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.

Significant incidents

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 update

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

Free schools

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.

Academies quickly

There is not yet a proper accountability system in place for academies.

Home educators

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.