Monday, 31 October 2011

Institute for Fiscal Studies: Trends in education and schools spending

All  areas  of  public  education spending are expected to see real-terms cuts between 2010–11 and 2014–15, but the severity of cuts will differ.

Current spending on schools will see the smallest real-terms cut (about 1% in total). The areas seeing the largest real-terms cuts will be current spending on  higher education (40% in total) and capital spending (more than halved). However, reforms to tuition fees will increase total resource spending  – via public and private contributions  – on higher education. Spending on the early years and youth services is expected to be cut by over 20% in real terms in total.
Planned cuts to age 16–19 education spending are likely to be of a similar magnitude. 

The government has chosen to create a  Pupil Premium from 2011–12 onwards. This will add somewhat  to  the already considerable additional money provided for the poorest pupils by the current school funding system. The government has announced a cash-terms freeze in other per-pupil funding. As a result, only the most deprived schools are likely to see real-terms increases in funding per pupil in 2011–12.

Compared with  economy-wide inflation or an estimate of schools specific cost inflation, the majority of schools are expected to see realterms cuts in 2011–12. Although  spending on  the Pupil Premium will grow to £2.5 billion by 2014–15, given the continued freeze in other per-pupil spending this pattern looks set to continue up to 2014–15.

Until recently, education spending has enjoyed healthy  year-on-year increases, but that is set to change. Along with most areas of government spending, education spending is set to shrink over the current Spending Review period. What will be the size of the total cuts and how will they be shared across different areas of education spending? Somewhat surprisingly, the answers to these questions cannot be easily  found  in current data published by the government.

Looking ahead, education spending will almost certainly fall in real terms during the period covered by the 2010 Spending Review. Under our calculations, it will fall by 3.5% per year in real terms between 2010–11 and 2014–15, or  13.4% in total over the four years. This would be the largest fall in education spending over a four-year period since at least the 1950s. If these forecasts are realised, then education spending as a share of national income will fall from 6.2% in 2010–11 to 4.6%  by 2014–15.

The full Trends in education and schools spending Report from The Institute for Fiscal Studies can be found here

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN): An analysis in 2011

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Information Act (2008) required the Secretary of State to publish information about children in England with SEN to help improve the well-being of these children.

The publication includes new information on pupils with SEN alongside further interpretation of existing findings. There are new sections on activities at ages 16, 18 and 19 for young people with SEN. All figures are provided at national level, with some Regional and Local Authority level information. The publication is divided into the following five key themes with data derived from a range of sources, including the School Census and National Pupil Database:

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Reform of the Teachers' Pension Scheme

With further likely hood of industrial action from head teachers and teachers the government has updated the department for Education website explaining the proposed changes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

What changes is the Government proposing for the Teachers’ Pension Scheme?

What will stay the same:
  • Teachers will continue to receive a guaranteed income in their retirement, unlike the majority of people with private sector pensions.
  • Teachers will keep the pension and lump sum they have already earned and this will remain linked to their final salary on retirement.
  • Teachers will retain options to retire at any age between 55 and 75.
What is proposed to change:
  • Moving from a final salary pension to a career average pension scheme.
  • A phased increase to teachers’ Normal Pension Age in line with changes to the State Pension Age.
  • A rebalancing of employee and employer contributions to provide a fairer distribution between members and other taxpayers.

Why is Government proposing a move from a final salary scheme to a career average scheme?

A career average scheme is a fairer way of calculating pension benefits because everyone gets broadly the same amount of pension for every pound put in. Under final salary schemes, the most highly-paid employees take out more than is proportional to their contributions because their benefits are based on their last few, high-earning years. 
Lord Hutton estimated that the most highly-paid employees can receive almost twice as much in pension payments as those with lower salary growth.
When will these changes be introduced?

The increase in employee contributions is proposed to be phased in from April 2012. The rest of the changes will not be introduced before 2015.

The changes to the Normal Pension Age will be phased over a much longer period with a Normal Pension Age of 68 not expected until 2046.

More information from:

Friday, 28 October 2011

The protection of School children online

Ninety-nine percent of children aged 12-15 use the internet, as do 93% of 8-11 year olds and 75% of 5-7 year olds. New media technology means that the ways in which children are accessing online content are changing and ever evolving. Policy makers need research evidence to inform policies that articulate children’s online risks, safeguard them from harm and promote their welfare.
The Child Wellbeing Research Centre was commissioned by the Department for Education, working closely with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to explore what is currently known about children’s vulnerability to harm from online activity or interactions.
This scoping review explores levels of intended and unintended exposure to specific risks, the impact of harm suffered by children, and the characteristics of children who may be at highest risk.
• Between 8-34% of children and young people in the UK have been cyberbullied  
• 30% of a large sample of secondary school pupils in England have been deliberately targeted, threatened or humiliated by the use of mobile phones or the internet 
• Girls are twice as likely to experience persistent cyberbullying than boys
• Vulnerable groups at greater risk include children with special educational needs (SEN), children in receipt of free school meals (FSM), children from Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, children of Gypsy-Roma, Traveller of Irish Heritage, 
European and East European groups, children from Chinese groups and children of mixed ethnicity
• Exposure to cyberbullying results in significant levels of distress and stress with the highest levels reported in children aged 9-12  
• Cyberbullying evokes stronger negative feelings, fear and a sense of helplessness than offline bullying and is linked to school failure, depression, anxiety and psychological problems 
• The impersonal nature of online communication means that not all perpetrators intend to cause distress
Meeting online contacts offline, sexual solicitation and grooming
• A large US survey shows that one in 10 children and young people receive sexual solicitations of a distressing or aggressive nature                                                 
UKCCIS brings together government, industry and charities to work in partnership to keep children and young people safe online by creating a safer online environment, improving online safety education and raising public awareness of how to enjoy the internet safely.
• US chat room users are four times more likely to receive unwanted sexual solicitations than other groups of children and young people
• UK chat rooms are mostly used by lower socio-economic groups and older teenagers  
• 69% of online sexual solicitations involve no attempt at offline contact 
• Offenders rarely pretend to be teenagers or deceive victims about their sexual interest; most victims who meet offenders expect to engage in sexual activity
• Young people may be more vulnerable in early adolescence as they become more sexually curious and experimental
• Young people defined as sensation seekers are four times more likely to have met someone offline following online contact
• Victim typologies do not conform to any specific stereotypical assumptions of vulnerability; victims are a heterogeneous group with a range of characteristics 
• Some victims of grooming would not be perceived as vulnerable offline 
• Understanding the interaction between the offender, online environment and young person is essential to understanding the nature of online grooming, particularly the role of disinhibition.
Pornography and other harmful content
• A US survey reported 42% young people aged 10-17 being exposed to online pornography in a one-year period; 66% of this exposure was unwanted 
• 11% of 9-16 year olds reported exposure to pornography in the UK; 24% of these children and young people were not bothered or upset by the experience  
• rates of ‘unwanted’ exposure to pornography are higher amongst teenagers, young people who report being harassed or sexually solicited online or victimised offline, and those who are borderline or clinically depressed 
• ‘Wanted’ exposure rates were higher for teenagers, those who talked online to unknown persons about sex, used the internet at friends’ homes, or appeared to have a significant level of rule breaking behaviour  
• There is a lack of adequate research on the impact that unwanted or unexpected exposure to pornography has on children and young people
• Seeing violent or hateful content was the third most common risk to young people
• Gaps in the evidence base include research on hateful or racist content, sites promoting self-harm, anorexia or suicide 

The full report can be found at 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

UK sex and relationships education fails to prepare young people

New research released this month shows 47% of secondary school pupils think their school’s Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) does not meet their needs. 

The lack of relevant sex and relationships education in schools and at home means 81% of teenagers are getting most of their sexual health knowledge from less reliable sources, leaving them vulnerable and ill-prepared to navigate their way through relationships.
The study of over 2,000 14-18 year olds, commissioned by Brook, the country’s largest young people’s sexual health charity illustrates the impact on young people that the country’s lack of commitment to good Sex and Relationships Education, out of date guidelines for schools and a lack of support for well qualified teachers is having.
The survey finds that young people rely on often ill-informed sources, such as peers, for information resulting in the spread of dangerous sex myths which can lead to poor decisions and unwanted outcomes.  The five most commonly shared sex myths amongst peers are:
59% of young people have wrongly heard from their friends that a woman cannot get pregnant if the man withdraws before he ejaculates
58% of young people have wrongly heard that women cannot get pregnant if they are having their period
35% have wrongly heard that women cannot get pregnant if they have sex standing up
33% have wrongly heard from their friends that a woman cannot get pregnant if it is the first time she has had sex
25% of young people have wrongly heard that you can only catch HIV from gay sex.
Schools are not required to consult with their pupils to shape SRE lessons, and 78% of young people confirm they have never been consulted.  As the government recently announced a review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), 82% of young people said they want schools to take their views into account to help make SRE relevant for the 21st century. 
The research identified the scale of the SRE problem:
One in four (26%) secondary pupils get no SRE in school whatsoever.
A quarter (26%) of those who do get SRE say the teacher isn’t able to teach it well.
Only 13% of 14-18 year olds learn most about sex from their SRE teacher, and just 5% from Mum and 1% from dad at home.
The sex information void is being filled by friends their own age (36%), their boyfriend / girlfriend (10%), TV programmes (8%) and online porn (5%) – none of which are reliable sources of honest, useful information.
SRE fares particularly badly when it comes to teaching pupils about relationships, with only 6% saying they get the information on relationships that they need in SRE lessons.

More Information at:

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

GCSE & English Baccalaureate (EBacc) Results

Provisional GCSE results published last week show a rise in achievement in sponsored academies was double the rise in other schools;

In academies the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs including English and maths rose from 40.6% to 45.9%, an increase of 5.3%.

In all maintained schools, including Academies,  the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs including English and maths rose from 55.2 % to 57.8%, an increase of 2.6%.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) faired marginally better than last year: there was a rise in entry of 0.7%. 16.5% of pupils achieved the award, compared to 15.6% last year. 

In maintained schools, including academies, 21.6% entered and 15.2% achieved the EBacc. In City Technology Colleges 42.5% pupils were entered and 33.7% achieved the EBacc while other Academies entered 11.6% pupils and 8% pupils achieved it.

The full publication from DfE can be found here

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The true picture of school absence

New figures released from the Department for Education show that 450,330 children – 7.2 per cent – were absent from school for 15 per cent or more of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 terms. This is the equivalent of missing a month’s worth of lessons in a year.
The figures also reveal that more than a million pupils (16.4 per cent) missed half a day or more of school per week, equating to 10 per cent of school time missed.
This is the first time that a new, tougher, persistent absence measure has been recorded, giving a clearer picture of the problem in our schools. The figures have failed to improve on last year.
Children who miss 15 per cent or more of school time are now recorded as persistent absentees. Previously, children had to miss 20 per cent of school to be viewed as persistent absentees. This is equivalent to more than six weeks of missed lessons in a school year.
With this new threshold, the Government is asking schools to step in to tackle absence sooner – before the problem really takes hold.
The latest figures show that, compared to autumn term 2009 and spring term 2010:
  • Across state-funded primary schools and secondary schools, the percentage of pupils classed as persistent absentees increased, from 7.0 per cent to 7.2 per cent.
  • In state-funded primary schools, the percentage of pupils classed as persistent absentees increased, from 5.0 per cent to 5.2 per cent.
  • In state-funded secondary schools, the percentage of pupils classed as persistent absentees increased, from 9.3 per cent to 9.5 per cent.
Taken from 

Monday, 24 October 2011

National Audit Office Report on Oversight of financial management in Schools

The National Audit Office have published a report on  Oversight of financial management in Local authority maintained schools.

School Governors Role in the Schools Financial Value Standard

3.14 Governors support schools’ financial management through strategic oversight. Their importance and influence are likely to increase as schools become more autonomous. The Department has recognised the importance of the support and challenge provided by governors. It expects governors to ensure that their schools properly complete the self-assessment against the new Schools Financial Value Standard.

3.15 We nevertheless found widespread concern about the extent to which governors, particularly in primary schools, have the necessary financial expertise to fully support and challenge their schools. Twenty-seven per cent of respondents to our survey of local authorities thought that only a few of their primary schools had governing bodies with sufficient financial expertise. Some primary schools replying to our online survey considered that their governing body could benefit from improved expertise.

3.16 The Department plans to support governing bodies’ financial expertise through new training for chairs of governors that includes a discretionary module on financial management. It has also funded the National College to develop a programme for high-performing chairs of governors to mentor other chairs. It plans to amend the regulations covering the make-up of school governing bodies to make it easier to select governors on the basis of their expertise, and has made the new Schools Financial Value Standard easier for governors to use (paragraph 2.9).

You can find the full report here

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Schools trial new approach to exclusions

Hundreds of children who are permanently excluded from school are to be part of a new trial to improve their education.
One in ten secondary schools – around 300 schools – from across England will be part of the trial in which headteachers will be responsible for ensuring that the pupils they exclude continue to receive a decent education. It will also help pupils who are at risk of being excluded by encouraging schools to intervene earlier.
Headteachers who permanently exclude a pupil from their school will now be able to choose the alternative provision, rather than the local authority. The school will also receive the funding instead of the local authority.
Schools in the trials will then be better able to monitor both attainment and attendance of the pupils. The trial will also help encourage schools to intervene early with children who are at risk of being excluded.
In 2009/10, 5020 pupils were permanently excluded from their secondary school. Most were sent to alternative provision such as Pupil Referral Units. Latest statistics show that only 1.4 per cent of pupils in alternative provision achieved five good GCSEs including maths and English. The Government believes this is not good enough.
More information at 

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Behaviour checklist for teachers

Behaviour checklist for teachers 


 Know the names and roles of any adults in class. 
 Meet and greet pupils when they come into the classroom. 
 Display rules in the class - and ensure that the pupils and staff know what they are. 
 Display the tariff of sanctions in class. 
 Have a system in place to follow through with all sanctions. 
 Display the tariff of rewards in class. 
 Have a system in place to follow through with all rewards. 
 Have a visual timetable on the wall. 
 Follow the school behaviour policy. 


 Know the names of children. 
 Have a plan for children who are likely to misbehave. 
 Ensure other adults in the class know the plan. 
 Understand pupils’ special needs.


 Ensure that all resources are prepared in advance. 
 Praise the behaviour you want to see more of. 
 Praise children doing the right thing more than criticising those who are doing the wrong thing (parallel praise). 
Stay calm. 
Have clear routines for transitions and for stopping the class. 
Teach children the class routines. 


Give feedback to parents about their child’s behaviour - let them know about the good
days as well as the bad ones. 

Taken from Charlie Taylor’s behaviour checklists

Friday, 21 October 2011

Key principles for headteachers to help improve school behaviour Policy

Key principles for headteachers to help  improve school behaviour Policy

Ensure absolute clarity about the expected standard of pupils’ behaviour.  

Ensure that behaviour policy is clearly understood by all staff, parents and pupils. 

Display school rules clearly in classes and around the building. Staff and pupils should know what they are.

Display the tariff of sanctions and rewards in each class. 

Have a system in place for ensuring that children never miss out on sanctions or rewards.  


Model the behaviour you want to see from your staff. 


Visit the lunch hall and playground, and be around at the beginning and the end of the school day.
Ensure that other Senior Leadership Team members are a visible presence around the school.
Check that pupils come in from the playground and move around the school in an orderly manner. 
Check up on behaviour outside the school. 
Check the building is clean and well-maintained. 


Know the names of all staff. 
Praise the good performance of staff. 
Take action to deal with poor teaching or staff who fail to follow the behaviour policy. 


Praise good behaviour.  
Celebrate successes. 


Monitor the amount of praise, rewards and punishments given by individual staff. 
Ensure that staff praise good behaviour and work. 
Ensure that staff understand special needs of pupils. 

Individual pupils 

Have clear plans for pupils likely to misbehave and ensure staff are aware of them. 
Put in place suitable support for pupils with behavioural difficulties. 


Build positive relationships with the parents of pupils with behaviour difficulties

Taken from Charlie Taylor’s behaviour checklists

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ofsted launch their new Parent View website

Today  Ofsted launched their new Parent View website where parents and carers can answer questions about their child's school. The website  states:  
"Parent View asks for your opinion on 12 aspects of your child’s school, from the quality of teaching, to dealing with bullying and poor behaviour. We will use the information you provide when making decisions about which schools to inspect, and when."

With Ofsted moving towards a “risk-based inspection” model -  meaning that a handful of complaints to this new site will automatically  trigger scrutiny from Ofsted – the pressure to develop and maintain positive and  effective relationships with key adults has never been greater.

Q1 'My child is happy at this school'
Q2 'My child feels safe at this school'
Q3 'My child makes good progress at this school'
Q4 'My child is well looked after at this school'
Q5 'My child is taught well at this school'
Q6 'My child receives appropriate homework for their age'
Q7 'This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved'
Q8 'This school deals effectively with bullying
Q9 'This school is well led and managed'
Q10 'This school responds well to any concerns I raise'
Q11 'I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress'
Q12 Would you recommend this school to another parent?

Parents need to register on the website and answer Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree or Strongly Disagree to Q1-11 and yes or No to Question 12

Results will not be published until each school reaches a certain number or percentage.
That number or percentage is unclear.

Poor ratings from this website from a handful of parents could trigger an Ofsted inspection under the new framework even for Outstanding schools.

However Ofsted chair, Baroness Sally Morgan says 'What parents tell us through these questionnaires will be considered when making decisions about when a school should be inspected'
“Whilst parents’ views alone cannot trigger an inspection, they will provide a vital piece of the jigsaw. I hope everyone with an interest in education will welcome this innovation and that parents around the country will use Parent View to make their views count.”
However Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "it's not clear why parents, who may have quite legitimate questions to which they seek answers, would choose the route of a questionnaire to express their concerns, or otherwise, about a school"

"Apart from the obvious question as to what useful purpose the questionnaire will serve, this is a system which is open to abuse.

"Schools could easily be targeted by parents unfairly, or even in anger, which could result in a false impression being given of the school."

For those who have not seen it yet Ofsted will implement their new Ofsted Inspection Framework from January 2012

I have just submitted answers for the two schools where my children attend.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Chairs’ and headteachers’ views on the way their governing bodies function

Overall, Head Teachers and Chairs of Governors tend to agree about how their governing bodies function.

Chairs of Governors have a more positive view of the way the governing body works.

Chairs of Governors think that governing bodies add to school leadership. Head Teachers do not have such a positive view. 

Headteachers and Chairs of Governors think that governing bodies struggle more with managing the strategic-operations management divide 

Headteachers have a more positive view about the amount of  information provided at governing body meetings.

The Chair-Headteacher relationship

Overall, relations between Chairs and Head Teachers are strong

• a high degree of mutual respect 

• investment on both sides

Chairs of Governors and Headteachers differ in their views on the frequency and length of interactions (Chairs more frequent and longer) 

Headteachers accept that the Chair of Governors has to challenge them, Chairs do 
not have such a positive view. 

Headteachers say that they are open with the Chair of Governors, Chairs do not have such a positive view

Taken from The Education and Employers Taskforce Second Research Conference, October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Vital Statistics of Chairs of Governors

(Based on a sample of 2,200) Chairs of Governors are:   

49% female; 51% male.

Almost exclusively White British -97%.

 31% aged  40 - 49yrs; 
 28%  aged 50 – 59yrs;  
 33% over 60 years  
 Almost none under 40 yrs.

Experienced as governors - on average 5 years as a Chair Of Governors and 10 years as a school governor.

Often the parent of current (27%) or former pupils (41%).

Currently employed (61%) or retired (27%). 

70% of the employed Chairs of Governors are allowed  paid time by their employers for governing work.

They tend to have ‘professional’ occupations – typically teacher/lecturer, doctor, lawyer, consultant, civil servant, or manager/director

Typically spend  1 - 6 hours a week on governing issues, half of which is spent at the school -10% spend more than 10 hours

From the The Education and Employers Taskforce Second Research Conference, October 2011 Presentation. Full finding linked below

Monday, 17 October 2011

How the National College can help Chairs of Governors

The National College, with its partners, will be developing a leadership development provision
that will be available for all chairs of governors and organisations to use.They will also be
providing opportunities for outstanding chairs to support other chairs by asking them to play an
important system leadership role.

The leadership development provision for chairs will be available from April 2012 and will draw on what really effective chairs of governors do, including: ensuring the governing

 -- body makes a difference and improves the school

-- putting the accountability role of the governing body into practice

-- leading the team of governors and managing the business of the governing body

The leadership development provision will also include a self-assessment tool to identify your
areas for development as a current or future chair of governors.

We will be looking for groups of chairs to help shape and trial the materials.

Building on the success of the College’s National and Local Leaders of Education (NLEs/LLEs) and National Support School (NSS) programmes, we will work with governor associations, local
authorities and dioceses to identify and develop outstanding chairs of governors to play a system leadership role. This role will be targeted on school improvement and will involve working with chairs of governors who are working in schools in challenging circumstances, and
supporting those new to the role. 

If you are interested in getting involved in either of these areas, please email or go to
chairsofgovernors for more information.

More help and resources

Membership of the National College is free and gives you access to a range of services, benefits and networking opportunities, including:

-- monthly e-newsletter

-- comprehensive library of leadership resources and research

-- training events

-- online seminars, discussions and networking opportunities exploring current issues,
good practice, school improvement and leadership development

For more information and to sign up go to