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 taken every opportunity to lobby about the Apprenticeship Levy. We will continue to call on the government to make schools exempt.
ASCL Funding Specialist Julia Harnden has had a series of meetings to discuss growing the number of appropriate apprenticeship programmes that are relevant to schools and to ensure that schools can make best use of the levy funds they must pay from April.
We are very disappointed at the lack of approved programmes that currently exist for the sector and we are planning a meeting with Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the Education Funding Agency (EFA), soon to highlight our concerns.
The impact on maintained schools is still uncertain, other than that they will have to contribute as part of their local authority. We are pushing both the DfE and the Local Government Association (LGA) for guidance to be made available for schools and local authorities on how this will work and, very importantly, how maintained schools can access levy funding to support training for apprentices they employ.
In relation to the publicsector- body target of 2.3% of the workforce being apprentices, our information is that this is an aspirational target and it is unlikely that any sort of claw-back will be applied.
ASCL considers that offering apprenticeships in schools is a positive move for certain roles such as teaching assistants and technicians and in administrative work (providing that all aspects of safeguarding are met). However, ASCL is committed to protecting teaching as a graduate profession. We believe that subject knowledge acquired in higher education gives teachers confidence and credibility in the classroom.
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
The Conservative Party committed in its manifesto to “requiring secondary school pupils to take GCSEs in English, maths, science, a language and history or geography, with Ofsted unable to award its highest ratings to schools that refuse to teach these core subjects”.
The ASCL policy team worked hard with senior DfE officials and the incoming administration in 2015 to persuade ministers that it was not a good idea to implement EBacc in this way. Prior to the launch of the EBacc consultation on 3 November 2015, we had already successfully made the case to the DfE that:
- there should not be a requirement on secondary school pupils to take the EBacc subjects – rather this could be expressed as a national ambition
- school leaders will be able to decide who they put forward for EBacc entry
- the proposed EBacc measure should not be a ‘limiting judgement’ in the Ofsted framework
Ministers accepted all three proposals. We are continuing to press for the government’s position, following the consultation that ended last year in January, in order to allow schools to make the appropriate curriculum and staffing arrangements in good time for September 2017.
Since the launch of the consultation, ASCL’s policy team has continued to work at the highest levels of the civil service and government to ensure that your voice is heard and that policy is evidence-informed and implemented in the best way for children and young people. Find out more at www.ascl.org.uk/influencing-policy/eb
Year 7 resits
In April 2015, the government announced that, in order to ensure “zero-tolerance of failure and mediocrity”, children who ‘failed’ their end of primary school exams would be required to resit them in Year 7. Despite widespread concern, this proposal was rapidly formalised by its inclusion in The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015, and later in the March 2016 white paper Educational Excellence Everywhere.
It was clear from initial conversations with ASCL Council members, and our wider membership, that there was a great deal of disquiet about this proposal.
ASCL has engaged with the government, and with the wider teaching profession, on this issue in a number of ways, including numerous discussions with the Standards and Testing Agency (STA); holding a seminar with representatives from ASCL, STA and external experts, where we offered alternative approaches; working in partnership with other unions on a unified approach to the issue; and publishing a paper that outlined our major concerns and that proposed a number of alternative solutions.
In October 2016, the Secretary of State for Education announced that the government would not be going ahead with the resit proposal. Instead, it plans to introduce a targeted package of support to help teachers to support struggling pupils to catch up in Year 7. This package is likely to involve the government identifying, promoting and funding effective interventions, drawing on advice from experts such as the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
This is an approach that, we believe, is much more likely to deliver the government’s desired outcomes without the negative consequences of the original proposal.
For more on ASCL’s work on this issue, see www.ascl.org.uk/influencing-policy/y7Collapse