand how children with, for example, English as an additional language, perform in terms of broader learning.”