Category Archives: primary schools

NEW REPORT LOOKS AT SMALL SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIPS AND THEIR EFFECT ON OUTCOMES

Partnership grows out of partnership

And Partnerships  are improving outcomes in Lincolnshire

CfBT Education Trust has just published a research report  ‘Partnership working in small rural primary schools’ .

Robert Hill and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) were commissioned  to investigate the most effective ways for small rural primary schools to work together in order to improve provision and raise standards. The project sought to examine the circumstances and context of small rural schools in Lincolnshire and evaluate their different leadership models (such as collaborations, federations, partnerships or academy chains) to:

identify successful approaches to collaboration likely to have a positive impact on pupil achievement

identify barriers to successful collaborative models

understand the role of the local authority in enabling effective partnership

place the Lincolnshire approach in the context of approaches being adopted in other areas in England and best practice in partnership as identified in research literature

identify issues and recommendations for policymakers to consider.

The report provides three sets of ten lessons for schools, policymakers and local authorities.

As well as the main report of findings there is a secondary report composed of supporting materials which is also available to download.

Although the researchers looked specifically at partnerships involving small schools, which have their own distinctive challenges ,some of the lessons learnt will be of interest  and utility to secondary schools.  The authors do not think that academisation and the establishment of teaching schools will , by themselves, address the problems and challenges facing small primary schools. There are 4,000 schools in England with fewer than 150 pupils and 1,400 with fewer than 75.

CFBT Education Trust provides school improvement support in Lincolnshire  and the report states ‘Lincolnshire provides a test-bed for how far it is possible to foster partnership working, address previous obstacles and build a school-to-school improvement model for small rural  schools’

 Ten Lessons for schools:  

Build on existing partnerships and relationships

Keep local partnerships geographically focused

Ensure that head teachers leading a collaboration develop strong relationships, shared values and commitment to each other

Be clear about governance, funding and accountability

Involve middle leaders in the leadership of partnerships

Use business plans and action plans to prioritise what partnerships will do together

Use action plans to prioritise and clarify what partnerships will do together.

Focus partnership activity on improving teaching and learning through teacher-to-teacher and pupil-to-pupil engagement and learning – including the use of digital contact between staff and pupils.

Focus any dedicated resources on providing dedicated leadership or project management time to organise activity and/or cover transport costs.

Be prepared to engage in multi-partnership activity and for the form and membership of partnerships to evolve over time.

Monitor and evaluate the impact of partnership activity

 

Ten lessons for local authorities:

 Provide a clear vision of the future in terms of school-to-school working.

Be flexible about the structural arrangements for partnerships but encourage a direction of travel   that moves to more structured arrangements – and formalise the arrangement, whatever form it takes.

 Expand the use of executive headship, using soft influence and hard levers (for example, intervening when schools are failing or struggling to recruit a new headteacher) to reinforce the growth of local clusters and the recruitment and retention of high quality school leaders.

Insist on schools agreeing on measures of progress and success – which they track and monitor

Focus any allocation of ring-fenced resources on providing some dedicated leadership or (start up) project management time to coordinate partnership activity and/or cover transport costs.

Reinforce a partnership strategy by the way that other policies on areas such as children’s services and place planning are framed and implemented.

Use simple practical initiatives to help foster partnership depth – such as time at headteachers’  briefings for cluster heads to work together, appointing the same professional link adviser to all the  schools in a partnership and enabling partnerships to jointly procure CPD.

Identify headteachers to champion the strategy, build ownership among their peers and provide a guiding coalition for change.

Support networking and communication between schools and partnerships through newsletters,  micro-websites and conferences.

Stick with the initiative – recognising that elements of the programme will evolve and that the full benefit will take time to come through.

Ten lessons for policymakers:

Set a clear, consistent vision and strategy for primary schools – and small primary schools in particular – to work together in small clusters but without being prescriptive on the form it should take.

Recognise in the way that policies are developed that schools are likely to engage in partnership with other schools on a number of different levels.

Affirm the role of local authorities in steering and enabling clusters to develop and grow.

Work with faith bodies to encourage and facilitate cross-church/community school partnerships.

Aim to develop 3,000–4,000 executive leaders of primary schools and provide a career path and training and development to match this ambition.

Encourage governors to work and train together across clusters, and encourage moves towards exercising governance at cluster level through federations, trusts and multi-academy trusts.

Reinforce the strategy of cluster working by enabling school forums to allocate lump sums to clusters as well as to individual schools.

Communicate the value of partnership working to parents and the wider world in order to provide more support for the efforts of small schools in developing partnerships.

Ensure that the accountability regime balances the competitive pressures among schools to recruit pupils with measures that value partnership working.

Evaluate the impact of partnership working at national level and provide tools to help schools assess the impact of partnership initiatives.

 There is a spectrum of partnership models in evidence. This ranges from loose, informal collaboration between schools, through informal collaboration underpinned by a memorandum of understanding , to more  formal collaboration, for example, including  a management agreement with an executive head, and on to a Federation or multi-  academy trust with  executive head teacher  and single governing body.

 Of the 99 small schools in Lincolnshire just 7 are in no form of collaborative arrangement.

As far as outcomes are concerned, the report says ‘Identifying the impact of Lincolnshire’s partnership programme is both difficult and easy. It is relatively easy to establish whether there has been progress and improvement but much more difficult to be sure about the causes for that improvement. There are three useful sources of evidence that deal with the first issue – whether there has been improvement.’

‘In 2009 the performance of pupils in small schools was significantly below that of their  peers in larger schools and was lagging behind the national performance.(As   measured by the proportion of pupils achieving level 4 or above in English and mathematics (and, for  2013, in reading, writing and mathematics). However,  in  2012 pupils in the  smallest schools were matching the national benchmark and also the achievement of the largest  schools in Lincolnshire. In 2013 results indicate that small schools were just above both the national performance level and the average for other groups of Lincolnshire schools – apart from those with  181 to 270 pupils.’

Second, the number of small primary schools with fewer than 90 pupils falling below the government’s  floor target for primary schools fell from over 20 to single figures in 2012 and to just one in 2013. This is despite the threshold for the floor target having been raised twice during this period.

Third, the Ofsted inspection outcomes of the smallest primary schools inspected during the school years 2011/12 and 2012/13 show significant improvement. The number of ‘outstanding’ and ‘inadequate’  (respectively Grade 1 and Grade 4) small rural schools in Lincolnshire has remained the same but  there has been a sizeable reduction in the number of ‘satisfactory’/’requiring improvement’ (Grade  3) schools and a corresponding increase in the proportion of ‘good’ (Grade 2) schools. The 65 Lincolnshire schools, taken as a group, have moved from having inspection outcomes that are much  poorer than other primary schools in England to having, on average, better inspection outcomes. ‘

Partnership working in small rural primary schools: the best of both worlds Research report Robert Hill, with Kelly Kettlewell  and Jane Salt-April 2014

 

http://cdn.cfbt.com/~/media/cfbtcorporate/files/research/2014/r-partnership-working-small-rural-report-2014.pdf

 

Note

Lincolnshire has 21 Special schools, 276 Primary schools and 59 Secondary schools, including 83 Academies. In addition, Lincolnshire remains one of the few areas in the UK to retain Grammar Schools and there are also a range of Primary and Secondary schools provided by the independent sector. CfBT Education Trust  took responsibility for school improvement in Lincolnshire in 2002 and since then the performance of schools and settings has shown sustained improvement year on year.

In 2012, CfBT won the Education Investor award for ‘Best School Improvement Service’ for its work in Lincolnshire.

PUPIL PREMIUM UP DATE

The pupil premium funding will rise from £1.875 billion to £2.5 billion in 2014-15. The primary school pupil rate will increase from £900 to £1,300 to reflect the importance of early intervention. For the first time, all pupils who are looked after or leave care through adoption, special guardianship or residence orders will attract £1,900 from April 2014.

The teaching and learning toolkit, provided by the Education Endowment Foundation,  is an accessible summary of research on key education interventions that have the most  impact in this area. Any school judged to be requiring improvement, where the leadership is also deemed to require improvement, is expected to carry out a pupil premium review.  Also Schools must publish online details of what they do with the pupil premium and Ofsted will be looking very closely at its use and effect on pupils’ attainment. If the PP had been used on general provision, the school would have to justify how that had impacted all pupils. Ofsted inspections are increasingly focused on the achievement of disadvantaged pupils.  Lord Nash said on 3 February that “It is now very unlikely that a school which is not showing good progression for disadvantaged pupils would make an outstanding rating.”

Pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium:

Are registered as eligible for FSM or who have been registered at any point in the last 6 years (known as ‘Ever6’); or

Have been looked after by the local authority for a day or more; or

Were previously looked after and left care through being adopted on or after 30 December

2005; under a Special Guardianship Order on or after 30 December 2005; or under a Residence Order on or after 14 October 1991; and

Who have been recorded on the January Schools Census as being in one of these categories.

Summer schools for pupils receiving  the PP, according to DFE  ‘ provide an excellent opportunity for secondary schools to help disadvantaged new pupils understand what and how they will be studying in key stage 3. It is also an opportunity for schools to help disadvantaged pupils who are behind in key areas such as literacy and numeracy to  catch up with their peers.’

 

But closing the achievement gap-regarded as the Holy Grail in education- remains a  huge  challenge .As John Dunford pointed out ,recently, in a letter to the Guardian – ‘While the gap has not narrowed in secondary schools, in primaries it has. The most recent data for key stage 2 shows the gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and all other pupils narrowed from 20% (2011) to 17% (2012).’ (based, though, on just one years’ results)

For schools interested  in summer schools, see link

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277108/Pupil_Premium_-_Summer_Schools_Programme_2014_-_Factsheet_-3.2.14.pdf

HEADS SURVEY-ONE IN THREE PRIMARY HEADS SEE BECOMING ACADEMY, IN NEXT YEAR, A PRIORITY

 

Lawyers Browne Jacobson’s school leaders survey 2013

Comment

This survey, by legal firm Browne Jackson, which gives advice to schools, claims to provide a valuable independent barometer of satisfaction with policy, confidence levels and priorities for the future.

Key findings

the introduction of the Pupil Premium has been a resounding success with 72% satisfied with its introduction of which 13% are very satisfied

nearly three quarters of school leaders (72%) are dissatisfied with the Government’s free schools programme

plans by the Government to get tough on disruptive behaviour in the classroom has been met with a chorus of approval with 72% of school leaders satisfied

around seven out of ten school leaders (69%) are dissatisfied with Ofsted and the current inspection regime

two-thirds are dissatisfied with the Government’s policy towards the development of special educational needs provision

investing in the school estate is a high priority with 68% of school leaders looking to build and/or carry out significant capital works

becoming an academy in the next 12 months is a priority for one in three maintained primary schools in England. ( maybe, but doesnt that  conflict with the finding that  72% are  dissatisfied  with Free schools)

 

Note-About the research

Research for the school leaders survey 2013 was carried out between 30 September and 14 October 2013.

223 school leaders took part in the survey, of which 156 were headteachers. The remainder included CEOs, MDs, Executive Principals, Principals, Executive Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers and Principals. 60% of schools that took part were maintained and 40% academies. Of the total 68% were primary with 32% secondary. Where the results do not add up to 100%, this may be due to computer rounding.

Schools leaders survey report 2013

http://www.education-advisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Schools-survey-report-Nov-13-online-version.pdf

EXPANSION OF FAITH SCHOOLS RAISES SOME CONCERNS

FAITH SCHOOLS

Some concerns remain over the expansion of Faith Schools

Comment

Faith schools are now an important part of the education landscape and their numbers have increased in recent years.

Recent events in the  Muslim Al-Madinah  Free school in  Derby, judged dysfunctional   by Ofsted, has raised awareness of the number of faith schools that are publicly funded (around a third of all  schools are faith schools) and opened up the debate, again, over whether ‘faith’ schools should, in a secular society, be publicly funded. And, if so, whether the current regulation of these schools and of their admissions policies is sufficiently robust.

Faith schools tend to perform above average. But concerns have been raised over their admissions policies. The highly successful London Oratory (Catholic) school was recently criticised for its admissions policy. Indeed ,there is some research evidence that Faith schools tend to have less FSM  pupils on their books, than the local authority average, which implies some form of selection is taking place.

Lord Baker, the Conservative former Secretary of State for Education and Science who first introduced the National Curriculum, has expressed his disappointment at the increase in the number and diversity of religious schools since 1997.

In a recent interview in The House Magazine, Lord Baker commented that ‘I think the Labour Party in 1997 was very wrong to open up the possibility of having more religious schools. When I was Education Secretary I did not approve any independent religious schools. I went to a Church of England primary school myself and I liked it, it was a very good school. But Church of England primary schools are community schools, rather than church schools, and I believe very strongly that children of all faiths – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist – and atheists should all study together, play together, eat together, go on the bus together. So I’m not in favour of any more faith schools.’

 

New research from the British Humanist Association (which obviously has a particular agenda to advance) claims to have found ‘ that religious schools, particularly minority religious schools, are the most ethnically segregated.’ The  researchers claim that the majority of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu state-funded schools have no ‘white British’ pupils at all, while the rest have only one or two at most. At the same time, most Jewish state schools have no ‘Asian’ pupils at all. By comparison, the average Muslim, Hindu and Sikh school is situated in an area where a third of the local population is ‘white British’, whereas Jewish schools are in areas where 12 percent is ‘Asian’. The BHA has challenged the Government’s decision to fund such segregated schools, with all of the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh schools and many of the Jewish schools having opened in the last few years.

 

These findings, according to the BHA, are based on the most recent available data, namely January 2013 figures for school populations and the 2011 Census for local area populations. Specific findings include:

 

Out of the five Sikh state schools for which data is available, four have no pupils at all that are classified as ‘white British’, compared to 30 percent of their local populations.

Out of four Hindu state schools, two have no pupils classified as ‘white British’, compared to 45 percent of their local populations.

Out of 15 Muslim state schools, eight have no pupils classified as ‘white British’. On average, over a third of the local populations are ‘white British’. Overall, Muslim schools have on average 34 percentage points fewer ‘white British’ pupils than would be expected for ethnically diverse schools in the areas in which they are located.

Out of 44 Jewish state schools, 29 have no pupils who are classified as having an ‘Asian’, compared to 12 percent of their local populations – with one school having a majority ‘Asian’ population in its immediate vicinity. Jewish schools have on average 13 percentage points fewer ‘Asian’ pupils than would be expected for ethnically inclusive schools located in their areas.

Out of 1,985 Roman Catholic schools, 245 have no ‘Asian’ pupils. Catholic schools typically have 4.4 percentage points fewer ‘Asian’ pupils than would be expected for schools located in their areas.

Out of 13,121 schools with no religious character, just 18 have no ‘white British’ pupils. 2,344 have no ‘Asian’ pupils, but less than 1 percent of these schools’ local populations are ‘Asian’. Schools with no religious character have on average 0.8 percentage points more ‘Asian’ pupils than would be expected for schools located in their areas.’

 

A report by the Religious Education Council for England and Wales (published this week)  says that it is time to reconsider the special status given to religious education (RE) in schools for the past 70 years. It calls for debate on alternatives. The report complains that RE has become effectively marginalised in many schools and will call for a better system. It wants an open discussion on how best to provide good quality RE locally and nationally in the 21st century. One option would be to add the subject to the national curriculum, making it a legal requirement to teach the same approved syllabus. This would provoke protests from faith schools, which are allowed to teach a denominational syllabus agreed by their diocese.  It wants ‘strong, core knowledge of religions and worldviews through varied experiences, approaches and disciplines including investigative teaching and enquiry’.

 

DRIVE TO EXPAND FAITH SCHOOLS RAISES SOME CONCERNS

Government keen on more faith schools but not everyone agrees

Comment

This government strongly supports faith schools and would like to see more of them. New faith academies and free schools may admit only half their intake based on faith where they are oversubscribed. But, according to Lord Nash, the Government  ‘remain strongly committed to faith schools, which play a long-established role in our diverse education system. They allow parents to choose a school in line with their faith and they make a significant contribution to educational standards in this country.’

According to the five A* to C statistics, including English and maths, 65% of pupils at Catholic schools achieve five A* to C grades, as opposed to non-faith schools, where the figure is 58%. At level 4 of key stage 2, 85% of pupils at Catholic schools achieve a pass mark, as opposed to 78% for non-faith schools. Church of England schools  achieving five A* to C grades, including in English and maths,  score 62% versus 58%, and at level 4 of key stage 2 they score 82% as opposed to 78%.

A number of new muslim schools are now entering the state  system too.

Some critics are concerned that faith schools could help segregate communities rather than support and  promote social cohesion, despite a clear duty placed on schools to  ‘promote community cohesion’. The government  points out that ‘ All state-funded schools are also required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, and Ofsted’s inspection framework includes a focus on this’

However the Cantle report of 2001 in the wake of the Bradford/Oldham riots found that communities were developing in parallel with little interaction and criticised the  Governments  policy of encouraging single-faith schools   as it  raised the  possibility of deeper divisions. Northern Irelands segregated school system has also been blamed for embedding and reinforcing division between catholic and protestant communities and helping to fuel the ‘Troubles’.

It is also the case that faith schools have been accused of not taking their share of FSM pupils, often below the respective local authority average, which  helps inflate their academic performance.  There is a significant performance gap between FSM pupils and their peers.

LABOURS RESPONSE TO THE PRIMARY ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROPOSALS

 Worries over funding deprived pupils

And what about the so-called  ‘soft’ skills?

Comment

Stephen Twigg , the shadow education secretary, says that we  can all agree that raising standards during primary education increases the life chances for young people in later life. The disagreement comes in what we mean by ‘standards’ and how we achieve system wide improvements.

Responding to the 17 July announcement from the Deputy Prime Minister on primary school assessment and accountability, Stephen  Twigg said in the Commons that  he “  wanted assurances that the Government’s changes to the accountability system will promote breadth and depth of learning, as well as literacy and numeracy The new floor target of 85%, is for an assessment that the Government have yet to define.” Surely, Twigg argued,  “that is putting the cart before the horse.”  “Would it not make for better policy to define the learning outcomes first? My worry is that this is another classic case of policy making on the hoof.”

“Similarly,” he continued, “ the plan for ranking 11-year-olds has all the hallmarks of such an approach. To rank 11-year-olds runs the risk of removing year-on-year consistency, because children will be benchmarked against their peers in their current year, rather than against a common standard.”

The Government, according to Twigg, have sent out confused signals about attainment and progress. “On the one hand they are scrapping level descriptors, which heads and teachers tell me are crucial for monitoring progress between assessments, yet on the other hand, the Minister is rightly emphasising progress measures today. That is very confusing.”

“On the baseline measure for five-year-olds, there is sense in developing policy about how best to establish prior attainment to provide both teachers and parents with a clear indicator at the start of primary school. The devil will be in the detail, so it is vital that there is full consultation on that.”

Finally, on the pupil premium, he said that  additional funding to support the progress of disadvantaged children is welcome. ” I have seen many schools that have made excellent use of the pupil premium. In his statement, though, the Minister said, “Early intervention is crucial”, and I agree with him. However, how does that sit with the fact that the biggest cuts in spending in his Department have been in early intervention funding? Can the Minister assure the House that additional funding really does mean additional funding?”

Twigg continued “I worry that the Minister may—to coin a phrase—be robbing Paul to pay Paul. The Chancellor announced in the spending review that the Government are moving to a national funding formula. The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that this move could hit schools with large deprived intakes. Can he reassure the House that this really is new money and not simply giving money to schools with a lot of disadvantaged kids today, which is welcome, but taking it away in a couple of years when the national funding formula comes in?”

 In an article on the Spectators blog (18 July) Twigg, interestingly, sided with Anthony Seldons view that the curriculum proposals don’t offer much scope for a rounded education and what has been termed the ‘soft skills’ and too much by rote learning for tests. Twigg is concerned about what this government means by standards. He writes ’‘theirs is a backward looking vision, premised on rote-learning and a failure to value the importance of the skills and aptitudes that young people need to succeed. They portray these skills- such as speaking and listening skills, leadership, citizenship and resilience- as ‘soft’. Try telling that to Dr Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College where the curriculum is tailored to equip young people with a rounded, rigorous education. On standards, Labour’s approach is guided by what I call the ‘rigour of the future’. Rigour in core knowledge and subjects yes. But rigour and emphasis too on what Anthony Seldon calls ‘character education’ and a broad and balanced subject range and content.’Twigg doesn’t believe that this rounded education,  offered by the likes of Wellington College, should be the preserve of private schools.

 

Twigg suggests muddled thinking at the heart of the reforms. He says ‘David Laws argued for schools to have progress measures between Key Stage assessments so teachers and parents can monitor progress and attainment. This only a week after Michael Gove told MPs that Key Stage level descriptors- used by teachers to monitor performance- will go’… ‘ There might be a case to look at reforming level descriptors to ensure sufficient challenge but scrapping them outright is completely misguided and will undermine standards in primary schools’.

 

Twigg  also claims that ‘ranking pupils at 11 against others in their cohort will do nothing to raise standards, quite the opposite in fact. This is a classic policy red herring. By ranking pupils against others in their year- rather than against set, year-on-year standards- this will lead to distortions from one year to another. ‘

 

In short, Twigg believes that this is policy made  on the hoof,  is confused and lacking  in rigour. 

A LATE QUARTET-USEFUL METAPHOR FOR SCHOOLS?

New film focused on a Quartet struggling to stay together  might provide a metaphor for schools

Comment 

The film  ‘A  Late Quartet’ , directed by Yaron Zilberman, sees a Quartet begin to disintegrate following a life changing diagnosis for one its  members  (the cellist-played by Christopher Walken). The main work  in the film is Beethoven’s Opus 131 in C -sharp minor a notoriously demanding  piece for even the most technically gifted  musicians, mainly because Beethoven indicated that it should be played “attacca”, so  without pause between its seven movements. It was regarded by   Beethoven’s contemporaries as a masterpiece   and Schubert asked for  it to  be played  for him on his deathbed.

The Director Zilberman says “When playing a piece for almost 40 minutes without a break the instruments are bound to go out of tune, each in a different way. What should the musician do? Stop and tune, or struggle to adapt, individually and as a group until the  end. I feel it is a perfect metaphor for long term relationships” ( Zilberman draws from Walkens speech at the beginning of the film-Zilberman also co-wrote the screenplay)

It could also be a metaphor for a school  . Teachers  have to adjust individually and  collectively  (through collaboration etc) to ensure that their performance remains  in tune, is sustained  and doesn’t suffer  in quality, over time.( disciplined practice also helps)

Just a thought!

ps Its a beautifully crafted  and  well observed film  without falling into the trap of  being too sentimental . It also  avoids  a corny end .

INTERIM EXECUTIVE BOARDS AND FAILING SCHOOLS-AN INTERVENTION THAT IS RARELY USED

Local Authorities and Ministers seem reluctant to use Interim Executive Boards

Comment

The   Schools minister, Lord Nash, giving  evidence to the  Education Select Committee, on 20 March, said that local authorities are  reluctant to use  Interim Executive Boards (IEB)  as an intervention to rescue failing schools.  Lord Nash claimed  that 70 local authorities have never issued a warning notice, which is the step towards having an IEB. He  said that local authorities are loth to use their IEB powers. And, he  clearly  thought that IEBs should be used more often .

He said “They do not feel the obligation that, frankly, we feel they should. We are talking about children’s futures. We need to send a message at every turn that we expect all schools to do what good schools do. We all know what those are. I could list them..”

However, this  rather begs the question  why,  given the Ministers concerns about children’s futures , and his  admiration for IEBs ,  the Secretary of State ,who  has the power to impose an IEB, has  chosen to use   them on just   four occasions so far. Ministers are as ‘loth’ , it would seem ,as local authorities are, to go down the IEB route.

Ministers are, in practice, keen that failing schools are placed under the wing of an academy chain to help raise their performance or, alternatively, a strong local school. A decision is made on what route to take  following discussions with the local authority but that rarely means  opting for an IEB.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/uc850-iii/uc85001.htm

Note

Where schools are eligible for intervention, local authorities may exercise their powers to: require the governing body to enter into specified arrangements with a view to improving the performance of the school; appoint additional governors; suspend the delegated budget of the school; appoint an Interim Executive Board (IEB).  Where schools are eligible for intervention ,the Secretary of State (ie Michael Gove) has the power to appoint additional governors; appoint an Interim Executive Board, or direct the local authority to close a school The IEB has a duty to conduct the business of the school in such a way as to secure a sound basis for future improvement. It carries out the functions of a governing body of the school for the time that it is in office.IEBs may vary in size but should be a small, focused group with at least two members appointed for the full period which it is expected to return the school to autonomy .

There are two key triggers for a school to come into a category for intervention, one being an Ofsted report, and the other the school’s performance in relation to floor targets. The Ofsted inspection system is risk-based, so the frequency of inspection is linked to the track record of the school

LAWS SEEKS TO REASSURE LOCAL AUTHORITIES THAT THEY STILL HAVE’ A CRUCIAL ROLE’ IN DELIVERING EDUCATION

LOCAL AUTHORITIES ROLE IN EDUCATION

Laws seeks to reassure local authorities that they have a key role in education

To Support, Challenge and where  necessary Intervene in schools

Comment

Education Minister David Laws, in a speech to the LGA, this month, said “Local Government has a massive and crucial role to play in delivering education. It does now. It will in the future.”

He continued “Local authorities have a key strategic oversight role in education. It is local authorities which have the legal responsibility to ensure that there is a school place for every child in their area. This is an important role, particularly in areas with rising pupil numbers. Local authorities not only have to ensure provision, but they are vital in making the school admissions process work. It is local authorities which help deliver fair access for all. There are many other strategic areas where local authorities are and will remain important. Take school transport, for example. It may not be glamorous, but those school buses are of critical importance for many pupils. Local authorities can and must do much more than fulfilling their statutory duties. Critically, they can and must support schools, challenge schools, and – where necessary – intervene in schools.”

But Laws also warned local authorities that if they want to retain their important role in schools then they must act when schools in their areas need to improve. He said “Too often in the past local authorities have failed to act to deal with failure or mediocrity.”

Crucially, Laws accepted that the DFE is not in a position “to intervene in the number of schools which may now need intervention and support.”, which is why local authorities still have an important role. Laws dismissed ideas for some form of alternative ‘middle tier’ in the shape for example of Schools Commissioners, an idea that has been mooted.

He explained that there are many ways, not one, in which local authorities can intervene. He said “They can offer school support directly. They can encourage schools to form self-improvement clusters. They can find suitable sponsors for underachieving schools.”

He concluded by saying that despite some tensions, national and local government share a common goal which is “ to raise ambitions and achieve the potential for each and every child in our country.”

http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a00218062/david-laws-speech-to-the-lga-education-conference

PERCENTAGE OF PUPILS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE SCHOOL MEALS-PRIMARY 19%-SECONDARY 16%

Free school meals

16% of pupils in secondary schools eligible for Free School Meals-19% in Primaries

Comment

Research from the DfE on the take-up of free school meals will be published shortly.  Information on the number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals as at January 2012 is published in the Statistical First Release ‘Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, January 2012′ available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001071/index.shtml

Free school meal eligibility

• In maintained nursery, state-funded primary, state-funded secondary, special  schools and pupil referral units 18.2 per cent of pupils were known to be  eligible for and claiming free school meals, compared to 18.0 per cent in 2011.

• In maintained nursery and state-funded primary schools 19.3 per cent of  pupils were known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals, an  increase from 19.2 per cent in 2011. (Table 3b)

• In state-funded secondary schools 16.0 per cent of pupils were known to be  eligible for and claiming free school meals, an increase from 15.9 per cent in 2011. (Table 3b)

• In special schools 37.5 per cent of pupils were known to be eligible for and  claiming free school meals, an increase from 36.5 per cent in 2011. (Table

3b)

• In pupil referral units 36.7 per cent of pupils were known to be eligible for and  claiming free school meals, an increase from 34.6 per cent in 2011. (Table

3b)

 

Note- Students who meet eligibility requirements can claim free school meals if they attend school sixth forms, academies, university technical colleges or free schools, but their contemporaries at sixth-form colleges and further education colleges cannot. Fair? Not really.

 

Deposited Paper- 2012-1607 -Department for Education    

Table showing the number of boys known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals in Read more

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/deposited-papers/#toggle-1607