Here is just a small selection of the meetings and lobbying activity that senior ASCL officers have been involved with on your behalf and, in particular, we have highlighted areas where ASCL has had a direct influence on policy. Expand
Here is just a small selection of the meetings and lobbying activity that senior ASCL officers have been involved with on your behalf and, in particular, we have highlighted areas where ASCL has had a direct influence on policy.
ASCL has continually urged Ofsted to recognise formally the volatility in the 2014 GCSE results and we are pleased that this has been acknowledged in the updated Ofsted handbook published in December 2014. The handbook specifically now states, ‘Inspectors should note that the introduction of an early entry policy and changes in GCSE examination structure have had an impact on the 2014 Key Stage 4 results. The changes should be taken into account when considering results alongside those of previous years, as neither direct comparisons nor production of three-year trends are possible.’
Our Inspections Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell has produced a summary of all the changes (see www.ascl.org.uk/handbook). For further information, please also see the updated Ofsted handbook online at http://tinyurl.com/pmnnegb
Meeting with the Secretary of State
President Peter Kent chaired an invitation round table with the Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan and a number of influential policy makers and officials to discuss aspects of a self-improving system. A wide-ranging discussion focused on preparing young people for life in the 21st century, accountability, oversight and intervention and teacher professionalism.
Meeting with Minister of State
General Secretary Brian Lightman met with Nick Boles, Minister of State for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the DfE, to discuss apprenticeships, careers guidance and post-16 English and maths. They talked about the problems of a teacher and lecturer shortage, setting pupils up to fail through repeated GCSEs, and students who miss the pass grade being denied access to further education or apprenticeships. They also discussed the need for credible and respected functional skills qualifications. Mr Boles responded by setting up meetings with the Education Training Foundation (ETF) that our colleges specialist will attend.
Meetings with political parties
Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe and Director of Policy Leora Cruddas met with Jon Cruddas, Labour’s Policy Review Coordinator and MP for Barking and Dagenham. They discussed the Labour party’s policy narrative, how the principles underpinning ASCL’s blueprint for a self-improving system align with the party’s policy narrative and key election messages. Brian Lightman also met with the executive of the Liberal Democrat Education Association (LDEA) to discuss emerging Liberal Democrat policy and ASCL’s blueprint.
Meeting with chair of Ofsted
Brian Lightman, President Peter Kent and Immediate Past President Ian Bauckham met with the Chair of Ofsted David Hoare and Ofsted’s National Director for Schools Sean Harford. They had a wide-ranging and constructive discussion covering several important points, including the following: the school improvement cycle, which takes at least three to five years; building leadership capacity; Ofsted becoming more of a health check; the importance of leaders becoming inspectors; regionalisation; and the importance of leadership teams and middle leaders. Mr Hoare made it clear that he values ASCL’s contribution to the work of Ofsted and consultations on its future direction.
National College licensed provision
Brian and Russell Hobby from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) met with Minister David Laws and officials to discuss the future of National College licensed provision. Brian also chaired a meeting with a group of licensees to discuss this further. Our aim is to ensure that high-quality provision remains available to teachers at all stages of their careers.
Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe and Funding Specialist Richard Newton Chance met with the Treasury Education Team to discuss a wide range of issues, including the national funding formula, capital and democratic accountability. They again emphasised the difficulty that schools will have in meeting the increased costs in 2015/16, even in authorities benefiting from the Fair Funding Formula uplift.
Richard also met with officials from the Schools Funding Unit at the DfE to discuss particularly deprivation funding and the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms. He raised the wide variation in how local authorities were responding to the changes and the pressure being put on schools as a result.
It is apparent from discussions that short time scales after the next election make it extremely unlikely that there will be moves towards a National Fair Funding Formula before 2017/18 and that 2016/17 was likely to look very similar to 2015/16. It is worth lobbying your local MP if you want to see the implementation of a new funding formula, as not all the political parties are equally committed.
Pensions Specialist Stephen Casey and Pensions Consultant David Binnie attended the Teachers’ Pensions Discussion Forum.
The forum discussed representation on the newly created Teachers’ Pensions Scheme (TPS) Advisory Board. ASCL has secured its presence on this very influential new body that will be charged with making recommendations to the Secretary of State over any changes to the TPS in future.
David Binnie also attended the inaugural steering group meeting of the Working Longer project, which is a DfE-sponsored process to identify and respond to the possible consequences of teachers being obliged to work longer. This two-year project will include the commissioning of professional research. Its findings will have significance for ASCL members both as individuals having to work longer and as those charged with managing teachers.