Surprise General election and new Clerking Competency Framework – Friday 28 April 2017

Welcome back after the Easter break. With a General election in June the country continues to experience change and the DfE has published a new Clerking Competency Framework before restrictions on the activity of civil servants are put in place. The NFER has produced a new report highlighting that the Northern RSC region has one of the lowest sponsor capacity to need ratios and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report on disability inequality which includes a focus on education.

Current position
2017 continues to surprise, with more political uncertainty and a General election taking place on 8 June. If the Conservatives return to Government will the Education Secretary remain in place? Is Justine Greening seen as a safe pair of hands or has she not been supportive enough of the grammar schools’ agenda?

With the onset of ‘purdah’, the DfE will go quiet until after the election. In the meantime, it has published a new Clerking Competency Framework. This is non-statutory guidance setting out the competencies required to deliver professional clerking in maintained schools and academies. I have prepared a briefing for this half term’s Governing body meetings and will spend time this term reviewing my practice and identifying any training needs.

New report finds sponsor capacity to need ratio in the North RSC region amongst the lowest
A new report by the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) has found that the North of England RSC region has one of the lowest available sponsor capacity to need ratios and finding new sponsors could be a challenge. The ratio in the region is second lowest at 1.1 to 1, with Lancashire and West Yorkshire having the most need of new sponsors with a ratio of 0.7 to 1.

The report has identified 59 underperforming schools in the Northern region that have an immediate need for a new sponsor. There are currently 49 MATs that are ready for expansion in the area, with the capacity to take on 63 underperforming schools. Whilst the NFER said growing sponsor capacity is now a key priority for RSCs, it points out that RSCs will struggle matching suitable sponsors, as the available sponsors and schools in need could be at opposite ends of the large regions they are in charge of.

Equality and Human Rights Commission report on disability inequality in Great Britain
This new report looks at 6 core areas of life: education; work; standard of living; health and care; justice and detention; and participation and identity. It highlights areas where there has been progress and where improvements still need to be made.

In relation to education, the report looks at attainment for children and young people, exclusions from schools, bullying in schools, young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and also educational qualifications for adults.

The report highlights that in 2014/15 the overall proportion of children with SEND in England who achieved at least five A*-C GCSEs, including English and mathematics, was 20%, whereas this was 64.2% for non-disabled children. In 2014/15, pupils with identified SEND accounted for just over half of all permanent exclusions and fixed-period exclusions.

As no government department collects regular data on bullying, the report cites various studies that support the view that bullying amongst pupils with SEND is higher than those without. In 2015/16, the proportion of disabled 16-18-year-olds who were NEET (13.2%) was higher than for non-disabled 16-18-year-olds who were NEET (5.8%). Finally, in 2015/16, the proportion of disabled people with no qualifications was higher (17.4%) compared with that of non-disabled people (6.3%).

Governing bodies should try to ensure that pupils with SEND are receiving the support they need and, where appropriate, are receiving all the opportunities available to pupils without SEND.