Education Update – July 29th 2011 to December 2011
Selected items from the National scene as reported by TES
TES 15th July 2011
Dawn raids re behaviour problems
From September Ofsted plan unannounced ‘dawn raids’ on schools with behaviour problems to prevent them playing the system re Ofsted. The unannounced visits may focus on 500 schools where behaviour is satisfactory or worse.
In September a legal requirement comes into force requiring all heads to record and report ‘significant incidents’. Parents must be informed when school staff use force against their children.
New SEN assessment
A new education, health and care plan (EHC) is set to be introduced and replace the SEN statement ensuring doctors, teachers and social workers co-operate. The plan will cover students from birth to the age of 25. It is intended that the plan will reduce the need for multiple assessments.
Research from 900 teachers and 480 schools proved that racism is still a ‘very real issue’ in English schools. 83% of teachers questioned by the charity Show Racism the Red Card had witnessed offensive racist behaviour.
TES 29th July 2011
RE excluded from EBac
- Religious leaders have attacked the government for ministers’ decision to exclude RE from the English Baccalaureate
- To achieve EBac, pupils must achieve A* to C GCSEs in English, maths, geography or history, 2 sciences and a foreign language
TES 19th August 2011
CofE schools approached by non-faith partners to make clusters of academies
Several primary schools in thePeterboroughdioceses have been approached by non-faith secondary schools about forming federations. Earlier in 2011, the Bishop of Oxford predicted that up to 70% of the CofEs 4,800 schools are likely to switch to academy status over the next 5 years.
TES 2nd September 2011
Male teachers missing from Primary schools
- A census released by the General Teaching Council forEnglandstated that a total of 4,569 schools have no male teachers. 1 in 4 primary schools have no registered male teacher. There are only 48 men employed in state-run nurseries.
- The teaching profession remains ‘predominately female’ – 75% of those in service are women.
TES 30th September 2011
Ofsted promises ‘an even greater focus’ on teaching quality in its new inspections. Teaching is one of 4 graded judgements along with achievement, behaviour and safety, and leader and management.
TES 7th October 2011
Key Stage 1 results
- Key Stage 1 results showed that 85% of 7-year olds attained the expected Level 2 inReading; 81% did so in Writing. These results are the same as in 2010. Maths has risen by 1% to 90%.
- Opponents of the proposed Year 1 phonics screening test have asked for more research from Nick Gibb (Schools’ Minister). It is estimated that the test will take an average of 15.5 hours for schools to prepare and administer. The 40-word test is due to be sent to all schools in summer 2012.
Required school sessions
- 190 days each year must be spent teaching
- 5 days each year must be spent on in-service training
- Minimum recommended teaching hours per week:
Ages 5-7: 21 hours
Ages 8-11: 23.5 hours
Ages 12-13: 24 hours
Ages 14-16: 25 hours
Successful private schools encouraged to sponsor an academy
In June Lord Adonis called for every successful private school to sponsor an academy in order to create state-private federations.
New book from Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins has written a science book for children: The Magic of Reality which provides scientific answers to how the earth began.
TES 14th October 2011
New free school
- FromeSteinerAcademybecomes the second state-funded Steiner school in the country, opening September 2012 and is one of 55 successful school applications
- Overall, 79 new schools will open in September 2012
TES 21st October 2011
New Ofsted chief
Sir Michael Wilshaw takes over Ofsted in January 2012 and has warned that the ‘quality of teaching has to improve’. The last Ofsted annual report found that only half of the lessons were good or better.
Abuse at Muslim madrassa schools
- 400+ allegations of physical abuse at Britain’s madrassas were reported to local authorities in the past 3 years according to the BBC’s figures
- Of the 420 allegations, only 10 cases went to court leading to 2 convictions
- Dr G Siddiqui, founder of the Muslim Institute said that there should be a national registration scheme
11 out of 24 free schools opening in September of this year carried a faith ethos including 1 Sikh and 1 Hindu school.
Creationism in schools
In the letter rejecting a Christian school’s application to become an academy free school, it was stated that the Secretary of State ‘was unable to accept that an organisation with Creationist beliefs could prevent these views being reflected in the teaching of the school and in its other activities. It is his firm view that the teaching of Creationist views as a potentially valid alternative theory is not acceptable in the 21st century state-funded school.’
EY guidance by Tickell reduced
The Tickell review reduced the number of EY goals from 69 to 17. However, the government appears to want to reduce this even further. The new framework is not due to be introduced till next year.
TES 4th November 2011
Ofsted: failing schools to improve more quickly
Schools given an inadequate rating are to be inspected 3 months after being put in this category and will be re-inspected within a further 6 months. If the school does not improve, it will be placed in special measures.
There is not yet a proper accountability system in place for academies.
20,000 children are registered with local authorities as being home educated. A DCSF report in 2009 found that this figure was likely to be doubled ‘if not more’ and ‘possible up to 80,000 children’.
TES 18th November 2011
DfE accepts Maharishi School as a free school
The school is based on the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru. The school will teach children aged 4 to 16 to practise transcendental meditation. ‘Free schools are free to decide the teaching methods that best with the ethos of their school’ said a DfE spokesman.
TES 25th November 2011
King James Bible to be sent to every school
The Prime Minister is to send a King James Bible to every school in the country on the 400th anniversary of the printing of the King James Version.
TES 9th December 2011
Independent schools pressed to sponsor academies
David Cameron is encouraging heads of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) that they have a duty to sponsor academies.
Exam system in crisis
A former senior examiner warns of low standards and inflation of grades.