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The week
News items from the week’s daily and education press, covering the major education news stories of the week.

Healthy schools rating scheme published.

The government has finally published details of its “healthy schools” rating scheme – almost two years late.

Schools are being encouraged to take part in the voluntary scheme by completing a survey that covers four areas: food education, school food standards, time spent on physical education and active travel.

Schools will then receive a report based on their answers, with the highest-scorers getting a gold, silver or bronze award.

However, the ratings will not be shared publicly.

The “healthy schools” plan was first proposed as part of the government’s child obesity action plan in 2016, and was supposed to be up and running by September 2017.

Read more.


Results show primary pupils are ready for secondary school

Almost two-thirds of pupils left primary school this year having mastered demanding standards of reading writing and maths – meaning they are going into secondary school equipped to thrive.

Statistics released today (9 July, 2019) show:

  • 65% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths combined compared to 64% in 2018 and 53% in 2016 when the more rigorous KS2 tests were brought in, although changes to the writing teacher assessment since 2016 mean results from 2016 to 2018 are not directly comparable.
  • 78% of pupils met the expected standard in the grammar, spelling and punctuation and punctuation test – unchanged from 2018
  • 79% of pupils met the expected standard in maths – up from 75% in 2018
  • 73% of pupils met the expected standard in reading –down from 75% in 2018 but up from 66% in 2016
  • 78% of pupils met the expected standard in writing – unchanged from last year

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

These results show the majority of pupils are leaving primary school ready to deal with the challenges of secondary school. The pupils who performed well in these tests will have demonstrated sophisticated grammatical skills like using the subjunctive, the ability to divide fractions and mastery of complex spellings.

We reformed these tests in 2016 to make sure they assessed schools’ performance in equipping pupils to understand the new, improved primary curriculum. These skills will give them the chance to make the most of their potential – this is at the heart of the reforms we’ve introduced across the education system since 2010.

It’s testament to the hard work and dedication of teachers that we have seen results rising over time despite the bar of expectation having been raised.

This year’s results are the fourth to be released following the introduction of more rigorous assessments in summer 2016, bringing primary education in line with the best in the world.

The attainment gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers has fallen between 2011 and 2018. And in 2016 England achieved its highest ever score in the international PIRLs literacy study. This follows a greater focus on reading in the primary curriculum, and a particular focus on phonics.

National Curriculum Assessments – better known as SATs – are intended as a measure of school standards, as opposed to individual pupils. They enable government to hold primary schools to account for their performance and also highlight where pupils may need additional support when they arrive in secondary school


HPV vaccine to be offered to boys.

Teenage boys entering Year 8 this September will be offered the free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for the first time ever.

It’s estimated that the HPV vaccine programme – which currently vaccinates teenage girls but not boys – will lead to the prevention of over 64,000 cervical cancers and nearly 50,000 non-cervical cancers by 2058, according to the University of Warwick.

Cervical cancer is currently the most common cancer in women under 35, killing around 850 women each year. HPV is thought to be responsible for over 99% of cervical cancers, as well as 90% of anal cancers, about 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers and more than 60% of penile cancers. It’s also been linked to head and neck cancer.

Read more.


Eton College will offer 12 free sixth form places.

Eton College will offer 12 free sixth form places to boys "with tremendous potential but limited opportunity".

The Orwell Award will be open to those who do not have the highest grades, recognising that their potential may have been limited by circumstances.

The places will be offered to Year 11 pupils at non-selective state schools and will cover full boarding fees.

Former prime minister David Cameron and Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson are among Eton's alumni.

Both the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex were also pupils at the Berkshire school, which charges fees of more than £40,000 a year.

 

Headmaster Simon Henderson said the school had a tradition of offering free places "to deserving pupils" since it was founded in 1440, adding that there were more than 80 pupils currently in the school "who pay no fees"

"The Orwell Award will ensure that we continue this tradition by helping boys with tremendous potential but limited opportunity," said Mr Henderson.

Read more.


Autistic child suspended.

Paul McDonald's autistic son, Jim, has been suspended from his mainstream primary school for 30 days in the past three months.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Paul estimates that Jim, aged eight, has been suspended for 135 days of his first four years at school.

He is among a group of parents set to meet the Department of Education (DE) to highlight the similar problems their autistic children are facing.

The proportion of children with autism in Northern Irish schools has almost trebled in a decade, according to the Department of Health.

 

And some parents, like Paul, say that means they have to battle to get appropriate support in school for their children.

Read more.


Edward Timpson expects his exclusion proposals to be funded.

The chair of a landmark review of exclusions expects the government to fund proposals put forward in his report, despite a lack of firm commitments from ministers.

Edward Timpson told MPs today that although he has received no “cast-iron guarantees” from ministers on funding for alternative provision, he is “working on the basis they have committed to resources”.

The schools community responded with disappointment when the Department for Education failed to fully commit to implementing the recommendations of the Timpson review, particularly proposals for more capital funding for alternative provision and a “practice improvement fund” to share best practice between institutions.

I’m working on the basis they have committed to resources because they have accepted my recommendations

But Timpson, the former children’s minister who chaired the review, told the parliamentary education committee this morning that he expects his recommendations to be implemented in full.

In his report, which was finally published in May after a long delay, Timpson called for the DfE to establish a practice improvement fund “of sufficient value, longevity and reach” to identify children in need of support and deliver “good interventions for them”.

He also demanded that the government “significantly improve and expand” AP buildings and facilities, with the “right level of capital funding” to be a priority for the next spending review.

Read more.


Amanda Spielman at NDNA conference.

It’s a pleasure to be here today. Looking at the agenda, you certainly know how to cram in the big issues. Perhaps unusually, inspection is one of the most straightforward items on the agenda today.

No doubt you’re aware that we’re making some changes to how we inspect. But before I talk more about what this means for early years, I want to thank the NDNA for its collective response to our consultation, and to any of you who responded individually. We had over 15,000 responses in total. That’s quite something and the biggest response to any consultation in Ofsted’s history.

And our early years supremo, Gill Jones, and her team, have been travelling up and down the country speaking to many of you at our consultation events. As ever, we thank you for engaging so fully and frankly. I was very pleased to see so much support for our plans.

As part of developing the framework, we’ve also been carrying out pilot inspections, the biggest pilot programme we’ve ever done. By September, we’ll have done more than 250 pilots in all kinds of education providers.

So far, feedback from our early years pilots shows that the new approach is working well. Practitioners and inspectors too are saying that they welcome our emphasis on the curriculum, and what you’re teaching children.

I hope that some of you will have had chance to look at the final framework and handbooks by now, which we published recently. They set out what we’ll be looking at on inspections from September onwards.

Today I want to explain some of our changes in more detail, offer some clarity and also allay any fears you may have.

Read more.


Reducing the need for restraint.

This document summarises responses received to the public consultation on draft guidance, ‘Reducing the need for restraint and restrictive intervention’. The guidance was published for consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Education (DfE) in November 2017. The consultation ran from November 2017 to January 2018. As the consultation was specifically on a draft of guidance, the finalised guidance published simultaneously with this document constitutes the main response; this document summarises some of the key concerns raised and the main changes made to the final guidance in light of the responses to consultation.

DHSC and DfE commissioned the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) in 2016 to draft guidance on reducing the risk of restraint and restrictive intervention to children and young people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health issues in health and care settings and special schools, who are at comparatively greater risk of restraint. CDC worked extensively with health, care and special schools as well as parents, carers and children and young people in developing the draft.

Read the consultation response.


Review of Head Teacher standards.

The Department for Education has appointed an advisory group to review the headteacher standards for the first time since 2015.

The panel includes the leader of a commission that drew up an ethical framework to help guide the work of education leaders.

The group will be led by Malcolm Trobe, the former interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), and includes representatives of academies and governors, and the leaders of the two headteachers’ unions.

Read more.


Ofsted closes 12 children's homes.

Twelve children's homes in England were closed down by Ofsted last year due to concerns about the quality of care.

The children's social care inspectorate said it was the highest number of enforced closures since 2007.

A further 25 homes de-registered, after receiving warning notices about breaches of regulations.

Ofsted also warned about the uneven spread of residential children's homes around the country. Providers said a more strategic overview was needed.

The inspectorate would not give details of the homes which closed, but said most of these were part of two chains of providers, one with five homes and another with four.

 

An Ofsted spokesman said: "We can't comment on the individual providers that had their registration cancelled.

"More broadly, we take this step when we are concerned that there are serious and/or widespread weaknesses in the quality of care being provided to children, and where we do not see practice improving. 

Read more


 

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