Monthly Archives: February 2017

Replacement for RAISEonline from this April – Friday 17 February 2017

This week I report on the DfE’s announcement that a new service will replace RAISEonline from April, the House of Commons Education Committee remains unconvinced about plans to increase selective education and the Local Government Association has called on the Government to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools.

Replacement for RAISEonline from April
The DfE has announced that a new service to replace RAISEonline (the web-based system used to disseminate school performance data to schools) will launch in April. The DfE led service will “provide schools and other existing user groups with detailed performance analysis to support local school improvement” and the data will also be securely available to other accredited suppliers.

Grammars ‘unnecessary distraction’, say MPs
On Monday, the House of Commons Education Committee heard evidence from a panel of academics and policy experts about plans to increase selective education and expressed their scepticism at the influence of grammar schools in improving attainment. Members of the panel were in broad agreement that the evidence that pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds did better in grammar schools was weak. The Committee called on the Government to publish a thorough assessment of the impact of introducing new grammar schools on the wider school system, given the potential consequences for school funding, the supply of teachers, and the overall health of schools in England from expanding selective education.

Neil Carmichael, the Committee’s Chair, says the focus on expanding grammars has become an “unnecessary distraction” from improving the school system. The DfE has argued that removing the ban on opening new grammars will be a way of making “more good school places available, to more parents, in more parts of the country”.

Renewed calls to make SRE compulsory in all schools
The Local Government Association (LGA) released a statement this week calling on the Government to make Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory in all schools. The LGA claims the lack of compulsory SRE in academies and free schools is “creating a ticking sexual health time bomb”, pointing to sharp increases in the number of people diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection on leaving school.

Last week, a group of cross-party MPs tabled several amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill going through parliament. The amendments included the requirement to make Relationships Education a statutory subject within the National Curriculum and to extend the duty to provide sex education (currently applied in maintained schools) to academies and free schools.

Increasing the number of good and outstanding secondary schools in the North is a top priority identified in a new report– Friday 10 February 2017

This week I highlight the publication of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s first report identifying key priorities to increase the impact and contribution of the North to the UK economy, a new teaching resource aimed at preventing abusive behaviours within young people’s relationships and a request from the DfE for feedback on its current financial benchmarking website.



Increasing attainment at 16 and the number of good and outstanding secondary schools identified as priorities in a new report
The first report published by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) says improving educational attainment at 16 should be a priority in the development of the Northern Powerhouse and suggests that eliminating the gap with the rest of the UK in the percentage of good and outstanding secondary schools can be done by building on the approach of the Ofsted annual report published last year. A not inconsiderable task given that education in the North East is currently underfunded compared to the rest of the country and the Government’s proposed new national funding formula would only benefit the North East by 0.0058% of the national share of funding.

The NPP is commissioning a group of leading employers and education experts to come together to draw on the latest evidence and thinking, producing reports during this year making specific recommendations for actions which can be pursued in the short, medium and long term to drive change.

Disrespect NoBody Campaign publishes new teaching resources for PSHE
A new teaching resource has been developed by the PSHE Association with the Home Office and Government Equalities Office to support the Disrespect NoBody campaign. The campaign builds on the Government’s previous This is Abuse campaign, and is aimed at preventing abusive behaviours within relationships.

The discussion guides are aimed at young people aged 12-16 with additional guidance on how to use the Disrespect Nobody campaign with young people aged 8-12 and 16-18. The resource features session plans that aim help young people to understand what a healthy relationship is, to challenge their views on abuse and consent and to signpost further advice and resources. It aims to help young people to develop key skills needed to enjoy healthy relationships, such as empathy, respect, communication and negotiation.

DfE request for feedback on its current financial benchmarking websites
The DfE is redesigning the two financial benchmarking websites (Academies financial benchmarking and Maintained schools financial benchmarking) and wants to hear from as many governors and trustees as possible about how they use these websites to inform their understanding about the financial health of their schools. If you’re interested in helping to improve this service, please fill out the user research survey.

Plans for a Year 3 phonics re-check in primary schools abandoned – Friday 3 February 2017

This week I report on the Government’s decision to abandon plans for a Year 3 phonics re-check, school governors in West Sussex are threatening to “strike” over the new funding formula and new research published examining good practice in early education.

Year 3 phonics re-check abandoned
This week Government officials have told Schools Week that a phonics re-check for eight year olds will not be rolled out to all primary schools following a pilot carried out in June last year.  Pupils will continue to be assessed on phonics in Years 1 and 2.

Escalating dispute over spending cuts threatening the first ever school governors “strike”
Schools governors in West Sussex are warning MPs that they will refuse to sign off budgets or carry out their supervisory work unless their “urgent concerns” about funding are addressed. The DfE has argued that the new funding formula will provide a much fairer basis for allocating funds to schools, and will give Headteachers more certainty over their future budgets and long-term planning.

Governing bodies and schools can have their say on the next stage of the National Funding Formula by filling in the online survey before the 22 March 2017 deadline.

Research examining good practice in early education as part of the study of early education and development (SEED)
At the end of last month results from a study exploring how good quality early years settings articulated, established and sustained good practice, which had the potential to improve child outcomes, was published.

Focusing on provision for two to four year olds the study examines good practice in relation to curriculum planning, assessment and monitoring, staffing, managing transitions and communication with parents and home learning.