September 2014

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

Realise our ambition

ASCL’s project to draw Aup a blueprint for a self-improving, school-led system is well underway. Expand

ASCL’s project to draw Aup a blueprint for a self-improving, school-led system is well underway.

Since the launch of our inquiry in June, many of you have engaged with our consultation questions. ASCL Council, the internal working group consisting of ASCL staff and elected officers, and an external reference group have begun to consider the issues.

We have also held two extremely productive roundtable discussions: one in the Department for Education (DfE) with the then-Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, Schools Minister David Laws, the Permanent Secretary and senior offi cials; the other with the Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt and his Labour Party colleagues. We will continue these discussions with the new Secretary of State Nicky Morgan, who has already said that she is keen to engage with ASCL. Fringe events at each of the party conferences are also taking place.

This topic is of vital importance to ASCL members. Since mid-2010, when David Hargreaves published the first of his influential think pieces on a self-improving system, we have been talking about it. In November that year the White Paper The Importance of Teaching, said: ‘The primary responsibility for improvement rests with our schools . . . Our aim should be to create a school system that is self-improving.’ 

This direction of travel began well before the last general election and is now embedded in coalition policy. Although the detailed approaches of each of the parties may differ, the commitment to a school-led system is shared across the three main political parties.

Powerful combination

This degree of political consensus and the equally strong appetite among the leaders of our schools and colleges to make full use of the benefits of devolved decision making to take our education system forward is a powerful combination. However, if this system is to be genuinely school-led, the responsibility lies with us to shape it.

As with all exciting opportunities, there are benefi ts and risks. Some of the benefits may include: 

  • the opportunity for the profession to genuinely lead the education system, building on the early ‘green shoots’, such as teaching schools, NLEs and SCITTS, towards a culture of collective endeavour with all school leaders stepping up to take forward a transformation agenda
  • a clear delineation of the responsibilities of government, which would be required to put in place the conditions to enable a school-led system to flourish, rather than seeking to micro-manage it; these may include: fair, sufficient and equitable per-pupil funding; a rigorous framework of standards in outcomes and public accountability; and effective statistical modelling of the numbers of teachers needed in each sector and region prior to the allocation of funding to teacher training providers
  • the development of an inspection system that is proportionate and underpinned by well-established and highly regarded training programmes for inspectors, many of whom are school leaders; this could lead to a significant move towards self-regulation and the profession taking ownership of its own standards, enabling school leaders to be agents of their own accountability
  • the responsibility for professional development to be owned by the profession and supported by a College of Teaching that is entirely independent of government

But while many may welcome these freedoms, there are also a number of major hurdles to overcome on the way.

The move to a school-led system is a cultural change of a magnitude that will be underestimated at our peril. Progress towards a genuinely ‘mature’ school-led system throughout the country will take time. The risks need to be addressed in our emerging plans and as leaders it will be our responsibility to offer solutions to the potential problems we identify.

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk of all is that the profession of school and college leaders would not be ready to embrace the challenge. I have written before about the large numbers of ‘constrained’ schools that struggle, for perfectly understandable reasons, to do anything beyond coping with the very significant challenges that they face on a daily basis.

We must be realistic about the capacity that individual schools have to play a part in taking the system forward beyond their school gates and recognise that school leaders will need to prioritise. We also need to ensure that high-quality support for these schools is universally available and help them to recruit and retain the high-quality staff they need.

Another risk is that the system we seek to develop is driven by provider rather than consumer interest. We must never lose sight of the purpose of this development, which is to help us, as the leaders of our schools and colleges throughout the country, to enable all young people to have access to the best quality education.

This must not be about institutional interests or ‘takeover bids’ by self-interested cartels; nor can it be about ambitious individuals promoting their own interests at the expense of students.Whatever systems or structures are introduced in any particular context, the driving force behind those decisions must be about the impact they will have on the outcomes of students.

This, of course, raises questions about the checks and balances that will need to be in place, including a robust regulatory framework. We have already seen very clearly in recent months the potential pitfalls of poor governance and inadequate financial control.

As a professional association often having to deal with the aftermath of such failings, this can be disastrous for the careers of those in leadership positions. Equally, the failure of a school is a disaster for the young people who are affected.

In designing such a school-led system we must therefore give careful consideration to the so-called ‘middle-tier structures’, such as the emerging roles of the regional schools commissioners, the regional Ofsted directors and the local authorities that still carry very significant educational responsibilities. We will need to decide what accountability, inspection and powers of intervention need to look like in a school-led system.

A key task will be to ensure that all young people have access to high-quality educational provision. Achieving a balance in the potentially tense relationship between competition and collaboration will be essential so that all young people, including the most vulnerable and often challenging young people and those with special educational needs (SEN), are given a chance. All school leaders will need to rise to that challenge.

Letting go

Finally, there is the challenge that only the government can address, namely that of letting go. It is easy to talk about a school-led system but much more difficult to have the confidence and trust to step back and let this ambitious vision become a reality.

Things will inevitably go wrong on the way. As on any journey, lessons will have to be learnt and those who wish to return to a more centralised, top-down, low-trust model will no doubt throw the first stones. 

That is why the theme chosen by this year’s ASCL President, Peter Kent, of ‘Trust to Transform’ is so inspired. In the run-up to next May’s election, ASCL will be testing the commitment of each of the political parties to rise to this challenge.

We will be exploring this topic further in our forthcoming round of information conferences and publishing the draft blueprint for consultation shortly. Please send us your thoughts and responses by emailing blueprint@ascl.org.uk and discussing this with your Council representatives (see online for details of who your ASCL Council representatives are: www.ascl.org.uk/councilreps). Your ideas, suggestions and concerns are of vital importance in this process.


For more information see:


Brian Lightman is ASCL General Secretary

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ASCL Influence

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.

Meeting with the new Secretary of State

Following the recent Cabinet Office reshuffle, General Secretary Brian Lightman has written to all of the new members of the DfE ministerial team and early meetings are being arranged. He has already had a very constructive introductory conversation with the new Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan and he will be meeting with her later this month.

School-led system

Brian Lightman and other senior ASCL officers met with Shadow Secretary of State for Education Tristram Hunt to discuss ASCL’s inquiry into a school-led system.

Education Reform Summit

ASCL was well represented at the first international Education Reform Summit held in London in July. Immediate Past President Ian Bauckham, Brian Lightman and Chair of the Education Committee Patsy Kane all had speaking slots. Ministers from the three political parties participated, as did representatives of European and Asian countries and the US.

There were extensive opportunities to discuss the challenge of balancing autonomy and accountability and the need to reform Ofsted. You can read ASCL’s contributions on the culture shift needed to move the education system forward online at www.ascl.org.uk/ASCLblog

Workload

The latest meeting between education trade union leaders and the DfE centred on the recent Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) survey (www.talis.org.uk/ about/index.aspx), and specifically the findings on school leaders’ workload. Ofsted and accountability was also discussed. These constructive meetings about the implementation of government policy will continue in the autumn.

Post-16 funding

In response, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has liaised with ASCL and others about setting up a working group to look at the cost of post-16 curriculum aspirations. ASCL will continue to press the case for funding for 16-19 education at a level that is economically tenable and in keeping with our aspirations for young people. For more information about this and other post-16 related issues, see College Matters (www.ascl.org.uk/collegematters) – our email newsletter specifically for ASCL members in colleges and for schools with a sixth form.

In addition to this, Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe met with Shadow Education Minister Kevin Brennan in July. In particular, Malcolm reinforced our concerns on education funding. He said that post-16 funding is a major area of concern with reduced course choices, larger class sizes, reduced teaching time and severe limitations on extra-curricular opportunities being just some of the consequences of the lack of funding.

On pre-16 funding, Malcolm said that schools would feel the brunt of the funding cuts particularly by 2016/17. He said that funding decisions would need to be made very early on after the General Election in the new Parliament and that it is essential that the Labour Party has a plan. Kevin Brennan said that civil servants will be working on this and he said that he understood the issues and our concerns.

Pensions

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman and Pensions Specialist David Binnie attended meetings with the DfE concerning representation on the proposed Pension Board for the reformed Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). ASCL is calling for appropriate and adequate scheme member representation and specifically for school and college leaders to be represented. The recent scheme valuation that has increased employer’s contributions was also discussed and ASCL has warned of the potential impact of unfunded rises in staffing costs.

Malcolm Trobe attended a meeting with the DfE to agree an ongoing process for considering the issues around teachers working to the age of 68. ASCL has a double concern of wishing to protect members faced with a rising retirement age and also to support members as school and college leaders having to manage ageing staff.

Equality and diversity

A successful seminar took place in July at ASCL headquarters to consider issues related to equality and diversity. The seminar initiated a conversation about how we can better support our members. Carol Jones, ASCL’s incoming Leadership and Teacher Professionalism Specialist, will have a leadership role in taking this work forward.

Other meetings

Brian Lightman, along with ASCL colleagues, also attended the following in July: 

  • a private briefing with officials from the Treasury, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and DfE about research on employer engagement, which focused heavily on the barriers many disadvantaged young people face in accessing career opportunities
  • a round-table meeting in Parliament chaired by Graham Stuart MP on the impact of austerity measures on educational provision
  • a workshop on assessment and accountability organised by AQA
  • a teleconference with Mike Cladingbowl of Ofsted about direction of travel for inspection 

Our work to influence policy continued over the summer and we will give you regular progress reports in our weekly email newsletters.

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Ministerial powers

The reluctance of judges to interfere with ministerial judgment came out in a case over the summer where a school wished to secure its improvement by entering into a hard federation with a school with which it already had a relationship. Expand

The reluctance of judges to interfere with ministerial judgment came out in a case over the summer where a school wished to secure its improvement by entering into a hard federation with a school with which it already had a relationship. This was over-ruled by the then Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove who made an academy order to force it into a chain. The school went to judicial review.

The Secretary of State had relied on the argument that statistics showed that there was faster improvement within chains than by other means. The school’s counsel advanced two arguments, both related to the judicial review principle that a decision maker has either taken into account things s/he ought not to have done; or that s/he has ignored things s/he ought to have taken into account. In the latter case, s/he had ignored the wishes of parents as expressed in a poll organised by governors and the disruption that a change to a chain would involve.

The judge found that the Secretary of State had noted that there would be disruption but that it was within his powers to weigh that against the longer-term benefit to the children.

The second argument was that the Secretary of State had relied on flawed statistics. The evidence was that academy chains only appeared to be better if one included GCSE equivalents, and the government was stripping GCSE equivalents out of league tables. The school argued that it was irrational, and hence unlawful, for him to make a decision on the basis of qualifications that he did not rate.

The judge, however, took the view that the Secretary of State was entitled to make his decision on the material to hand. Whether such an argument will be so convincing once the change has been made is open to question.

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Criminalising young people

A recent case in Nottinghamshire is a reminder about the importance of warning young people of the dangers of the Internet. Expand

A recent case in Nottinghamshire is a reminder about the importance of warning young people of the dangers of the Internet.

The decision by Nottinghamshire police to caution a girl for sending an indecent image through the Internet when she sent a topless picture to her boyfriend is something that young people should know about. Whether such a caution would find its way on to a criminal record certificate is open to doubt in the light of the Supreme Court judgment on juvenile and trivial criminal records, but if it were to, in the plain form of ‘sending an indecent image over the Internet’, would that girl be able to work with children?

Another police force has been warning that young people could be prosecuted for fraud if they doctor their CVs. It may be a reminder that the single central record (SCR) includes a check on qualification, even where a teaching qualification is not required.

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Admissions code ruling

The ruling by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) that The London Oratory School was in breach of the school admissions code is worth note by any faith school. Expand

The ruling by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) that The London Oratory School was in breach of the school admissions code is worth note by any faith school.

Contrary to some newspaper reports, the decision was based on a careful exploration of the rules governing admissions to faith schools. It includes the need to be clear and not over-complex; to have proper regard to the expressed views of the diocese; and to scrutinise fairly and rigorously the impact of a policy.

Other rulings this summer have dealt with sixth form admissions where schools are often less careful than they should be in observing the code; and that old chestnut, the definition of a sibling. Schools that are just becoming their own admission authority may find it useful to check the adjudicator’s website (http://tinyurl.com/kpct43d) and see the kinds of problems that arise.

You may also find it useful to attend the ASCL Professional Development course ‘Managing Admissions and Handling Appeals’ – see online for details at www.ascl.org.uk/managingadmissions

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English and mathematics programmes of study

Last year, the government published the new GCSE subject content for English language, English literature and mathematics. Expand

Last year, the government published the new GCSE subject content for English language, English literature and mathematics. It is important to consider these programmes of study in tandem.

The DfE has also published a briefing document on the new English and mathematics GCSEs (see http://tinyurl.com/pxmee3s), containing an overview of content, which members may find helpful.

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Academies and the Freedom of Information Act

The general position on academies and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is that they are subject to it. Expand

The general position on academies and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is that they are subject to it.

This is by specific legislation and by the general position that as creatures of statute and by fulfilling a public role they are public authorities. However, there will always be intricacies that litigation will expose.

In Geraldine Hackett v IC and United Learning Trust (2012) (ULT) the attempt by the ULT to claim that the salary of its chief executive was known only to its fee-paying independent school wing and so was not open to the FOIA was rejected.

There is concern in some areas that organisations and individuals who are proposing free schools and are spending a good deal of public money are not known to the public and doubtless there will be a case that will clarify this issue at some point in the future.

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Health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) jury pointed out that there is no health and safety at work rule that bars customers from having an exposed foot and considered the customer was entirely justified in being 'hopping mad'. Expand

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) jury pointed out that there is no health and safety at work rule that bars customers from having an exposed foot and considered the customer was entirely justified in being 'hopping mad'.

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Forced marriage

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has made forced marriage a crime. Expand

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has made forced marriage a crime.

What is perhaps not well understood yet is that this does not only cover the use of force to make a child marry but also covers persuasion, deception or enticement associated with it.

For example, telling a child that they are going on holiday to an uncle’s house in Kashmir would be a criminal act if it was a cover to decoy a child to a place where she could be forced into marriage. Where the young person lacks the capacity to consent, for example, where they are mentally disabled, then any conduct relating to such a marriage is criminal.

In the same vein, the Prime Minister has promised specific criminalisation of female genital mutilation (FGM). MPs have suggested that medical personnel should be prosecuted if they fail to report it.

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Gillick competence

It is worth remembering that since the case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority (1986) competent young people are able to consent to medical treatment on their own and that there is a duty of confidence in relation to their decision. Expand

It is worth remembering that since the case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority (1986) competent young people are able to consent to medical treatment on their own and that there is a duty of confidence in relation to their decision.

It is simply whether they understand the treatment itself. The test is not age-related, and is solely one of competence. There is no assumption that a child of 11+ is capable or that a child below that age is not.

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Pregnancy and discrimination

This includes pregnancy-related illness during the protected period. Expand

This includes pregnancy-related illness during the protected period. However, there is a long line of rulings in both British and European Courts, and repeated most recently in Lyons v DWP Jobcentre Plus (2014), which state that this protection is not indefinite.

So in the Lyons case, it was held that a woman who suffered from post-natal depression was not discriminated against when she was dismissed for absence. The part of the illness that fell within the maternity leave period was protected but the period of illness outside it was not. There was also no obstacle to including in the overall period of illness sickness that occurred before the protected period.

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British values

A relatively little known section of the Education and Skills Act 2008 gives powers to make regulations. Expand

A relatively little known section of the Education and Skills Act 2008 gives powers to make regulations.

Section 128 allows the Secretary of State for Education or an appropriate authority named by her to declare a person unfit to be involved in the running of independent schools, which in this context includes free schools and academies.

This includes those guilty of relevant offences and those who have been found not guilty of such offences on grounds of insanity or disability. It also includes those found guilty of failing to maintain professional standards by a professional regulatory body or who in any case the Secretary of State feels are unsuitable. 

In addition, those who have shown that they do not conform to the fundamental British values of belief in democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of people of other faiths and beliefs can be barred from taking part in the governance of schools.

There is a process that allows a person named to make representations but this is severely limited. The question that arises, in the light of recent experience, is what level of breach of ‘fundamental British values’ will be seen to be relevant to such a ban. As with all such questions, we shall have to wait and see.

Despite the attempts to limit the intervention by the courts in this area, there will no doubt be court cases in due course and the grey areas will be clarified.

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The French way

Over the summer, the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) both supported in judgments the French way of dealing with religious symbolism. Expand

Over the summer, the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) both supported in judgments the French way of dealing with religious symbolism.

The Court of Appeal found that the French ban on religious symbols, including religious dress, in French state schools was not a breach of a student’s Convention Rights.

In addition, the ECtHR ruled that the French ban on face coverings in public was justified and proportionate.

The argument by France, which was accepted, was that ”the barrier raised against others by a veil concealing the face was perceived by the respondent State as breaching the rights of others to live in a space of socialisation which made living together easier” (court translation).

This contrasts with the British case Azmi, where the decision was made on the pragmatic grounds that a teaching assistant would be unable to communicate with the children she was helping if she veiled herself in the presence of men.

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Latest ASCL Professional Development (PD) events portfolio

Our new portfolio of courses and conferences is now available. Expand

Our new portfolio of courses and conferences is now available.

All of our events are especially tailored to the needs of all colleagues in or aspiring to management and leadership positions in schools and colleges. They are accessible to both ASCL members and non-members alike.

Our continuing professional development (CPD) events are led by an experienced team of specialists as well as highly respected educational consultants and leading practitioners.

Over the past year, thousands of colleagues have engaged in our courses and conferences. Our evaluation indicates that 99 per cent of those who have engaged with us rate the quality of our events as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ and would recommend our events to others.

To see how ASCL PD can help to improve and enhance your professional development, see the portfolio online at www.ascl.org.uk/portfolio


Guidance

Leader contains general guidance on the law. If you have a specific legal issue, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified legal professional.

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New ASCL President 2014/15

We are pleased to welcome Peter Kent as ASCL President for 2014/15. Expand

We are pleased to welcome Peter Kent as ASCL President for 2014/15.

Peter joined ASCL Council in 2005, became Honorary Treasurer from 2009–2012 and was Chair of the Professional Committee in 2012/13 before becoming Vice President of ASCL 2013/14. Peter is the Headteacher of Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby in Warwickshire. He will be continuing the good work of Immediate Past President Ian Bauckham in supporting ASCL and our members.

Allan Foulds, Headteacher of Cheltenham Bournside School & Sixth Form Centre is Vice President for 2014/15.

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Do we have your correct details?

You can do this online. Expand

You can do this online. It’s easy; simply log on to the ASCL website at www.ascl.org.uk and then click on ‘edit your details’ (in the gold ‘my account’ box on the left-hand side) and update your details. If you have moved to a new school/college or have a new position, please email membership@ascl.org.uk

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Alternative performance tables

Further to the government’s decision only to include first entry results in performance tables, ASCL in partnership with United Learning, PiXL and NAHT, has launched an initiative to ensure that accurate information about students’ final outcomes is published. Expand

Further to the government’s decision only to include first entry results in performance tables, ASCL in partnership with United Learning, PiXL and NAHT, has launched an initiative to ensure that accurate information about students’ final outcomes is published.

The initiative includes publishing alternative performance tables during the school applications cycle, months before DfE publication, to increase transparency and accountability. The first tables will be released this autumn and will include all GCSE results not just first entry.

A new free website www. schoolperformancetables. org.uk has been established where schools can publish comparable data to cover all aspects of their performance. The first stage allows schools to publish their full data for this summer’s GCSE results. Schools will be able to upload their GCSE data onto the website via SIMS.

We strongly urge all schools to participate and supply their information, as this is an opportunity for the sector to take more responsibility for what parents can access about school performance. It is vital that we receive as much information as possible from schools in order for these alternative performance tables to be a success.

Commenting on the initiative, ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman said, “The current performance tables tell part of a story about schools’ and students’ achievements, but they do not tell the whole story. We want to make sure that the performance tables reflect the hard work and effort that students and teachers have put in. That is why we are pleased to be involved in helping to create these alternative performance tables that give a fuller picture of achievement.”

Guidance on how to upload the data is available online at www.ascl.org.uk/performancetables and there is also a short video on the new website.


For more information, also see the press release at www.ascl.org.uk/prperformancetables

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No IGCSEs in 2017 performance tables

The DfE has confirmed that International General Certificates of Secondary Education (IGCSEs) will not count in the 2017 performance tables. Expand

The DfE has confirmed that International General Certificates of Secondary Education (IGCSEs) will not count in the 2017 performance tables.

This followed a letter from Ofqual (see http://tinyurl.com/o5h3bc2) to the Secretary of State indicating that it would be impossible for Ofqual to ensure the comparability of IGCSE and GCSE, and would introduce an unacceptable level of risk to the first awards of the new GCSEs. ASCL’s response was that the decision has been made far too late for schools to be able to plan accurately.

General Secretary Brian Lightman said, “It is important that all qualifications that count in performance tables have an equal level of challenge and we support moves to ensure that this will be the case in future. However, the position of IGCSEs should have been carefully planned and thought through much earlier as part of the government’s overall approach to qualification reform. This failure to develop an overall vision and work out the consequences in advance is leading to real difficulty in schools.

“It is very late in the day for these changes to be introduced and this is causing difficulties for those schools which, in all good faith, had planned to continue using IGCSE qualifications. It also has serious consequences for young people. Parents and young people are finding it difficult to make sense of these contradictory and piecemeal changes.”

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New education secretary

Commenting on the government reshuffle just before the summer break, ASCL urged new ministers to oversee a ‘period of stability’ in education in order to give schools and colleges time to implement the reforms already in progress. Expand

Commenting on the government reshuffle just before the summer break, ASCL urged new ministers to oversee a ‘period of stability’ in education in order to give schools and colleges time to implement the reforms already in progress.

General Secretary Brian Lightman said: “We warmly welcome Nicky Morgan to her new role and look forward to working closely with her, as we did with Michael Gove. For the new ministerial team, we ask that they work closely with the profession and give schools and colleges time to implement the large number of reforms already underway. The temptation for a new minister is to want to make a mark, but the last thing students and teachers need is another raft of reforms to contend with. A period of stability and consolidation is what is most needed.”

Brian has already spoken with the newly appointed Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan, who is very keen to engage with ASCL, and a meeting is being arranged for later this month.

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Four-plus A levels attract additional funding

A DfE announcement* in July stated that from 2016, schools and colleges will receive funding above the basic rate for students taking four or more A levels or larger technical qualifications for students who study four A levels and large TechBacc programmes, they will receive about £400 more each year. Expand

A DfE announcement* in July stated that from 2016, schools and colleges will receive funding above the basic rate for students taking four or more A levels or larger technical qualifications for students who study four A levels and large TechBacc programmes, they will receive about £400 more each year.

For those studying five or more A levels and the full International Baccalaureate (IB), it will be about £800 more.

ASCL, the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) all criticised the change on the principle that, with no additional money in the system, this will only reduce the basic rate further. Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe said, “The fundamental problem is that the overall basic level of funding for all students is too low. Schools and colleges can’t deliver the existing three A level and BTEC [Business and Technology Education Council] programmes.” ASCL is pressing the DfE to clarify urgently the detail around the change to the funding.

*see http://tinyurl.com/ng6w5bd

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RSS Feed

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) provides an easy way for you to read the latest postings to your favourite ASCL web pages. Expand

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) provides an easy way for you to read the latest postings to your favourite ASCL web pages.

We have RSS links on the ‘Help and advice’, ‘News and views: News’, ‘News and views: Blogs’ and ‘Events’ sections (www.ascl.org.uk). Click on ‘Subscribe to RSS’ towards the top right of the page and then click on ‘Subscribe to this feed’. The feeds can then be accessed via your Internet favourites/bookmarks. More information about RSS can be found online at www.bbc.co.uk/news/10628494

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Discounts on assessment packages

We are delighted that GL Assessment will continue to be an ASCL Premier Partner, having signed a partnership agreement for the next three years. Expand

We are delighted that GL Assessment will continue to be an ASCL Premier Partner, having signed a partnership agreement for the next three years.

GL Assessment is a leading provider of assessments, data interpretation and analysis services, and professional development for teachers. Its portfolio includes literacy, numeracy and ability assessments, including the Cognitive Abilities Test, which is used by more than half of UK secondary schools. Its assessments are complemented neatly by Kirkland Rowell Surveys and the Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) attitudinal survey, which many ASCL members find critical to their school self-evaluation.

As part of the new agreement, GL Assessment will provide ASCL members with discounts on assessment packages and will also collaborate with us on a new training course focusing on standardised assessment data and monitoring progress without levels.


For more information, visit www.ascl.org.uk/addedvalue

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In the news

There was a vast amount of media coverage featuring senior ASCL officers in recent weeks both in broadcast and print media. Expand

There was a vast amount of media coverage featuring senior ASCL officers in recent weeks both in broadcast and print media. Here is just a flavour of some of the coverage.

Additional funding

Many media outlets featured comments from ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman following the government’s announcement of an extra £390 million for schools. He was quoted in the Times Education Supplement, Education Executive, The Guardian and the Daily Mail.

ASCL believes that school budgets on the whole will be no better off after the announcement because the increases in staff salaries, employer pension contributions, national insurance and general inflation expected by 2017 will almost certainly wipe out any gains.

Brian said, “ This good news is completely overshadowed by the reality that all schools and colleges are facing huge holes in their budgets caused by pension contribution rises and other increasing costs. This real term reduction in funding will lead to larger class sizes and fewer course options as schools can no longer afford to run subjects that do not recruit well. We want to see the increase in pension contributions fully funded so that children’s education is not compromised.

“We are pressing all political parties to include in their 2015 election manifesto a commitment to develop and implement a national system that ensures all schools are funded equitably, adequately and in the context of the demands required of them.

Troops to Teachers

Brian Lightman was quoted in an article in The Guardian about the government’s Troops to Teachers scheme. This was on the back of figures that revealed that only 41 people were recruited for the first intake of the scheme out of a possible 1,000 that the government had hoped to attract. Furthermore, the 41 recruited were non-graduates. Brian said, “ The government’s saying it wants academic rigour and more difficult exams, and specialist teaching skills, and all that’s right and fine. But we need to recruit the best graduates, so what’s all this about recruiting people who haven’t got a good degree? It’s ridiculous.

Schools Challenge Cymru

Robin Hughes, ASCL Cymru Secretary was featured by the BBC both online and on radio about fears that money could be diverted from Wales’ current school improvement programmes to pay for the new Schools Challenge Cymru scheme.

Robin said, “ When the first minister and the education minister announced that £20 million will be spent on Schools Challenge Cymru, we all welcomed it.

“What nobody would have expected is that a significant part of this money would be taken away from other parts of school funding that have already been discussed, agreed and allocated.

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LEADING READING