Tag Archives: Department for Education

Education Secretary Tours The Midlands And North Of England

Damian Hinds sees first hand how the right support can transform the lives of children and young people

Education Secretary Tours The Midlands And North Of England

Education Secretary Tours The Midlands And North Of England

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has met teachers, children, young people, parents and social workers in the Midlands and North of England.

This was part of a three-day tour to see first-hand how high expectations and the right support can ensure all children and young people get the opportunities they deserve.

With 1.9million more children now in good or outstanding schools across the country, standards are rising. In his first visit to the regions, the Education Secretary visited a range of organisations from across the education system – from childcare through to primary school, further education and support for unemployed adults.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

It has been fantastic to get out and meet so many inspiring teachers, young people, children and education leaders who are all working so hard to improve outcomes for children and young people in their area.

We know that there is some really excellent teaching and learning going on up and down the country – and this trip has really highlighted to me how well it can be done and how we must work together to learn from the best and ensure it is happening across the board.

From high quality childcare to achieving excellent results for disadvantaged pupils and training engineers of the future, I have seen some truly inspiring work.

Further details on the Secretary of State’s visits:

On Monday, 12 February, the Education Secretary met teachers and pupils at Sandon Academy in Stoke-on-Trent – an outstanding primary school where progress for children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, is well above average. The school, which has been praised for its innovative use of pupil premium funding to raise results for disadvantaged children, is home to a farm, mini village and on-site nursery.

Also in the region, Mr Hinds met the North Staffordshire YMCA which offers skills training to young people to help them improve their employability skills and gain qualifications. The Secretary of State saw the youth campus, which offers accommodation to 16 – 25 year olds, and sports centre, and met some of the young people who have been supported into employment, education or training through the centre’s work.

He went on to meet apprentices at local data solutions business, Synectics Solutions, crowned Staffordshire Business of the Year and employer to over 350 staff, including local apprentices.

On Tuesday, 13 February, the Education Secretary headed north to Blackpool to see some of the high quality technical and professional education and training available to young people and adults in the region. On a visit to Blackpool and The Fylde College’s nautical campus in Fleetwood, he met apprentices and trainee nautical engineers while being shown round by Principal Bev Robinson and Head of Campus Captain Neil Atkinson. The college, rated outstanding by Ofsted, is the UK hub for the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas and is an Associate College of Lancaster University.

The Secretary of State went on to visit the Build Up project, which uses the college’s classroom facilities two days a week to offer vital construction skills training to unemployed adults – helping them get the skills they need to find employment.

While in the region, Mr Hinds also visited Hawes Side Academy to see the half term activities being run in partnership with the Blackpool Football Club Community Trust – designed to offer extra-curricular activities to young people and aim to reduce the number of those not in education, employment or training in the area.

This was followed by a meeting with a number of multi academy trust leaders from across Blackpool and Lancashire to discuss how schools can work together to raise education standards and increase opportunity for young people across the country.

On Wednesday, 14 February, Mr Hinds’ visit focused on how high quality early education and childcare is crucial to a child’s future success at primary and secondary school. He travelled to the North East and North Yorkshire where he visited nurseries in Stockton-on-Tees and Bedale. Visiting Fairfield Day Care in Stockton on Tees and Incy Wincy nursery in Bedale, the Education Secretary heard from staff and parents about how the Government’s 30 hours free childcare offer is being implemented in their area.

This was followed by a visit to North East Lincolnshire’s Children’s Services to meet with council leaders, social workers and local organisations such as charities and the police, to understand the strengths and challenges associated with delivering a wide range of children’s services.

Multiplication Tables Check Trials To Begin In Schools

Government follows up phonics success with new multiplication tables trial

The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP

The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP

A select number of schools across the country will start trialling the multiplication tables check from next month, the Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb has announced today (Wednesday 14 February).

The multiplication tables check is designed to help ensure children in primary school know their times tables up to 12 off by heart. As well as being critical for everyday life, knowledge of multiplication tables helps children to solve problems quickly and flexibly, and allows them to tackle more complex mathematics later on in school.

In the primary assessment consultation run by the government last year, the majority of the sector said that Year 4 would be the best point to run a check on progress being made.

The check follows the successful introduction of the phonics screening check in 2012. There are now 154,000 more six-year-olds on track to become fluent readers than in 2012 and England’s recent rise up the international PIRLS rankings puts the success of the government’s reforms on a global scale.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Academic standards are rising in our schools thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, with 1.9 million more pupils in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010. It is important to have an assessment system that continues to drive this improvement.

Just as the phonics screening check helps children who are learning to read, the multiplication tables check will help teachers identify those pupils who require extra support. This will ensure that all pupils leave primary school knowing their times tables by heart and able to start secondary school with a secure grasp of fundamental arithmetic as a foundation for mathematics.

The new on-screen check will last no longer than five minutes and is similar to the checks many schools use already. It will enable teachers to monitor a child’s progress in a consistent and reliable way but has been carefully designed to avoid causing additional stress for children and teachers.

It will be sat by 8 and 9 year olds in Year 4, after teachers and schools told the Government this was the best point for it to be introduced. Results from the check will not be published at school-level, and will not be used by Ofsted and others to force changes in schools.

The system is being developed in active partnership with schools, with two trials already completed. This consolidation of basic mathematical knowledge is in line with the principle of the maths ‘mastery’ pedagogy, which is successfully practised by world leaders in mathematics, Shanghai and Singapore and is now being introduced to schools in England.

In the most recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), England’s mean score was 546, compared to Singapore which scored 618, topping the study for maths at both year 5 and 9. Approaches like this aim to close that gap and raise national standards in mathematics.

The multiplication tables check was announced as part of the government’s response to its primary assessment consultation last year. This consultation proposed a number of other changes to make assessment in primary schools more accurate and reduce the burden of tests on teachers and children.

This trial comes ahead of the national voluntary roll out of the multiplication tables check for all Year 4 pupils from June 2019, before it becomes mandatory in June 2020. A national sample of schools has already been selected to participate in the trials and they will soon receive their invitation to participate. The trials will ensure the check is robust, accessible and minimises any additional burden on schools as a new assessment.

The trials follow a recent commitment from the Education Secretary to continue to improve academic standards in order to deliver a truly world-class education that not only inspires young people to make the most of their lives but also gives them the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions, no matter where they live.

Multiplication tables trials will make a positive contribution to the government’s commitment through the Industrial Strategy to drive up the study of maths, ensuring that more students leave education at age 18 with a basic level of numeracy, improving the take up of maths qualifications and tackling STEM skills shortages in the economy.

Annual Report Of The Chief Schools Adjudicator For England

Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) annual report for September 2016 to August 2017

Department for Education

Department for Education

The annual report of the Chief Adjudicator Ms Shan Scott, to the Secretary of State for Education, covering the period 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017 is published today (8 February 2018). The report records the progress made by admission authorities in England in complying fully with the School Admissions Code and achieving fair access to schools for all children.

In her report, Ms Scott states that the main admissions rounds for entry to schools works well and serves well the interests of looked-after and previously looked-after children, those with disabilities and special needs or who are vulnerable for other reasons. She is less confident that the needs of children who need a place outside the normal admissions round are so well met and is concerned that some children, particularly the more vulnerable, spend more time out of school than they should.

Concerns about admission arrangements continue to make up the largest part of the work of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) and accounted for 100 of the total of 163 new cases of all types referred to OSA.

The Chief Adjudicator reports many positives in achieving fair access to schools for all children while highlighting areas in which admissions procedures can be strengthened. She notes that:

  • local authorities report that fair access protocols typically work well and do much to support timely admission to school
  • more schools are giving priority in their oversubscription criteria to children eligible for the pupil premium and service premium and these cover all age ranges, rural and urban schools, large and small schools and different categories of schools
  • clarity and fairness are at the heart of sound admission arrangements. Clearly written admission arrangements that parents understand are least likely to be the subject of successful objections

The Chief Adjudicator said:

In this my second annual report as Chief Adjudicator, I have been particularly pleased to report that the main admissions round is working effectively and to recognise some good practice seen by adjudicators in the course of our work. It remains the case though that some school admission arrangements fail to comply with what the law requires.

The total number of cases referred to the OSA was lower than in recent years and objections to admission arrangements continue to form the largest part of our work. As in previous years, parents were the single largest group of objectors, accounting for about half of all objections.

I am grateful for the work done by adjudicators, our administrative staff and legal advisers, and for their support. The OSA aims to consider each case referred to us impartially, honestly and objectively and in full accordance with the legislation that governs our powers and duties and I am confident that all my colleagues have done everything possible to meet that aim. I am confident too that in their dealings with parents, schools, academy trusts, religious bodies, local authorities and others, adjudicators and OSA staff appreciate how important the matters raised are to those concerned and that they deal sensitively and fairly with all.

Department For Education Launches Commonwealth Education Pack

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb launches teacher resource to celebrate Commonwealth

Commonwealth Education Pack launch

Commonwealth Education Pack launch

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb met with his counterparts from across the world today to launch a new resource for teachers, aimed at helping them to inform and explain the importance of the Commonwealth to their pupils.

The new classroom tools are for teachers working with 11 to 14 year olds and contain information on the Commonwealth and its values, accompanied by a range of classroom activities relating to topics including citizenship, geography, general studies and history.

It has been created ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April, where leaders, business, civil society and young people from around the world will gather in London to focus on a common future and helping ensure every young person can access a world-class education.

Download the Commonwealth education pack
(PDF, 4.34MB, 23 pages)

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Standards are rising in our schools thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers. There are 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and our recent rise up the international rankings for reading and literacy puts our achievements on a global scale.

We are already sharing best practice internationally. Last year, I visited Australia to discuss with policy makers the evidence behind the success of phonics in teaching children to read. This included the introduction of the Phonics Screening Check to ensure all 6-year-olds are on track to becoming fluent readers. As a result of that check, our focus on phonics and the hard work of teachers, there are 154,000 more 6-year-olds on track to becoming fluent readers than in 2012.

By working collaboratively with other countries we can create ever more opportunities for young people and help build a Britain that is fit for the future.

Mark Herbert, Head of Schools Programmes at the British Council said:

As the home to one third of the world’s population, 60% of them under the age of 30, young people have always been at the heart of the Commonwealth. This pack, designed specifically for primary and secondary schools in the UK, will help pupils understand the Commonwealth and why it matters to us all in an ever-more connected world.

The materials in this pack can support teaching of a range of subjects and topics across the curriculum including history, geography, economics, citizenship, art, design and personal and social education. The resources link to the Commonwealth Summit’s overall theme of ‘Towards a Common Future’ and, at a local level, encourage pupils to contribute to a fairer, more prosperous, secure, inclusive and sustainable future for all.

The activities in the new teacher resource have been designed to be delivered collectively to form a complete lesson or individually to complement other classroom activities.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will bring leaders from up to 52 countries spanning six continents together to ensure that the Commonwealth is able to tackle current and future challenges effectively and will focus on ensuring the Commonwealth is meeting the ambitions of young people as the organisation works towards a common future.

Education Minister Unveils New Support For Schools

Advice for schools on how to get the best value for money when buying support from businesses

Department for Education

Department for Education

A new service offering schools advice on how to get the best value for money when buying support from businesses has been launched by the Department for Education.

The new scheme – which is being trialled initially in the north-west and south-west – will provide free advice and guidance to schools looking to procure services from local or national businesses. This could include catering, cleaning or technology support.

School Systems Minister Lord Agnew said:

Academic standards are rising, with 1.9million more children now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and nine out of ten schools given this rating at their latest inspection. We know that how schools use their money is important in delivering the best outcomes for pupils and this new service will help School Business Professionals to make better financial decisions. It builds on our wider package of support to help schools to be more cost effective, with the aim of ensuring every child can access a world-class education.

The service is free for schools in the chosen regions to join immediately, with service delivery beginning from today (1 February) offering:

  • expert advice and guidance on buying;
  • template documentation for buying;
  • help with complex contracts, particularly services such as catering, cleaning, premises and technology services;
  • promotion of local collaboration, where there is an opportunity to reduce costs on areas such as learning resources and administrative supplies;
  • market intelligence; and
  • contract management support.

This service will add to the existing range of government tools, information and guidance already available to schools as part of our plans to help them improve their efficiency and save £1bn on non-staff spend in schools by 2019-2020.

It is part of the Department for Education’s drive to ensure every child has the opportunity to make the most of their lives, no matter where they live or their background.

The new initiatives build on the work already being done by the department to support schools to improve their financial health and efficiency. This includes:

  • a top 10 planning checks for governors. This checklist sets out key metrics for school and academy governors to help make sure schools manage their resources efficiently; and
  • team of school efficiency advisors who provide expert support to the schools that need them most.

Interested schools can find out more here

Schools in other regions around the country are not able to apply currently, but can look for support from their local School Business Professional Network instead. The Networks provide opportunities to share good practice and knowledge and can provide the opportunity to potentially save money, for example joining together to bulk purchase.

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