Education Update – July – August 2017

Selected items from the national scene as reported by TES


SAT Reading, Writing and Maths Results

61% of Y6 pupils reached the expected standard

71% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading: the lowest of any Sats. subject.

Mental Health Funding

The government has announced it will pay £20,000 to fund the first year of a three-year programme for every secondary school with a member of staff trained in mental health first aid.


The Law on Exclusion

All exclusions, fixed term or permanent, are covered by primary legislation: the most frequently used is the 2012 exclusion guidance.  Permanent exclusions, under the law, should only be used as a last resort.  This is to be in response to serious or persistent breaches of the school behaviour policy, and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of pupils or others in the school.  The headteacher is the only person who can exclude and must notify the parent of the period of the exclusion and the reasons for it. (For further details see p.38 of this TES.)

Should Art be Compulsory?

A new poll shows that three fifths of British people think that art should be taught as a compulsory subject until the age of 18.

EBacc. Target delayed

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, confirmed that the target of 90% take-up rate will be delayed.

Humanist’s Legal Challenge

A humanist parent is challenging her local authority over its decision to exclude a humanist representative from the local body responsible for overseeing religious education.

BBP University offers UK new PGCE Course

Brierly Brice Prior University is now set to offer the UK’s first PGCE course to focus on ‘knowledge-based secondary and primary school teaching’ from September.  The course will be the first to align itself with a movement that is against more ‘progressive’ teaching styles.

Lack of advice from Councils on Peer Sexual Abuse

TES has established that nearly 50% of all local councils do not provide any written guidance to schools on how they should deal with peer-on-peer sexual abuse.  The DFE statutory safeguarding guidance is ‘Keeping Children Safe in School’, devotes only three paragraphs relating to peer-on-peer abuse.


Exclusions on the rise in England

In 2011-12 there were 690 permanent exclusions in primary schools in England.

By 2015-16 numbers have risen to 1,145 in primary schools and 5,445 in secondary schools.

By comparison, in Scotland:  In 2010-11 only 60 permanent exclusions were made in all schools.

In 2014-15 only 5 were made.

11th August

Sexual Misconduct on the increase

New figures show that hundreds of pupils, some as young as 5 years of age, have been temporarily or permanently excluded for sexual misconduct. (

Accusation that new GCSE Targets have a Racist Impact

A new paper, ‘Moving the Goalposts: education policy and 25years of the black/white achievement gap’, clams that the introduction of tougher GCSE benchmarks for schools has actually had ‘a marked regressive and racist impact’ that ‘served to maintain a black disadvantage’.  The paper will be published in the British Education Research Journal.


Lack of Support for new numerical GCSE grades

A survey of 1,000 parents in England revealed that nearly two thirds of those with children studying GCSEs do not support the numerical system. The TES and Mumsnet poll reveals that three quarters of parents do not think enough information was provided and two thirds do not know that a 9 represents a top grade in the new system. There is also confusion over what represents a pass.

Let Toys be Toys Campaign

This group challenges gender stereotypes and uses social media to persuade retailers to offer their wares in broader, less gender-specific categories.


National Audit of Ofsted

NAO is conducting an investigation into Ofsted to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the watchdog.  It will also examine whether Ofsted’s approach to school inspection is providing value for money to the taxpayer.

GCSE Exam results are down

Results are down from 66.9% to 66.3% for A* to C or 9-4.  Intentionally tougher Maths, English Language and English Literature papers were used for the first time.

Number of EAL pupils in schools in England

The number of EAL pupils in primary schools has steadily risen from 518,020 (16%) in 2010 to 771,083 (20.6%) in 2017.  In secondary schools 378,220 (11.6%) in 2010 has risen to 520,083 (16.2%) in 2017.