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.
Government scraps plan for Year 7 resits
As members will have seen, the government has decided not to go ahead with its highly contentious plan to introduce statutory maths and reading resits in Year 7. It was one of several important announcements on primary assessment made in a written statement by Education Secretary Justine Greening to Parliament on 19 October 2016. A full summary can be found at www.ascl.org.uk/primaryyear7assessment
The Secretary of State’s decision not to introduce Year 7 resits follows intensive lobbying by ASCL. We have made known at the highest levels of government, including ministers, our grave concerns about the introduction of ‘resit’ tests. These include:
the potential impact on children’s mental wellbeing and perceptions of themselves at a vulnerable stage in their lives – that is, the potential to reinforce a sense of failure by singling them out
the potential to distort the Year 7 curriculum – for some of the most disadvantaged children in schools serving challenging communities to be denied the opportunity to access the full, broad curriculum in Year 7
Our position is that school leaders should decide the nature of internal assessment. Schools will be using testing in Year 7 for formative reasons. ASCL does not oppose tests and assessment, but we have very actively opposed the resit methodology for the reasons cited above.
ASCL Primary and Governance Specialist Julie McCulloch, along with Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe and Director of Policy Leora Cruddas, have been working relentlessly with the DfE, the Standards and Testing Agency, senior policy makers and ministers to find a way forward. We very much welcome the Education Secretary’s decision. She has clearly listened to concerns and suggestions from the profession and responded with highly constructive proposals.
Meeting with schools minister
ASCL President Sian Carr and Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe met with Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, where they pressed the government to publish its response to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) consultation. It has been almost a year since the consultation closed. They also discussed phase 2 of the National Funding Formula consultation and the position of schools who are severely affected by the delay in implementing this long-awaited policy. Malcolm and Sian also raised the urgent need for a comprehensive communications strategy to manage the impact of qualification reform on results next summer.
Malcolm met with Sinead O’Sullivan, National College for Teaching and Leadership’s (NCTL’s) Director of Programme Delivery, to take forward a strategy for managing teacher supply. ASCL’s position is that this is now urgent if we are to recruit, retain and deploy sufficient numbers of teachers, given the current crisis in teacher supply.
Conservative Party Conference
Malcolm Trobe represented the association at the Conservative Party Conference. He was present at five well-attended educational fringe meetings and a roundtable event. Malcolm was on the panel at ASCL’s own fringe meeting together with Schools Minister Nick Gibb, Becky Allen from Education Datalab and Jonathan Simons from Policy Exchange.
The topic of ‘the importance of education in driving social mobility’ generated a great deal of discussion and allowed Malcolm to state clearly ASCL’s position that there should be no increase in the amount of selection in schools. He described the proposals as a “dangerous distraction” and said the government should focus on the important priorities for schools, with teacher supply and a sufficient amount of funding for schools at the top of the list.
Meeting with Prime Minister’s office
Malcolm together with Sian and Leora met with Will Tanner, Deputy Policy Director in the Prime Minister’s office. They stressed the need for a co-ordinated strategy for teacher supply and offered to work with ministers and the DfE to develop such a strategy. They pushed hard on the impact of the delay in the National Funding Formula and urged Number 10 to work with the Treasury to find funding for schools worst hit by this delay.
They also discussed the impact of qualification reform on results next year and recommended that the government puts in place a communications strategy that supports parents, employers, governing boards and the wider public to understand the implications of the changes.
Malcolm met Tony Foot, Director of School Funding at the DfE, to discuss progress on the National Funding Formula and the second stage of the consultation. He was able to restate the urgency of the consultation being released and also the need to have some financial support for those schools that are in the greatest financial difficulty in 2017/18.
Inspection and accountability
Malcolm Trobe and Leora met with Amanda Spielman, HMCI designate, to discuss the ASCL policies on inspection and accountability. They took the opportunity to explore a number of issues with her and this will be followed up by a further meeting or two before she takes up post in January.
DfE Programme of Talks
Malcolm and Deputy Director of Policy, Duncan Baldwin, attended the monthly DfE Programme of Talks meeting, which Nick Gibb attended for part of the time. The topics covered included the government’s consultation Schools that Work for Everyone. ASCL’s position and the views of the teacher associations were very clearly and strongly stated to the minister.
Other matters that were discussed included the school improvement strategy being developed by the DfE/ NCTL, several issues around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including funding, and a range of matters around teacher and school leader workload.
Malcolm, Leora and Julie met with Lord Watson of Invergowrie for a preliminary meeting, as he will be leading for the Labour Party in the House of Lords on the upcoming Education Bill.
They were able to explore a range of issues set out in the ASCL Blueprint and the issues emerging from the recent consultation document. They were again able to give him a clear statement of the ASCL position on issues around selection.