Trust improvement framework (June 2019)

The DfE has produced an improvement framework for school trusts. The framework is a diagnostic tool developed in partnership with trust leaders in the South-West RSC region. It is designed to help trusts identify their most significant areas of strength and challenge. It does not form part of the Department’s accountability framework.

The tool is a live document undergoing regular revision with the sector. CST has been part of the conversation about the development of this tool. The department will publish future versions of this tool as they are developed.

Character and resilience – a call for evidence

The Chair of the Character Advisory Group, Ian Bauckham CBE, is seeking views on the development of character and resilience in young people.
This call for evidence welcomes examples of good practice in developing character in pupils in schools, colleges and other educational settings.
Responses will be used to help the advisory group further refine their thinking in relation to the development of character in children and young people.
Respond to the call for evidence here.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 5 July 2019

Memorandum of understanding between the DfE and the Insolvency Service (May 2019)

This memorandum of understanding (MoU) sets out how The Insolvency Service and the Department for Education (DfE), including its executive agency the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), propose to work together in co-ordinating their regulatory operations, sharing information and formulating the regulatory policy framework within which they work.
The MoU promotes:
• effective working and communication between The Insolvency Service and DfE
• clarity about their respective roles and responsibilities, working procedures, legal powers and constraints
It is intended to cover DfE’s regulatory interest in academy and multi-academy trusts.

Teaching Schools Hubs (May 2019)

The new Teaching School Hubs will have considerable freedom in shaping delivery of their school improvement offer, but DfE is expecting each Teaching School Hub to provide support to around 200 – 300 local schools in three core areas: school-to-school-support; continuing professional development (CPD) including workforce development at all career stages – and teacher recruitment and retention. A prospectus and application form can be downloaded from Contracts Finder

GCSE new grading fact sheet for parents (May 2019)

The DfE has published a very useful fact sheet for parents, explaining the main changes to GCSE.

The Timpson Report (May 2019)

Edward Timpson has published his Review of School Exclusions. At the same time, the government published its response.

DfE ‘increasingly’ quizzing academy trusts about merger plans (May 2019)

Regional schools commissioners are also challenging MATs that have all-male boards or an individual school that is over-represented

Letters from Lord Theodore Agnew to academy trust auditors (April 2019)

Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, writes to auditors about academy trust financial management and governance.

Teachers’ pay grant methodology (25 April 2019)

A guide to help school leaders understand and plan for the teachers’ pay grant.
This methodology will help you to understand the teachers’ pay grant, covering the 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 financial years.

Detailed allocations for financial year 2018 to 2019 were published in October 2018, with payments made shortly after.

Allocations for financial year 2019 to 2020 will be published in April 2019. There will be 2 payments, one in spring 2019, which will cover April to August 2020 and one in autumn 2019, which will cover September 2019 to March 2020.

Academies will be paid using the 2019 to 2020 rates for the period April 2020 to August 2020 which will provide funding for the end of their financial year.

Changes to assessment in primary schools (11 April 2019)

All state-funded primary schools with a reception cohort (year group) will need to carry out the reception baseline assessment (RBA). The RBA is scheduled for introduction in September 2020. The Standards and Testing Agency has recently published new guidance here.

FAQs on Relationship and Sex Education (5 April 2019)

The DfE has provided some FAQs on RSE to explain some of the common misconceptions around the subjects. You may find these useful to circulate to parents and carers within schools in your trust.

DfE’s ‘Ed Tech’ strategy

The DfE published its strategy for Realising the potential of technology in education

EU exit guide – data protection for education providers (27  March 2019)

The DfE has published information for education providers on how to remain compliant with data protection laws when the UK leaves the EU. The contents include:

  • No deal data protection planning for the education sector
  • Steps to take
  • Definitions

Governance handbook and competency framework (March 2019)

Guidance on the roles and duties of governing boards, and advice on the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to be effective.

Revised workload reduction toolkit (March 2019)

The DfE has published updates to the workload reduction toolkit in response to the recommendations of the Making Data Work report.

There is a suite of materials, including a workshop, for trustees to support you in taking action to reduce workload.

Review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below – consultation (March 2019)

The Government has opened a consultation on the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below.
The consultation is open for 12 weeks and will close on 10 June 2019. CST will be preparing a response.

Governance Handbook (March 2019)

School resource management (March 2019)

The DfE has consolidated all guidance, tools and information in relation to financial planning and resource management in one place. This includes tools to review and benchmark your finances, workforce planning and a very helpful guidance for governors and trustees setting out top ten planning checks.

Secondary accountability measures (including Progress 8 and Attainment 8) (March 2019)

New guidance explains how secondary accountability measures have been calculated in 2017. It also gives more information about recently announced reforms that will apply to accountability measures in 2018 and 2019.

Opening a free school or maths school

The Secretary of State has announced around 3,500 extra school places to be created for pupils facing the biggest challenges in their education. The DfE is now looking to open new mainstream free schools in areas that have both the lowest standards and greatest need for additional school places. The DfE is also inviting applications from trusts to open 39 special and alternative provision schools across the country and to open more specialist maths schools for the most mathematically able 16- to 19-year-olds.
The deadline for submitting an application is midday on the 30 September 2019.

Teaching School Pilot (February 2019)

The DfE has opened early engagement on a Teaching School Pilot. The DfE is considering piloting a new approach to grant-aid high-performing schools in a limited number of areas to provide improvement services to a wider range of local schools. Closing date for interest is 15 March 2019.

New guidance on Relationships, Sex and Health Education (February 2019)

The DfE has published new guidance in preparation for compulsory relationships, sex and health education from September 2020.

New regulations have been laid before parliament which state that “pupils receiving primary education must be taught relationships education, pupils receiving secondary education must be taught RSE and that all primary and secondary pupils must be taught health education”.

Schools and trusts must have a written policy on how they plan to teach relationships and sex education, and consult parents when developing and reviewing that policy. They must also make copies of the policy available to all who request them, and put them on their websites.

Curriculum Fund Programme Pilots

The Department for Education has published a list of lead schools for the Curriculum Fund Programme Pilots. Each of the eleven lead schools will pilot their programmes in six or more participant schools.

School Capital Funding Allocations (January 2019)

Details of school capital funding allocations are now available.

Consultation on identifying schools for support (January 2019)

This consultation seeks views on proposals for a clearer, simpler approach to identifying schools that may benefit from an offer of support to help improve a school’s educational performance.

The DfE’s proposal is that all schools judged as ‘Requires improvement’ by Ofsted will be eligible for support, and that schools with two consecutive ‘Requires improvement’ judgements will be eligible for more intensive support.

The DfE is also proposing to remove floor and coasting data standards.

The consultation closes on 25th March. CST will be making a full response to the consultation.

Key Stage 4 and multi-academy trust performance, 2018 (January 2019)

The Government has published revised statistics on the achievements of pupils at the end of key stage 4. For the first time, this publication also includes achievements of young people in multi-academy trusts.

Teacher recruitment and retention strategy (28 January 2019)

The Department for Education’s strategy for recruiting and retaining school teachers in state-funded schools.

Supporting early career teachers (28 January 2019)

The Early Career Framework (ECF) underpins an entitlement to a fully-funded, 2 year package of structured training and support for early career teachers.

Letter to academy trust accounting officers – September 2018

Eileen Milner, chief executive and accounting officer of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), writes to accounting officers of academy trusts about financial management, accountability and governance.

Read a copy here

Working together to safeguard children – August 2018

The DfE has published two pieces of statutory safeguarding guidance. These set the framework within which all practitioners should operate in order to protect children from abuse and neglect and promote their best interests, they can be accessed by clicking the button below and are:

  • revised Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance; and
  • Local Safeguarding – Transitional Arrangements statutory guidance.

Find out more 

Understanding your data: a guide for school governors and academy trustees – 6 July 2018

The DfE has published the a guide which forms part of the ‘School Resource Management’ collection page.

This product aims to encourage both schools and trusts to use educational and financial data when reviewing performance, and supports governors and trustees to engage and challenge the executive teams in their school or academy trust to:

  • set the right strategic direction
  • improve outcomes for the communities it serves
  • discharge its duties responsibly
  • take proper account of effective use of the tax payer’s money
  • ensure probity
  • manage risks and mitigating actions
  • strengthen decision making, by bringing together information to better understand educational performance and financial stability

This resource is not about collecting more information or additional reporting. It is about collecting the right information, understanding it and using it. This will allow governors and trustees to engage with their executive teams about the educational performance and the financial sustainability of their school or trust.

MAT Development Programme resource

The DfE have published a resource from the 2018 MAT Development Programme so that MATs not on the programme can use it if they wish. The resources are available on GOV.UK through the links below.

The resource is a set of developmental questions covering school improvement, governance and finance to help MATs to reflect on and improve their practices. It includes suggestions for how the questions can be used, either as a self-evaluation tool or in partnership with another MAT. It is for MATs to decide whether and how to use this resource.

Damian Hinds speech at National Governance Association conference – 9 June 2018

Education Secretary sets out plans to boost training for governors and strengthen accountability of academies

Read a transcript

Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS)

The Department for Education (DfE) and The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have published the Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) guidance and tools on GOV.UK.

GEMS is a new online resource to help make sure land and buildings are well managed, support educational objectives and excellent resource management.

It has been developed with technical experts and education organisations (including CST) and will be a one-stop shop for everything schools should consider when managing the estate. It contains everything from guidance on health and safety, to advice on how to minimise energy and water usage. GEMS will help those responsible for school sites manage the efficiency of their site, by suggesting areas they should monitor and tools to do this.

It sets out:

  • the fundamental policies and procedures needed to manage the school estate effectively
  • guidance on strategic estate management, organisational oversight, understanding your land and buildings, energy and water management and managing projects
  • updated guidance on health and safety, compliance and maintenance (replacing existing guidance in Essential Schools Maintenance)
  • the skills organisations need access to, links to tools and resources that can help

The guidance is for anyone with responsibility for overseeing or managing the estate. This includes: leaders and governors of schools, charity trustees of academies and academy trusts, trustees of schools, school business professionals, those with responsibility for day to day running of the school estate, local authorities, Diocesan authorities and other religious authorities and bodies.

If you have any questions, please contact the ESFA at GEMS.esfacapital@education.gov.uk

Teacher workload challenge: school research project reports

Project reports for the teacher workload research projects funded in 2016 to 2017.

Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential:  A plan for improving social mobility through education

On 18thDecember the Department for Education published a plan for improving social mobility through education.

No Community Left Behind

The purpose of the plan is to bring together and give coherence to the steps the government is taking and – building on recent reforms – to provide a platform for further action.

The plan is structured around a set of guiding ambitions, intended to provide a framework that all sectors – educators, government, business or civil society – can use to help to transform equality of opportunity.

Four Ambitions

The plan has four ambitions:

Ambition one: Close the ‘word gap’ in the early years:

  • According to the Plan, good early years education is the cornerstone of social mobility
  • We need to tackle development gaps at the earliest opportunity, particularly focused on early language and literacy skills

Ambition two: Close the attainment gap

  • There remain unacceptable differences in outcomes in different areas of the country
  • We need to build on the many more good school places and the innovation unleashed by recent reforms, and focus on raising standards in the areas of the country where it is now most needed

Ambition three: High quality post-16 education choices for all young people

  • Technical education has yet to fully benefit from wider determination to drive up standards. This disproportionately affects young people in more challenging areas and from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • We need a skills revolution for them and for British business, and we need to expand access to the best universities for young people from less advantaged backgrounds

Ambition four: Everyone achieving their potential in rewarding careers

  • Young people from lower income backgrounds are less likely to have access to the networks of advice, information and experiences of work to enable them to turn aspiration into reality – it is very hard to aim for an opportunity that you do not know exists.

We need to ensure that everyone can build a rewarding career, and provide far better opportunities for adults who want to retrain and upskill.

Ways of working

  • Identifying and spreading what works:
  • Evidence at the heart
  • Embedding and extending successful reforms
  • Developing the evidence base
  • Spreading best practice to where it is needed

Building lasting success through partnerships:

  • Asking key partners – employers, business educators, civil society – to step up and join a coalition which will seek to unlock potential for all

The admission into school of children previously in care outside of England

Letter to local authorities and admission authorities dated 4 December 2017 from Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP.

Careers strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents

Skills minister Anne Milton has launched the government’s new careers strategy.

Download a copy

Every school and college will be expected to have a dedicated careers leader in place by the start of the new school year who can “give advice on the best training routes and up-to-date information on the jobs market, helping young people make decisions about their future”.

There are five elements to the Careers Strategy:

•    Dedicated careers leaders

The government “will aim for every school and college to have a dedicated careers leader, with £4 million to provide training and support for at least 500 schools and colleges, so they can give the most up-to-date advice and fully prepare young people for the world of work.”

•    Quality interactions between schools and businesses

“Secondary schools will be expected to provide pupils with at least one meaningful interaction with businesses every year, with a particular focus on employers from science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries to help deliver the high-skilled workers we need in these industries.”

•    Careers hubs to be set up across the country

“To support young people in the most disadvantaged areas, £5 million funding will develop 20 careers hubs, led by the Careers and Enterprise Company. Hubs will link together schools, colleges, universities and local businesses to broaden the aspirations of young people.”

•    Trials of careers activities in primary schools

“Backed by £2 million, these pilots will test out ways of engaging children from an early age on the wealth of careers available to them, helping to raise their aspirations. These trials will focus on some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country through the government’s opportunity areas programme.”

•    Specialist advice for long-term unemployed and those with additional needs

“The National Careers Service will provide access to specialist support for adults who need it most, ensuring that we help create opportunities for everyone, no matter where they live or their background.”

Statistics: initial teacher training

TSM and initial teacher training allocations: 2018 to 2019

AGOG Bulletin

The Department for Education (DfE) wants to ensure that there are enough great leaders across the country and, in particular, in our most challenging schools and areas. We are therefore delighted to announce the selection of 42 leading providers to deliver the new and improved National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for school leaders.

Teachers and leaders interested in applying for one of the new NPQs should visit the Gov.uk websitewhich includes details of £10 million funding to support the take-up of NPQs in Opportunity Areas and Category 5 and 6 areas.

Visit Gov.uk

As you will be aware, last year the DfE brought together top headteachers, multi-academy trust (MAT) CEOs, and other sector experts to reform the NPQs to better prepare leaders for the range of leadership roles in today’s school system. We presented a working model of the reformed NPQs to the Advisory Group on Governance in October 2017, and we were grateful for the many constructive insights we received from members.

Alongside enhanced National Professional Qualifications for Middle Leadership (NPQML), Senior Leadership (NPQSL), and Headship (NPQH), the reformed suite of NPQs includes, for the very first time, a National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) for MAT leaders and executive headteachers.

These qualifications will equip participants at every stage of their leadership careers with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need to meet the challenges of today’s school system – the new NPQs include, for example, a stronger emphasis on financial and risk management and improvement strategies for schools and their staff.

Our new providers, comprising some of the country’s best schools and organisations, will be in the driving seat of leadership professional development. Working within a flexible set of frameworks, they will lead on the design, delivery, and assessment of the new NPQs. While ensuring robust quality standards, these frameworks will give providers the freedom to meet the needs of their participants, through specialised content and innovative delivery methods.

To ensure that teachers and leaders are aware of these new professional development opportunities, we would welcome your support in sharing this information with your networks.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at NPQ.reform@education.gov.uk.

MAT Development and Improvement Fund

Education Forum: Analyse School Performance (ASP)

You may be aware that DfE have recently built Analyse School Performance , the replacement to RAISE Online. The new service allows governors to have their own user accounts to easily identify the data that frames discussions around school performance and priorities. It is also the same view of annual performance that Ofsted inspectors use.

This is the time of year where 2017 results are being loaded for your school.  As such, now is the right time for you to be asking your school to get your account set up.  Here at CST we really encourage governors to access the service.

In order to get access, DfE recommend you ask your school the following:

“Please can the  ‘Approver’ of Secure Access accounts within the school set me up with a governor role account to Analyse School Performance.  If the Secure Access Approver within school is unclear how to do it, then guidance for them is available here. If the school is unclear who the Approver user is, then it is often the Business Manager, or the person who provides returns such as school census to DfE.  If they are still unsure, then the school can ask to know who the Approver is within their school by submitting a helpdesk request ”

Once you have your account set up, a short demonstration video is available here.  Whilst the demo is based on a secondary school the key functions of viewing data in detail, filtering, and scatterplots are entirely consistent across primary as well.

Information from DfE on exclusion from school

Email sent to schools on 7 September 2017

Teaching schools and systems leadership: monthly report

Collaborative fund: grant funding agreement terms and conditions

Teacher supply model: 2017 to 2018

Initial teacher training: criteria for providers

Arrangements for ITT accreditation submissions

Timelines for schools: mandatory and useful information

School workforce planning guidance

This publication provides non-statutory guidance from the Department for Education on reviewing school staff structures, following requests from school leaders and their representatives.

Local leaders of education (LLE)

Governance handbook and competency framework