Justine Greening stays as education secretary in May reshuffle – Friday 16 June 2017

This week it was confirmed that Justine Greening would remain as Education Secretary, Ofsted has launched a consultation on proposals to improve the short inspection model and a new study has found that pupils are more alert in the afternoon.

Small departmental reshuffleDfE image
Following last week’s general election, Theresa May has carried out a very minor reshuffle of her ministers. Justine Greening remains Secretary of State for Education and Nick Gibb (School Standards), Jo Johnson (Universities), Caroline Dinenage (Early Years) and Lord Nash (School System) have all retained their pre-election briefs. The new Children and Families Minister is Robert Goodwill and Anne Milton has been appointed Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills.

Launch of consultation on improving the short inspection model Ofsted image
Yesterday Ofsted launched a consultation on proposals to improve the short inspection model. Short inspections were introduced in September 2015 for schools previously judged to be good. They last for one day and, in most cases, the inspectors are satisfied that the school remains good. Currently a third of short inspections are converted to full inspections when the lead inspector decides there is insufficient evidence to confirm the school is still good, or thinks it may now be outstanding. A team of inspectors then arrives at the school within 48 hours, to gather more evidence and reach a final judgement.

Ofsted has found the 48-hour conversion period challenging because it means that inspection schedules often change at the last minute, standing inspectors down at short notice. They have also noted that school leaders find the current experience of conversion “overwhelming”. Finally, they say that “in about 20% of cases, before a short inspection takes place it is already clear that a school is facing complex circumstances that warrant a full inspection”. Ofsted is therefore proposing two operational changes:

  • When a short inspection converts, the full inspection will be completed within a maximum of 15 working days, rather than 48 hours.
  • A full inspection will automatically take place in around 1 in 5 cases where Ofsted has prior evidence that a school is in complex circumstances.

These changes are being piloted in around 35 schools this term. If the proposals are accepted, it is expected that the changes will take effect immediately after the October half term this year. The consultation is open for around 2 months and will close at 11:30pm on 18 August 2017 if you would like to submit a response.

New study finds pupils more alert in the afternoonTerrific Scientific
A new study by BBC Terrific Scientific and the University of Oxford has found primary pupils may be more alert in the afternoon, which “contradicts” the practice of schools scheduling maths and literacy lessons in the morning because teachers think youngsters will be “more awake to learning”.

In March, this year 900 children (aged 9 to 11) from schools across the UK took part in the study, with researchers finding that pupils on average were faster in the afternoon than in the morning, and that reaction times appeared generally slower before the clock change. The study also found that sleep time for the children increased by an average of 30 minutes after the clock-change weekend and that 68% of the children participating felt they had higher levels of energy later in the day.