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Education News Jan 1- Feb 14 2012

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Groups that want to open mainstream, special and alternative provision Free Schoolsin September 2013 can submit their detailed plans to the Department from Feb 13. The first 24 Free Schools opened in 2011. A further 72 Free Schools are in the pipeline to open in September 2012 and beyond.

Groups wishing to open Studio Schoolsfrom 2013 can also submit their applications. Twelve have already been approved to open in 2012 – with the backing of employers like Glaxo, Sony, the BBC and Fulham FC. They join six Studio Schools that are already open. Studio Schools offer academic and vocational qualifications, but teach them in a practical and project-based way. Study is combined with paid work placements with local and national employers who are involved in the school.

All groups wishing to set up new, state-funded schools are required to submit a high level of detail about their plans from the very outset, and to meet published criteria. This includes providing:

· detailed plans on teaching and the curriculum;

· strong evidence of demand from local parents;

· examples of how the school would ensure standards were high; and

· robust financial plans, and how the school will provide value for money.

After a competitive selection process, shortlisted groups are then invited to an interview.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has launched new guidelines for organisations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make sure parents and children get quality and consistent messages about internet safety, (see

The DfE has published over a million items of data – first published by the Coalition Government last year – about the performance of every state school in last year’s GCSE exams. This comes on top of the publication two weeks earlier of league table data, (see

‘Equivalent’ qualificationsare to be reduced from more than 3,175 to just 125.

All qualifications will have the same value in the tables.

Only selected qualifications will be included in future secondary school Performance Tables, the DfE has announced

The announcement follows recommendations made in a report by Professor Alison Wolf last year.

At the moment there are 3,175 equivalent qualifications accredited and approved for study by 14- to 16-year-olds, all of which count in the tables; some of these are worth as much as four, five or even six GCSEs.

But from the 2014 Performance Tables (published in January 2015), just 125 of these qualifications (3.9 per cent of the current total) will count. Full-course GCSEs, established iGCSEs, AS levels and music exams at grade six and above will also be included. All will be included on the same one-for-one basis.

Of the 125 to be included, 70 can count towards a school’s main Performance Table measure – the proportion of pupils who get five A* to C GCSE grades. The other 55 are qualifications which cannot contribute to the five A* to C measure.

Some of the qualifications included are subject to future review. This is because they have demonstrated they have most but not all of the necessary characteristics or because they are too new to demonstrate a track record. They are being given an extra year to do this.

Schools will remain free to offer any other qualification accredited and approved for study by 14- to 16-year-olds. Teachers will still be able to use their professional judgment to offer the qualifications which they believe are right for their pupils. But only those meeting the Department’s requirements will count in Performance Tables..

The characteristics of high-quality qualifications, as set out in the Government consultation, are that:

  1. they offer pupils proven progression into a broad range of further qualifications or careers post-16, rather than narrowing students’ options
  2. they are the size of a GCSE or bigger
  3. they have a substantial proportion of external assessment and require students to use knowledge across their subject.
  4. they have grades such as A*-G (those with simple pass or fail results will be excluded)
  5. they have good levels of take-up among 14- to 16-year-olds, if taught for at least two years
  6. the list of the equivalent qualifications can be downloaded from – Documents – Latest Documents

The DfE published 400 per cent more data about secondary schools than in 2010 in  the 2011 Schools Performance Tables, which now include:

  • how well disadvantaged children perform in each school
  • whether previously high, middle and low achieving pupils continue to make progress
  • how many pupils at each school are entered into the core academic subjects that make up the EBacc.

The 2011 GCSE results reveal that

  • only 33.9% of those on free school meals or in local authority care for at least six months achieve the national benchmark of five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths when the national average is 58.2%.
  • 6.5 per cent of pupils who had been below Level 4 at the end of primary school, went on to achieve five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths.
  • 8,600 pupils, 4.9 per cent, who were level 5+, then failed to gain to five A*-C grades including English and maths.
  • 45.6 per cent of pupils, some 120,000, who were at Level 4 at Key Stage 2 failed to make the expected amount of progress, to five A*-C grades including English and maths, at secondary school.

The GCSE and A Level results for 2011 also show that:

  • for the 166 academies with results in both 2010 and 2011, the percentage of pupils achieving five or more good GCSEs including English and maths rose from 40.6 per cent to  46.3 per cent, an increase of 5.7 percentage points. This means academies’ GCSE results improved by nearly twice the level seen across all maintained schools
  • there are 107 secondary schools below the floor standard. 132 schools rose above the floor from 2010 to 2011, with 48 schools dropping below the floor
  • only 23.7 per cent of all pupils were entered for a combination of subjects that could lead to the EBacc – last year it was 22.0 per cent
  • just 17.6 per cent of all pupils achieved the EBacc – last year it was 15.6 per cent
  • the overall number of five GCSE (or iGCSE or equivalent) passes at A* to C including English and mathematics for all pupils has increased this year by 5.4 percentage points to 58.9 per cent –  in state-funded schools there was a 3.1 percentage point rise to 58.2 per cent.

. The Performance Tables are available at

The DfE has published new arrangements for teacher and head teacher appraisals in maintained schools in England, and for dealing with underperforming teachers.

It will come into effect from September 2012 and includes:

  • giving schools more freedom over managing their teachers through simpler, less prescriptive appraisal regulations;
  • removing the three-hour limit on observing a teacher in the classroom (the so-called “three-hour observation rule”) so that schools have the flexibility to decide what is appropriate;
  • a requirement to assess teachers every year against the new Teachers’ Standards – the key skills that teachers need;
  • allowing poorly performing teachers to be removed in about a term – the process can currently take a year or more;
  • an optional new model policy for schools that deals with both performance and capability issues; and
  • scrapping more than 50 pages of guidance.

The DfE is also consulting on new proposals to help schools when they recruit new teachers. This will mean that schools will have to pass on information to prospective employers, on request, about whether a teacher is or has been subject to capability procedures. This would help deal with the problem of ‘recycling’ of poor teachers, by helping schools make better, more informed decisions when recruiting.

See Appendix 1 for more details

A copy of the new model policy can be downloaded from -Documents – Latest Documents

The DfE has announced that it is scrapping the existing ICT curriculum.

In its place, it will introduce new courses of study in Computer Science; this would give schools the freedom to create their own ICT and Computer Science curricula

.Companies such as Microsoft and Google and Cambridge University are already working with technology education organisations, such as the British Computer Society, to produce free materials for schools. More are expected to follow.

The DfE also sys that it was keen for high-quality qualifications in Computer Science to be developed, and welcomed industry-giant IBM’s involvement.

.ICT will remain a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, pending the National Curriculum review.

The Education Secretary also made other statements on ICT and technology in schools, including:

· funding for new Teaching Schools to enable them to create strong networks between schools to help them develop and improve their use of technology

· a recognition that we should look at the school curriculum in a new way, and consider how new technological platforms can help to create new curriculum materials in a much creative and collaborative way than in the past; and

· a focus on improving Initial Teacher Training and Continual Professional Development for teachers in educational technology. The Education Secretary said that knowledge in our schools is of vital importance.

A consultation on withdrawing the statutory Programme of Study from September 2012 has begun. The status of ICT within the school curriculum from 2014 onwards will continue to be considered by the National Curriculum review alongside that of all other National Curriculum subjects.

The GTC will be wound up on March 31, and its disciplinary responsibilities then passed to the Teaching Agency, but there is a rather chaotic transfer period, during which the TA is only taking on the most serious cases from the GTC and other cases will lapse

On February 1st there were 1580 academiesand 45% of secondary schools were academies. The DfE has made it clear that it intends to use its powers to turn the 200 worst performing primary schools into academies. At present just 3% of primaries are academies. There is some evidence that the number of schools applying to become academies is on the decline,

The NASUWT and NUT have refused to accept the latest offer on pensionreform; the 4 other teachers and heads unions have agreed to consult members on the proposals and the ATL and ASCL have signed up to the offer

Ofstedhas announced that it is proposing a series of changes in the inspection process from September 2012, and these have now gone out to consultation.

  • all school inspections will be without notice, and this will apply to both state and independent schools.
  • the “satisfactory” category will be scrapped and replaced by “requiring improvement”, and this will apply to the c6000 schools in this category in September 2011; the particular target is the c3000 schools that have been ”satisfactory” for two inspections in a row. Any school placed in this category would be re-inspected within 18 months and those that do not reach “good” in three years will be placed in special measures.
  • only good and outstanding schools will be deemed as providing an “acceptable standard of education”, ie the DfE could then order that all the others become academies
  • “Outstanding” verdicts will not be given to schools without there being outstanding teaching
  • inspectors will be provide with the latest, anonymised information on the performance management of all the teachers in the school and links to pay
  • There will be more re-inspections of outstanding schools than were originally intended and especially at the c1000 outstanding schools where teaching was not judged outstanding
  • Reports will have blunter and clearer language

There has been a dramatic down turn in the number of graduate applicants for teacher training courses, which could mean future teacher shortages at both secondary and primary levels. At the same time, over 300 PGCE courses may be closed down, these being courses with small numbers of students

The Sir Robert Woodard Academy, sponsored by the Woodard chain of private schools has been adjudged as unsatisfactoryby Ofsted!

Ministers are considering removing LA responsibility for school health and safetyand handing this to school governors, but there are concerns about the implications of this in that it would include liability for asbestos

By 2020, there are expected to be 4.8 million primary school students, 20% more than in 2011

George Osborne announced in the Budget that he was considering introducing regionalised pay for teachers. Now Michael Gove is asking the private sector for advice onon plans to link teachers’ pay with living costs in different parts of the country.

From now on all new schools must have either academy or free school status

The first 100 Teaching Schoolstook up their new status in Sept 2011, following 300 applications, but only 126 schools have applied for the next 100 places

A pilot project in 31 LAs give s parents of SENstudents control over part of the budget allocated to their child for educational support and to buy goods and services. Schools will be able to decide whether to participate in the direct payments pilot

Ministers have been accused of discriminating against dyslexic pupils by announcing plans to award 5% of marks in GCSE exams for spelling, punctuation and grammar as part of a drive to improve communication skills. Dyslexiaexperts, educationists and teachers’ unions say the new rules on marking, announced by the Department for Education last month, will penalise hundreds of thousands with a genuine spelling disability and make it more difficult for them to reach target grades.

Last month, Ofqual announced that for GCSE courses beginning in September, 5% of marks would be awarded for performance in spelling, punctuation and grammar in English literature, geography, history and religious studies.

A spokesman for Ofqual confirmed there would be no special exemptions from the marking regime for dyslexic pupils. However, as was the case previously, a pupil with a statement of special educational needs can gain up to 25% of extra time in exams.

The Swedish company given the go-ahead last week to run a Suffolk school is expecting to make £5m profits this year. It could possibly open the floodgates to an unprecedented level of commercial involvementin British learning under the Coalition education reforms

Appendix 1

Teacher appraisal

The current regulations on managing teacher performance will be revoked. The DfE is about to lay new regulations – The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012.  Under these new regulations:

  • Governing bodies and local authorities will have to have a written appraisal policy for their teachers
  • Governing bodies will have to appoint an external adviser to advise them with appraising the head teacher
  • Objectives will have to be set for each teacher which contribute to improving the education of pupils
  • Schools will have to have an annual appraisal process for teachers
  • Teachers will have to be given a written appraisal report which sets out:
    • an assessment of their performance
    • an assessment of their training and development needs
    • where relevant, a recommendation on pay progression.

These requirements all feature in the current regulations.

The main changes are that under the new regulations:

  • Teachers’ performance will be assessed against the new teacher Standards against their objectives and against their role in the school. Under the current arrangements, the standards are seen merely as a “backdrop” to performance management discussions.
  • Most of the prescription in the current regulations will disappear, including the three hour limit on classroom observation. After September 2012, governing bodies and local authorities will be free to make their own decisions about the amount of observation that is appropriate for their teachers. They will also be free to decide many other matters on which they currently have no flexibility.

Teacher capability

The new optional model policy sets out an example of a model capability policy that schools might like to follow for teachers about whose performance there are serious concerns that the appraisal process has been unable to address. It is shorter and less complex than the current procedure, and complements, rather than duplicates, the appraisal process.

The main changes are:

  • There is no informal stage in the capability procedure
  • The suggested length of the monitoring and review period following a first warning has been reduced in length from 20 weeks to between 4-10 weeks.  It is important to note that the length of the review period must be reasonable in the circumstances of each case, and must provide sufficient time for improvement to take place.

Recycling of underperforming teachers

As part of the consultation the DfE asked for comments on a proposal to require schools to pass copies of teachers’ annual appraisal reports to prospective employers. The proposal was designed to reduce the amount of recycling of underperforming teachers by allowing schools to supplement the information provided by references and help them make better informed decisions on recruitment.

Although more respondents agreed with this proposal than opposed it, the DfE has decided not to proceed.  Instead it will be consulting on a separate proposal to require schools to pass on to prospective employers (on request) information about whether a teacher is or has been subject to capability procedures.

Timetable for introduction of changes

Date What is happening?
24 May 2011 Launch of 12 week consultation on new arrangements for teacher appraisal and capability.
16 August 2011 End of consultation.
13 January  2012 Publication of response to consultation and model policy covering appraisal and capability.Launch of consultation on proposal to amend School Staffing Regulations.
January 2012 New Appraisal Regulations to be laid.
13 January  to 31 August 2012 Schools prepare for changes by reviewing and revising their existing policies, consulting staff as appropriate.
24 February 2012 End of consultation on changes to School Staffing Regulations.
1 September 2012 New appraisal regulations come into force.New model policy replaces current capability procedure issued in July 2000 and previous guidance on performance management.School Staffing Regulations amended to include a duty on schools to share with prospective employers (on request) information about whether their teachers had been in capability procedures.

New Teachers’ Standards come into force.


What changes are the DfE introducing?

  • New arrangements for teacher appraisal, including new regulations, which remove unnecessary prescription and give schools much greater freedom to design their own appraisal policies.
  • A new optional model policy that combines appraisal and capability into one coherent procedure that is consistent with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

What are the main differences?

  • The three hour limit on classroom observations has been removed – so that schools have the flexibility to decide what is appropriate for themselves.
  • Each year, all teachers’ performance must be assessed against the relevant standards – so that leaders can make sure that their teachers’ performance continues to meet expectations.
  • The overlap between the current appraisal and capability systems has been removed – so that under-performance can be tackled more swiftly and effectively.

What are maintained schools/local authorities still required to do?

The new regulations will require governing bodies of maintained schools, as now, to:

  • Establish an appraisal policy for the annual appraisal of teachers employed at the school
  • Appoint an external adviser to advise and support it in relation to the appraisal of the head teacher
  • Ensure that objectives are set for each teacher at the school
  • Ensure that the performance of each teacher is appraised annually
  • Ensure that each teacher is given a written report of the appraisal.

Local Authorities will have similar duties in relation to any teachers they employ directly.

What about academies?

Teachers in academies, Free Schools and other Independent Schools are not covered by the regulations.

When will these changes come into effect?
The new regulations will come into effect on 1 September 2012.  The model policy is optional and can be used from September 2012.
Against which standards will teachers be assessed?

All teachers will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards which come into force on 1 September 2012. In some cases governing bodies and head teachers may also wish to assess teachers against other sets of standards published by the Secretary of State that are relevant, for example the Standards for Advanced Skills Teachers or Excellent Teachers.

Appendix 2

Need to know 2012 – information for heads, principals and governors

This timeline sets out important information to help headteachers, principals and governors plan ahead, prepare for and implement changes that will take place during 2012, including mandatory legal requirements; some of the timings are indicative and may change.


clip_image001 Academies
clip_image002 Free Schools  (including University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools)
clip_image003 Maintained Schools
clip_image004 Sixth Form Colleges
clip_image005 Further Education Colleges with 16-19 provision
clip_image006 Pupil Referral Units
clip_image007 Independent Schools (not state funded)
clip_image008 All Interested Parties
clip_image009 Non Maintained Special Schools
clip_image011 Spring term 2012
January – Information available on which qualifications will be included in the headline indicators for the 2014 Key Stage 4 performance tables.Applicable to:
January – New inspection framework for schools. Framework, evaluation schedule and supporting guidance published.Applicable to:
January – The Young People’s Learning Agency will announce how academies can apply for Capital Maintenance Funding for 2012-13.Applicable to:
January – The Assessment and Reporting Arrangements (ARA) for Year 1 phonics screening check will be distributed to primary schools.Applicable to:
15 January – Schools no longer have to join behaviour and attendance partnerships.Applicable to:
15 January – Schools no longer required to provide notice for after-school detentions.Applicable to:
17 January – Window for applying to establish a new University Technical College in September 2013 closes.Applicable to:
January/February – Draft funding calculations sent to academies by YPLA and LACSEG rates published.Applicable to:
January – March – Schools interested in converting to academy status in time for new school year should register their interest.Applicable to:
1 February – Revised School Admissions and Appeals Codes come into force. Schools will use the revised codes to consult on admissions policies.Applicable to:
1 February – School meal deals(set by school or local authority, depending on whether catering is devolved) will be allowed to boost the uptake of school lunches and to tackle obesity.Applicable to:
13-24 February – Application window for groups seeking to open a Free School (except those seeking to open a University Technical College) in September 2013.Applicable to:
February – Distribution of Key Stage 2 English Writing testfor schools which have opted for internal marking. Schools are able to administer this test between February and June 2012.Applicable to:
February – Information for secondary schools on obtaining funding for summer schools for free school meals pupils transitioning to Year 7 in September 2012 issued.Applicable to:
February – Opening the process to enable PRUs to convert to alternative provision academies with a view to receiving formal applications for an academy order from PRU management committees when legislation permits (circa. May).Applicable to:
February – Launch of application process for academies Capital Maintenance Fund 2012-13.Applicable to:
March – Final confirmation of any newly accredited qualifications that will be included in the headline indicators for the 2014 Key Stage 4 performance tables.Applicable to:
31 March – Final funding letters issued to academies for 2012/13.Applicable to:
31 March – Deadline for LA maintained schools that never achieved FMSIS to complete the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS)and submit the return to their LA.Applicable to:
March 2012 – March 2013 – Match funding of up to £3000 is available for schools with Key Stage 1 pupils to purchase systematic synthetic phonics products and training.Applicable to:
1 April – Cases of serious misconduct start to be referred to the new Teaching Agency replacing previous arrangements to refer dismissals for incompetence or misconduct to the General Teaching Council for England.Applicable to:
1 April – The register of teachers ceases to exist. Instead, no employer will be allowed to employ someone whose name is on the new prohibited list.Applicable to:
1 April – New regulatory framework for sixth form colleges provides extra freedoms for colleges including over their own governance and day-to-day working.Applicable to:
15 April – Deadline for admission arrangements for September 2013 intake to be determined even if they have not changed from the previous year and a consultation has not been required..Applicable to:
April – Schools will be able to search pupils for a wider range of items without their consent.Applicable to:
April – Subject to the outcome of the consultation, revised School Premises Regulations will come into force, and associated guidance will be published.Applicable to:
April – New regulations on statutory induction for newly qualified teachers will come into force and statutory guidance will be published.Mandatory for:
clip_image003[19]clip_image006[15]clip_image009[8]Also applicable to other schools offering statutory induction to their NQTs.
15 May – Administration of Key Stage 2 English Writing test for schools selected in the sample and for schools opting to administer externally marked tests.Applicable to:
May – Consultation on proposed changes to school organisation regulations, including the statutory process for closing and making alterations to maintained schools.Applicable to:
Spring term – Announcement on which schools have been successful in their applications to the Priority Schools Building Programme.Applicable to:
clip_image013 Summer term 2012
30 April – Delivery of externally marked Key Stage 2 and Level 6 test materials (standard and modified versions) and stationery items to schools.Applicable to:
June – Year 1 phonics screening checksadministered.Mandatory for:
June – Total amount of Pupil Premiumfor each school confirmed.Applicable to:
Summer term – Announcement of successful applications to set up Free Schools, Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges.Applicable to:
clip_image015 Autumn term 2012
1 September – New inspection frameworkfor the learning and skills sector (16- to 19-year-olds) comes into force.Applicable to:
clip_image001[25]clip_image002[26]clip_image003[26]clip_image006[20]clip_image007[10]clip_image009[9]Mandatory for:
September – Bidding opens for School Direct places for 2013/14 (a new scheme that allows schools, or groups of schools, to apply to the TDA/Teaching Agency to offer an Initial Teacher Training place, which they then work with an accredited ITT provider to deliver).Applicable to:
September – The revised Early Years Foundation Stagecomes into force, following the Tickell Review and a full consultation with the sector over summer 2011.Applicable to:
September – Changes to the Free Entitlement to Early Education for three and four-year-olds come into force.Applicable to:
September – Subject to the outcome of consultation, revised premises standards for independent schools will come into force.Applicable to:
September – Independent appeal panels will be replaced with a new system for reviewing permanent exclusion decisions.Applicable to:
September – All external examinations in two year GCSEcourses starting in September will have to be taken at the end of the course (summer 2014).  Students will not be able to sit individual modules before the end of the course.Applicable to:
September – New regulations and accompanying guidance on induction for Newly Qualified Teachers come into force.Mandatory for:
September – Changes to Teachers’ Standardscome into force (only applicable to Special Educational Needs Coordinators in Free Schools).Mandatory for:
September – Subject to the outcome of the consultation on managing teacher performance, schools can begin to use new model policy on appraisal and capability.Applicable but optional to:
September – Pupils will have access to independent, impartial careers guidance in Years 9-11. Subject to consultation, the age range will be extended to include pupils in Year 8 and young people aged 16-18 studying in schools and colleges.Applicable to:
clip_image001[33]clip_image002[33]clip_image003[35]clip_image006[26]Subject to consultation:
September – Maintained schools no longer required to produce an annual prospectus or curriculum policy, but must provide key information online instead (subject to Regulations being made).Applicable to:
September – New academies and Free Schools must provide key information online.Applicable to:
September – Schools are required to publish online information about how they have used the Pupil Premium.Applicable to:
September – Governing bodies can choose to move away from the stakeholder model of constitution of governing bodies.Applicable to:
October – Reporting restrictions introduced preventing the publication of identifying information about a teacher who has been accused by a pupil of a criminal offence.Applicable to:
November – When changes are proposed to admission arrangements, admission authorities must consult on admissions for eight weeks November-March 2012, for September 2014 entry.Mandatory for:
November – Information available on which qualifications will be included in the headline indicators for the 2015 Key Stage 4 performance tables.Applicable to:
November/December – Announcement of Schools Capital Allocations for 2013-14.Applicable to:
November/December – Announcement of Dedicated Schools Grant Allocations for 2013-14.Applicable to:
November/December – Announcement of Pupil Premium levels for 2013-14.Applicable to:

Tony Stephens

For the Ormiston Academies Trust

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