We have had considerable success in the number of policies where we have directly influenced the outcome and/or where an official body such as the DfE, Ofsted, Ofqual and the Education Funding Agency ( Expand
We have had considerable success in the number of policies where we have directly influenced the outcome and/or where an official body such as the DfE, Ofsted, Ofqual and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has adopted our proposals. We have also been very influential with the Education Select Committee, the National Audit Office (NAO), the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Number 10 Policy Unit. We have also successfully lobbied parliamentarians to have changes made to draft legislation. Our Blueprint for a Self-Improving System has also gained political traction. Below is a summary of some of this activity:
Definition of coasting
Adopted The DfE accepted the arguments we put forward that the definition of coasting set out in regulation should be more than three years and progress based and should ensure that regional school commissioners (RSCs) do not treat this as a ‘tick-box’ exercise, but where a school is captured by the definition, should interrogate all data.
Education and Adoption Act
Influenced and Adopted
ASCL successfully lobbied Parliament as the Education and Adoption Bill made its way through the stages of Parliament to effect changes to the regulations defining coasting schools and possible interventions.
Regional School Commissioners (RSCs)
The Education Select Committee adopted our proposal that recommends greater transparency in decision making and a published framework for decision making in relation to RSCs.
The case we made for RAISEonline to include transition matrices for disadvantaged pupils in all subjects, and by gender for all subjects has been accepted and these have now been published.
Redesigned performance tables
Through strategic engagement with a senior civil servant, we have significantly influenced the redesigned performance tables, specifically how progress 8 should be displayed.
Primary floor standards
As a member of the primary assessment group, ASCL pushed for confirmation in writing that the proportion of schools below the floor this year will be similar to last year. In 2016, no more than 6% of primary schools will be below the floor.
Performance accountability measure for post-16 GCSE English and maths
Influenced and Adopted
ASCL has voiced considerable concerns about the intended progress measure with the DfE’s Inspections and Accountability Team and Ofsted’s Data and Systems Team. This performance measure has now been changed by the DfE to be a much fairer measure. We are still in dialogue with Ofsted over its interpretation of this new measure, which they have delayed due in part to our concerns.
Ofsted inspection data dashboard
We have had considerable influence over aspects of the Ofsted inspection dashboard (layout, focus and removal of poor measures) and sixth form performance and assessment data (PANDA) – soon to be 16–18 dashboard. We have also influenced aspects of the Level 3 value-added tool and their approach to modelling.
New-style Ofsted reports
Ofsted accepted our recommendation for shorter, more concise, outcomesfocused reports. These have replaced the much longer, process-focused reports on which we were consulted.
Teacher supply and initial teacher education
Challenge meeting: Teacher Supply Model
ASCL requested the Secretary of State to convene a challenge meeting with senior civil servants to interrogate the Teacher Supply Model (TSM). This took place in June. We identified that the cumulative effect of not recruiting enough teachers in some subjects like maths and science, for many years, is having a devastating effect on the ability of our members to recruit teachers.
The Public Accounts Committee’s report
Influenced and Adopted
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report, Training New Teachers (http://tinyurl.com/ h654pg2), which quotes ASCL and reinforces the findings from our challenge meeting. We have met with the Secretary of State and written to the permanent secretary citing the Public Accounts Committee report and offering to work with civil servants to facilitate dialogue between DfE and school leaders to develop a clear plan for teacher recruitment.
Teacher supply: Flexible routes into teaching
ASCL published a document jointly with Policy Exchange offering a number of policy solutions. A specific proposal in the document was the need for more flexible working, particularly for women returning to teaching following pregnancy. The Secretary of State responded immediately, saying that the DfE would offer guidance to schools on how to offer flexible working opportunities to encourage them to think about how teaching roles can be designed for part-time, job sharing or flexible working. She also announced the launch of a new website to make it easier for women to search for teaching roles that offer part-time or flexible hours – and to match them with schools that have suitable positions available and a package of coaching and mentoring.
National Audit Office (NAO) report on teacher supply
We worked closely with the NAO in relation to their report on teacher supply. The NAO wrote to ASCL to acknowledge our considerable contribution and support with the evidence for their report.
Review of Official Shortage Occupation List
We wrote to the Home Secretary on 4 May to make the case for a review of the Official Shortage Occupation List. We argued that a decision to include teachers as a category (like nurses) would provide a lever to ease the recruitment challenges.
On 26 May, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) announced a review on teacher shortages. MAC is calling for an evidence review on whether teachers should be retained on the UK Shortage Occupation List.
Carter review of initial teacher education (ITE)
Several of our proposals were adopted and included as recommendations in the final report.
National Teaching Service (NTS)
Influenced and Adopted
In January, the Secretary of State announced the implementation of the NTS. Several of our specific proposals were adopted or partially adopted.
Curriculum and assessment
Consultation on the compulsory English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
three specific proposals adopted
We said that the 90% target of students to be entered for EBacc should be a national ambition and not a requirement on individual schools.
We said school leaders should be able to decide whom they put forward for EBacc entry.
We said that no single measure should determine the outcome of an Ofsted inspection and that the floor standard should not be linked to EBacc.
Ramadan and exams
led the way
We have been working with a group of senior Muslim scholars to develop guidance for our members to talk to faith leaders, parents and young people about fasting during the exam period.
Commission on Assessment without Levels
Adopted Several points we made are reflected in the commission’s final report.
Modern foreign languages (MFL) review
Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP used our National Curriculum summit to announce a review of MFL, led by ASCL past president Ian Bauckham. We have been in discussions with senior civil servants about the need for this.
Schools National Funding Formula
ASCL has campaigned relentlessly for a national funding formula. The government issued a consultation document in March for the national funding formula and high needs funding (that will now be implemented in 2018/19). The summary document, Schools and High Needs Funding Reform: The case for change, includes a reference to the ASCL blueprint that confirms our call for fairness and that the formula should be sufficient, sustainable and equitable.
Financial health of academies
ASCL made a significant contribution to the financial health of academies. EFA has deployed our resource to support academies. The DfE is now seeking to engage with and support institutions at an earlier stage than is currently the case. The DfE has indicated that it will now work with ASCL to develop a framework agreement that incorporates a range of interventions and services that deliver sustainable strategic financial plans and planning tools.
Penalty provision (FE)
We made significant input on the penalty provision for institutions where eligible students did not enrol for appropriate levels of English and/or maths. The outcome for non-compliance should have been that institutions received zero funding for those students in the following year’s lagged funding.
ASCL input led to a policy amendment announced by the minister saying that there will be a margin of tolerance built in for institutions that were within 5% and a lesser reduction of penalty funding for students above the 5%. This has real financial benefits in cash terms.
Funding for English or maths GCSE retakes
Influenced ASCL raised the issue of lack of funding for students wanting to retake their GCSE English or maths with the aim of achieving the new ‘good pass’ level (grade 5) after summer 2017.
The DfE has confirmed that civil servants will put this recommendation to ministers over the summer. This is not a guarantee of the outcome (and therefore not yet a policy ‘win’) but it is an example of ASCL initiating or proposing a policy that senior civil servants put to ministers.
The influence of ASCL’s Blueprint for a self-improving system
The language and some specific policy proposals in the blueprint have gained considerable traction. The language of the self-improving system has entered the professional and political lexicon.
ASCL Cymru Blueprint
Eithne Hughes, former Cymru President, has been appointed by the Welsh government to pull together a strategic plan for North Wales bringing together Cymru education policy and the thinking in the ASCL Cymru Blueprint. The new Cabinet Minister for Wales, Kirsty Williams, has given her explicit support for the vision outlined in the blueprint.
The three groups looking at marking, lesson planning, and resources and data were either attended by ASCL staff or shadowed by working with other organisations. Shadowing the groups helped to mitigate risks and prevent unhelpful directions of travel.
Prevent and the radicalisation agenda
The DfE said that it intends to change the focus of Prevent towards a wider debate around values, equalities, critical thinking skills and open debate and discussion around identity, politics, belonging, immigration, religion and so forth. A senior DfE official confirmed that this has been influenced very significantly by ASCL’s training. DfE officials attended the training. Our training has been so influential that the DfE has requested that we stage a training session that will be published on the DfE website.Collapse