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.