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Academy and School News Update, June 1-29 2014

This Document can be viewed here, or downloaded from our Document Library

Documents mentioned below can be found on http://tonystephens.org.uk  -Documents- Latest Documents

Appendices at the end are;

Appendix 1   Summary of national changes affecting Post 16. This should prove very useful to Heads of Sixth Form

Appendix 2   Summary of national changes affecting 14-16 and also National Curriculum. This is essential information for all schools/academies

Appendix 3   Copy of letter sent by Ofqual to all secondary schools re 2014 examination results

  • A survey of school leaders and governors has found that 47 per cent declared themselves “very dissatisfied” with the government’s performance on education, with another 28 per cent “fairly dissatisfied”  an overall disapproval rate of 75 per cent. This contrasts with the 54 per cent who said they were very or fairly dissatisfied in a 2010 survey, and the 40 per cent who felt the same in 2004. But only 20 per cent thought the quality of education had declined since the coalition came to power, with 47 per cent saying it had got better. As regards Ofsted, overall, 64 per cent said its judgements were inaccurate, but most agree when it comes to the verdict on the quality of teaching at their school. The survey also found that 72 per cent of school leaders overall were happy in their job but 66 per cent believed morale nationally was poor and 82 per cent thought it had got worse since 2010. Perceptions of pupils’ happiness varied according to type of school. In non-academies, 72 per cent of school leaders thought their pupils were very happy, while in academies it was just 59 per cent.
  • Spectacular improvements in London’s state schools are being risked by ministers’ plans to cut £24m a year in education funding, the capital’s local authorities are claiming. The 33 boroughs say a Whitehall proposal to slash by a fifth a grant they use to support school improvement, pupils with special educational needs and education welfare, will undermine school standards in London.

Disadvantaged pupils in London have made dramatic improvements in the past decade, which has led to them achieving significantly better exam results than those elsewhere in England. The so-called “London effect” has mainly been attributed to higher standards in secondary schools, thanks, in part, to the London Challenge. But according to a study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the root of the increased attainment lies in primary schools.

  • Christine Blower has been re-elected as general secretary of the NUT, and Chris Keates, has been appointed to a third term in office leading the NASUWT.
  • Three schools that have pioneered innovative uses of the Pupil Premium have been honoured at an awards ceremony. Park Junior in Shirebrook was recognised as it used the extra money to eliminate the achievement gap between its wealthier and poorer pupils.  Millfield College in Thornton used the premium to bring in additional staff, which has helped close the attainment gap by 16 percentage points since 2011. Ashmount School in Loughborough was handed the prize for a range of interventions, including weekly sessions with subject specialists.
  • The government has announced it is consulting on extending the Pupil Premium to include three- and four-year-olds, who will receive an additional £300.
  • Teachers in England work longer hours than their counterparts in almost every other country in the world, a major international survey has revealed. Teachers in English schools clock up 51 hours per week on average. This covers tasks such as lesson planning, marking and attending meetings, as well as time spent in the classroom. Teaching time adds up to less than 20 hours per week, with paperwork and administration tasks taking four hours. In addition, the average secondary school teacher spends almost eight hours planning lessons, and six hours marking students’ work. Separate figures in the report reveal that teachers in England work more hours than their peers in all but two of the 34 countries which took part in the survey, Japan and Singapore, and seven hours longer than the international average. The study also shows England’s teachers enjoy only half the development time of overseas colleagues – and are far less likely to take extra qualifications


Out of more than 100,000 secondary teachers across 34 countries who took part in the Survey 69 per cent of respondents said they did not think that teaching was “valued in society”, dropping to 65 per cent in England. While more than 90 per cent of teachers said they were satisfied with their job and almost four-fifths would choose to join the profession again if they had the chance, the survey reveals that many find themselves working “in isolation” Just a third of teachers said they observe their colleagues in the classroom, with over half admitting they never or rarely take part in team-teaching with colleagues. Those teachers who work more closely with colleagues report higher levels of job satisfaction.

  • A survey shows that more than three-quarters of headteachers are worried about their students’ mental health, with many concerned about children coming to school anxious or depressed. But cuts to the budgets for local-authority mental-health services mean that children are having to wait months for specialist care, according to a new survey.

The DfE has issued advice for school staff on mental health and behaviour. This new advice links to existing advice on behaviour and discipline, which indicates that schools should consider whether continuing disruptive behaviour arises from unmet mental health needs. It gives schools information and practical advice to help them to do this.

A copy of this document can be found on the above website

  • The heads of the country’s leading private schools are to go head-to-head with the government over plans to impose Ofsted-style inspections on independent schools.
  • A study highlights the need for ‘core maths’ qualification for post-16 students. Tens of thousands of students are struggling to cope with the amount of maths needed in a range of subjects at university because they do not leave school with sufficient skills, eg in business and management, chemistry, computing, economics, geography, sociology and psychology degree courses. The report finds students struggle with elementary ideas such as calculating percentages and can struggle to apply knowledge in different contexts. New core maths qualifications are being introduced in September 2015, but piloted in some schools and colleges as from September 2014
  • Ofsted has published 21 reports of inspections into schools linked to the alleged “Trojan Horse” plot, with five of the schools placed in special measures. These include three schools run by the Park View Educational Trust – Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen – along with Oldknow Academy and Saltley School, which have also been rated inadequate. Ofsted has accused the schools of failing to take sufficient action to prevent students being exposed to Islamic extremism. The accusations, however, have been strongly rejected by the schools concerned. Of the other 16 schools which were subjected to monitoring inspections, all were found to meet the mandatory requirements for safeguarding.

Ministers will adopt new emergency powers to shut schools with links to extremism or where there are serious child safeguarding concerns in the aftermath of the alleged Trojan Horse plot. The new powers would allow the government to close or “impose restrictions” on academies and free schools as well as private schools where there are “serious safeguarding concerns”. Ofsted is due to bring in similar requirements for state-maintained schools later this year. Schools will be able to appeal against the decision, but will not be able to remain open during the appeal process.

The DfE says every school would be expected to teach the British values of “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths”.

The DfE has launched a consultation on strengthening powers to intervene in schools which are failing to actively promote British values.

Details about this consultation are available on the above website

Ofsted inspectors are visiting more schools across England over concerns of unbalanced curriculums and poor governance in the wake of the Trojan horse affair in Birmingham, the Ofsted chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has announced. A school in the London borough of Tower Hamlets and several schools in Bradford and Luton – with predominantly Muslim pupils – have been visited recently by Ofsted staff. Wilshaw said Ofsted had already conducted inspections in several faith and non-faith schools, and his inspectors were poised to visit any school over complaints about pupil safety, teaching or governors abusing their positions.

David Cameron has ordered the introduction of snap Ofsted inspections in schools, in response to allegations that a number of schools in Birmingham were under the influence of Islamic extremists.

Guidance from Ofsted telling inspectors that segregating boys and girls is acceptable in Muslim schools has been withdrawn by the watchdog following the “Trojan Horse” investigation

A copy of the advice note on the Birmingham inspections from Sir Michael Wilshaw to Michael Gove can be found on the above website

  • Competitive sport leads to academic benefits and should be built into a school’s ethos, according to chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw. Launching an Ofsted report into school sport, Sir Michael says depriving children of the chance to compete damages their education. Every child deserves the opportunity to have their sporting passion nurtured. “Sport can have a transformative effect on schools and pupils,” he will say. “It is clear that a commitment to sporting excellence often reflects a culture of high expectations and achievement in the school as a whole. Schools that win on the field win in the exam hall.” The report finds that academic achievement and quality of leadership are generally higher in schools where competitive sport is thriving. But a survey carried out for the report found that only 13 per cent of state school headteachers expected all their pupils to take part in competitive sport, while only half of pupils said they regularly played competitive sport in school. Ofsted-commissioned research also found that in 19 sports – including football, rugby union, netball, cricket and hockey – 31 percent of current England internationals went to independent schools, although only 14 per cent of pupils attend fee-paying schools at some point in their education.

A copy of this document can be found on the above website

Give girls a voice or risk putting them off PE and sport for life. This was the warning issued by Alison Oliver of the Youth Sport Trust. Her warning followed the results of a one year pilot project, run by the trust, which revealed that body confidence and attitude to PE were improved by giving girls a say in how these classes were run. Solutions put forward recently include introducing Zumba to the curriculum, installing hairdryers, plugs and cubicles into changing rooms, and giving girls the option of a more comfortable PE kit instead of the traditional “short skirt”.

  • Secondary schools in the UK should not rely on phonics alone to support the tens of thousands of children each year who are still struggling to read by the time they leave primary education, new research has found.  Systematic synthetic phonics has been heavily promoted by the government for use with younger students. A report on phonics by Ofsted in 2011 also suggested that the approach should be central to the teaching of reading in secondary schools and colleges. But a new analysis out today says that, on average, it has less impact with older children than interventions based on improving comprehension – such as practising taking notes of key points and summarising what is read.
  • The NUT has announced that its members will be striking next month, alongside support staff and local-government workers. Teachers in England and Wales will take action on 10 July, at the same time as members of Unison, GMB and Unite unions, which represent school support staff.
  • The recent glut of First World War documentaries and dramas, are likely to lead to war-fatigue in schools, new research suggests, with the danger that students will get bored by excessive study of the war.
  • Michael Gove gave the green light to the latest wave of 38 newly approved free schools, bringing the overall number of such schools either open or soon to be open to 331, creating 175,000 new places. There are currently 174 free schools open, attended by around 24,000 pupils, with a further 157 opening from this September and beyond.
  • A project to place two-year-olds in school has been a “runaway success” education minister Elizabeth Truss told the Commons Education Select Committee today. The government has given £10,000 each to 49 schools to look into ways of developing provision that is suitable for two-year-olds. The project began in September 2013 and will run until next month.
  • Poor, white British children perform worse than any other major ethnic group at every stage of their education, a report published by the Commons Education Select Committee says, but the problem is not specific to boys. According to the report, white girls in receipt of free school meals edge boys in the same group, but are outperformed by both sexes in every other ethnic group. Both boys and girls in the “white working class” group were more likely to do less homework, play truant and leave school with worse qualifications than any other ethnic group, the committee’s report adds. Just 37 per cent of poor white girls achieve five good GCSEs, including English and mathematics, compared with 48 per cent of African-Caribbean boys eligible for free school meals and 74 per cent of disadvantaged Chinese boys. The attainment of poor children from other ethnic backgrounds is improving faster than the attainment of poor white children, the report adds.  “The problem of poor, white British under-attainment is real and the gap between those children and their better off classmates starts in their earliest school years and then widens as they get older.”

Their recommendations include tighter accountability and leadership on the way in which the pupil premium is spent; longer school days; greater incentives for teachers to be deployed in schools serving disadvantaged areas; a fairer funding formula; the government to explore ways to increase parental involvement.

  • Black pupils have achieved the biggest rise in test and exam results of any ethnic group in the country, according to new statistics.  Figures show the gap between their GCSE results and the average for the country has been cut by more than half in just four years – from 5.8 per cent to 2.5 per cent last year. Nationally, 58.1 per cent of black pupils achieved the benchmark of five A* to C grade passes at GCSE including maths and English – up 8.8 per cent since 2010. The improvement is most marked amongst the poorest black boys who have reduced the gap in the percentage reaching that benchmark by 4.4 percentage points since 2009 – bringing the total achieving the benchmark up to 43.1 per cent. In both English and maths, black pupils outscore the rest of the country at secondary school in terms of the progress made – with 76.2 per cent and 74.2 per cent of pupils making the expected level of progress or better – compared with 70.4 per cent and 70.7 per cent for all pupils.
  • New food standards outlining what schools can dish up to their students have been unveiled by the Government. The guidelines, which come into force in January 2015, are designed to make the system more straightforward and allow school cooks to be more creative and respond to what children want to eat. The requirement to provide at least one portion of vegetables or salad every day and one portion of fruit, no extra salt and free, fresh drinking water has not changed from the current requirements. But there will no longer be separate nutrient-based standards, which currently set out the levels of specific nutrients such as iron or zinc, which must be incorporated into the lunch menu. Milk must also be available to primary and secondary pupils during the school day under the new rules which come into force in January. Pupils will only be offered two portions of deep-fried, battered and breadcrumb-coated foods each week. Pastry-based dishes will be subject to the same restrictions, schools will be completely banned from offering chocolate and confectionery in canteens and tuck shops, and salt will not be available for pupils to add to food after it is cooked. The new regulations retain many of the health and nutrition regulations adopted in 2008 and 2009, including a ban on fatty snacks such as crisps, a restriction on the serving of fried food to two lunches a week, and the promotion of water and milk instead of sugary drinks. The new regulations also include some tougher measures, restricting serving portions of fruit juice to 150ml and mandating that low-fat milk be available for sale.  While academies created from June 2014 will have to meet the new standards, academies which were set up between 2010 and 2014 have been asked to sign up voluntarily.

A copy of the new Food Standards can be found on the above website

  • State boarding schools that have opted to become academies could end up losing pupils because the government is forcing them to make an 8 per cent profit on their fees, a leading headteacher has warned. New rules from 2015 mean the 23 state boarding academies will have to make the surplus in order to pay for capital projects such as new boarding houses.
  • There are warnings that schools need to prepare for a looming teacher recruitment crisis as the improving economy tempts graduates into other careers.
  • Nick Clegg has issued the Liberal Democrats’ education manifesto, calling for all teachers to have Qualified Teacher Status and a “core curriculum” for every state school.
  • Michael Gove has approved a 1 per cent pay rise for teachers from this September, although schools will not be obliged to pass the increase on to all staff.  Mr Gove has approved the recommendations made by advisory group the School Teachers’ Review Body to increase salaries at the top and bottom of the main pay scale by 1 per cent. However, with the introduction of performance-related pay from September, headteachers have the power to decide on pay rises for teachers within the minimum and maximum salaries. Mr Gove also accepted a recommendation to stop publishing the “reference points” on the teachers’ pay scales from September, which were used to determine pay when rises were automatically linked to length of service. The ATL said: “We expect all schools to give all their teaching staff a 1 per cent pay rise at minimum from September as the report recommends. There are no excuses to fail to do so”.

A copy of the STRB report is available on the above website

  • In a “damning” report examining the role of the Education Funding Agency, the Public Accounts Committee said the body was too reliant on whistleblowers to point out when abuse of public funds was taking place. As a result, the EFA, which is part of the DfE, is often too late to intervene when it comes to improper use of taxpayers’ cash, the report states. Margaret Hodge, chair of the PAC, said the EFA had “not yet got to grips” with effective oversight of how money is spent on academies and free schools. “The agency has no way of knowing whether academy chief executives and trustees are ‘fit-and-proper persons’. “In a very devolved system, as in the case of academies, a lot of trust is invested in the organisation, chief executive, principal and trustees for managing public money. However the department does not have a process for vetting those appointed as academy trustees or chief executives,” she added.  She voiced particular concern over the potential for conflicts of interests in academies, pointing to the practice of individuals with connections to academy trusts and private companies benefitting from their position.
  • Labour will not “indulge in massive curriculum reform” should it come to power after the next general election, the party’s education spokesman has said. Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, said the profession needed some stability following four years of almost constant reform under the coalition.
  • Ofqual wants teachers to anonymously disclose the tactics used to give students an “unfair advantage” in boosting their exam results. The exam watchdog has launched an online survey to hear teachers’ views on practices used by schools to “maximise” results, such as asking students to memorise marking schemes, entering students early for exams or focusing on areas of the curriculum that are most likely to be tested. The survey, which will run from Monday 9 June to Friday 18 July, will be entirely confidential and anonymous, giving teachers a “unique opportunity” to be open and honest with Ofqual.
  • Ofqual has announced plans to axe GCSEs and A-levels in 24 subjects, including home economics and engineering, because they “overlap” too much with other qualifications. Heads are already resisting some of the changes, but the exams regulator is warning that it is also “inevitable” that even more subjects will disappear because exam boards will not be prepared to invest to ensure the subjects meet the tougher new requirements. Subjects on the at-risk list include ancient history, law, geology and home economics.  The watchdog is proposing that all unreformed A-levels and GCSEs should be withdrawn from 2017, with the last results coming out in 2018. The qualifications it definitely wants to discontinue are all “similar or overlapping” with other more established subjects. For example human biology at A and AS-level would go because it is too similar to biology. Some have very low entries, such as applied art and design – judged to overlap with art and design – which had just 524 awards made in 2012. But others being proposed for the axe are much more popular. The home economics GCSE, which Ofqual says has too much in common with food technology, was taken by 32,064 pupils in 2012. The remaining subjects will all have to meet tougher requirements from Ofqual if they are to survive. GCSEs will have to provide evidence of “demanding and fulfilling content” and a “strong foundation for further academic and vocational study, and for employment”. A-levels must offer “robust and internationally comparable” courses that provide a foundation for higher education, allow universities and employers to identify pupils’ academic ability and be suitable for school accountability. Ofqual also wants assessment to be “mainly by exam”. The changes have been spun by some newspapers in advance as being about removing so-called “soft subjects” such as media studies. But the actual consultation suggests that market forces and the level of demand from schools may play a bigger part in deciding which subjects survive. Some subjects portrayed in the media as being at risk are relatively popular. GCSE media studies was taken by 55,851 candidates in 2012. Others, such as GCSE ancient history, taken by just 346 in the same year, appear more vulnerable.

In its consultation paper, Ofqual calls for comments on existing exams to be reformed along the lines of English, maths and science papers at GCSE and A-level, in order to make them more exam-based and rigorous. For these remaining subjects – such as astronomy and media studies – Ofqual has called for comments to allow exam boards and interested parties a chance to argue their case.

 ‘Overlapping’ subjects facing Ofqual’s axe:

  • GCSEs: digital communication; expressive arts; electronics; catering; home economics; manufacturing; engineering; performing arts; humanities; applied science; additional applied science; environmental science; environmental and land-based science; human health and physiology
  • A-levels: science in society*; applied science*; environmental studies*; human biology*; applied art & design*; humanities*; economics and business*; applied business*; home economics (food, nutrition and health)*; engineering*; performing arts*; film studies; performance studies*; quantitative methods*; use of mathematics*
  • *also AS-level

A copy of the consultation document can be found on the above website

  • England’s growing range of school admissions policies is “bewildering” to parents, creates unfairness and should be the subject of a full government review, a report has said.

·         State schools begin to build alumni networks – but should ask for cash too. They are missing a fundraising opportunity potentially worth tens of millions of pounds a year by failing to ask their former pupils for money, according to a charity campaigning for better alumni links in the state sector.

 

  • The number of children failing to get their first choice of secondary school in England has risen, with tens of thousands affected, official figures show. About one in seven 11-year-olds (14.8%) did not get an offer from their first choice school, down 1.5% on last year, with around 77,100 missing out, according to the DfE. London and the West Midlands were the two areas where children were less likely to get their first secondary school preference, with 29.8% in London and 18.1% in the West Midlands not receiving a first choice offer. In central London, Westminster was the lowest, with just 58.4% getting into their top school, while in Birmingham 68.7% achieved it. Across England 95.5% got one of their top three secondary preferences, down from 96.5% last year, and 96.8% were given an offer from one on their preference list, down from 97.8%.
  • In Kent more than 20 primary and secondary headteachers in the county have been removed from their jobs in the past two years and either suspended or put on “gardening leave” while their futures are decided following Ofsted inspections. It is believed, though not confirmed by any official statistics, that up to 40 others may have been encouraged to resign quietly. It is a phenomenon that is being replicated around the country. Heads are being dismissed, leaving their careers ruined, says Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. In the autumn term of last year alone, his union represented 140 members, many of whom had been ousted because of their school’s performance.

·         Campaigners are saying that it’s not enough for Ofsted just, to check that up-to-date policies exist, ensure staff are DBS checked and that everyone has done their safeguarding training. They also need to investigate past incidents and how well schools have dealt with them

  • Ofsted has confirmed that Kemnal Academies Trust, which has 39 academies, received visits at six of its schools, starting on 11 June. The co-ordinated inspections were the second of their kind, following a swoop on the E-Act chain in January and February
  • The lingering effects of failed education policies of the 1960s and 1970s still undermine England’s comprehensive schools, the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said on Friday as he called on teachers and parents to “exorcise the ghosts of the past”. While giving a robust defence of the principle of comprehensive schooling, the watchdog’s chief inspector of schools also lambasted the “baleful legacies” of the past. “We need to reclaim and celebrate comprehensive education in this country, not because I’m a romantic but because I’m a realist … It’s about acknowledging that there is only one school model that can realistically educate all our children”. “Comprehensives must be unambiguously academic. They must be relentlessly competitive. They must engage with parents and carers. They must be places where discipline is taken for granted. And they must be exceptionally led.”

Wilshaw said decades of weak leadership, poor discipline and a lack of focus on academic achievement had left comprehensives “associated in the minds of many with mediocrity, laxity and failure”. “For many, journalists and politicians in particular, comprehensives remain – to use an infamous label – bog-standard,” Wilshaw said. “In fact, the vast majority of our comprehensives, whether local authority schools or academies, are far better than many of their critics allow. And they are a lot better than the comprehensives I first worked in 30 years ago. Wilshaw said that despite this progress, a significant minority of schools were still in need of improvement while the rest faced a “constant battle” to avoid slipping backwards. He blamed the failure of comprehensive schools on loss of authority at all levels: “Teachers no longer respected the head, students no longer respected the school and few respected academic tradition.”To show respect was craven. To expect obedience was oppressive. Rules, competitive sport, professional dress and uniforms were all too often ditched. Headteachers were encouraged to pander to their staff and to their students. They were expected to be a friend not a leader. Instead, today’s heads and school leaders need to challenge what Wilshaw described as “tired teaching orthodoxies” and confront parents to play their part in their child’s education. The chief inspector said: “This is most commonly seen in the opposition of some parents to strict uniform policies.’How dare they send my Oliver home because he has the wrong colour socks!’ they complain to the local paper.’It’s not vital to his education!’ Oh yes it is.” He ridiculed those who called for more grammar schools as a solution: “Their record of including students from non-middle-class backgrounds is poor. And let’s not delude ourselves. ‘A grammar school in every town,’ as some are calling for, would also mean three secondary moderns in every town, too – a consequence rarely mentioned. “If we have learned anything from those educational superstars in Asia and elsewhere it is that a country will only progress if it provides an excellent education for all of its citizens, not just some of them.

  • The successful turnaround of many inner-city schools in recent years has been underscored by fresh official data that shows them pulling ahead of rural and coastal parts of England. With most of London getting above-average exam results, including the boroughs of Hackney, Camden and Lambeth, swaths of Suffolk, Norfolk, Kent, and Cornwall are lagging behind.
  • Sir Michael Wilshaw’s suggestion that headteachers and principals need powers to fine errant parents who fail to attend school meetings or help their children with homework has met with a lukewarm response from unions and teachers’ representatives. Wilshaw said that heads needed to demand more from parents, saying: “If parents didn’t come into school, didn’t come to parents’ evening, didn’t read with their children, didn’t ensure they did their homework, I would tell them they were bad parents.”I think headteachers should have the power to fine them. It’s sending the message that you are responsible for your children no matter how poor you are.” Wilshaw said the issue was not about income or poverty: “Where families believe in education they do well. If they love their children they should support them in school.”
  • Analysis of information provided by 45 local authorities found that of those children missing school, there are an estimated 3,000 children across England whose whereabouts is unknown. In addition, some 5,000 children are missing out because they are still waiting for a school place.
  • The number of unlawfully large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone, according to DfE figures. Almost 100,000 five to seven-year-olds are now being taught in classes of more than 30 pupils – the limit set for state-school classrooms by Labour in the late 1990s.
  • The government is preparing plans put pressure on parents to guarantee the good behaviour of their children in school and levy sanctions against those who do not “play their part”, according to Michael Gove. The proposals, which will be unveiled later this year, will place an emphasis on tackling what he says are the root causes of truancy and misbehaviour “One of the factors which deters otherwise gifted teachers from staying in the profession is the poor behaviour they observe in class, the backchat and disruption which impede study and the lack of support they as teachers experience from school leadership teams which are insufficiently rigorous in policing bad behaviour.” He will also set out plans that he hopes will end illiteracy within a generation. While saying that a recent tightening on attendance has led to a decrease in absence figures, Gove says that there is more to be done: “We need to ensure that those parents who don’t play their part in ensuring their children attend school, ready to learn and showing respect for their teacher, face up to their responsibilities. We will, later this year, be outlining detailed proposals to ensure parents play their full part in guaranteeing good behaviour, and outlining stronger sanctions for those who don’t.” Although Gove is not expected to detail what those sanctions will involve, it is believed that they may include the withdrawal of child benefits from parents whose children persistently truant.

Michael Gove attacked those who oppose his school reforms saying they are allowing working class children to be sent to school “without daring to think they might be intellectually curious and capable of greatness”. He accuses them of “denying them access to anything stretching or ambitious”, and claim that his opponents are “feeding them a diet of dumbed-down courses and easy-to-acquire qualifications, lowering pass marks and inflating grades to give the illusion of progress, shying away from anything which might require grit, application, hard work and perseverance, and then sending these poor children into the adult world without the knowledge, skills, character and accomplishments they need, and deserve, to flourish”. “Indeed, far from retreating, we have to ask how we can accelerate improvement in our schools,”

  • From now, Ofsted will send inspectors to inspect trainees’ teaching in the autumn term as they start work as newly-qualified teachers, ie, as well as in the summer term of their NQT year. Previously, Ofsted only inspected trainees in the summer of their training year. But the aim of the new plan is to ensure that new teachers implement what they have learnt while training in the classroom, particularly in managing behaviour and instilling discipline. In a further change, inspectors will also judge whether teachers are dressed professionally and demonstrate professional conduct. Training providers who do not ensure trainees dress appropriately will be marked down. Some teacher training providers have not prepared trainees adequately for their induction year, according to Ofsted
  • Schools have been warned that their GCSE and A-levels could be worse than expected this summer because of reforms to the exam system. Ofqual has published an open letter to all schools and colleges telling them that the overhaul of this summer’s exams was “likely” to produce markedly different results in some schools. National results are also likely to be affected by the reforms.   See Appendix 3
  • A recruitment crisis has left thousands of schools unable to fill vacancies on their governing bodies, as potential candidates are intimidated by their responsibilities  One in four academies (27 per cent) says it has found it more difficult to fill  vacancies since their school opted for academy status
  • Thousands of pupils who fail to read properly by the age of 11 will be sentenced to a lifetime of underachievement, according to a report. Figures show that only one in 10 of the pupils who failed to reach the required standard in reading in national curriculum tests go on to get the benchmark of five top-grade passes at GCSE – including maths and English. Last year, a total of 75,000 children failed to clear the hurdle at 11.
  • Children with special education needs are twice as likely to suffer from persistent  bullying, according to new research into primary schools
  • A new £1 million Government bursary scheme will give thousands of state school pupils the opportunity to join new cadet units. The boost will help fulfil a pledge by Prime Minister David Cameron to set up 100 new Combined Cadet Forces by 2015.
  • Sixth form colleges are under threat with several facing closure this year because of deep cuts to their budgets, claims a new study by the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA). A survey of England’s 93 sixth form colleges reveals that more than one in three colleges have already had to axe their language courses – while more than one in five have scrapped courses in the Stem science and maths subjects.
  • Teachers must stop “reinventing the wheel” by drawing up special lesson plans for children and revert to traditional teaching from text books, the schools minister says .Liz Truss said that teachers in English schools spend too much of their time preparing new lessons, worksheets and other materials and not enough on the basic task of teaching children from standard texts. The failure to use “strong core material” like standard texts is hampering children’s ability to master basic lessons and skills, she said, suggesting many teachers are effectively wasting time on unfulfilling and unnecessary work.
  • The DfE has announced further reforms to vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4 and post-16. These are not new qualifications but set out the requirements for awarding bodies who wish to have qualifications accredited for performance tables in 2017 and 2018. Key Stage 4 vocational qualifications that are accredited for performance tables will in future be known as ‘Technical Awards’, post-16 Level 2 qualifications as ‘Substantial Vocational Qualifications’ and Level 3 qualifications continue to be divided into two categories: ‘Applied General’ and ‘Tech Levels’. If you are considering offering vocational qualifications from September 2015, the Key Stage 4 Technical Guidance and 16-19 Technical Guidance explains the criteria, which they will have to be met to be included in performance tables 2017 and 2018.

Both these documents can be found on the above website 

The KS4 Technical guidance makes it clear that from 2015, all practical qualifications for 14- to 16-year-olds will be forced to meet rigorous new standards before being counted in official league tables. The DfE says courses sat by hundreds of thousands of pupils would be badged as “Technical Awards” to put them on par with academic qualifications. In a series of changes, all practical qualifications must be equal in size to one GCSE and include 120 hours of teaching and learning time. At least 40 per cent of the course must be marked externally – not by teachers – and pupils will only be given one chance to re-sit, it emerged. Crucially, the DfE says qualifications must focus on the “acquisition of practical and technical skills” – moving away from the previous system in which many vocational qualifications were theoretically-based. The Coalition has now axed more than 3,000 equivalent courses from league tables for 14- to 16-year-olds for this summer, leaving just 186 to be counted. The DfE says all practical courses counted from 2015 onwards would be classified as “Tech Awards” to be included in league tables. It is recommended that pupils study no more than three Tech Awards alongside five core GCSEs. Specifications sent out to exam boards state that new vocational qualifications must have a “distinction, merit, pass, fail structure” or a more detailed grading scale. In a series of other changes, rules must be in place to ensure pupils’ work is “authentic” and “prepared and produced by students independently, without assistance from others and free of plagiarism”.

  • More pupils are being taught in grammar schools even though the number of academically-selective institutions has dropped for the first time in decades. Official figures show that 162,630 children were enrolled in grammar schools in England in the current academic year – 5.1 per cent of all secondary-age pupils. The number was up from 161,630 – five per cent – a year earlier.
  • The Unions have written to Mr Gove to  highlight their jointly held concerns that much of the 16-19 provision cannot be sustained at future funding levels and further that the government’s ambitious policy intentions will not be realized. They have requested that the government at least holds funding levels at their current value into 2016/17, taking account of inflationary cost pressures (increases in employers pension contributions, national insurance and non-pay inflation, amounting to a 4 per cent cost increase). Furthermore, they have asked that the government instigate a review to determine the resources needed to provide good and financially viable 16-19 education.
  • The online expression of interest application system for the second phase of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP2) has now opened. Local authorities, diocese, and academy trusts have until 3 pm on 21 July to submit expressions of interest for whole-school sites or multiple individual buildings.
  • The DfE is conducting a consultation on proposals for publicly funded schools and colleges to publish performance measures on their websites. The deadline for responses is 4 July.

A copy of this document is available on the above website

  • The DfE has now published the new SEN Code of Practice and associated regulations. The new code of practice comes into effect in September but the proposed transitional arrangements provide for a three-year period during which time current statements can be reviewed and transferred to the new plans. The transitional arrangements are subject to consultation finalised

A copy of this can be found on the above website

  • Naace is leading an initiative to provide free base line testing and progress measures for the new computing national curriculum in England using a simple online test. They will use tried and tested technology and a test related to Ofqual accredited and DfE approved criteria. Over 400 schools have already signed up. If you want to take part, simply visit groups.google.com/key-stage-3-baseline add your email address and they will then provide further information and instructions. They will start testing mid-June. For more information, see www.computingresources.info
  • As of June 9, Ofsted has been piloting a change to inspections in the Midlands. They will not be entering a grade for teaching on each individual lesson observation form. Instead, they will record their observations about what is going well, and what is going less well, and use this to feed back to teachers. Inspectors will not feed- back a specific teaching grade or use grades to arrive at an overall judgement.

An Ofsted note explaining this change can be found on the website

  • The DfE has published experimental data showing the destinations of students from 2011, which will be made available to parents

On the above website can be found the summary document and then the by institution data for KS4 and KS5

  • DfE figures reveal the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) is at the lowest level since comparable records began 20 years ago.The statistics also show the number of 16- to 18-year-olds NEET has dropped by more than a quarter since the end of 2009. The figures show that for England at the end of 2013:
    • there are 33,400 fewer 16- to 18-year-olds NEET than in 2012 – a drop of almost a fifth in just 1 year – and 55,200 fewer NEETs since the end of 2009
    • the proportion of 16- to 18-year olds NEET is also down – to 7.6%, the lowest rate since comparable records began in 1994
    • there are now more than half a million 16-year-olds in full-time education – up 16,200 (2.4 percentage points) on last year – these are the first figures available since we raised the age to which young people must stay in education or training beyond the age of 16
    • the number of 16-year-olds NEET fell by almost 12,000 (1.9 percentage points) – the largest fall seen since comparable records began
  • The DfE is consulting on child performance regulations

A copy of this consultation can be found on the above website

 

 

  • The new performance measures, to be introduced in 2016, are based on the progress 8 measure. Schools can choose to opt in a year early in 2015. By opting in, schools agree to be subject to new floor standard based on progress 8. The window for schools to opt in a year early to the new performance measures opened on 23 June 2014, and will close at the end of June 2015. On 20 June 2014, the DfE sent headteachers and principals information about the terms and conditions for opting in and the procedure for doing so. Schools must obtain the agreement of their governing bodies before signing up. In early 2015 schools will receive data indicating how the school would have performed against the new measures for its 2014 results. This information (which will not be published in the performance tables) will help each school plan for the new performance measures and decide whether to opt in early
  • From 2016, the reception baseline assessment will be the only measure the DfE will use to assess the progress of children who enter reception year. The baseline assessment will score each pupil against the knowledge and understanding typical for children at the start of reception year. It will be linked to the learning and development requirements of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and to the key stage 1 national curriculum in English and mathematics. The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has developed the criteria the DfE will use for the reception baseline assessments. The DfE will publish a list of assessments that meet the criteria in early 2015. Schools will be able to start using an approved reception baseline in 2015. The baseline check will also allow the DfE to allocate low prior attainment funding to primary and infant schools from 2016 once the EYSF profile stops being compulsory. This funding helps schools support pupils whose attainment was below the expected level before reception year.
  • The DfE wants to see an increase in the number of students studying Mandarin

 

  • The DfE is funding a new scheme – called Teaching Leaders Primary – which sees primary teachers, or middle leaders, already working in challenging schools and with the potential to become outstanding leaders, put through a rigorous 2-year training programme which develops their skills and helps them get the most from pupils. In its first year, the programme will be open to 1,200 primary teachers in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and also in specific areas of need – like Hull, Norfolk and Blackpool.
  • The DfE has announced new support to train ICT teachers for the new Computing national curriculum

Details can be found on the above website

 

  • The DfE is consulting to seek views on the draft programme of study for science at key stage 4 (KS4).

The consultation documents can be found on the above website

 

  • A campaign to tackle educational inequality is being launched by an alliance of employers, teachers’ organisations and children’s charities The Fair Education Alliance will set goals such as narrowing the gap in literacy and maths between rich and poor and in different parts of England. The National Association of Head Teachers, the CBI, Teach First and Barnardo’s are backing the project.

·         Grammar schools have been urged by the DfE to award 3,500 places a year to poor pupils as Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, says they have a “moral purpose” to create a more socially-balanced intake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 1

Academy/school Sixth forms – key future changes

 

 

A and AS levels

  • Sept 2015

These new, linear A- levels come on stream

  • English Lit  -English Lang   -English Lit and Lang
  • Art and design
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • History
  • Biology   -Chemistry  -Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Sept 2016

These new, linear A- levels come on stream

  • Maths  -Further maths
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Dance
  • D and T
  • PE
  • RE
  • MFL subjects
  • Geography
  • Sept 2017

All other A- levels that get approved will start as new linear A-levels

 

 

 

Key Dates

  • No further January window after January 2013 for either A or AS levels
  • June 2016
    • Last exam for modular AS and A-levels for those subjects where new A and AS levels began in September 2015
    • First stand- alone AS exam for these subjects
    • June 2017
      • Last exam for modular AS and A-levels for those subjects where new A and AS levels begin in September 2016
      • First stand- alone AS exam for these subjects
      • First exam for those subjects where new A levels began in Sept 2015
      • June 2018
        • Last exam for modular AS and A-levels for those subjects where new A and AS levels begin in September 2017
        • First stand- alone AS exam for these subjects
        • First exam for those subjects where new A levels began in Sept 2016
        • June 2019
          • First exam for those subjects where new A levels began in Sept 2017

 

Notes

  • The new stand-alone AS will be only graded A-E as now. Syllabi are to be designed so that AS in a subject can be taught alongside the first year A-Level. This would seem to allow the following;
    • AS and A-level students taught in the same class
    • A- level students who are not coping could be entered for the AS after one year
    • Students who take the AS and do well could stay on after all for the second year of the A-level
    • Students who begin to fail in the second year of the A-level could be entered for the AS instead
    • Some schools that are not happy with the new A-levels are looking at entering their students for International A-levels
    • Schools will have to decide whether or not most students will now take just three A-levels from the start as the default position rather than four
      • Ofqual has announced plans to axe some A-levels, because they “overlap” too much with other qualifications. Heads are already resisting some of the changes, but the exams regulator is warning that it is also “inevitable” that even more subjects will disappear because exam boards will not be prepared to invest to ensure the subjects meet the tougher new requirements. The watchdog is proposing that all unreformed A-levels should be withdrawn from 2017, with the last results coming out in 2018. The qualifications it definitely wants to discontinue are all “similar or overlapping” with other more established subjects. For example human biology at A and AS-level would go because it is too similar to biology. The remaining subjects will all have to meet tougher requirements from Ofqual if they are to survive. A-levels must offer “robust and internationally comparable” courses that provide a foundation for higher education, allow universities and employers to identify pupils’ academic ability and be suitable for school accountability. Ofqual also wants assessment to be “mainly by exam”. The changes have been spun by some newspapers in advance as being about removing so-called “soft subjects” such as media studies. But the actual consultation suggests that market forces and the level of demand from schools may play a bigger part in deciding which subjects survive.

‘Overlapping’ subjects facing Ofqual’s axe:

  • A-levels: science in society*; applied science*; environmental studies*; human biology*; applied art & design*; humanities*; economics and business*; applied business*; home economics (food, nutrition and health)*; engineering*; performing arts*; film studies; performance studies*; quantitative methods*; use of mathematics*

*also AS-level

Core Subjects

  • All students in the Sixth form as from Sept 2014 who do not have at least a C in English and/or mathematics, must continue with a level 2 course in these subjects with the aim of securing a higher grade
  • From Sept 2015 there will be a core 16-18 mathematics course at level 3 for those students who want to carry on with the subject but don’t want to do A-level This course is being piloted in some schools and colleges as from September 2014

Vocational

  • There are two types of qualification;
    • Tech levels
    • Applied General Qualifications
    • Both are at level 3 for teaching from Sept 2014, and the DfE has issued a list of which of them are approved to count in the 2016 performance tables
    • In late autumn 2014, DfE will publish lists of Tech Levels and Applied General qualifications approved against the ‘interim requirements’ for teaching from September 2015 and recognition within the 2017 performance tables. The DfE will also publish the first lists of Tech Level and Applied General qualifications approved against the ‘full requirements’.
    • These qualifications will then be further revised to meet the new specifications for teaching from Sept 2016 and then for inclusion in the 2018 performance tables; details of the new specifications should be available from Autumn 2015
    • Students can gain a Tech Bacc as from Sept 2014 and this will be reported in the 2016 performance tables if;
      • They achieve an approved Tech level qualification, (not an Applied general Qualification)
      • They achieve a level 3 mathematics qualification
      • They achieve an extended project qualification
      • Schools may review what vocational level 3 courses they offer in the context that with A-levels being linear and harder, some student who would have taken the old A-levels might be better off with vocational courses
      •  The Dfe has already published a list of the levels 2 vocational qualifications which will be recognised in the 2014 and 2015 performance tables. The DfE will publish the first list of level 2 vocational qualifications that have been approved against the ‘interim requirements’ for teaching from September 2015 and recognition within the 2017 performance tables. These qualifications, known as Substantial Vocational Qualifications at level 2, cover occupations where employers recognise entry at this level or where a particular level 2 qualification is required before a student can progress to a Tech Level.

Misc

  • RPA is up to 17 for 2013-2014 and 18 for 2014-2015
  • There will be a separate grade for the Sixth form from Ofsted inspections after Sept 2014
  • There will be new accountability arrangements for as from 2016, which in essence involves Colleges and school sixth forms showing students’ progress from GCSE to age 18 (compared to others with the same GCSE results) in academic subjects, Tech levels and Applied General Qualifications ; what students’ average grade is in each category; the progress made by students who joined them without a C in English and/or maths; what proportion of their students drop out; and what proportion of their students go on to further study, a job or training at the end of their courses (when the data is robust enough). Prior to this there will be an extra element to the tables which will show the proportion of student taking mathematics or physics A-level

Appendix 2

National Curriculum and 14-16 qualifications- summary of national changes

 

GCSE current reforms

  • From 2014, all GCSEs are linear with exams taking place only in June, except for English language, English language and English literature (combined) and maths, which will have a November re-sit opportunity for students aged over 16 and those who have already taken the qualification. Controlled assessment will still be included. Spelling Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) marks are included in assessments in English literature, history, geography, religious studies and some specifications (geography, history, English literature) have been ‘tightened’ to ensure that students are covering the entire syllabus.
  •  From 2014, speaking and listening will no longer be included in the English or English language grade. Controlled assessment of writing remains at 40 per cent but the exam will now count for 60 per cent. Speaking and listening will continue to be assessed by teachers and will be awarded a separate grade on the certificate.
  • There is no regulation that prevents students entering for GCSE early or taking one-year courses but schools will be influenced by decisions made about the performance tables counting the earliest rather than the best result Schools should also be mindful that some selective universities expect to see a full range of A/A* grades for entry to some courses.

GCSE future reforms

  • GCSEs in maths, English language and English literature will be reformed for first teaching from 2015, first awarding from 2017. It is expected that specifications for these new GCSEs will be in schools in autumn 2014 and the subject content has already been published by the DfE. These new GCSEs will be linear, will have more extended writing tasks and will be entirely assessed by external examination. The content is also greater than current GCSEs.
  • Grading for the new GCSEs will be on a 9 to 1 scale with 9 being the highest. Ofqual is currently consulting on what the grades mean and how they will be awarded.  Consultation closed 30 June.
  • There will be tiering in maths but not in English.
  • Maths and English will be assessed by exam only. In English language, students will be assessed on speaking and listening but this grade will be reported separately on their certificate and will not count towards the overall grade.
  •  There will no longer be a single English GCSE. Students will have to follow courses in both literature and language to meet National Curriculum requirements and English will only be double counted in the new Progress 8 performance measure if a student has been entered for both language and literature.
  •  Sciences, modern and ancient languages, geography, history, computer science, art and design, design and technology, drama, dance, PE, citizenship, music, religious studies will be redesigned as new GCSEs for first teaching from 2016, first examining from 2018.
  •  As with English and maths, these will be linear qualifications and grades will be 9 to 1.
  • Geography will be untiered and assessed by exam only but schools will have to confirm to their exam board that students have completed two pieces of fieldwork.
  • History will be untiered and assessed by exam only.
  • Sciences (double award, biology, chemistry, physics) will be tiered. There will be further consultation about the assessment of practical science.
  • Ofqual is consulting on the assessment of modern and ancient languages. Consultation closed on 23 May.
  • The DfE is leading a consultation on the content of the following subjects: religious studies, design and technology, art and design, drama, dance, music, PE, computer science, citizenship studies. Ofqual will be consulting on the structure and assessment.
  • Ofqual is consulting on plans to reform the remaining GCSEs. The proposal is that all GCSEs offered for first teaching from 2017 will be new GCSEs (linear, grading 9 -1, teacher assessment and tiering only where absolutely necessary). Any existing GCSEs which are not replaced by new GCSEs for first examining in 2019 will be withdrawn.
  • There will therefore be a period of three years (2017-19) in which students have both old and new GCSEs on their CV with different grading structures and potentially different standards.
  • Ofqual has announced plans to axe GCSEs in a range of subjects,  because they “overlap” too much with other qualifications. Heads are already resisting some of the changes, but the exams regulator is warning that it is also “inevitable” that even more subjects will disappear because exam boards will not be prepared to invest to ensure the subjects meet the tougher new requirements.  The watchdog is proposing that all unreformed GCSEs should be withdrawn from 2017, with the last results coming out in 2018. The qualifications it definitely wants to discontinue are all “similar or overlapping” with other more established subjects The remaining subjects will all have to meet tougher requirements from Ofqual if they are to survive. GCSEs will have to provide evidence of “demanding and fulfilling content” and a “strong foundation for further academic and vocational study, and for employment. Ofqual also wants assessment to be “mainly by exam”. The changes have been spun by some newspapers in advance as being about removing so-called “soft subjects” such as media studies. But the actual consultation suggests that market forces and the level of demand from schools may play a bigger part in deciding which subjects survive. Some subjects portrayed in the media as being at risk are relatively popular. GCSE media studies was taken by 55,851 candidates in 2012. Others, such as GCSE ancient history, taken by just 346 in the same year, appear more vulnerable.

In its consultation paper, Ofqual calls for comments on existing exams to be reformed along the lines of English, maths and science papers at GCSE and A-level, in order to make them more exam-based and rigorous. For these remaining subjects – such as astronomy and media studies – Ofqual has called for comments to allow exam boards and interested parties a chance to argue their case.

 ‘Overlapping’ subjects facing Ofqual’s axe:

  • GCSEs: digital communication; expressive arts; electronics; catering; home economics; manufacturing; engineering; performing arts; humanities; applied science; additional applied science; environmental science; environmental and land-based science; human health and physiology

Vocational qualifications (Key Stage 4)

  • Every November, the DfE publishes a list of qualifications that carry equivalence to one GCSE in Key Stage 4 performance tables. These qualifications have to meet criteria (mostly around the nature of their assessment) in order to figure in the list.
  • Other qualifications on list 96 may be used at Key Stage 4 (and should be if they are of benefit to students) but do not carry points within the tables.
  • The DfE has announced further reforms to vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4. These are not new qualifications but set out the requirements for awarding bodies who wish to have qualifications accredited for performance tables in 2017 and 2018. Key Stage 4 vocational qualifications that are accredited for performance tables will in future be known as ‘Technical Awards’. If you are considering offering vocational qualifications from September 2015, the Key Stage 4 Technical Guidance  explains the criteria, which they will have to be met to be included in performance tables 2017 and 2018, (this document can be found on the above website)

The KS4 Technical guidance makes it clear that from 2015, all practical qualifications for 14- to 16-year-olds will be forced to meet rigorous new standards before being counted in official league tables. The DfE says courses sat by hundreds of thousands of pupils would be badged as “Technical Awards” to put them on par with academic qualifications. In a series of changes, all practical qualifications must be equal in size to one GCSE and include 120 hours of teaching and learning time. At least 40 per cent of the course must be marked externally – not by teachers – and pupils will only be given one chance to re-sit, it emerged. Crucially, the DfE says qualifications must focus on the “acquisition of practical and technical skills” – moving away from the previous system in which many vocational qualifications were theoretically-based. The Coalition has now axed more than 3,000 equivalent courses from league tables for 14- to 16-year-olds for this summer, leaving just 186 to be counted It is recommended that pupils study no more than three Tech Awards alongside five core GCSEs. Specifications sent out to exam boards state that new vocational qualifications must have a “distinction, merit, pass, fail structure” or a more detailed grading scale. In a series of other changes, rules must be in place to ensure pupils’ work is “authentic” and “prepared and produced by students independently, without assistance from others and free of plagiarism”.

National Curriculum reform (current – until   September 2014)

  • The 2007 secondary programmes of study have now been disapplied. Maintained schools must continue to teach the National Curriculum subjects but there has been no restriction over content for the current school year 2013-14.  This has allowed schools to reform their curriculum in advance of the 2014 start date if they wish to.

National Curriculum reform (from September 2014)

  • The revised National Curriculum has been published and comes into force in September 2014 for all year groups in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 simultaneously, except for the core subjects in Key Stage 4 where the programmes of study will come into force as the new GCSEs roll out. The Key Stage 4 core subject programmes of study have only been published for consultation and are not yet within the main document.  English and maths will be published in July 2014 and science by the end of 2014.
  •  Academies, free schools, UTCs and colleges that enroll 14- 16 students will be free to follow the National Curriculum or not as they choose but all schools are obliged to provide a “broad and balanced curriculum” and to teach religious education and sex and relationship education.
  • Key Stage 1 and 2 subjects remain the same as at present except for the addition of languages at Key Stage 2. Subjects remain the same as at present at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 but ICT becomes computing.
  • Pupils entering years 2 and 6 in September 2014 will continue to be taught the current programmes of study for primary English, maths and science in the 2014 to 2015 academic year, to allow for statutory end-of-key- stage assessments in summer 2015.
  • PSHE remains non-statutory but recommended.
  • The Key Stage 4 entitlement for every student in a maintained school to study, and take a qualification in, one arts subject, one humanity, one design technology and one language remains.
  • Attainment levels are abandoned and replaced with a single attainment target for each subject at the end of each key stage. Key Stage 2 tests remain in English and maths and will be reformed with a new grading structure in 2016 where 100 is the national expectation. The score of 100 is expected to be equivalent to a current Level 4b. In 2014 and 2015, Year 7 students continue to arrive at secondary school with Key Stage 2 test scores and teacher assessment expressed as levels
  • All schools should have a process for tracking, recording and reporting their students’ progress but this is no longer nationally prescribed and schools are free to produce their own system.

Primary

  • From 2016, the reception baseline assessment will be the only measure the DfE will use to assess the progress of children who enter reception year. The baseline assessment will score each pupil against the knowledge and understanding typical for children at the start of reception year. It will be linked to the learning and development requirements of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and to the key stage 1 national curriculum in English and mathematics. The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has developed the criteria the DfE will use for the reception baseline assessments. The DfE will publish a list of assessments that meet the criteria in early 2015. Schools will be able to start using an approved reception baseline in 2015. The baseline check will also allow the DfE to allocate low prior attainment funding to primary and infant schools from 2016 once the EYSF profile stops being compulsory. This funding helps schools support pupils whose attainment was below the expected level before reception year.
  • Time line for primary schools

 

Thanks to the work of Sue Kirkham for huge assistance in helping me produce this appendix

 

 

Appendix 3

Letter to all secondary schools from Ofqual

Dear Colleagues

Summer 2014 – open letter to schools and colleges  

As the exam season closes, I thought it would be helpful to set out our approach to regulating the awarding of GCSEs, AS and A levels. There have been some significant changes to these qualifications of late and you will want to know the possible impact of the changes. Most of these issues in the letter relate to England only, but some also apply to Wales and Northern Ireland.

We have all become used to national results for GCSEs and A levels that are generally stable from one year to the next. That is to be expected given the number and profile of students taking them. Schools and colleges however are used to some year-on-year variation in their results because of differences in student ability and this year there are other factors that may mean results are different, school by school and nationally.

Changes in the student mix  

In recent years we have seen less stability in the summer cohort and we expect this trend to be more apparent this year.  Changes in entry patterns mean that the cohort is less similar to the previous years and this inevitably means results will vary more from one year to the next.  For example, if more year 10 students enter for GCSEs, as happened in 2013, we tend to see overall results that are lower because year 10 students, in general, do less well than their year 11 counterparts.

The changes to GCSEs and A levels this summer have also changed the nature of the summer cohort. The move to a linear approach to GCSEs, with exams at the end of the course rather than in modules throughout, means that, for example, there are many more students entering GCSE mathematics this summer than last summer. In recent years, many of these students would have taken mathematics in January or March.  And the fact that only the first attempt at a GCSE counts for performance tables will mean some schools will have changed their entry patterns still further.

At AS and A level, the removal of the January exam series has meant students could not take one unit early, or re-sit an AS unit in year 13. As a result, the overall entries are higher this summer compared to summer 2013.

A return to end of course exams 

Schools have taken different approaches to these qualifications in the past. Some entered students for January AS and A- level units, others did not. Not all schools entered GCSEs in a modular way; some chose instead to enter students for all their units at the end of the course. So individual schools will have responded to the changes in different ways, with those schools who have previously used GCSEs in a modular way, for example, having to make many more changes than others who might have taken a more linear approach.  

Entry patterns for GCSEs and Level 1/Level 2 certificates 

We know there are some significant differences in GCSE and Level 1/Level 2 certificates (sometimes referred to as IGCSEs) entry patterns compared to last year. We have already published this information here.  Overall GCSE entries have declined by 4 per cent since last year, to 5.3 million. This is largely due to a 40 per cent drop in entries from Year 10 students. We have also seen a move to Level 1/Level 2 certificates in English language and falls in entries for the separate sciences.  Schools that have made significant changes to their entry patterns are likely to see more variation in their results than others. This also means that comparisons between the national picture of results in 2013 and 2014 should be approached with caution, as you will not be comparing like with like.

GCSE English and English language 

For 2014 the results of speaking and listening assessments will be reported separately using grades 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. They will not count towards students’ final GCSE grades.

The balance between exams and controlled assessments has also changed. Written exams now count for 60 per cent of marks and the reading and writing controlled assessments will count for 40 per cent. Previously, controlled assessments counted for 60 per cent and exams 40 per cent. We know from modelling carried out that the impact is different for different students, depending on their particular strengths.

GCSE Geography 

The GCSE geography qualifications for 2014 have been strengthened to make sure that students are taught the full curriculum content.

Our approach to summer 2014 

Collectively these changes in the student mix are likely to result in a little more variability than usual, school by school.  When qualifications change we would expect individual school results to be more variable, because the changes will have different impacts in different schools and in different subjects.

3

It is not possible to predict at this stage how the national picture will look: these changes do not pull results universally in one direction or another, but together they are likely to affect the national picture to some extent.

Our priority this summer, as in previous years, is to hold standards steady so that in general, students in 2014 are not advantaged or disadvantaged because of the changes to the qualifications. We have published more detail on how we will do this on our website at http://ofqual.gov.uk/standards/summer-2014-exams/#our- approach-to-summer-2014-awarding

The approach we follow allows exam boards to take account of changes in the cohort and reflect that in results. Exam boards use data from the whole cohort’s performance in previous exams or tests to predict how they will perform as a group in the summer exams. If the cohort is similar, in terms of ability, to the previous year’s cohort, then we would expect overall results to be similar.

When the cohort is different, this approach means the predictions will reflect those differences.  The exam boards then report to us if the actual results are significantly different from the predictions and explain why this may be.  We will either accept the explanation or challenge those results if we don’t think the explanation is backed up by enough evidence.

I do hope you find the information here helpful.  We will continue to update our website periodically throughout the summer and on results days. If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our helpdesk on 0300 303 3344 or e-mail info@ofqual.gov.uk.  

                ————————————————————–

Tony Stephens

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