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Academy and School News Update July 1-31 2014

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  • Update to the types of qualifications to be counted in 2017 school performance tables.

The only English and maths qualifications that will count in the 2017 secondary school performance tables will be reformed GCSEs in those subjects or qualifications reformed to meet the same standards and expectations, the DfE has announced. The aim is to ensure that there is consistency in terms of exams in these subjects, including linearity (exams at the end of the 2-year course) and limited non-exam assessment. English language, English literature and maths will be taught for the first time from September 2015, with pupils sitting exams in summer 2017.

The current arrangements for recognising other academic qualifications, such as level 1/level 2 certificates (sometimes known as IGCSEs) will end with the introduction of reformed GCSEs. Level 1/level 2 certificates in English and maths will not be included in the 2017 performance tables (due to be published in January 2018).

Similarly, level 1/level 2 certificates in subjects being reformed for first teaching from September 2016 (including history, geography, languages and the sciences) will not be included in the 2018 performance tables. This follows advice from the regulator about the challenges of including academic qualifications that could potentially be quite different from GCSEs in performance tables for 2017.

These are transitional arrangements to make sure all academic qualifications recognised in performance tables are of a comparable standard. Following the first exams in the new GCSEs, exam boards will be able to propose alternative academic qualifications for inclusion in performance tables. They will need to demonstrate that their qualifications are at least as demanding as the new GCSEs and share key characteristics. All qualifications will need to be accredited by Ofqual, the independent regulator. New alternatives to English and maths GCSE could be recognised in performance tables from 2018 (and in other subjects in subsequent years).

Alongside these changes, the DfE has confirmed that entries to the current GCSEs in English and maths from 2016 or earlier will not count in performance tables in 2017. Schools may still enter pupils early for these ‘legacy’ qualifications, but if they do pupils will need to either take the new GCSE in 2017 or progress to a higher level qualification, such as an AS qualification, for their achievements to count in tables. The exclusion of ‘legacy’ GCSEs from performance tables will apply only to English and maths, reflecting the weight placed on these qualifications in the new Progress 8 measure. As other GCSEs are reformed, the DfE will continue to count achievements in ‘legacy’ GCSEs in all other subjects. This will allow schools to continue curriculum arrangements that allow students to take exams in some subjects – for example, 1 of the 3 separate sciences – before the end of year 11, having been properly prepared to do so.

The advice given by Ofqual to the DfE on this issue can be found on the above website, documents-latest documents


·         GCSE and A level subject content to be taught from 2016

The government has already published subject content for those courses beginning in 2015, i.e,

  • GCSEs , (Eng Lang- Eng lit- mathematics)
  • A- levels, (Eng Lang, Lit, Lit and Lang- art and design- business- computer Science- economics- history- biology- physics- chemistry- psychology- sociology).

The DfE has also already published subject content for the other EBacc GCSE subjects that start in 2016, (ancient langs- combined science- single science- geography- history- MFL)

The DfE has now published, for consultation, new subject content for a further set of GCSEs and A levels. These subjects will all be first taught in 2016.

There are 2 parts to the consultation. The first part seeks views on content which awarding organisations have developed, working with subject associations and other stakeholders. At GCSE these subjects are art and design, computer science, dance, music and physical education. At AS and A level, the subjects are dance, music and physical education.

The second part of the consultation seeks views on content for AS and A levels in modern foreign languages, ancient languages, mathematics, further mathematics and geography. The proposed content reflects the recommendations of the A level Content Advisory Board.

This consultation is an opportunity for teachers, further and higher education, employers and all those with an interest in these important subjects to provide their views. The Dfe says that it intends to listen to those views in shaping the final proposals.

In September, the DfE will consult on content for the remaining subjects to be taught from 2016, citizenship studies, design and technology, drama and religious studies.

Ofqual is consulting on the assessment arrangements for the new GCSEs AS and A- levels. This consultation document can be found on the above website, documents-latest documents



All the final and draft GCSE subject contents can be found on the above website, Documents, Subject related documents-New GCSEs subject content


All the final and draft AS and A-level subject contents can be found on the above website, Documents, Subject related documents-New AS and A-level subject content

·         Publication of key stage 4 English and mathematics national curriculum programmes of study

On 11 September 2013, the government published the new national curriculum for all subjects except for English, mathematics and science at key stage 4. The department consulted on the draft programmes of study for key stage 4 English and mathematics from 2 December 2013 to 3 February 2014 and, from 14 May until 13 June this year, on the draft Order and regulations that will give effect to the new programmes of study.

The DfE has now published the final programmes of study for English and mathematics at key stage 4, which will be taught in schools from September 2015 alongside the new English and mathematics GCSEs. Last year, the government published the new GCSE subject content for English language, English literature and mathematics. It is important to consider these programmes of study in tandem with the GCSE subject content to ensure that the curriculum and qualifications are fully coherent.

The DfE is currently consulting on the key stage 4 science programme of study which will be introduced from September 2016, alongside first teaching of the new science GCSEs.

The KS4 English and mathematics programmes of study, and the draft KS4 Science programmes of study, can be found on the above website, Documents, Subject related documents-Secondary national curriculum





  • Ofqual is consulting on the new GCSE English language qualifications. From September 2015 students in England will start studying for new GCSE English language qualifications, graded 9-1. Ofqual has already announced that students’ performance in their spoken language assessment will not be part of the overall qualification grade, and will instead be reported in a separate grade. Ofqual is now seeking views on how the spoken language assessment should be conducted, marked and graded.

A copy of the consultation can be found on the above website, Documents-Latest documents


  • New tougher primary school tests in maths and English will come in from 2016, reflecting the greater demands of the new curriculum, which will be taught from this September. All topics in the curriculum – including the most complex – will be tested in these new assessments, whereas at the moment 11-year-old pupils are only fully stretched if they are also entered for the separate level 6 tests. The system of levels is being scrapped, with pupils given ‘a scaled score’ which shows how they compare to the expected standard for their year. As part of the tougher new tests, pupils will have to achieve a higher ‘pass mark’ in all 3 assessments

The topics children will be assessed on at age 11 through the new tests include:


  • adding and subtracting fractions with different denominations and mixed numbers
  • calculating the area of a parallelogram and a triangle, and the volume of a cuboid
  • using their knowledge of the order of operations to carry out calculations involving the four operations (division, multiplication, subtraction and addition)

A new separate written arithmetic paper has been introduced to key stage 2 tests to ensure pupils are fluent in the discipline. The government is also banning the use of calculators in tests for 11-year-olds from this year for the first time. Also marks will only be given to pupils who get the wrong answer if they show their working has been done in efficient methods, including long and short division and multiplication instead of so-called ‘chunking’ or ‘grid methods’. Pupils who get the right answer will still get full marks, whatever method they have used.


  • identifying and commenting on writers’ use of words, phrases and language features including figurative language
  • distinguishing the difference between a fact and an opinion
  • giving the meaning of words in context
  • assessing the use of verbs in the perfect form to mark relationships of time, ie, use of ‘have’ and ‘had’
  • recognising adverbials and how to use a fronted adverbial, ie, use of the word ‘before’ in sentences
  • assessing the use of subordination and how to introduce a subordinate clause

Grammar, punctuation and spelling

The full list of key stage 1 and 2 test sample questions has been published, ie;

Key stage 1

1.   2016 key stage 1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

2.    2016 key stage 1 English reading test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

3.    2016 key stage 1 mathematics test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

Key stage 2

1.   2016 key stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

2.    2016 key stage 2 English reading test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

3.    2016 key stage 2 mathematics test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

4.    2016 key stage 2 science sampling test: sample questions, mark scheme and commentary Guidance

All these are available on the above website, Documents, Subject related documents-Primary national curriculum



  • From August 2014 students who have not achieved a good pass in English and/or maths GCSE by age 16 must continue to work towards achieving these qualifications or an approved interim qualification as a ‘stepping stone’ towards GCSE as a condition of student places being funded. Reformed GCSEs in English and maths will be available for first teaching in schools from September 2015 with the first examinations being sat in summer 2017. These new GCSEs will then be introduced into post-16 education in phases between 2015 and 2020. With effect from August 2015, the DfE will amend the funding condition, so full-time 16 to 19 students with prior attainment of grade D in English and/or maths will take GCSE, rather than any other qualification in these subjects. The DfE will further revise the funding conditions relating to the teaching of the new GCSEs in English and maths to 16 to 19 students enrolling for full-time courses from August 2017. The final requirements will be set nearer the time, informed by the outcomes of Ofqual’s consultation on grading standards for the reformed GCSEs. The DfE is also introducing new core maths qualifications – aimed at the 40% of young people who achieve a C or better at GCSE but do not take A level maths. They will give some 200,000 students a year the opportunity to study maths in post-16 education, starting in 179 schools and colleges this autumn, before being rolled out nationally in 2015.
  • Record numbers of pupils on free school meals are aiming to go to university this year – but they are still half as likely to apply as their more privileged peers. Figures from UCAS show that 14,230 students on free school meals in England applied for a place on a degree course from this autumn, compared with 8,720 six years ago. This is the highest number yet recorded and represents a rise from 10.5 per cent of the total 18-year-olds receiving free school meals who applied in 2006, to 17.9 per cent who had submitted their application by the 24 March deadline this year. But pupils not on free school meals are twice as likely to have university in their sights, with 37.1 per cent of the cohort putting in applications this year, itself a rise from 30.3 per cent eight years ago. The average across all students is 34.6 per cent, up from 27.7 per cent in 2006.

Students who gained average results at GCSE were the most likely to be put off from applying to university because of the rising cost of tuition fees, new figures suggest. The decision to lift the cap on fees from 2012 – allowing universities to charge up to £9,000 a year – led to a sharp drop in applications, with almost 50,000 fewer students looking to enter degree courses that year. Although numbers have since risen, they are still below 2011 levels.

It was revealed last month that only 50 out of the 30,000 students in receipt of free school meals were accepted to Oxford and Cambridge universities in 2011, fewer than the 60 that were awarded places from one private school, Eton College, and the 65 that made it from Westminster.

Universities and colleges must do more to support students from poor backgrounds throughout their studies and not just focus on broadening their intake, the access to higher education watchdog has said. In its annual report, the Office for Fair Access to Higher Education (Offa) said that universities need to work harder with schools and the wider community to ensure disadvantaged students have the necessary support not only to choose university, but also to succeed once there.

  • Two free schools – one specialising in bilingual education and the other in music – have been censured by Ofsted inspectors for not teaching their main disciplines properly, and both have been told to improve. It has also emerged that one of them – Bilingual Primary School in Brighton – has been criticised for paying thousands of pounds to its chair of governors for services such as showing parents around the school. Meanwhile inspectors reported that singing teaching in Dixons Music Primary, in Bradford, which bills itself as “the first specialist music primary school in the country” was “not as good as it needs to be”. Both schools are deemed to “require improvement” in Ofsted reports published last week. But there was also better news for the free-school movement as the progressive School 21 in East London, founded by Peter Hyman – a former Downing Street aid to Tony Blair – was judged “outstanding”. On average, free schools have slightly better Ofsted verdicts than the state sector as a whole. But all serious criticism of free schools is a potential embarrassment for a programme specifically designed to raise standards.
  • New core DfE ministerial team

Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education

David Laws, Minister of State

Nick Gibb, Minister of State

Nick Boles, Minister of State, Skills and Equalities

Edward Timpson. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for children and families

Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools

  • The unexpected exit of Mr Gove has left the NUT with a major decision to make: what next? With the union’s leadership yet to meet the new education secretary Nicky Morgan, the NUT must decide whether to press on with its industrial campaign, or whether the time is right for it to make a strategic withdrawal in the context of this view;

“What Gove has done is set these policies in place; what Nicky Morgan has to do is manage them. I doubt there will be a change in direction. The more radical stuff is already done, the Gove revolution is already complete. But I would expect Nicky Morgan to build a relationship with teachers. She is bound to have a honeymoon period.”

Nicky Morgan has made it clear that she will carry on the work of Michael Gove by radically expanding free schools, supporting unqualified teachers and keeping changes to the exam system. She is also backing Gove’s changes that mean parents can be fined for taking their children out of school in term time.

She did however amend a memo originally written by Mr Gove to add this paragraph, “The consultation is an opportunity for teachers, further and higher education employers and all those with an interest in these important subjects to provide their views. We intend to listen to those views in shaping our final proposals.”

  • All schools could be allowed to change their admissions policy so they give priority to disadvantaged children, under new plans put forward by ministers. The government has announced it is consulting on changes to the admissions code that would give youngsters who are eligible for the pupil premium first choice on school places. In the 2014/15 financial year the premium will be £1,300 per primary-age pupil and £935 per secondary-age pupil, so schools managing to boost their numbers in this way stand to gain financially. Under the latest proposals, which are subject to consultation, all state schools would have the freedom to give priority in admissions to youngsters who attract the funding. Academies and free schools are already able to do this, but other schools, including grammars, have to apply for special permission from the Department for Education. The move would iron out this discrepancy. There will be no legal requirement for schools to prioritise pupil-premium children, and it is up to them to decide. The document also puts forward a proposal to allow primary schools to give priority to children eligible for pupil premium who attend a nursery that is part of their school. The proposals come just weeks after schools minister David Laws said he was encouraged to see that grammar schools are now using the pupil premium as part of their admissions criteria when offering places to pupils. About 32 grammars are prioritising pupils on free school meals – a key measure of poverty – in their admissions, and a further 58 are thought to be planning to do so.

The consultation document and draft Admissions Code are available on the above website, Documents-Latest documents

  • Trojan Horse


– The report written by Peter Clarke, a former head of anti-terrorism at Scotland Yard, found “clear evidence” that pupils at the Birmingham schools were being exposed to “extremist views”. Among the findings to emerge from the report were the contents of a social media discussion between a group of teachers at Park View School, which went under the name of the “Park View Brotherhood”.  The forum was started and administered by the acting principal, Monzoor Hussain, which included 3,000 messages and showed that those involved either “promoted or failed to challenge views that are grossly intolerant of beliefs and practices other than their own”.  The report also noted claims that prefects at Park View School, called “ambassadors”, were selected from the most religiously observant pupils and were dubbed the “religious police” by some members of staff.
Mr Clarke said he “neither specifically looked for, nor found, evidence of terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern in Birmingham”. But the report went on: “The existence of a common ideological stance among key linked individuals in this enquiry, the taking of control of governing bodies and the implementation of conservative religious practices in the schools where these individuals have influence, means that there can be no doubt that what has happened has been driven by a desire to instil a particular style of religious ethos into these state non-faith schools.”

Clarke suggests;  “Unless there are genuinely exceptional circumstances, there should be a presumption that an individual will only be a governor of a maximum of two schools.” This, says the report, is “so that no single individual has undue influence over a number of schools”.

-The Birmingham City Council report into the schools implicated in the alleged Trojan Horse takeover plot however found no evidence of a conspiracy to promote an “anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation”, but did find “key individuals” were “promoting and encouraging certain Islamic principles” within those schools”. It also found some members of school governing bodies made a “determined effort to change schools, often by unacceptable practices, to influence educational and religious provision”.  It concluded: “The evidence shows individuals have been seeking to promote and encourage Islamic principles in the schools with which they are involved, by seeking to introduce Islamic collective worship, or raising objections to elements of the school curriculum that are viewed as anti-Islamic.” The report said the problems had been allowed to run “unchecked” due to what he branded “weaknesses in the system and poor oversight of governance” mainly by the city council, but also by Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and the DfE. Its findings also concluded that “elements” of the so-called Trojan Horse five-step plan to seize control of governing boards were present in 13 schools, including the three academies of Park View Educational Trust (PVET), which has been at the centre of the allegations. However, It said: “There is no evidence of a conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation in schools in east Birmingham.” It added: “There is little express evidence to which I can point of a systematic plot or co-ordinated plan to take over schools serving students of a predominantly Muslim faith or background.” Overall, the conclusions of the report are at odds to those of Peter Clarke

-The Muslim Council of Britain rejected many of the findings of the government-commissioned report that found a co-ordinated effort by extreme Muslims to take over some Birmingham schools. The MCB said the report, written by Peter Clarke,  was guilty of “conflating conservative Muslim practices to a supposed ideology and agenda to Islamise secular schools”.

Tim Brighouse and others described the Clarke report as; “a biased mix of uncorroborated smear, anecdote, hoax and chatroom gossip”.

– Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced that a new Birmingham education commissioner would be put in place to address the concerns within the city’s schools.

– She also indicated that schools minister Lord Nash had written to Oldknow Academy Trust instructing it that its funding agreement had been terminated in light of its “manifest breaches”, adding that a new interim executive board had replaced the failing governing body of Saltley School.

–  Sir Bob Kerslake is to lead a review of governance in the Birmingham City Council, reporting with recommendations for both the short and medium term by the end of 2014.

– Advice to the National College misconduct panel already provides that actions which undermine fundamental British values should be viewed as misconduct. The DfE is now strengthening that advice to make clear that exposing pupils to extremist speakers should be regarded as a failure to protect pupils and promote British values and that prohibition from teaching should be imposed while such cases are investigated and a prohibition without review made where misconduct is proved.

-The Dfe will strengthen the regulations to bar unsuitable persons from running independent schools, including academies and free schools. Anyone barred in this way will also be prohibited from being governor in any maintained school

– The Department has already ensured increased scrutiny of new academy sponsors and of the governance arrangements for schools seeking to convert to academy status. The new regional schools commissioners backed by boards of local headteachers will bring local intelligence to decision making on academies. The DfE will also now improve the Department’s Due Diligence and Counter Extremism Division’s and will work in partnership with the Home Office, DCLG and other agencies to improve the intelligence available on whether other parts of the country are similarly vulnerable to the threats that have been exposed in Birmingham.

-The DfE is now considering future action over;

  • the role of the Association of Muslim Schools UK
  • further action on improving school governance
  • how to communicate better the role of LAs with all schools – maintained, academies and independent – over safeguarding and extremism, and how we can be sure that all schools are meeting their statutory duties

Implications for Ofsted


-The DfE has already published a consultation on strengthening independent school standards, which apply also to academies and free schools, including a requirement to actively promote British values. Ofsted will inspect how well all schools are actively promoting fundamental British values through their curriculum. The DfE will provide further guidance on how to improve the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of pupils, which is also inspected by Ofsted.

– HMCI has already decided, and notified schools earlier this month, that he would be broadening next term the criteria Ofsted uses to judge whether unannounced inspection is required for a particular school. HMCI believes there are advantages to extending no notice inspection to all schools and will use his consultation in the autumn on changes to the 2015 inspection regime to consult on whether universal no notice or a different change to the no notice regime should be made.

-HMCI has also highlighted the need to ensure that all state-funded schools meet the requirement to teach a broad and balanced curriculum. HMCI is clear that this is an area where inspectors will pay more attention, and the autumn consultation will seek views on whether Ofsted needs to do more to ensure that all schools meet their requirements to teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

Other information from Ofsted

  • Ofsted has issued a letter outlining changes in school inspection arrangements as from Sept 1 2014
  • It has also issued a note to inspectors on use of assessment information during inspections with there no longer being NC levels linked to the new NC
  • It has issued a report on Alternative provision

All these can be found on the above website, Documents-Latest Documents

  • An exam board is claiming its new sociology A-level will help the discipline “shake off its image as a softer subject” by including a section on social media However, sociology has never been included in the list of “facilitating subjects” published by elite Russell Group universities to show sixth formers which A-levels are most likely to get them places on degree courses.
  • An “overwhelming proportion” of pupils attending schools under the control of the Kemnal Academies Trust are not receiving a good enough education, according to Ofsted. The schools’ watchdog published a letter today addressed to the chair of the academy chain, John Atkins, spelling out its concerns over the standard of education being provided by its schools. According to the inspectorate, less than half of the 39 schools within the Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) are judged to be “good”, while none are deemed to be “outstanding”.
  • Schools are to be handed almost £400 million more as part of a government bid to make funding fairer.  In a written statement, schools minister David Laws said that £390 million is to be spent on increasing the budgets of local areas that previously received low funding. He insisted that no other local council’s per-pupil funding will be reduced from its current level. Mr Laws said: “This £390 million increase – £40 million more than was announced in March – is the biggest step toward fairer schools funding in a decade, and will go a long way to removing the historic unfairness of the funding system. “Crucially, we have ensured no local authority will see a reduction in its budget, while 69 local authorities will get a cash boost.
  • Lesbian, gay and transsexual students are having unsafe sex and putting themselves at risk of disease because sex education lessons only address the needs of heterosexual students, a leading sex education organisation says. To combat this, the Sex Education Forum has produced a set of guidelines, designed to help teachers ensure that they cover the facts of all walks of life.

Many teachers are ill-equipped to tackle homophobic bullying even though they come across it frequently in school, according to the gay and lesbian campaign group Stonewall. The warning comes as Stonewall released the results of a poll of teachers which showed just eight per cent of primary teachers and 17 per cent of secondary teachers had been given training on how to tackle homophobic bullying.

  • Elite Russell Group universities want ministers to provide schools with more funding, teacher training and resources to ensure that reformed A-levels are taught properly. The warning comes as heads’ leaders told TES that many schools were already facing very “difficult decisions” about which subjects they are able to offer in sixth forms. Academics are concerned that squeezed school and college budgets will stop them from allowing pupils to take fourth A-levels in crucial subjects, such as further maths or languages.
  • A review led by Sir Andrew Carter is looking across the full range of ITT courses and seeking views from those involved across the sector to:
    • define effective ITT practice
    • assess the extent to which the current system delivers effective ITT
    • recommend where and how improvements could be made
    • recommend ways to improve choice in the system by improving the transparency of course content and methods
  • The DfE has announced the rates of the education services grant (ESG) in 2015-16. The chancellor announced in June 2013 that the government would reduce the ESG by around £200 million in 2015-16. The ESG general funding rate will now be £87 per pupil. Local authorities also receive an additional £15 per pupil for the duties they retain for all pupils, including those in academies. In order to provide stability, academies receive transitional protection, and in the past they have also received a top-up on the ESG rate but in the academic year 2015-16 there will be no ESG top-up for academies; the vast majority of academies will not lose more than 1.5% of their budget through this change, while higher funded ones will approach the new rate a little more quickly, with the very highest funded academies protected at just under 3% of their total budget.
  • The DfE has given £171 million to music hubs since 2012. It has now announced that central government funding for music education programmes will increase by £18 million in 2015-16, and funding for music education hubs will rise to around £75 million in total. Local authorities will continue to have total discretion about whether to spend any of the ESG they receive on providing music services.
  • Schools and colleges that stretch their brightest students by offering them 4 or more A- levels or equally large technical qualifications will continue to be able to do so, due to new funding arrangements announced by the government today. Funding for those that successfully study 4 or more A- levels, a large TechBacc programmes and the full level 3 International Baccalaureate will be increased above basic funding rates to reflect the size of their courses, giving schools and colleges the green light to further help their most able students. Presently, funding for large programmes is paid in addition to basic funding, through formula protection funding (FPF). But when FPF ends in 2016 providers delivering successful large programmes will have that funding protected through today’s increase in basic funding. This will assure providers that they can continue to support their brightest students with stretching programmes that challenge their abilities. From 2016 students that study 4 A levels and large TechBacc programmes will receive around £400 each year more than they presently do for their basic funding, and those studying 5 or more A levels and the full International Baccalaureate will receive around £800 more. The funding will depend on the student achieving at least grade Bs, or equivalent, in all their subjects – ensuring it is appropriately used to stretch the brightest pupils.

The government is also securing funding for specialist land-based courses, such as agriculture, land-based engineering and environmental conservation, who also receive funding through FPF. From 2016, the DfE will increase the funding premium that recognises the extra cost of such provision delivered in a specialist setting (known as the programme weighting) from its current 60% premium to 75%. This will ensure these providers will continue to be able to support their students when the present formula protection funding arrangements end in 2016.

The government has already:

  • changed the rules for all post 16 funding so that providers are funded on a per-student basis, rather than per-qualification, ensuring young people study high-quality qualifications that will help them get on in life
  • ended the historic funding difference between post-16 schools and colleges by putting both on the same rate
  • The DfE has announced the names of the 32 headteachers who have been voted by their peers to sit on the boards of the 8 new regional schools commissioners (RSCs).  See Appendix 1


  • Ofsted has produced an update on the use of Pupil premium money by schools 

A copy of this can be found on the above website, Documents-latest documents

  • Foreign language teaching needs to undergo a “national recovery programme” as the economy risks losing £48 billion a year due to a lack of linguistic skills, a new report says. In its Manifesto for Languages document, a group of MPs and peers has called for all political parties to make a commitment to high-quality language learning from age 7, and for every child to have a good language qualification by the end of secondary education. Action also needs to be taken to address the growing image of language learning as an “elite” activity, which is the preserve of private schools, it says.
  • Fining parents for taking their children on holiday during term time amounts to “discrimination against working-class families” who cannot afford to take breaks during school holidays, a leading trade unionist has claimed. Martin Powell-Davies, a member of the NUT executive who challenged Christine Blower for the leadership of the union, has called for schools and parents to work together to help students taken on holiday during school time catch up on their return, rather than imposing “draconian” fines .
  • A £2 million scheme to put former members of the armed forces in the classroom has signed up just 41 people for its first cohort. The Troops to Teachers programme provides a fast-track route into schools for ex-service men and women. The scheme had been expected to train 180 people in its first two years, but today it emerged just 41 began their training in January, with another 61 starting in September.
  • Over half of schools were fully or partly closed by the July 10 strike, the NUT has claimed. Official figures from the DfE revealed that 21 per cent of schools were completely shut as a result of the national action by the NUT and other public sector unions, including Unison, the GMB and Unite, which represent support staff in schools. The DfE did not say how many schools had partly closed for the day.
  • Around half the genes that influence whether a child is good at maths also shape their abilities in English, new research has found. The discovery suggests that while maths and reading skills are known to run in families, it is not simply a case of being born with a “head” for either numbers or words.
  • Half of schools say that arts provision in their school has been cut due to the government’s focus on “core subjects”, according to a new poll. A survey of 172 heads of department and teachers by NSEAD   found that in 52 per cent of secondary schools, the introduction of the English Baccalaureate had affected timetabling for art, design and craft subjects. Comments from teachers taking part in the survey revealed that in some schools pupils in high ability sets for academic subjects were unable to take art as a GCSE option.
  • Children who attend private school will earn £193,700 more on average between the ages of 26 and 42 than those who go to state schools, a new analysis suggests. The report from think tank the Social Market Foundation also found that privately educated people earn 43 per cent more per hour by the age of 34, although this drops to 34 per cent more at the age of 42.
  • Ministers must address a £8.5 billion backlog of repairs and replace “crumbling” schools with better designed buildings in order to ease overcrowding for pupils, the Royal Institute of British Architects has said. In a report spelling out its demands for the next government, the RIBA warned more than three-quarters of schools still contained asbestos. The RIBA report said: “Apart from filling to the brim, British schools are also crumbling, creating poor learning and teaching conditions. “Of the 29,000 schools in Britain, 80 per cent of the stock is beyond its shelf life, and a significant part of the school estate is in poor condition and insufficiently maintained.
  • The number of primary school teachers with a specialism in PE is to be doubled after the government announced it will give extra cash to boost the take up of school sport.  Ministers will provide an extra £360,000 to expand a pilot programme which has seen 120 primary specialists placed into schools across the country. The success of the initiative has led the DfE to increase the number of specialists to 240 in a bid to improve the quality of PE teaching in primary schools. Children’s minister Edward Timpson said the second round of funding would enable PE specialists to support other teachers in their schools.
  • OCR, has made a rapid about turn after it was feared it was going to force students to re-take two assessments in its computing GCSE. In a statement, the exam body said it would not scrap two units of controlled assessment due to be submitted in June next year, despite posting a notice on its website over the weekend saying that it had found evidence of “malpractice” and would be axing the coursework.
  • The Great Instrument Amnesty, linked to a Channel 4 series, is calling on members of the public to rescue unused instruments from cupboards and attics and donate them to primary schools. Instruments can be dropped off at Oxfam charity shops.
  • The government has announced the 32 schools which will act as England’s new ‘maths hubs’ – responsible for ensuring students here reach the same level in the subject as their far Eastern peers. The “hub” schools will host Chinese teachers, who will offer “master classes” to other schools in their local area. They will also share online lesson plans, teach their children maths every day and encourage teachers to take part in research projects. The £11 million programme is being developed with academics from Shanghai Normal University and the UK’s National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM). See Appendix 2 for a list of the schools
  • Exam boards will be allowed to continue endorsing textbooks and other resources, the qualifications regulator announced this morning. Ofqual had been considering an outright ban on the idea of “official” textbooks linked to particular qualifications. Critics have argued that the lucrative practice is part of an exam board “race to the bottom” that can narrow the curriculum and give some students an unfair advantage. But the regulator has decided that new controls designed to bring greater transparency and prevent conflicts of interests will be sufficient.


  • Girls are being put off sport by PE lessons, and must be offered more “imaginative” activities including dance and cycling, the Commons culture, media and sport watchdog has concluded. With 2 million fewer women than men playing regular sport, the cross-party group of MPs will call on the government to force schools into taking girls’ exercise more seriously, especially in light of growing inactivity in children They said this could be done by amending the public sector equality duty for schools to make clear that an equal amount of attention must be given to sport for girls as boys. In a report, the committee found that some enjoy team games like football or netball, but the top sports for female participation are tennis, swimming, running and Zumba. It said there should be a wider variety of activities on offer, such as dance and cycling, or non-traditional games for girls, like rugby. “Girls are being deterred from participating in sport by their experiences in school PE lessons,” the report found. “Unfortunately, an emphasis on competitive sport may make this situation worse for some girls … Whatever the reality, there is a perception amongst pupils and others that schools care more about, and spend more money on, sport for boys than for girls.” The MPs said they were concerned about “persistently low rates of participation in sport by women and girls”, with 30% playing sport once a week compared with 40% of men.
  • Questions have been raised about how seriously are Ofqual and the exam boards taking whistleblower allegations of exam cheating and malpractice? Ofqual admits that, of the 73 cases referred to them since April 2012, nine cases were upheld, three were partially upheld, six had been withdrawn and 10 were still ongoing. The remaining 45 were thrown out.
  • It is alleged that the Academy Sponsors Harris are quoted as saying that when a school becomes one of their academies, “Every teacher is expected to get to ‘good’ by the end of the first term. Those failing to, are subject to capability.”
  • Aldi is offering an entire school uniform for just £4. For less than the cost of a week’s school dinners you can buy two polo shirts, a sweater and a pair of trousers or skirt
  • The Roman Catholic state school attended by Nick Clegg’s son, which also educated two of Tony Blair’s children, uses a complex, faith-based entry system to cherrypick, in effect, a pupil population that is disproportionately privileged and white, according to a damning report by the schools admissions watchdog In a ruling described by campaigners as the most robust ever released by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA), the London Oratory school was found to have broken 105 aspects of the school admissions code over two years: 63 instances involving students entering in September 2013 and 42 connected to this year’s cohort.
  • Parents of pupils attending a chain of three academies have been told not to talk to the media about a £2m fraud to which it has allegedly fallen victim. In a letter to parents written last month, Adrian Percival, CEO of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, which is based in south-east London and is responsible for 4,500 pupils, said: “The appalling crime appears to have been committed over a period of seven years, during which time the perpetrator appears to have set up a large number of small fraudulent transactions in order to commit these crimes unnoticed.” A 55-year-old man from Lambeth has been arrested in connection with the investigation, the Met police confirmed.
  • There are newspaper allegations that;
    • Thetford Academy, sponsored by the Inspiration Trust, received excessive advance notice of it section 5 Ofsted inspection
    • The Academies Enterprise Trust received advance notice that twelve of its academies were to be inspected
  • Ed Miliband says that the country risks “going into decline” unless it creates greater opportunities for the so called “forgotten 50%” of young people who choose not to follow a traditional academic route. He says that a Labour government would introduce new technical degrees to meet the demand for hundreds of thousands of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) technicians with Britain lagging behind Germany which has a highly developed vocational system. Miliband says that a Labour government would provide two pathways to the technical degree in England that could cover subjects such as information and communications technology (ICT), design and the STEM subjects. In the first place it will introduce a technical baccalaureate for 16-19 year olds with qualifications to Level 3 that would be recognised by employers; students would take part in a work placement. The second route would be through enhanced apprenticeships. At the moment there are 100,000 people on Level 3 apprenticeships. The Sutton Trust says that this needs to be increased to 200,000 or 300,000.

A new elite grade of “master teachers” would be established in state schools under a Labour government as part of a drive to raise standards and ensure that top performers remain in the classroom. Under the plans the new top tier of teachers could be awarded higher salaries by headteachers and would be regarded as the “gold standard” in the profession where all teachers would have to be qualified

  • England’s education system is wasting young talent “on an industrial scale” because of poor progress made by the brightest disadvantaged children once they leave primary school, Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, said after publication of a report detailing the educational differences that emerge by the age of seven. The report found that children from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds who achieve the highest levels at primary school have in most cases fallen behind their less able but better-off peers by the time they sit GCSE exams five years later. Of almost 8,000 disadvantaged students who achieved top grades in English and maths standardised tests at age 11, only 900 went on to study at an elite university. But if disadvantaged children performed as well at secondary school as their better off peers, another 2,200 would later study at the likes of Oxford or Manchester universities. “The early promise of top-performing poorer children is being squandered,” Milburn said. “It is vital that secondary schools focus harder on helping disadvantaged children convert high results at age 11 to excellent GCSE and A-level results in academic subjects, and that all high attainers are given advice, opportunities and support to progress to elite universities.” The researchers concluded that the period between the end of primary school and taking GCSE exams “appears to be a crucial time to ensure that higher-achieving pupils from poor backgrounds remain on a high achievement trajectory”, making secondary school a vital point for policies to boost the chances of young people.

The data confirmed research that poorer pupils are less likely to be high attainers at any age. Only 9% of children from the most deprived families achieved level three in reading and maths at age seven, compared with 27% from the more well-off. At age 11, only 7% of pupils who claim free school meals throughout secondary school achieved level five in English and maths, compared with 19% of the least deprived.

  • New figures reveal the number of school leavers embarking on apprenticeships has risen by more than 15% in just 1 year.

In March this year compared to March 2013:

  • more than 15% more 16- and 17-year-olds are in apprenticeships – up from 41,738 last year to 49,228 this year
  • 27,832 more 16- and 17-year-olds are participating in education or training – up from 1,030,689 last year to 1,058,521 this year
  • 8 out of 9 regions in England reported higher rates of young people in education or training compared to last year
  • The revised EYFS statutory framework comes into force from 1 September 2014. Until then the current ‘Early years foundation stage framework’, published in September 2012, remains in force.

A copy of this can be found on the above website, Documents-Latest documents


  • The latest exclusions data, which is for the 2012 to 2013 academic year, shows that compared to the 2009 to 2010 academic year:
    • more than 1,000 fewer pupils were permanently excluded – there were 4,630 in the 2012 to 2013 year, down from 5,740 in the 2009 to 2010 year
    • there were more than 60,000 fewer fixed-term exclusions – there were 267,520 in the 2012 to 2013 year, down from 331,380 in the 2009 to 2010 year
    • there were more than 11,000 fewer fixed-term exclusions for physical assault – there were 69,060 in the 2012 to 2013 year, down from more than 80,400 in the 2009 to 2010 year

A pioneering plan to give schools more responsibility over the fate of excluded pupils has cut the number of expulsions, according to research published today. A trial of the scheme carried out in 11 local authorities led to fewer pupils from the schools who took part in the plan being sent home than in those which were not part of the programme.

  • Just three universities have agreed to back specialist maths schools designed to cream off the best young mathematicians for sixth-form study. In November 2011, the government announced it wanted to create a “network” of specialist maths schools for 16- to 18-year-olds to “give our most talented young mathematicians the chance to flourish” At the time, it was widely trailed by government sources in national newspapers that between 12 and 16 maths schools would be set up.

·         Children are suffering as mental health services fail to cope, say parents and teachers. Headteachers say better mental health services are needed.

  • Businessman David Hoare has been selected as the new chairman of Ofsted. Mr Hoare – until recently chairman of mail company DX Group and a trustee of AET, the largest academy group in the UK – will take up his new role in September.
  • Teachers of early years children should be given the same status and pay as the rest of the profession, parents and campaigners for better nursery education said today.
  • Students who get better-than-expected A-level results next month are set to have a bigger chance of gaining places at some of the country’s leading universities A spokesman for the Russell Group said the Government’s decision to relax the rules on student numbers could help students gain last-minute places through the “adjustment” process, which is similar to clearing – holding back places until results day for those who achieve top grade passes.
  • Some academy chains are “highly ineffective” in improving the prospects of disadvantaged pupils, according to research. The study, by the Sutton Trust education charity, finds that almost half the academy chains it surveyed failed to do better than mainstream local authority schools in getting their disadvantaged pupils to obtain five A* to C grade passes at GCSE including maths and English. The report paints a mixed picture, with some of the biggest academy chains achieving significantly better results than the average for the maintained sector. In all, 23 of the chains failed to do better than the average school – while only seven did better. A similar picture emerged when looking at disadvantaged pupils’ performance in eight key subjects at GCSE. “Our analysis shows that there is enormous variation between chains in pupil outcomes for disadvantaged pupils,” say the researchers. They add that, when measured against the Government’s policies for improving social mobility, the majority of chains remain below average for all schools. This is as a result of them promoting vocational alternatives to the GCSE, with some chains ignoring the English Baccalaureate ranking in school exam league tables. The researchers say it is a “concern” that as a result disadvantaged pupils may miss out on the opportunity to pursue the subjects most likely to win them a place at the UK’s most prestigious universities and careers. The report urges Ms Morgan to reconsider her predecessor Michael Gove’s decision not to allow Ofsted to inspect academy chains, a power Sir Michael Wilshaw has been seeking. It also adds that it is “imperative” that mechanisms are in place to allow for the removal of schools from sponsors that are underperforming. “It is important that the same rigorous standards are applied to sponsor chains as to maintained schools and local authorities,” it says.
  • Fraud prevention officers have sent a new guide to every university in the country warning students they could face jail for telling “white lies” on their CVs to make them more impressive. Entitled Don’t Finish Your Career Before It Starts, the guide warns that embellishments like inflating grades and inventing extra-curricular activities can be classed as “fraud by false representation” and carry a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
  • An analysis by the DfE of the latest figures from Ofsted, the schools watchdog, shows that 39 per cent of academies and free schools are rated outstanding for behaviour by inspectors, compared to 31 per cent of local authority schools. There currently more than 4,000 academies and free schools in the country and around 16,000 council-run schools. Overall, almost a third of state schools (32 per cent) were rated outstanding for behaviour, and 92 per cent were rated good or outstanding.

Still available on the website above, (Documents-Latest documents), are the summaries of the key changes over the next three years in qualifications for;

  • Post 16
  • KS4






Appendix 1

The headteachers elected to the HTBs are:

RSC (region) Elected headteachers (school)
Paul Smith (Lancashire and West Yorkshire) Jane Acklam (Moor End Academy), Pamela Birch (Hambleton Primary School), Martin Shevill (Ossett Academy and Sixth-Form College), Alan Yellup (Wakefield City Academy)
Janet Renou (North) Zoe Carr (Town End Academy), Chris Clarke (Queen Elizabeth School), Nick Hurn (Cardinal Hume Catholic School), Lesley Powell (The Academy at Shotton Hall)
Dominic Herrington (South London and South East) Rhona Julia Barnfield (Howard of Effingham School), Ian Bauckham (Bennett Memorial Diocesan School), Andrew Carter (South Farnham School), Denise Shepherd (Rochester Grammar School)
Martin Post (North West London and South Central) Richard Edwards (Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School), Sir Michael Griffiths (Northampton School for Boys), Claire Robins (Sir John Lawes School), Teresa Tunnadine (The Compton School)
Pank Patel (West Midlands) Mike Donoghue (John Taylor High School), Billy Downie (The Streetly Academy), David Andrew Seddon (Baxter College), Sally Yates (Deanery Church of England Primary School)
Sir David Carter (South West) Dave Baker (Bradley Stoke Community School and Abbeywood Community School), Lorraine Heath (Uffculme School), Lisa Mannall (Trenance Learning Academy), Roger Pope (Kingsbridge Community College)
Dr Tim Coulson (North East London and East of England) Caroline Mary Bronwyn Haynes (Tendring Technology College), Stephen Munday (Comberton Village College), Debbie Rogan (The Wickford Church of England School and Briscoe Primary), Margaret Wilson (The King John School Academy Trust)
Jenny Bexon-Smith (East Midlands and Humber) Chris Beckett (The Deepings School), Hugh Howe (Beauchamp College), Christine Linnitt (Holywell Primary School), Geoff Lloyd (Tuxford Academy)

Appendix 2

The full list of lead maths hubs schools is:

  • Comberton Academy Trust in Cambridge
  • The Hertfordshire & Essex High School and Science College in Hertfordshire
  • The Inspiration Trust in Norfolk (Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Free School  with Kesgrave High School)
  • The Spencer Academies Trust in Nottingham
  • The Minster School in Southwell, Nottinghamshire
  • Fox Primary School in Ladbroke Grove, London
  • The St Marylebone CofE School in Westminster, London
  • Belleville Primary School in Wandsworth, London
  • Elmhurst Primary School in Newham, London
  • Woolwich Polytechnic School for Boys in Thamesmead, London
  • The Harris Federation in London
  • The North Tyneside Learning Trust in Newcastle
  • Carmel College in Darlington
  • The Bright Futures Educational Trust in Cheshire
  • The Ashton on Mersey Teaching School Alliance and Dean Trust in Cheshire
  • St Helens Teaching School Alliance in Merseyside
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic Comprehensive School in Woking, Surrey
  • Denbigh School in Milton Keynes
  • Mary Rose Academy in Portsmouth
  • St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill, West Sussex
  • Wycombe High School in Buckinghamshire
  • The Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis, Dorset
  • Balcarras School in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
  • Truro and Penwith College in Truro, Cornwall
  • Cabot Learning Federation in Bristol
  • Bishop Challoner Catholic College in Birmingham
  • Painsley Catholic College in Cheadle, Staffordshire
  • The Priory Federation of Academies Trust in Shropshire
  • Harrogate Grammar School in Harrogate, North Yorkshire
  • Outwood Grange Academies Trust in Wakefield
  • Notre Dame High School in Sheffield
  • Trinity Academy Halifax in Halifax


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