Education Update – May – June 2017

Selected items from the national scene as reported by TES


Education Datalab

Rebecca Allen is the director of Education Datalab, the research organisation she co-founded 2 years ago.  It has established a reputation as one of the most authoritative voices in the research world of education.  Datalab is part of the non-profit company FFT Education Ltd and aims to provide research to inform education policy and improve teaching practice.


Article on PSHE interviewing Jonathan Baggaley, Chief Executive of PSHE Association

Jonathan Baggaley urges that teachers be trained in SHE.  He believes it helps young people develop values and attributes such as resilience and confidence.  He feels strongly that sex and relationships education (SRE) should only ever be taught as part of the PSHE curriculum.  Sex has become an increasingly safeguarding issue.  The national Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) was launched to deal with the difficult issues relating to such issues as sexting etc.  He believes it vital for every school to have a PSHE specialist teacher and for the subject to be assessed.  The PSHE association exists to provide resources for its 3,000 members.

Sir Michael Wilshaw’s eight steps for heads to be more successful at running a Comprehensive school

  • Ensure that the school culture promotes good behaviour, such as punctuality and smart attire
  • Be a powerful presence in the corridors – do not spend lots of time outside of school
  • Make sure you have high expectations of pupils – do not ignore the needs of the most able
  • Do not be frightened to set and stream
  • Improve teaching and learning through good CPD
  • Make sure the literacy and numeracy is right in the school
  • Be competitive and ambitious – aim to be better than grammar schools
  • Strive to get top students into top universities


SATS Stage 2, Confusion

After the confusion last summer over how teachers are to assess pupils’ writing, a TES investigation reveals two-thirds of the moderators trained for this summer, incorrectly assessed pupils’ work when tested earlier this year.  There are fears for problems this summer.  53% were judged to require further training and 12% were officially judged to have failed.

DfE guidance for flexible employment

The DfE published ‘Flexible working in Schools’ to set out how employees have a legal right to ask for flexible working, which employers can only refuse if they have reasonable grounds to do so.  An increasing number of teachers want to work flexibly and could help address the teacher shortage crisis.  Related to this, a government recruitment scheme aimed at persuading 1000+ people back into teaching, resulted in only 49 returning to the classroom, according to official figures.  The failure of the scheme has been partly blamed on teachers’ need for flexible hours.

An argument for a new vision of education

Peter Hyman, headteacher and co-founder of School 21 in East London, has written ‘Success in the 21st Century: the education of head, heart and hand’.  (For more information visit  He argues that literacy and numeracy will still underpin everything.  Expertise in maths, science and computer science will still be important.  In addition, communication, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, collaboration and networking, analysis and synthesis, creativity and agility of mind will matter more to employers than some of the more routine thinking skills being presently tested in exams.  Pupils must be taught to question, challenge and discern real from fake and need a moral compass.


Heads views of EBacc

Eight in ten heads say EBacc is limiting opportunities for less academic pupils and more than two fifths of heads surveyed believe that splitting the curriculum into separate academic and vocational streams would be a good idea.

Maths Crisis?

A TES investigation has revealed that teacher shortages, constant change to exams and funding ‘turmoil’ are creating a crisis.  The government want to make mathematics a compulsory subject post-16 yrs and are planning a network of specialist maths schools across the country.  Leading mathematicians warn that the Conservatives’ plan to open a specialist maths school in every major city in England will be counter-productive, draining expertise (which is already scarce) away from mainstream schools.

Lord Nash

As a minister in the Department of Education, Lord Nash could be about to play a key role in the operation of new grammar schools depending on the election result.

Private Schools move towards Co-education

New research from the independent Schools Council (ISC) has highlighted that the number of single-sex independent schools (with roughly an equal number of boys or girls) has fallen between 2008 and 2017 from 65 in 2008 to 13 schools in 2017.


Statistics re teachers

8.7% of secondary teachers left state education in 2015 (6.6% left in 2011)

Maths GCSEs damaged pupils’ confidence

Even able students and their teachers have warned that the first of the new maths exams have damaged pupils’ confidence and one teacher who sat the exam said that it included some ‘ridiculously difficult’ questions.

Mental Health Crisis in Schools

The TES has established that stretched health resources are a cause of increasing numbers of pupils making apparent suicide attempts so as to be seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs).  Camhs have also seen a dramatic increase in calls from teenagers expressing suicidal thoughts.  A survey by The Association of School and College Leaders in 2016 found that almost one in five pupils are experiencing anxiety and stress.  In 20125 (the latest figures) of all those referred to Camhs (28%) were not allocated a service; 58% were placed on a waiting list and 14% received provision immediately.

Brendan Cox speaks out

Husband of murdered MP Jo Cox urges teachers to ‘be brutally honest with young kids about extremism’.  He also insists that teacher and parents have a duty to emphasise to children that society is not full of people actually looking to cause harm.

Overruling Ofsted’s negative judgement does not succeed

In 2013-14, 3 of all formal complaints about Ofsted resulted in a change of judgement but in 2015-16 none succeeded.  Of 7 legal challenges, none resulted in the report being altered or not published.  John Denning, chairman of governors at Durham Free School, claims his experience of the complaints process is a ‘whitewash’.  He highlights the fact that schools are not normally given the evidence base for Ofsted inspectors’ decisions.

Concern over pressure on the SEND support system

Latest government figures show that the number of children refused an assessment for an educational health and care plan (EHC) rose by more than a third last year.  Funding is regarded by the Local Government Association as a root cause of the problem.


Some facts from TES.Com

  • Education Minister Justine Greening is reappointed Education Secretary but her majority in her Putney seat dropped from 10,180 to 1,554.
  • More than half of MPs in the Commons went to comprehensive schools.
  • Lauren Child is named as Children’s Laureate. She is the author of the Charlie and Lola books.

Increase of Sex Offences in Schools

New police figures, obtained by the TES, show that the annual number of sexual offences reported in schools has more than tripled in four years.  The annual number of sex crimes reported in schools rose by 25% in 4 years.   Figures also suggest that teachers, as well as pupils, have been victims: approximately 1 in 10 crimes were committed against adults.  NSPCC’s advice to schools is to intervene early by integrating relationships and sex education in the school curriculum.


Failed then forgotten

A TES investigation has established that out of 18 schools judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted solely because of safeguarding concerns, 4 have not had follow-up inspections since September 2015.  A spokesperson for the inspectorate says that schools judged to have inadequate safeguarding will normally have their first monitoring inspection within 3 to 6 months of the publication of the report that judged them ‘inadequate’.

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield shares concerns

Appointed in 2015, Anne Longfield has a statutory duty to protect and promote the rights of all English children.  She reports that a major concern of children is anxiety over exams.  She would like children to get more support.  She also wants to focus on children who are falling through gaps by looking at referral units, alternative provision, home-schooling and madrassas.  Another area of focus will be on lower-level mental health.  She would like to see counsellors in every school.

Ollie: a registered charity Funding Suicide Prevention Training

‘Ollie’, founded in 2016, stands for ‘one life lost is enough’.  Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK.  In 2014, 1556 young people took their own lives.  The charity trains teachers in a two-day course ‘ASIST’ to equip them to help vulnerable young people.


Average Salaries in 2016

Headteachers of state schools   £68,300
State classroom teachers            £35,100

Inclusion Report

The report: ‘The SEN in Secondary Education’ (SENSE) can be downloaded from  In primary schools pupils with Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) spend the equivalent of more than a week away per year from their class and, when working in groups, were mostly with low attainers and those with SEND.  In Secondary schools 75% of lessons in English Baccalaureate subjects were taught in attainment groups.   It is judged that separating children too much into low attainment groups is highly problematic and detrimental for pupils.  The report wants the quality of SEND coverage in initial teacher-training addressed and for Heads to make SEND a priority.  Mixed attainment groups for some subjects would improve the social mix for pupils.