Funding for staff development – Friday 15 October 2021

This week I report on DfE funding for staff development through the newly reformed suite of NPQs, the appointment of a new Social Mobility Commissioner and an article in Schools Week raising concerns around rising energy bills.

Funding for staff development via NPQs
On Tuesday the new School Standards Minister, Robin Walker confirmed that the development of the education workforce was going to be at the top of his priorities.  With £184 million of funding, the newly reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) would be freely available to all teachers and leaders in state-funded schools, with the aim of delivering 150,000 NPQs to teachers and leaders across the next three years.

Appointment of a new Social Mobility Commissioner
Katharine Birbalsingh has been appointed by the government as the new Social Mobility Commissioner.  The Social Mobility Commission has been led by the interim co-chairs Sandra Wallace and Steven Cooper since July 2020, after the resignation of the previous chair, Dame Martina Milburn.  It is anticipated Ms Birbalsingh will focus on education, enterprise and employment.

Concerns around rising energy costs in schools
An article in Schools Week has reported that schools are concerned about rising energy bills given that since January, wholesale gas prices have risen 250% across the world, alongside the requirement to ventilate classrooms to try to control the spread of Covid.

Whilst many schools are on fixed term energy deals some schools, particularly here in the North East, have their energy handled by an organisation which uses a ‘flexible purchasing method’ which could mean rates vary throughout the contract.  Also schools renewing energy deals in the coming months could also be hit by increased prices.