Archived News - 2014

The Value Of Pupils Succeeding In School To The Country's Economy: Wednesday, 17th December, 2014

THE VALUE OF PUPILS SUCCEEDING IN SCHOOL TO THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMY

The value of pupils succeeding in school to the country’s economy

Pupils doing well in school across the country add an estimated £1.3 billion to the economy. This result came to light according to a research conducted by the Department for Education supported by the Institute for Fiscal studies; the outcome of the studies highlighted the value of educational performance to the national economy. The findings also indicated that pupils obtaining 5 A* to C grade GCSEs including maths and English adds an estimated £60,000 to an individual’s life time productivity. The improved result has also seen the number of pupils leaving school with 5 A* to C GCSEs risen from 44% to 47.8%, the percentage increase in the above stated results alone add £1.297 billion to the country’s economy with more than 21,600 more pupils fulfilling their potential. The contribution of improved educational outcomes to the economy cannot be over emphasised, the boost in the number of pupils getting good GCSEs has contributed in no measure to this positive outcome.

Completing basic education and continuing to secondary school does not only benefit young people themselves, but is also a valuable part of the government’s long term economic plan. Pupils from poorer background doing well in school and staying on to acquire the needed skills and qualifications help in no small measure in bridging the gap in the social divide. The encouraging result emanating from the research referred to above is the fact that a large proportion of the increased performance is among disadvantaged pupils. The proportion of pupils from these background obtaining good results has increased from 27.5% to 32.9% since 2010. This percentage increase represents an additional 7,150 pupils lifted from the state of hopelessness to an economic advantage of an estimated substantial economic benefit of £430 million.

The way forward...

The main aim of the government is to ensure that pupils are receiving the best form of education that will help them compete with the best in the world. The plan to achieve this aim will therefore include the following:

vFailing schools to be giving the needed boost by pairing them up with excellent sponsor groups that have the capacity of improving the lot of schools.

vQuality and value of exams to be improved through raising standards and tough exams.

vBehaviour and attendance of pupils to be given a top priority to allow teachers to concentrate on teaching.

vAttract more talented candidates to the teaching profession.

Funding To Help Instil Character In Pupils Announced: Wednesday, 17th December, 2014

FUNDING TO HELP INSTIL CHARACTER IN PUPILS ANNOUNCED

Funding to help instil character in pupils announced


The government has released millions of pounds in funding through former armed services projects with the sole aim of helping schools instil character in pupils with greater emphasis of improving the lives of children from disadvantaged background. The Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announcing the measures to help mould the character of pupils across the country also unveiled a new award called the ‘Character Awards’ which seeks to reward schools that develop and build character, grits and resilience in their pupils. To start the programme off, eight projects have been earmarked to receive an amount of £5 million to work with schools tapping into the experience and expertise of the armed forces through ex-service men/ women to help build leadership, self confidence, respect and self determination in pupils that will place them in a good stead for life in modern Britain.

The long term goal of the programme according the Education Secretary, is to turn pupils in Britain into a ‘can do’ individuals with the requisite skills and attitude in facing the challenges set before them as they progresses through life. More importantly, pupils coming from challenging background will benefit immensely from former armed forces personnel through their aspirations and determination gained during their time with the forces. Delivery providers have recorded ample examples of the benefit the programme is having on pupils that have had the opportunity in participating. These improvements has manifested itself in classrooms and beyond through pupils self confidence, respect for fellow pupils and school authorities and interpersonal skills.

Facts and figures

vOver 4.8 million has been awarded in 8 grants to use military ethos in schools to improve education attainment of the most disengaged pupils.

vKSA Education and Training awarded £412,000 to engage young people in physical activities, team building and work related learning.

vSkill force which also provides outdoor activities for children has been given £400,000 to provide series of outdoor challenges for children as well as helping with literacy and numeracy.

vRange of activities including volunteering, learning from mistakes, trying out new activities and establishing high aspirations designed to help pupils to do well in schools as well as beyond lunched.

v An award to encourage pupils to aspire to high aims in life through dedication and hard work following the ethos of the military.

vLife changing programmes with the propensity to impact positively on young persons, as they learn to take responsibility for their actions, communicate better with their peers and engage more effectively with their education.

The Case For Promoting British Values In Schools: Wednesday, 17th December, 2014

THE CASE FOR PROMOTING BRITISH VALUES IN SCHOOLS

The case for promoting British Values in Schools

The government has signalled its intention of embedding the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for one another at an early age in schools. To achieve this goal, the department for education has published guidance on how to promote British values in schools with the aim of ensuring that our children leave school with a sense of belonging, national identity and pride of facing life in modern Britain. The said guidance also encourages both independent and state – maintained schools understand their responsibilities in actively promoting British values in schools and help to improve the spiritual, moral and cultural development of pupils.

Schools were given the freedom in the past to fashion out their own ways of teaching and encouraging pupils to learn and respect the aforementioned values, however, the published guidance specifically instruct schools to have a clear strategy on British values and how to achieve them. Ofsted and the independent inspectorates have also been mandated to include learning and teaching of British values into their routine check in schools. The overriding aim of this guidance according to the department is to ensure that pupils across the country become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of one’s background.


Importance of incorporating British values in national curriculum


  • vLearning at a tender age the importance of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and tolerance which forms the key pillars of governance in this country will help pupils to have a sense of belonging.
  • vLearn through parts of suitable curriculum how democracy works in Britain in contrast to other forms of governments in other countries.
  • vUnderstanding the importance of identity and combating discrimination. And also to understand that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected by law.
  • vEmbed into pupils the idea that citizens can influence decision making through democratic dispensation.
  • vPupils to be made aware that they have voice that must be heard even at their age.
  • vEncourage pupils to have extra curricula activities including and actively run by pupils promoting British values. Forgetting

Greetings From China With Mathematics: Monday, 17th November, 2014

GREETINGS FROM CHINA WITH MATHEMATICS

Greetings from China with mathematics.

Elite Chinese maths teachers are in the country to spend time with primary schools to share their teaching skills and methods. The teachers are drawn from Shanghai’s top schools in mathematics, and they are here on invitation by the Department for Education. The main aim of the visit as well as the programme is to establish maths as a core skill at a young age to give pupils a sound footing in education and life in general. The teachers numbering 29 will spend 3 weeks in selected primary schools and will be working in partnership with a local maths hub. The visit forms part of a pioneering maths exchange programme that had already seen a Minister of state for education and her entourage visiting China early this year.

Maths has always been touted as a key subject for the better development of children in any profession they decide to pursue. The statistics on maths education and performance of pupils in the country compared to China leads much to be desired. It is therefore not surprising that the government has formed a strong partnership with China’s educational authorities to improve the teaching and learning of this important subject. The visiting teachers are expected to impart and share the methods and skills that have helped Chinese schools to consistently top international performance tables in mathematics. The department for education is expecting an additional 34 primary maths teachers in early 2015 to augment the foundation that would have been laid by their predecessors.


Benefits of the exchange programme at a glance

  • §Making sure that children in this country receive a well grounded and world class education that will enable them compete effectively in the competitive global environment.
  • §Enabling teachers to develop their professional skills alongside the best and the most successful education system in the world.
  • §To raise mathematics in general, making it more appealing and enjoyable to pupils and to transform teaching of the subject in the country.
  • §71 top maths teachers from England visited China in September as part of the programme; they spent two weeks observing excellent maths teaching and lessons.
  • §Maths is receiving a top priority as a result of its importance and influence on further education, good earnings in later life and unemployment.


This venture seems very laudable, however, the big question that needed asking is whether pupils in this country will be able to adapt to the dedication and discipline needed to master the subject to compete at the top of world ranking in mathematics.

£22Million Additional Funding For Disadvantaged Primary School Pupils Announced: Monday, 17th November, 2014

£22MILLION ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR DISADVANTAGED PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS ANNOUNCED

£22 million additional funding for disadvantaged primary school pupils announced.

The government has provided an additional funding of £22 million to help disadvantaged primary school pupils in the country to close the gap in learning with their peers. This was announced by the Schools Minister David Laws on Tuesday November 11. The Minister also used the occasion in his press release titled ‘raising the achievement of disadvantaged children’, to officially announce the increased pupil premium funding for primary schools for the academic year 2015 to 2016 to £2.545 billion. Primary schools are to receive £1,320.00 for pupils that have been registered for free school meals in the last six years – ‘Ever 6 FSM pupils’. There are strong indications on the ground to support the assertion that raising the attainment of pupils by the end of primary school goes a long way in helping them perform well in their GCSEs, placing them on a sound footing for a successful career path.

The pupil premium was instituted to ensure that every child in the country is giving the opportunity to reach their full potential irrespective of their background. In effect, the scheme is to bridge the gap between the disadvantaged children in society and their peers in schools and to build a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. The funding will also help teachers with the needed resources to give all pupils the best possible start at school. The introduction of the premium has seen a tremendous improvement in performance of pupils from disadvantaged background. According to statistics from the Department for Education, the expected level in both reading and maths at the end of primary has risen from 62.2% in 2011 to 69.3% in 2013, with the gap of attainment narrowing from 18.5% in 2011 to 14.8% in 2011.

Other areas for consideration

  • §Literacy and numeracy funding introduced for year 7 pupils who fail to reach level 4 in reading and/ or mathematics. Allocations for the current year under review will be made available in early 2015. £500 to be made available for each pupil that fails to attain at least level 4 in reading and maths.
  • §£53.8 million in total received for Catch up premium in the 2013 to 2014 academic year.
  • §Pupil Premium will now surpass £2.5 billion that was originally set out at the start of this parliament. It has also increased in each year of the current session.

A Look At Charging Policy For Schools: Monday, 17th November, 2014

A LOOK AT CHARGING POLICY FOR SCHOOLS

EducationEducationA look at charging policy for schools

Education provided during school hours including the supply of any study materials such as books and instruments cannot be charged for, however, there are other activities and facilities that parents are called upon to contribute. The Department for Education in ensuring fairness and uniformity in charges that schools and local authorities can levy has published charging guidelines for all concerned to be used as a yardstick. The Education Act 1996 sets out the legal backing for charging for school activities in schools maintained by local authorities in England. Schools and local authorities can charge for the following:

  • §Certain early years provision
  • §Music and vocal tuition, in limited circumstances.
  • §Education provided outside of school time that is not part of the national curriculum.
  • §Boarding and lodging, with charges not higher than actual cost.

Parents on low income and in receipts of income support, Child Tax Credit, guarantee element of State Pension Credit and employment support allowance are to be made aware of the support available to them when they are asked to contribute towards school visits. Before any charges can be levied on parents, the governing body of the school or the local authority concerned should draw up a charging policy. The Key areas addressed by the guidelines are, education, voluntary contribution, music tuition, transport, residential visits and non residential visits.


Education


  • Admission process to all state funded schools should be free – Schools Code 2012.
  • All educational activities provided during school hours should be free of charge to all pupils.
  • Entry for a prescribed public examination, if the pupil has been prepared for it by the school, then the former cannot be charged.
  • Education provided outside school hours cannot be charged for if it forms part of the national curriculum or it is part of a syllabus for a prescribed examination.

Transport



  • Transport in connection with an educational visit cannot be charged for.
  • Any transport to and from a school premises where the local authority has a statutory obligation to provide transport should be free.
  • Transport provided for pupils to meet examination requirement where they have been prepared for that examination by the school should not be levied for.

Funding Provided To Help Eradicate Female Genital Mutilation And Forced Marriage On The Girl Child: Friday, 17th October, 2014

FUNDING PROVIDED TO HELP ERADICATE FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION AND FORCED MARRIAGE ON THE GIRL CHILD

Funding provided to help eradicate female genital mutilation and forced marriage on the girl child.

October 11 is a day set aside to mark the International Day of the Girl Child. This year’s celebration saw the Minister for Women emphasising the government’s desire to prevent the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage in the country with a funding of £330,000.00. The Prime Minister also announced in July, the government’s determination in galvanising international support and efforts to combat this menace that seeks to put breaks on the education of the girl child. Research indicates that about 125 million women worldwide are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation. The UK is the biggest international donor to efforts to tackling FGM investing over £35 million over 5 years. The practice is a criminal offence in the country and the government has made it clear that political and cultural sensitivity should not get in the way of stopping this canker. The maximum sentence of carrying out FGM or helping it to take place is 14 years in prison.

The way forward

  • Government to empower communities and people to speak out and ensure they commit to not doing it.
  • Education on the legal, mental and social consequences of FGM and forced marriage to be enhanced.
  • Promote awareness of both national and local support services available to those at risk and survivors.
  • Introduction of practical resources to support professionals to enable better understanding on how to implement the new legislation on how to tackle FGM and forced marriage.

Key areas to be addressed by funding



  • £150,000 will be earmarked for communities at risk to the practices of FGM and forced marriage, and it is to be handled by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
  • £100,000 to go to the Forced marriage unit purposely to cater for victims and survivors of forced marriage.
  • £80,000 will support local faith leaders to help educate members of the effects of FGM and forced marriage. This funding is to be administered by the Department for Communities and Local Governments Community Champions.

Sport Premium For Schools Sees More Children Benefiting From Sports: Friday, 17th October, 2014

SPORT PREMIUM FOR SCHOOLS SEES MORE CHILDREN BENEFITING FROM SPORTS

Sport Premium for Schools sees more Children Benefiting from Sports

Sport Premium was introduced by the government in 2013 to help fund sports in schools across the country. £150 million was earmarked for the programme with the view of encouraging pupils in the country to actively participate in physical activities. The main rationale for the programme is to improve primary school sports provision. A new research has shown that the funding is bearing positive fruits in schools across the country, as nine out of ten primary schools have improved the quality of PE lessons since the introduction of the programme in 2013. The fund is giving directly to head teachers to support PE and sporting activities for pupils, with recruitment of sports specialists and PE teachers as a main driving force for promoting quality of sports lessons as well as after school sports clubs.

The ability of sports to instil discipline, self confidence and competence cannot be overemphasised. Competitive sports also help children to learn team work, builds good character and help in producing sound mind which is needed for a child’s academic life.

What the Fund has achieved since its inception

üMore opportunities for pupils to participate in inter – school competitions and after school clubs.

üBetter sports equipment purchased for many schools.

üNew and unusual sports as diverse as fencing, climbing and Danish long-ball introduced to encourage more pupils to participate in sports.

üSport teaching for children with special educational needs improved.

üSkills of teachers enhanced to offer quality sports lessons and coaching to pupils.

Sports Premium in Figures

A research conducted by the Department for education has shown vast improvement in the provision of sports since the fund was introduced last year. The summary below gives a snapshot of some of the findings from the research.

üThe fund has enabled one third of schools across the country to reduce the cost of after school clubs and over a fifth of those sampled made some after school clubs completely free.

ü96% of schools reported improvements in pupils’ physical fitness with 93% reporting improvements in pupils’ behaviour.

ü83% saw an increase in participation in after school sporting activities.

ü91% of schools reported an increase in the quality of PE teaching.

A Look At Charging Policy For Schools: Friday, 17th October, 2014

A LOOK AT CHARGING POLICY FOR SCHOOLS

A look at charging policy for schools

Education provided during school hours including the supply of any study materials such as books and instruments cannot be charged for, however, there are other activities and facilities that parents are called upon to contribute. The Department for Education in ensuring fairness and uniformity in charges that schools and local authorities can levy has published charging guidelines for all concerned to be used as a yardstick. The Education Act 1996 sets out the legal backing for charging for school activities in schools maintained by local authorities in England. Schools and local authorities can charge for the following:

  • §Certain early years provision
  • §Music and vocal tuition, in limited circumstances.
  • §Education provided outside of school time that is not part of the national curriculum.
  • §Boarding and lodging, with charges not higher than actual cost.


Parents on low income and in receipts of income support, Child Tax Credit, guarantee element of State Pension Credit and employment support allowance are to be made aware of the support available to them when they are asked to contribute towards school visits. Before any charges can be levied on parents, the governing body of the school or the local authority concerned should draw up a charging policy. The Key areas addressed by the guidelines are, education, voluntary contribution, music tuition, transport, residential visits and non residential visits.


Education



  • Admission process to all state funded schools should be free – Schools Code 2012.
  • All educational activities provided during school hours should be free of charge to all pupils.
  • Entry for a prescribed public examination, if the pupil has been prepared for it by the school, then the former cannot be charged.
  • Education provided outside school hours cannot be charged for if it forms part of the national curriculum or it is part of a syllabus for a prescribed examination.

Transport



  • Transport in connection with an educational visit cannot be charged for.
  • Any transport to and from a school premises where the local authority has a statutory obligation to provide transport should be free.
  • Transport provided for pupils to meet examination requirement where they have been prepared for that examination by the school should not be levied for.

New Curriculum Takes Off In Schools Across The Country: Wednesday, 17th September, 2014

NEW CURRICULUM TAKES OFF IN SCHOOL ACROSS THE COUNTRY

New Curriculum takes off in schools across the country

The new curriculum forms part of the government’s plan for education and long-term economic objective. The main aim of the plan is to raise standards for children between the ages of 5 to 16, with greater emphasis on pupils from poorer background. Key subjects such as English, maths, computing and science will be a focal point for more attention to provide a broader and balanced education to help pupils develop their inner talents from their early years in schools. The new curriculum is a painstaking study and research embodying the best from the world’s most successful education systems with inputs from Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland Massachusetts and other best practices from schools across England.


The new curriculum at a glance.......

English


Main focus to be on children’s ability to read fluently and widely after completing primary education.
Seminal world literature to be taught in schools. There should be no descriptive list of writers beyond Shakespeare, who will have a key place at the heart of English curriculum.
Pupils aged 11 – 14 to study at least 2 of Shakespeare’s plays.
Pupils will learn to use dashes, brackets, semi-colons and colons correctly.


Maths

Five year olds introduced to fractions for the first time, giving them a solid foundation in maths at an early age.
Pupils should be taught times tables to 12 by the age of 9.
More emphasis to be placed on mathematical modelling and problem-solving.


Science

Evolution to be taught in primary schools for the first time.

Scientific knowledge to be enhanced through increased practical work and more mathematical underpinning.

Non science topics to be removed

Abstracts and vague statements on understanding the nature and methods of science removed from the new curriculum.

3 disciplines of physics, chemistry and biology to be studied in a much greater depth by pupils in secondary schools.

Computing

Greater focus on practical experience of programming.

Pupils to be taught coding and the use of programming languages with the view of helping them to solve computer problems.

5 year olds to learn how to write,create and test computer programmes.

National School Leaders Network Receives £13Million Funding: Wednesday, 17th September, 2014

NATIONAL SCHOOL LEADERS NETWORK RECEIVES £13MILLION FUNDING

The government is to recruit one hundred talented school leaders to help transform struggling schools across the country. This initiative was announced by the Schools Minister David Laws, as part of the government’s policy on improving the quality of teaching and leadership in schools in the country. The main aim of the leadership drive is to match the best and brightest school leaders in the country with schools that are facing some of the toughest challenges mostly in deprived rural communities and those in coastal areas that struggles to attract the needed leaders.

The department for Education has requested the Future Leaders Trust (TFLT) to run the programme on its behalf. The TFLT is currently inviting prospective applicants to be drawn from top performing heads of schools or outstanding aspiring heads who are interested in moving to affected communities to assist in raising achievement as well as attainment gap between pupils from poorer backgrounds and their peers to apply for the programme. Applicants will go through a rigorous recruitment process, with selected applicant receiving help in relocating to areas that their expertise will be of immense help.

Main aim of the Programme


  • Programme to spread excellence and expertise of brilliant school leaders to areas that needed attention. There is a strong link between school leadership, quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils.
  • To help children in rural but poor communities to realise their full potential through strong leadership.
  • Offer opportunities to aspiring heads of schools to assume full headships in communities where their expertise will be needed in helping struggling schools to compete effectively with their peers.
  • Selected heads for the programme will commit in staying in the school for at least three years.
  • The number of the National Leaders of Education across the country to be increased to 1,400 by March 2016.


A package of professional support and development will be provided to successful applicants, including a coaching and mentoring programme, dedicated training, expert peer support, and funding to deliver sustainable long-term improvements for their school.

Standards Improve as Thousands More Take GCSE's At The Right Time: Wednesday, 17th September, 2014

STANDARDS IMPROVE AS THOUSANDS MORE TAKE GCSE'S AT THE RIGHT TIME

The School Reform Minister Nick Gibb has indicated that the recently released GCSE result has shown a marked improvement in standards after policy change and also allowing pupils to sit the exams at the right time. According to figures released by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), the number of pupils aged 15 or under that sat for the exams was down by 40% compared to the previous year. The overall number of 15 year olds or under that sat the exams fell by the following:

  • 59,000 pupils sat for English and English Literature as compared to 92,000 last year.
  • 39,000 sat for maths compared to 170,000 the previous year.
  • The overall intake for all GCSE’s came to 489,000 compared to 806,000 last year.


The results indicated that 19% of 15 year olds had A* or As (up 5 percentage points) and 68% getting A* to C grades (up 10 percentage points). It has also been reported by the JCQ, that there was a four-fold increase in the number of pupils that sat for the newly introduced computer science GCSE; this has been partly attributable to the fact that industry Experts such as the British Computer Society has backed the new module as the future of the computer industry.

The proportion of girls achieving A* to C was 73.1% compared to 64.3% for boys. Science saw a sharp increase in entries for 16 year olds and was up by 16,000 pupils compared to the previous year. The overall A* to C pass rate for the exams has risen from 68.1% in 2013 to 68.8 in 2014. The School Reform Minister has emphasised that pupils and parents can now embrace the exams systems confidently as in his words, the subjects being examined are those that are most valued by employers, colleges, universities and will also help pupils to succeed in life.

£20Million Pupil Premium Funding Announced To Help School Children Adopted From Care: Sunday, 17th August, 2014

£20MILLION PUPIL PREMIUM FUNDING ANNOUNCED TO HELP SCHOOL CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM CARE

All adopted school children from care are to receive funding worth £1,900 each towards their education. This announcement is a step in the right direction as previously, only children adopted from care since 30 December 2005 qualified for funding. The additional funding forms part of government’s initiative to help bridge the attainment gap between adopted children from care and non adopted children. It is envisaged that the funding will help improve levels of reading, writing and maths at key stage 2. The £20 million fund is to care for an additional 10,000 pupils from the care system, helping them cope and thrive at school and also give them the needed foundation in life. As part of initiatives to make adoption less complicated than it is today, selected councils and voluntary organisations have been given the go ahead to search the national adoption Register from September 2014, to learn more about children waiting to be adopted learning about their hobbies, likes and dislikes through videos and pictures with the view of finding them a loving and caring home.

Points to consider

vThe number of children on the adoption register as at June 2014 was 1,345 compared to 747 adoptive families.

vApril 2014 saw for the first time pupil premium paid to children adopted from care under the adoption and Children Act 2002.

vStatistics from adoption parents in 2003 indicated that less than half of adopted children reached the expected levels of maths, reading and writing at key stage 2, compared to non –adopted children.

vThe pupil premium funding for adopted school children will help schools provide tailored support in the form of catch-up sessions for pupils to improve their reading and maths skills. Teachers and other staff involved in educating and caring for adopted children will also receive specialist training to help them offer the best support to concerned pupils.

Moving Forward

vCouncils required by law to tell would be adopters all the assistance and support available to them including pupil premium, access to priority schools admission for their children and fee free 15 hours early years education for two year olds.

vBarriers to successful adoption such as ethnicity to be removed, making sure that councils and adoption agencies give preference to factors such as people’s ability to provide a stable home and tender loving care to children.

Pupils Excluded From Main Stream Schools on The Decline: Sunday, 17th August, 2014

PUPILS EXCLUDED FROM MAIN STREAM SCHOOLS ON THE DECLINE

Discipline plays an important role in creating conducive environment for both teaching and learning in schools. The latest figures published by the department for education on behaviour in classrooms across England has revealed that thousands fewer pupils have been excluded from schools since 2010. This encouraging development has been partly attributable to new powers given to heads of schools by the government to enforce discipline in schools. Further evidence from the department on pupils’ behaviour since the said powers have seen disrupting behaviour nabbed in the bud before it becomes an exclusion offence. Tackling poor behaviour at an early stage of a child’s development is a sure way of reducing entrenched bad attitude in pupils as they progress through the educational system.

Measures in place to tackle poor behaviour in schools

  • vBehaviour management has been made an integral part of training for heads of schools to improve their understanding and effective management of discipline in schools.
  • vTeachers giving powers to impose ‘no-notice same-day detentions’ on pupils who flout laid down rules and regulations of a school.
  • vThe government has also scrapped the ‘no touch’ behaviour policies, enabling teachers to remove disruptive pupils from classrooms.
  • vHeads of schools empowered to enforce discipline through effective guidelines issued by the department of education.
  • vCauses of exclusion to be tackled by improving the quality of teaching, pupils from disadvantaged background helped through pupil premium and special educational needs pupils giving all the needed support and help that they need.

Discipline in numbers.....



  • vThe academic year 2012 -2013 saw a fewer fixed term exclusions compared to 2009 – 2010. Fixed term exclusion recorded in 2012/13 was 267,520, compared to 331,380 in 2009/10.
  • v4,630 pupils were permanently excluded from schools in 2012/13 compared to 5,740 in 2009/10 academic year.
  • vFixed term exclusion for physical assault recorded in 2012/13 was 69,060 pupils showing a reduction of 11,000 cases compared to 80,400 pupils for 2009/10 academic year.
  • vSchool attendance improved considerably in last year’s statistics showing 7.7 million fewer school days lost to absence compared to 2009/10 academic year records.

Government Announces £18Million Additional Funding to Boost Music Education in Schools: Sunday, 17th August, 2014

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES £18MILLION ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO BOOST MUSIC EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS

The minister for education Nick Gibb has announced an additional funding of £18 million towards music education in the country. The additional funding will bring government’s investments for music education since 2012 to around £390 million. In 2012, 123 music hubs were set up by the government to help offer support to pupils in learning musical instruments. The first year of the music hubs, saw nearly half a million children learning a musical instrument for the first time. The scheme has offered an unravelled support and opportunity to disadvantaged pupils to have access to musical instruments and to receive lessons in music. According to a data published by the Arts Council of England, the year 2012/13 saw nearly 80,000 disadvantaged pupils and 30,000 special needs children participating in instrumental ensembles and choirs.


‘Music to the ears of the little ones’....

  • vMusic curriculum for 5 to 14 year olds has been reformed to make it more rigorous and inspirational. Beginning from September 2014, children will learn to read staff notation as well as experiencing music of all kinds across a range of historical periods and how to make them.
  • vMusic plays a pivotal role in the development of children, and the right policies as well as investments will see talents nurtured at a very young age especially among pupils from poorer background.
  • vMusic remains a statutory subject in the national curriculum. The investment made by the educational authorities has seen an increased number of pupils offering music at the GCSE level.
  • vNo education can be complete without the arts and music playing a central role. With this in mind, the government set up the numerous music hubs across the country to offer accessibility to many pupils who are keen on learning a musical instruments.
  • vMusic can have a huge impact on a child’s life, nurturing creative thinking and opening them up for new experiences.

Other matters



  • v£84 million music and dance scheme established to support exceptionally talented pupils who excel in music and dancing at school. The scheme also pays fees for young people from low-income families to attend top music schools such as the Royal Ballet School and the Purcell School.
  • vThe government has also entered into partnership with other stakeholders to provide a programme called ‘In Harmony’, which works in some of the country’s most deprived areas to transform the lives of children through community based orchestral music

Raising The Achievement Of Disadvantaged Children In Schools: Thursday, 17th July, 2014

RAISING THE ACHIEVEMENT OF DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS

Children of all background are influenced by the environment within which they are raised and educated. It is therefore no secrete to point out that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are far less likely to get good GSCE results. The latest Attainment Statistics published in January 2014 indicated that in 2013, 37.9% of pupils who qualified for the free school meals got 5 GCSEs’ including English and Mathematics at A* to C, compared with 64.6% of pupils who do not qualify. The Secretary for Education, Michael Gove has indicated that it is unacceptable for success of children to be determined by their social circumstances. The government has promised ending child poverty by 2020 and also promised to raise the attainment for all disadvantaged pupils by closing the gap between them and their peers.

In England, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent charity that works to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils in primary and secondary schools. The EEF is administered by the Sutton Trust and funded by a £135 million government grant. The charity has catered for over 300,000 disadvantaged pupils since its inception in 2012.

Policy initiatives to help disadvantaged pupils


£1.8 billion channelled through pupil premium funding to schools in the financial year 2013 to 2014. Schools required to publish online how they are using the pupil premium and its impact on disadvantaged children. v£50 million made available for summer schools programme throughout the country since 2012. v£136 million invested through EEF to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Holding schools to account for the achievement of disadvantaged pupils through Ofsted inspections and performance tables. Promoting effective practice through teaching and learning produced by EEF.

Ensuring schools making unsatisfactory progress seek expert help by undertaking a pupil premium

New Money For Councils To Support Families With Special Educational Need And Disabilities (SEND): Thursday, 17th July, 2014

NEW MONEY FOR COUNCILS TO SUPPORT FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEED AND DISABILITIES (SEND)

Government is to fund the biggest transformation of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in over 30 years. Councils as a result of this initiative are to receive £45 million of new funding to help support SEND children throughout the country. Under the new funding, young people and parents are to have a greater say over their personalised care and assistance they receive. A new code of practice published by the government gives practical advice and guidance to councils, schools and hospitals to ensure they are providing the best possible help to all children with SEND. The published code of practice has received an overwhelming majority of respondents positive about the new guidance and reporting that it is significantly clearer and accessible. Majority of parents sampled and piloted on the new scheme feel empowered and happier with the services they are receiving.

An overview


Scheme to start in September 2014 with the overall aim of making sure that councils across the country are supporting families with SEND and providing all the required needed assistance that will help them succeed as they navigate their ways through the journey of upgrading themselves for the future.

The reforms have already been subjected to a trial with over two thousands parents in the country. The results from these trials have been encouraging with parents indicating that the reforms have offered them a greater and more control over how and where they can access support.

The way forward


Greater co-operation between councils and health services ensuring services for young people with SEND are jointly planned and commissioned. A new legal right introduced for children and young people with an education, health and care plan to express a preference for state academies, free schools etc. Councils to publish a ‘local offer’ detailing the support available to all disabled children and young people and their families in the area, as well as those with special educational needs. Offer freedom of choice to children and parents with education, health and care plans the offer of personal budget – putting families firmly in charge.

Learning disability assessments to be replaced with a new better to understand and appreciate ‘birth – to – 25’ education, health and care plan – setting out in one place all the support families will receive.

A Look At The Education Funding Agency (EFA): Thursday, 17th July, 2014

A LOOK AT THE EDUCATION FUNDING AGENCY (EFA)

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) was set up by the government to provide funding and support to all state-provided education in the country. The institution caters for 8 million children aged 3 to 16, and 1.6 million young people aged 16 to 19. The Agency’s priorities among others include, increasing the number of high quality schools, introduce fair funding and reform the school curriculum. Schools are also required to follow their funding agreement ensuring that funds provided by the state for the education of children are properly used and accounted for. The EFA regional framework became operational from 8 July 2014 providing educational establishments, local authorities, diocese and academies with individual school projects both new and refurbishment, with capacity to deliver elemental works. Employing over 730 staff, the agencies main centres are based in London, Coventry, Darlington, Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol.
The work of the EFA is supported by an advisory group of independent and knowledgeable persons who have distinguished themselves in various fields. The purpose of the advisory group is to:


  • Create consensus and provide constructive feedback to the leadership of the EFA on products, systems and customer service.
  • Engage stakeholders and expert practitioners in the delivery and shaping of the EFA’s operations.
  • Provide advice to the chief executive of the EFA.


Main Priorities of the EFA


Improve the conditions of existing school buildings. Support the creation of new places for pupils and learners. Funding and monitoring schools and academies throughout the country. Building maintenance programmes for schools and academies. Carry out IT investment plan for schools. Intervene quickly when schools are failing to deliver set standards and laid down rules and regulations. Support local authorities with the new commissioning and funding system for high needs pupils.

Government Announces £7.4 Million Funding To Develop Primary School Leaders: Wednesday, 11th June, 2014

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES £7.4 MILLION FUNDING TO HELP DEVELOP PRIMARY SCHOOL LEADERS

The Schools Minister David Laws has announced that 160,000 school children are set to benefit from the Talented Primary School Programme. Named ‘Teaching Leaders Primary’, the scheme aims at helping children in challenging primary schools with specialist trained teachers to hone the leadership skills of pupils at an early stage of their development and to give them all the needed encouragement to succeed in life. The funding will cover 5 to 11 year olds from disadvantaged background over the next four years. Developing primary school leaders for the future is seen by the government as a sure way of building confidence in pupils and giving them the needed aspiration to meet challenges that awaits them in the near future. The Scheme will see teachers working in challenging schools and with the potential to become outstanding leaders, put through a rigorous 2-year training programme which develops their skills and helps them get the most from pupils.

Highlights of the Scheme


  • Programme to start with 1,200 primary teachers in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Hull, Norfolk and Blackpoll.
  • £74 million earmarked for the programme to help develop the leadership skills of pupils aged between 5 – 11 years.
  • Funding will allow Teaching Leaders to expand their success with promising teachers in secondary schools to those at primary level.
  • Supporting disadvantaged pupils and closing the attainment gap between them and their peers.
  • Applications for Teaching Leaders Primary can be submitted until 19 June 2014 via www.teachingleaders.org.uk


The programme will commence in August 2014.

Benefits of the Scheme


Primary teachers with the potential to be outstanding heads will get the support they need to become the best school leaders of tomorrow.
Part of the government’s drive to deliver the best schools and skills for young people so the next generation can succeed.
The diverse nature of the school system will enable ‘middle leaders’ play a vital role in supporting disadvantaged pupils and closing the attainment gap between them and their peers.


The scheme will help middle leaders in the primary phase to address the achievement gap earlier in a child’s education.

Funding The Priority School Building Programme Phase 2: Wednesday, 11th June, 2014

FUNDING THE PRIORITY SCHOOL BUILDING PROGRAMME PHASE 2

The government has reiterated its continued effort in improving school estate in the country with a fund of £2 billion towards the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP). The Minister of state for schools, David Laws in announcing further funding for the programme mentioned that the next phase will cover a five year period from 2015 – 2021. The main aim of the new phase is to undertake major rebuilding and refurbishment of schools and colleges in the very worst conditions in the country. The second phase of the programme is not intended to replace those wider efforts to support local authorities, diocese and multi academy trusts etc in addressing the need of their estates. It will rather run alongside these in order to address individual projects that are of such significant scale that it would be difficult to pay for them through regular maintenance allocation.

Conditions of the programme

  • The programme is to be centrally managed by the Education Funding Agency. However, where funding is agreed to address smaller individual buildings, the agency may agree a locally delivered solution.
  • The procurement will be based on baseline designs (subject to site constraints, planning requirements and a limited degree of local choice), unless a value for money alternative is identified.
  • If an applicant is successful and is accepted into the programme they will be required to register the title of the site. Any legal advice taken to support the provision of property and title information will need to be met by the applicant.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding is required to be signed as well as a Back to back Agreement2.
  • The Department for Education will not be liable for the costs associated with any off-site works as a result of the project

How to submit an expression of Interest


  • Interest for the programme will be managed on line via the programme’s website. The initial application involves registration and a separate entry for each school. No hard copies or email versions of the expression of interest to be considered.
  • The expression of interest website will be ready by July 2014.
  • The deadline for submission is 18 July 2014; applicants are encouraged to apply early to avoid any technical submission issues.

Key Information On Schools Performance For Parents: Wednesday, 11th June, 2014

KEY INFORMATION ON SCHOOLS’ PERFORMANCE FOR PARENTS

The Department for Education has launched a consultation on new plans to provide parents with easier to understand information about their child’s school. The aim of the consultation is to publish essential information on a school website in a consistent way showing how their children’s schools are performing in a series of key performance measures. The consultation was launched on 6 June and will come into effect from 2016. Schools are currently required to publish information on performance; however, there seem to be inconsistencies from school to school making it difficult and time consuming for parents to find out information that they need for the progress of their pupils. Clear reporting on performance is a hall mark of high performing education jurisdictions with an added benefit of providing key information to parents that will aid in informed choices about the future of their children.

Proposals


  • Progress of pupils from age 4 – 11 compared to others with similar starting point in reception.
  • Proportion of pupils showing ‘high achieving status’
  • How well pupils do in average at age 11
  • The proportion of pupils that are able to reach the demanding new standard age 11.
  • Dropout rate
  • Pupils progress from age 11 – 16.
  • Average grades of pupils across 8 subjects.


Rationale for Proposal

  • Parents to have a clear picture of how their child’s school is doing - and that they can see how neighbouring schools are also performing.
  • Proposal would allow parents to identify excellent schools or ask the difficult questions about why their child’s school isn’t performing.
  • Schools will no longer be able to hide away bad results.
  • Changes will be made to the School Information Regulations setting out that the new headline measures must be published
  • The number of schools and colleges downloading the data application which will support the new performance measure will be monitored. This will give an indication of how many schools and colleges are making their performance easily accessible to parents.
  • Infant schools will be measured on the average progress made by pupils between reception year and when they leave at age 7, with the reception baseline assessment and the teacher assessments in key stage 1 used to show this.

Pupils To Be Encouraged To Pursue Ambitious Careers By Employers: Friday, 16th May, 2014

PUPILS TO BE ENCOURAGED TO PURSUE AMBITIOUS CAREERS BY EMPLOYERS

The Department for Education has published a new career guidance that will offer pupils inspiration and mentored schemes by employers and business leaders encouraging pupils to pursue ambitious careers. The main focus of the new guidance is to ensure that schools provide pupils with experience of the world of work to give them the confidence and the required skills needed to fulfil their potentials. This new initiative was announced by the Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock, who reiterated the importance of mentoring and the need to combine practical education at the basic level of the country’s educational system. The announcement comes as part of a broader shift towards more rigorous careers guidance, as outlined in the government’s inspiration vision statement, published in September 2013.

Strategic Intent of the career Guidance for schools

  • Mentoring and coaching, work place and higher education visits.
  • Inspirational speakers to offer hope and aspiration to pupils.
  • Linking schools with employers such as business in the community.
  • Provide full range of information on education and training options for pupils.
  • Measure the effectiveness of careers and inspiration activity via official data on education, training and employment of previous pupils.
  • Ofsted giving careers guidance a higher priority in school inspections.


What’s in store for Pupils


  • Pupils to be encouraged to develop high aspirations in life through mentored schemes.
  • Gaining much needed advice and experience from business leaders in society to build confidence that is required for successful career in life.
  • Schools to offer independent and impartial careers guidance to pupils between the ages of 13 and 18.
  • Wealth of knowledge to help pupils from poorer background in navigating huge range of career opportunities available to them.


Real motivation in building confidence and aspiration.

School Funding Under The Spotlight: Friday, 16th May, 2014

School Funding under the spotlight 


The disagreement over the funding of basic education in the country has brought about a sharp division in the coalition government. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has openly criticised the Education Secretary Michael Gove accusing the latter of channelling £400 million from the basic need budget meant for the provision of extra school places into the free school budget. The spat became embarrassing for the government as the Prime Minister tried during his appearance on the Andrew Marr’s show to defend the government’s budgeted £5 billion for the current parliament with the view of expanding the number of school places in the country. In defence of his education secretary, the Prime Minister indicated that free schools are needed in areas where there is high demand for places. However, Mr Clegg thinks the education Secretary is over ‘zealot’ about the success of his flagship free school initiative and that is impacting seriously on parents desire to get suitable school places for their children.


Free School Funding Report


  • Since its inception, 174 free schools have been opened across the country.
  • £1.5 billion earmarked for free schools project by March 2015.
  • 1.1 million already spent on the free school project.
  • 45 Ofsted reports on free schools published so far, out of this report, 7 schools were outstanding, 23 good. 10 schools require improvement, with 5 schools classified as inadequate.
  • Many schools set outside the control of local authorities have been performing badly in the latest Ofsted report, raising concerns about the future of free schools.


Juggling the Funding of Local Authority control Schools with Free Schools.


  • Provision of new school places to increase by more than £200 million from 2015 according to the spokes person for the Education Secretary.
  • Free schools becoming increasingly popular with parents and it is helping in easing shortage of school places across the country.
  • The public sector accounts committee of parliament has recently reported that a quarter of free schools opened by 2012 had fewer pupils than anticipated.

Standards For Head Teachers Updated For First Time In A Decade: Friday, 16th May, 2014

Standards for Head teachers updated for the first time in a decade.


The Department for Education has drawn up a review programme designed to address the growing diversity of the school system. The review is to critically examine the current standard that is used by governing bodies in the head teacher recruitment and performance assessment. Furthermore, the review will consider the changing nature of school leadership such as executive heads or those in charge of multiple schools under academy trusts. The review is to be conducted by respectable group of professionals that will include head teachers, chair of governors and middle leaders. Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, executive head teacher of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and CEO of the Bright Futures Educational Trust will chair the review.

Schools Minister, David Laws has also reiterated that there is a strong link between school leadership, quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils. The diverse nature and the growing trend in worldwide educational systems call for new standards which consider the many different types of school leaders to steer the affairs of schools across the country. The review process will enable head teachers a flexible opportunity to review and set their own professional standards. This process has been described by the experts as the most significant steps towards self-regulatory system within the educational system.

Things to consider.....


  • International best practices
  • Expert advice and evidence
  • Engage teachers and leaders.
  • Establish set of standards for teachers.


Focus for head teachers........

  • Designed to inspire confidence in head teachers.
  • Help in assessing the performance of head teachers
  • Professional development of existing and aspiring head teachers.
  • Clear and easy to understand.
  • Concentrate on key elements of high quality school and system leadership.
  • To inspire confidence in head teachers


The committee will report to the Secretary of State for Education with the review as well as the revised standards in summer, with the aim of publishing the final product by the end of the year.

Improving Education To Cater For The Needs Of Every Child: Monday, 21st April, 2014

IMPROVING EDUCATION TO CATER FOR THE NEEDS OF EVERY CHILD

The Secretary for Education has reiterated the need for implementing a long term educational plan for schools rooted in evidence driven by moral purpose. The said educational system according to the Secretary of State is to place more emphasis on vocational education, literacy and numeracy. Delivering a speech at the British Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Gove stressed the importance of giving every child a chance to flourish. He also acknowledges the segregated nature of the current educational system, indicating that thousands of children – mostly from poorer backgrounds were receiving an inadequate education to the detriment of society at large. The basis for the reforms is to give power to those at the frontline of education delivery in the country to ensure greater accountability and excellent standard performance for all children.

Changes so far......


  • The number of pupils taught in underperforming secondary schools has fallen by almost a quarter of a million since May 2010.
  • New set standards to measure performance, raising the bar and setting new floor standards for schools to follow.
  • The number of secondary schools that has performed below par this year has fallen to154, compared to 407 schools in 2010.


Looking Ahead....


  • To ensure that 85% of primary school pupils reach the level of literacy and numeracy required to succeed at the secondary school level.
  • Qualifications to be strengthened – every qualification must be demanding, rigorous and a route to employment.
  • Apprenticeships to be reformed to cater for the needs of modern jobs prospects and specifications.
  • From September 2014, there will be an introduction of a high – level maths qualification and an extended project, Tech levels will count towards the Technical Baccalaureate.


Leading Maths teachers in primary and secondary schools to be sent to China on an exchange programme to improve delivery and performance.

A Helping Hand For Hardworking Families And Childminders: Monday, 21st April, 2014

A HELPING HAND FOR HARDWORKING FAMILIES AND CHILDMINDERS

The Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss has recently announced new measures that seek to increase childcare options across the country with the main aim of helping hard working families to save money and time on child care cost. Childminders play a pivotal role in the lives of hardworking families, however, the last ten years has seen a reduction in the number childminders in the country. This has come about as a result of unnecessary bureaucracy in their recruitment and training. The good news for parents is that figures released last month indicated a fall in cost of after school provision services by childminders, falling for the first time in 12 years from £72.79 to £64.75. This reduction in cost to parents represents a potential savings of £420 per year.

Main Themes of the Policy


  • Parents to have access to affordable and high quality childcare.
  • Reducing bureaucracy and freezing fees will encourage more childminders to enter the profession.
  • A cost saving measure bringing a welcome relief to parents through efficient use of time and resources.
  • A detailed study and consultation to look at how childminders will operate from September 2014.
  • Agencies providing childcare and childminding services to be opened for inspection by Ofsted.
  • A freeze on fees childminders pay to Ofsted for the fifth year in a row, remaining at £35.00 per year.
  • Local authorities given more powers to intervene where necessary.


Other Matters to be consulted on......


  • The number of quality assurance visits provided by the agency
  • The number of hours of direct support from agencies to childminders.
  • The annual fee agencies will pay in line with that of nurseries at £220

GCSE Shake UP: Monday, 21st April, 2014

GCSE SHAKE UP - NEW LOOK ‘TOUGHER’ EXAMS REVEALED

The Education Secretary Mr. Michael Gove has announced a new look GCSE exams that will commence from 2015/16 with stronger emphasis on maths skills and final end-of-course exams. The main aim of the overhaul to the said exams is to fashion out an education system that can compete with the best in the world. England has performed poorly in maths and science education in recent years according to the World Economic Competitive rankings in quality of maths and science education. The need to place the country’s educational system on sound footing to match the best in the world has called for drastic changes to how schools approach the teaching of maths skills which is deemed important in other subjects such as economics, physics chemistry and geography. According to the Mr Gove, "the changes will make the exams qualifications more ambitious, with greater stretch for the most able; will prepare young people better for the demands of employment and further study”. However, educational experts have wondered, whether hastily carrying out such a large scale overhaul can stand the test of time. The first teaching of the new syllabus for GCSE starts form September 2015. This will starts with maths, English language and English literature.

GCSE changes from September 2016


  • More maths in all science subjects.
  • Cutting-edge content in all science subjects – human genome in biology, nanoparticles in chemistry and energy and space in physics.
  • Geography - Students to complete two pieces of field work. More emphasis on UK geography. 100% exams content with some questions about field work.
  • Modern languages - more emphasis to be placed on translation of English into other foreign languages.
  • History – 100% exams content. Greater emphasis on UK history. Historical periods to be studied will include - medieval (500-1500), early modern (1450-1750) and modern (1700-present day).
  • More rigorous and demanding GCSEs in arts subjects, including music, drama, art and dance.
  • Computer science: More focus on programming, algorithms and problem-solving. Exams 80% of final grade.


GCSE Exams Tit Bits


  • Exam regulator Ofqual has announced that new-style GCSEs would be graded from 9 to 1, with the highest grade to be twice as hard as an A*.
  • Structure to shift from modular to exams at the end of two years.


Concerns


  • Lack of detailed consultation with concerned stakeholders.
  • Lack of specific content for exams and how it will be assessed.

Free School Meal For Infants To Take Off In September 2014: Sunday, 16th March 2014

FREE SCHOOL MEAL FOR INFANTS TO TAKE OFF IN SEPTEMBER 2014

The government has announced that all infant in state-funded schools in England will be entitled to free school meal from September 2014. The package of measures for the feeding programme announced by the Education Minister Mr. David Laws on March 6, 2014, will ensure that schools that are eligible for the programme are given the needed facilities and funding to provide meals to all infants under their care. As part of the funding, £3,000.00 will be made available to each small school to improve kitchen facilities as well as £2.30 per child per day towards feeding. The government has so far made available £1 billion towards this programme ensuring that no infant does learn on an empty stomach.

Other details of the Programme


  • Encourage schools to be ready for the take-off in September with financial assistant.
  • £150 million to help schools expand their kitchen and dining facilities, where needed.
  • £1 billion made available for the programme.
  1. A support service, including a national helpline, run by the Children’s Food Trust, to help and support schools across the country.
  2. Support from Magic Breakfast to set up breakfast clubs in schools where children are coming to school hungry.
  3. Support from charities to help increase school meal take-up in 2,000 junior and secondary schools that currently have low take-up.
  4. Simplification of school food standards - cutting bureaucracy for schools.


A look at the benefits of the Programme


  • Reduce pressure on household budgets as parents spend on average £400 for lunches for each child every year.
  • A big plus for the reduction in childhood obesity
  • A vital support to parents in these very difficult economic times.
  • Giving all children the possible best start in life through good and healthy eating.
  • Pupils likely to eat vegetables at lunchtime instead of less healthy food like crisps.

Early Years Apprenticeship Bursary Doubled To £3000: Sunday, 16th March 2014

EARLY YEARS APPRENTICESHIP BURSARY DOUBLED TO £3000

As part of the government drive to attract high calibre candidates to the teaching profession, early years’ apprenticeship bursary has been increased to £3000 from £1500. The scheme offers a high quality route to becoming an early years’ educator, the modern equivalent of the highly respected nursery nurse diploma. According to the Department of Education’s press release in late 2013, the first 200 successful applicants to the bursary will receive the new award of £300. Bridging the gap between the performance of children from wealthier and poorer background leads the way in ensuring that all pupils receive the same level of basic skills through highly qualified teachers that will deliver the same sets of standards.

What the scheme is all about...


  • Successful applicants will be required to have at least a grade C or above in GCSE maths and English, and also secure an apprenticeship position in a nursery, school nursery or children centre that provides early learning for 2 year olds.
  • From September 2014 the government envisaged that around 40% of all children could be considered for early learning places.
  • The main bursary payment will be subject to tax and national insurance deductions.
  • The scheme is administered by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
  • Apprenticeships are expected to take an average of 20 months to complete the course.
  • The scheme consists of employment and study to gain the requisite qualification through various routes including further education.


The Importance of Early Child Education


  • High quality early childhood education impact positively on the cognitive and social development of disadvantaged children.
  • In poorer areas of the country, research has indicated that an alarmingly half of children start school without basic language and communication skills.


Highly skilled nursery educators will play a pivotal role in ensuring that good quality education is made accessible to all children to have a good start with their peers wherever they find themselves.

Improving Maths Education In UK: Saturday, 8th March 2014

IMPROVING MATHS EDUCATION IN UK – SHANGHAI TO THE RESCUE

The World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Ranking in quality of maths and science education last year ranked UK 50th out 148 countries. In an effort to improve the teaching and studying of mathematics in the country, the Ministry of Education has sent a high powered delegation led by the Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss to the City of Shanghai in China. The minister and her delegation visited 3 schools (primary and secondary) as well as teacher training colleges to get a feel of maths classes and teaching in that country. A recent analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicated that, ‘children of manual workers in Shanghai do better at maths than the children of highly paid professionals in UK’. Maths has always been touted as a key subject for the future development of children in whatever profession they decide to pursue in life.

The Maths Story so far...


  • The UK currently has the lowest rates of maths participation among 16- to 18 year olds in the OECD.
  • The amount of time spent on teaching maths in UK is low compared to countries surveyed in the above mentioned rankings.
  • Around 40% of students achieve a C or better in maths GCSE each year - but give up the subject afterwards.
  • About 116 hours spent a ear teaching maths at age 14, compared to 166 hours in Taipei and 138 hours in Singapore.
  • The Nuffield Foundation has described this country as ‘an outlier’ in the OECD because of its low maths take-up.


The way forward


The importance of maths cannot be overemphasised to the development of children in this country. The government has introduce the following measures to ensure that the United Kingdom could matchup with the rest of the best when it comes to maths education.


  • Calculators banned for 11 year olds in England.
  • Bringing in tough new GCSEs that are more demanding than current exams.
  • New specialists’ maths free schools to be opened.
  • Ensuring that all students who do not get a grade C in maths GCSE carry on studying the subject until they do achieve that qualification.
  • Providing the highest level of bursaries for the best maths graduates to train to teach.
  • Bringing in new core maths qualifications for the ‘middle group’ of students who pass GCSE maths but do not study A/AS level maths.


Providing £11 million for new maths hubs - the money will allow the development of a national network of around 30 maths hubs.

Funding For Primary School Sports: Thursday, 13th February 2014

FUNDING FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL SPORTS

Britain’s hosting of the Olympic and the Paralympics games have increased greater awareness and desire for sports participation by school children in the country. The government introduced the Dedicated Primary PE and Sport Premium in March, 2013 with a view of tapping into the euphoria that engulfed the country after the games and to rekindle the sense of raising the fitness level of all children. To reiterate the importance of the scheme, the Prime Minister has recently highlighted the Primary and sport Premium and a fund for primary schools to improve outdoor spaces for PE and sports activities. The fund has been described by the government as an equivalent of 2 days a week sporting activity with a specialist for every pupil.

Benefits from the Fund


  • A typical primary school with 250 primary aged pupils this year received £9,250,
  • Teachers have been trained to offer specialists sporting activities to children across the country.
  • Opportunities offered for pupils to participate in inter school sporting competition.
  • Offer more after-school clubs.
  • Funds released for better and specialist equipments for sports in schools.
  • Introduce new and unusual sports like fencing, climbing, ultimate frisbee and Danish long-ball to encourage more children to enjoy sport.
  • Sporting lessons for children with SEN has been greatly improved as a result of the funding.


Out Door Activities


To improve the use of outdoor spaces, the government has announced further funding of £18 million starting from February 2014 to improve outdoor spaces for PE and sporting activities. This lottery funded scheme is to be administered by Sport England and will prioritise schools with limited outside space and a strong commitment to PE and sport. Each identified school is to receive £30,000 each with the view of helping them improve their sporting provision with particular reference to better equipment and facilities.

Other Matters


  • £11 million investment announced for school games amongst schools to foster fitness in early childhood and also competitive spirits.
  • School games to be organised by the Youth Sport Trust with a strong backing from the National Lottery and the Exchequer.
  • Children with SEN encouraged to participate in competitive sports.


New £500,000 Fund To Train Teachers In Software Coding: Thursday, 13th February 2014


NEW £500,000 FUND TO TRAIN TEACHERS IN SOFTWARE CODING


Technology has been an integral part of the educational system for a long time; however, the area of software coding has not been given the needed attention that it requires in preparing future generation to compete with the outside world. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Education Secretary have announced a new fund of £500,000.00 to fund the training of teachers for software coding. The main aim of the initiative announced on February 4, 2014, is to inspire the next generation of tech entrepreneurs and also to encourage school pupils to not only use the ever increasing technology, but to be partakers of its engineering.


What is happening now in Schools


  • The government has given the British Computer Society (BCS) more than £2 million to set up a consortium of 400 ‘master teachers’ to train teachers in schools and to provide resources for use in the classroom.
  • £1.1 million given towards computing at schools to help train teachers already working in the classroom – through online resources and in the schools workshop.
  • The government has increased the bursary for prospective computing teachers to £25,000. This Scholarship is backed by Google, IBM, Facebook and Microsoft.
  • Google alone has invested over £1 million over the last year to support organisations such as Teach First, Code Club and Raspberry Pi Foundation with the aim of bringing computer education to more school children in the UK.


Points to Consider


  • From this school year, expert computing organisations willing to provide 50 per cent of funding for projects to train teachers in delivering the new, more demanding computing curriculum, will be able to bid for match-funded grants.
  • The government is to match funding provided by industry and business.
  • Equip schools to teach the new computing curriculum introduced in September, 2013.
  • Input from the Royal Society of Engineering, Google and Microsoft towards the new computing curriculum for schools will ensure greater industry support.
  • Computing and coding skills to be introduced at an early age to ensure young people have the first class education they need to succeed, and make sure Britain leads the global race in innovation.

Special Education Needs (SEN) Champions To Receive Funding Of £30Million From The Government: Thursday, 13th February 2014

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS (SEN) CHAMPIONS TO RECEIVE FUNDING OF £30 MILLION FROM THE GOVERNMENT

The government has announced an initiative to fund more than 1,800 independent supporters to help parents with the new special educational needs process. The scheme was announced by the Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson in January, 2014 with the view of recruiting and training a pool of independent SEN supporters from independent voluntary, community and private organisations. The government has liaised with the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) to ensure that the scheme gets off to a good start and also help with the recruitment and training.

The way Forward!


  • More than 1,800 champions to be recruited and trained to offer help to parents with SEN children.
  • £30 million budget allocated for recruitment and training.
  • Independent supporters will be available every step of the way for families as they navigate the new system,
  • The scheme to cover children and young people withSENfrom birth to 25.
  • Giving parents and young people with education, health and care plans the offer of a personal budget - putting families firmly in charge.
  • Greater cooperation between councils and health services with a view of ensuring harmonisation of services for children with SEN.


The Children and Families Bill


The bill is currently going through Parliament, when approved, it will offer a significant improvements to the supports available for children with SEN. Notable among the provisions with the aim of helping families with SEN children are:


  • SEN statements and learning disability assessments to be replaced with a new birth –to- 25 education and health care plan.
  • giving parents and young people with education, health and care plans the offer of a personal budget - putting families firmly in charge.
  • Local authorities will be required to publish a ‘Local Offer’ indicating support available to all disabled children and young people and their families.
  • Mediation for disputes to be introduced to resolve all matters arising out of the scheme.
  • introducing a new legal right for children and young people with an education, health and care plan to express a preference for state academies, free schools and further education colleges - currently limited to maintained mainstream and special schools

Funding For Free Child Care Doubled To £755 Million: Sunday, 19th January 2014

FUNDING FOR FREE CHILD CARE DOUBLED TO £755 MILLION

Funding from government towards the provision of 15 hours free childcare has been announced by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Councils in the country are to receive £755 million towards the provision of free childcare for the most disadvantaged 2 year olds from September this year. The funding will see this year’s award doubling the number of eligible children from 130,000 to over 260,000. To make the fund accessible, an online guideline has been lunched with the view of allowing parents and carers to see how many children in their catchment area do qualify for the award.

KEY ISSUES RAISED


  • Over 40% of 2 –year -olds will benefit from this funding, providing the needed skills for successful life.
  • Over 260,000 children will be eligible for free early learning.
  • Parents to be able to access childcare in blocks of 3 or 5 hours to suit their working lives.
  • Nurseries are encouraged to open from 8am to 6pm, funding to be extended to good and outstanding childminders.
  • Childminding places to be increased to 32,000.
  • Funding will be provided to local authorities at a national average rate of £5.09, adjusted for the area’s average costs.
  • Parents, Nurseries, childminders and local authorities to ensure that children do take up the opportunity offered.
  • Councils encouraged to use funding to provide more places to children in their catchment area through efficient utilisation of existing facilities.


RATIONALE


  • Improving the quality and range of education and childcare from birth to 5 years.
  • Allowing Parents and children to have a quality life.
  • To give children the best possible start in life to get them ready to learn, progress and to aim high.
  • To give the best possible start in life to disadvantaged pupils.

Free School Meals From September 2014: Sunday, 19th January 2013

Over one million more children to receive a free school meal from September 2014.


The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has announced that an estimated 1.55 million school children across the country will benefit from a free school meal from September 2014. The policy statement titled, ‘Giving all children a healthy start in life’ seeks to give every child in reception years 1 and 2 a free meal, saving parents who currently pay for a school lunch over £400 a year per pupil. The funding is to be administered through local authorities for maintained schools, based on the number of pupils they have.

Key Features


  • The number of Children receiving free school meal will increase from 1.3 million to 1.55 million in September 2014
  • Each local authority will decide how best to use its share of £150 million for expanding and improving facilities at individual schools.
  • The policy will help children to have the best possible start in life through healthy meal during the day.
  • Free school lunch will also save parents money. It is estimated that over £400 will be saved by parents whose children benefit from the scheme.


Benefits of Free school meal to pupils


According to a detailed analysis conducted by the Ministry for Education, there is enough evidence to show that performance of pupils improve if healthy meal is eaten at lunch time. The following are the summary of the benefits:


  • students were found to be on average 2 months ahead of their peers elsewhere
  • the universal entitlement pilot led to around a 2 percentage point increase in children reaching target levels in maths and English at Key Stage 1; while at Key Stage 2 the impact on achievement was a 4 percentage point increase for English and 5.5 percentage points for maths
  • academic improvements were most marked among children from less affluent families
  • there was a 26 percentage point increase in the number of children eating vegetables at lunch and an 18 percentage point drop in those eating crisps
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