August 2018

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

Adding value

A total of 92% of UK adults aged 25 to 44 own a smartphone and are used to having information at their fingertips. Expand

Improve parent engagement and increase attainment

A total of 92% of UK adults aged 25 to 44 own a smartphone and are used to having information at their fingertips. Schools that recognise and embrace this trend have more engaged parents and higher performing students.

By investing in technology that can perform to the standard that parents expect, you are giving them the tools to be fully engaged in school activity and their child’s learning.

Consolidating lots of different systems used to communicate with parents reduces cost and drives back-office efficiency. It also provides staff with one place to manage all parent interactions from and one place for all the information they need about their child’s life at school.

Schoolcomms is a single, integrated system with the UK’s leading parent app that is seamless and simple to use. Its content is driven by data from the School Information Management System (SIMS), so there’s no need to duplicate – saving schools valuable time and money. With four packages to choose from, it gives flexibility for the functionality you need, as well as control over budget.

ASCL members can benefit from £100 per member towards the cost of their licence. Call 0333 332 7147 or visit schoolcomms.com/asclbenefit/

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Related Party Regulations

Academies should be aware of the potential for increased regulation around related party transactions and the impact that this will have on their affairs. Expand

Academies should be aware of the potential for increased regulation around related party transactions and the impact that this will have on their affairs.

Over the last few years, academy trusts have been subject to increased regulation around the ability of the academy trust being able to have business dealing with members and trustees and any ‘related parties’ of those individuals. Related parties include not only close relatives of those individuals but also businesses owned/influenced or controlled by those individuals. The Academies Financial Handbook (https://tinyurl.com/oqg788t) and the model Articles of Association (https://tinyurl.com/m7942rl) currently place controls on the procurement exercise involving a related party. These regulations include a requirement that the auditors certify that any relevant transaction is “at cost” as well as provisions ensuring that the related party is not involved in the decision-making process.

Despite this, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recently released a report stating that the current rules are “too weak” (https://tinyurl.com/ydeevo9a). The main thrust of these criticisms were that it is currently difficult to see if a profit has been made by a related party and even when this is spotted, it is only by means of year-old accounts or whistleblowers. PAC proposed that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) should provide prior consent to any related party transaction. The DfE has recently indicated that it will accept this, with changes likely to be introduced in the Academies Financial Handbook for 2019.

Given that 40% of all academy trusts were involved in related party transactions last year, one wonders whether the ESFA will have the resource and the expertise to forensically test every future transaction quickly. The stories of alleged unscrupulous individuals and organisations syphoning public funds from trusts have been well publicised and the DfE must ensure that academy trusts are not vulnerable to these actions. However, a balance needs to be struck between protecting public funds and ensuring that compliant trusts are not left to pay for the actions of a few.

While the definition of “at cost” clearly needs refining and the wrongdoers need to be identified more quickly, it is felt that the DfE may have missed an opportunity to address PAC’s criticism in a smarter way. In particular, the DfE should have also addressed the issue on how to permit compliant trusts to procure trusted expertise without being overburdened by unnecessary regulations.

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Exclusions

One of the issues that has arisen regularly this academic year, is the challenge placed on headteachers and governing bodies over exclusion decisions. Expand

One of the issues that has arisen regularly this academic year, is the challenge placed on headteachers and governing bodies over exclusion decisions. One such challenge is over the basis of a permanent exclusion. Paragraph 16 of the DfE Exclusions guidance (September 2017) (https://tinyurl.com/ycqoujnd) sets out the basis of the decision as being one that is taken “in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour policy; and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school”. In order to satisfy this test, the headteacher must have evidence to support the decision and that evidence must set out the serious breach or persistent breaches of the behaviour policy. Headteachers need to be clear on what basis the exclusion decision was taken, that is, a single incident or a sequence of incidents, and they must provide information to the governors, and potentially the independent review panel (IRP), to justify that decision. In making this clear and providing the correct evidence to support that finding of serious breach or persistent breaches, headteachers will reduce the risk of successful challenge within the exclusion procedure or any legal action that could occur afterwards. This does not stop wider information about the student’s behaviour being put before governors or the IRP to provide an overarching view of the student’s behaviour, but any decision must focus on the serious breach where this is the basis of the permanent exclusion.

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Notes on guidance

Leader contains general guidance on the law that has been supplied by our Premier Partner for legal and HR services, Browne Jacobson LLP. Expand

Leader contains general guidance on the law that has been supplied by our Premier Partner for legal and HR services, Browne Jacobson LLP. If you have a specific legal issue relating to your role as an employer, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified legal professional. Members can also call the ASCL Hotline on 0116 299 1122 with respect to legal issues relating specifically to their own employment.

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Brexit

The UK gave formal notice to exit the EU on 29 March 2017, with a leave date of 29 March 2019. Expand

The UK gave formal notice to exit the EU on 29 March 2017, with a leave date of 29 March 2019.

With phase 1 of Brexit negotiations complete, we now have a clearer idea of the arrangements that will be put in place for EU nationals working in the UK. As part of these negotiations, agreement was reached to provide for reciprocal arrangements for the movement of workers between the UK and the EU. The finer details of this arrangement are yet to be ironed out, but what we do know so far is the following:

  • All European Economic Area (EEA) workers and their families who have been living in the UK continuously and lawfully for five years as at 29 March 2019 will be required to apply for settled status in order to be able to live and work in the UK permanently.
  • For those EEA workers who are in the UK on the leave date but have not yet reached five years in the UK, they will need to apply for temporary residency until they attain the required five years to apply for settled status.
  • All EEA nationals will be given a grace period of two years from the leave date to make an application.
  • Those who have permanent residency before the leave date will be required to swap to settled status.
  • Those who already have British citizenship will not need to do anything.

The system for registering is intended to be digital, streamlined and user friendly. Applications will consist of six to eight questions, will be quick to complete and will require minimal supporting documentation. It is believed that applications will cost the same as obtaining a passport (less than £80) and will be free of charge for those who already have permanent residency. It is envisaged that the decision on applications will be made in a two-week timeframe. We understand the online system will open in the latter part of this year.

As an employer, you should be communicating with your EEA workers to inform them of the arrangements that will be in place, so they are up to date as to requirements under the negotiations, and offer reassurance to them that systems are being put in place to allow them to remain in the UK after 29 March 2019.

Given that statistics report that we have had the biggest annual reduction in EEA migrants since the referendum, with net migration reduced by more than a third, as employers, you should be aiming to at least retain your EU workers in addition to thinking about how you may need to fill any gaps in the future. As a start, you should consider what percentage of your staff are from the EU, whether they are employed in key roles/ areas in your organisation and whether they will be eligible to remain in the UK after Brexit.

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Academies: Three-year budget forecast return information paper

ASCL Funding Specialist Julia Harnden has produced a new information paper to assist academy trust staff and board members involved in the completion and submission of the Education and Skills Funding Agency ( Expand

ASCL Funding Specialist Julia Harnden has produced a new information paper to assist academy trust staff and board members involved in the completion and submission of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) budget forecast return (BFR). Download the paper at www.ascl.org.uk/3YrBudgetForecast

Pensions and Tax Liability guidance

ASCL Pensions Specialist Stephen Casey has updated the Pensions and Tax Liability guidance paper following changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) online calculators. You can download the latest version here www.ascl.org.uk/pensionsguidance

Employer dress codes

The government has published new guidance on dress codes – see https://tinyurl.com/y8cmfahv The guidance comes on the back of an inquiry following a petition in 2016. The Petitions Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee issued a joint report on high heels and workplace dress codes recommending among other things, that the government publish new guidance for employers. Parliament also recommended, and the government agreed, that awareness of these issues should be raised among older pupils and students, to ensure they are equipped to safeguard their rights in the world of work.

The law already prohibits unlawful sex discrimination, victimisation and harassment in the workplace but many people, especially younger people, may be unaware that they cannot lawfully be sacked or demoted for challenging a discriminatory dress code.


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NAO report on Ofsted

Commenting on the National Audit Office ( Expand

Commenting on the National Audit Office (NAO) report on Ofsted’s inspection of schools, Geoff Barton, ASCL General Secretary, said: “It’s clear that Ofsted has struggled to meet inspection targets because of real-terms budget cuts and a shortfall in inspectors in recent years.

“We agree with the head of the NAO that cheaper inspection is not necessarily better inspection, and we support the recommendation for a review into whether Ofsted has the resources to do its job. It is also right that this review should consider how long schools should be able to go without being inspected and whether Ofsted’s remit should be extended to include multi-academy trusts.

“We welcome also the NAO’s recommendation that Ofsted should review the effectiveness of its complaints process. It is extremely difficult for a school which is judged inadequate to successfully appeal against the decision, not least because the independent adjudicator cannot overturn inspection judgements. These judgements have extremely serious consequences and it is vital that we have a complaints procedure which is demonstrably fair and in which schools can have full confidence.

“The NAO’s conclusion that Ofsted cannot demonstrate value for money in terms of its stated objective of raising educational standards comes with the recognition that it is only one player in an extremely complicated education system. We are pleased that Ofsted has agreed new measures to assess its performance against this vital strategic aim and we look forward to seeing how this work develops.”

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Shared parental pay

Paid shared parental leave ( Expand

Paid shared parental leave (SPL) was introduced in April 2015 to give parents who are employees a flexible way to take leave during the first year of a child’s life. In essence, it allows mothers and fathers to split the period of leave that would traditionally be taken by the mother as paid maternity leave (ML). The statutory entitlement to SPL is broadly similar to that of paid maternity leave.

Employers often wish to provide more than just the statutory entitlement. While many employers (such as the civil service) have decided to match their enhanced ML with enhanced SPL schemes, there have been a number of examples where the enhanced SPL on offer is much less generous than enhanced ML.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently considered two cases on whether this disparity is lawful. Both cases concerned fathers who claimed that they had been discriminated against on the basis of their sex because their employers paid a lower rate of SPL than ML.

The EAT rejected the argument that the fathers were directly discriminated against as it was wrong to compare them to a mother taking ML. The comparison ought to have been the rate of pay for mothers and fathers taking SPL, which was identical. It was held that the purpose of ML is to protect the health and wellbeing of the mother rather than to allow her to provide care for the child. Accordingly, the more generous enhanced ML scheme is protected under the Equality Act, which allows women to be afforded special treatment in connection with pregnancy and childbirth.

However, the EAT considered that less generous SPL schemes could potentially constitute indirect discrimination provided the male employee could demonstrate that men suffer a particular disadvantage over women due to the discrepancy. In this instance, employers have to show that the discrepancy was objectively justified to defend a claim. While employers have successfully justified discrepancies as a way of retaining women in a male-dominated workforce, this defence is unlikely to be available to education institutions.

As the prevalence of men taking SPL increases, more of these claims are likely to arise in the Employment Tribunal. We recommend that education institutions keep apprised of any developments and should seek advice if they are in any doubt over whether their policies may be discriminatory.

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Keeping children safe in education

The DfE published a revised version of the Keeping Children Safe in Education ( Expand

The DfE published a revised version of the Keeping Children Safe in Education (https://tinyurl.com/p9cxb7e) guidance on 17 May 2018.

This new guidance comes into force on 3 September 2018 and has been published early to enable schools and colleges to prepare. It follows a consultation in which ASCL collaborated closely with the DfE.

The changes include the following:

  • More detail has been added around the legal status of the guidance and the difference between the words ‘must’ and should. The guidance says, “We use the terms ‘must’ and ‘should’ throughout the guidance. We use the term ‘must’ when the person in question is legally required to do something and ‘should’ when the advice set out should be followed unless there is good reason not to.”
  • Amending references to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), which has been replaced partly by the Teaching Regulation Agency.
  • New requirements under the Children and Social Work Act 2017 with regards to designated teachers and virtual headteachers, and those under care/care leavers.
  • Clarity that while MATs can have an overarching child protection policy, it should be built on locally to ensure that local procedures and protocols can be reflected on.
  • A new Part 5 providing guidance on how schools and colleges should respond to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment between children.

The new Part 5 – ‘Child on Child Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment’ – sets out statutory duties for schools and colleges that come into force on 3 September. The guidance outlines effective safeguarding practice that covers recognising and recording a report, risk assessment following a report of sexual violence and next steps considerations (including safeguarding and supporting the victim, safeguarding and supporting the alleged perpetrator and the circumstances where the school or college will need to separate victims and alleged perpetrators). Schools and colleges will still need to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, supported by other agencies.

The government published more detailed advice on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children in Schools and Colleges (https://tinyurl.com/y7b2j7oy) in December 2017. ASCL worked closely with the government to get this right. This advice sets out in greater detail the approach schools and colleges should take, what their legal duties are and where they can obtain additional support.

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ASCL exam resources

ASCL’s Curriculum and Assessment Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell has published a suite of documents to help you, your staff, your students and parents to better understand exam reforms, including: Expand

ASCL’s Curriculum and Assessment Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell has published a suite of documents to help you, your staff, your students and parents to better understand exam reforms, including:

A levels and GCSEs 2018

2018 is the most significant year of GCSE reform, with 17 new GCSEs being awarded for the first time. This follows the introduction of the first awarding of 9–1 grades in the reformed English language, English literature and maths GCSEs in summer 2017.

Suzanne has produced four information papers containing likely FAQs to assist school leaders, teachers, parents and pupils about this summer’s results.

GCSE Factsheet

Our GCSE Factsheet provides an outline of the new GCSEs, introduced in 2017, which you may wish to share when dealing with queries.

Curriculum and assessment: 101 ideas to support planning

This is our new guide, which has been designed to assist school leaders and those involved in planning the curriculum for Key Stages 3 and 4.

Requesting reviews of marking and making appeals

See our updated guidance paper on A levels, AS levels and GCSEs 2018: Requesting reviews of marking and making appeals. The paper is relevant to all school and college leaders, and staff with responsibility for considering and requesting reviews of marking, and any subsequent appeals for A level, AS level and GCSE results.

You can download all of the information above and share it in your school and college from the ASCL website at www.ascl.org.uk/Exams2018

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Updated ASCL SEF Toolkit

We have updated the ASCL Self-evaluation Framework ( Expand

We have updated the ASCL Self-evaluation Framework (SEF) Toolkit to support school leaders. The latest version includes an updated diagnostic tool to aid data analysis, as well as a section for schools to consider the intent, implementation and impact of their curriculum, in line with the latest thinking emerging from Ofsted.

Further information and details of how to obtain the ASCL SEF Toolkit can be found at www.ascl.org.uk/SEF

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In the news

ASCL has been quoted widely in the media over the recent period on a range of issues. Expand

ASCL has been quoted widely in the media over the recent period on a range of issues.

We published the results of a survey of school business leaders about the impact of the funding crisis. The results were released at our conference for business leaders, held in Nottingham, and attended by Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System. The survey showed that the impact of the school funding crisis on the level of individual support that schools are able to offer to their students is set to worsen over the next 12 months. Our press release and survey results can be read on the left. They were reported in Education Executive, TES, Schools Week and on the front page of secondary school magazine SecEd.

Many thanks also to all those who responded to our recent joint survey with TES on the impact of qualification reforms to GCSEs and A levels. Among the results, it showed a large majority of respondents (93%) felt that the overall impact of the GCSE reforms has been negative for low-ability pupils, and that 88% of respondents felt the decoupling of AS and A levels has led to a narrowing in the breadth of post-16 subjects offered to students. The survey was used in an eight-page feature in TES magazine on 25 May. The full results can be seen at www.ascl.org.uk/CurriculumSurveyResults

ASCL also featured in many other media outlets on a wide range of subjects, including the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show, The Guardian and The Times.

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Are you changing jobs in September?

If so, make sure you don’t miss out on the latest information and tell us of any change in job title, school/college address, home address and email. Expand

If so, make sure you don’t miss out on the latest information and tell us of any change in job title, school/college address, home address and email. You can change your personal information online; simply log on to www.ascl.org.uk using your password and then click on ‘edit your details’ (in the gold ‘my account’ box on the left-hand side) and update your details.

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Associate membership

Retirement need not mean the end of your involvement with ASCL. Expand

Retirement need not mean the end of your involvement with ASCL. We have valued your membership and hope you feel the same. By becoming an associate member, you can continue to enjoy many of the benefits of ASCL membership at a reduced cost.

Associates continue to receive ASCL publications, including Leader and a regular associates newsletter, and can access our website: www.ascl.org.uk There is representation through an elected Associates’ Committee, an annual reunion lunch and committee involvement at local level. Associates also have the chance to give something back through the Associates Voluntary Service, which offers assistance and support to members still in post.

Associate membership is available either by payment annually or by a one-off payment for a lifetime subscription. Join as an associate member today and find out more about how we can support you in retirement – see online for more details: www.ascl.org.uk/associates

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New preferred supplier

IT Governance has been trusted by organisations for more than 15 years, supporting them with data protection, cyber security and international security standards. Expand

IT Governance has been trusted by organisations for more than 15 years, supporting them with data protection, cyber security and international security standards. It now brings this expertise to the education sector to offer you the highest level of knowledge and advice available to schools and colleges. Whatever stage you are at for understanding and improving your governance, risk and compliance, the dedicated education team at IT Governance has the experience to support you and recommend appropriate, cost-effective steps to take. Sector-specific services for data protection and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) include IT Governance’s data protection officer (DPO) as a service, training, gap analysis tools and documentation toolkit. Its wider offering includes GDPR Foundation and Practitioner courses, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, cyber security training and network security testing.

As an ASCL preferred supplier, IT Governance is offering members a 10% discount on all products and services. For more information, visit www.itgovernance.co.uk/education, email education@itgovernance.co.uk or call +44 (0)333 800 7000.

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Funding crisis is set to deepen

The impact of the school funding crisis on the level of individual support that schools are able to offer their students is set to worsen over the next 12 months, according to a survey by ASCL. Expand

The impact of the school funding crisis on the level of individual support that schools are able to offer their students is set to worsen over the next 12 months, according to a survey by ASCL.

More than half (56%) of school business leaders say cost savings have resulted in reduced individual support for students over the past 12 months, but over the next 12 months this rises to 65% who expect that cost savings will result in reduced support.

Similarly, 23% say that funding pressures have resulted in reduced mental health support over the past 12 months, but this figure rises to 32% who expect this to be the case over the next 12 months.

The pattern is the same for enrichment activities, and curriculum options, with more school business leaders expecting reduced provision over the year ahead than over the past 12 months.

The results of the survey of 238 business leaders of schools in England were released at ASCL’s Conference for Business Leaders, which was held in May.

The findings reflect widespread cutbacks in staffing levels. A total of 34% said the senior leadership team (SLT) had been reduced, 41% said the number of teachers had been cut and 77% said the number of support staff had been reduced over the past 12 months. More staffing cutbacks will take place over the next 12 months.

This is happening because government spending on education has failed to keep pace with rising costs. As a result, £2.8bn has been cut from school budgets since 2015.

Geoff Barton, ASCL General Secretary, said: “The message of this survey could not be more stark. Unless the government takes urgent action over the school funding crisis the vital work that schools do will be increasingly eroded.

“Their ability to provide individual support to students – working with often vulnerable young people to overcome barriers to learning – will be further undermined. So too will their capacity to provide mental health support, as well as a full range of enrichment and curriculum options.

“Hard-won standards are being put at risk by chronic government under-investment.”

One school business leader said: “We’ve run out of rabbits to pull from hats. Every contract and cost has been reviewed, every ounce of surplus fat removed and every stream streamlined. We are at the point now where if funding does not rise in real terms education is going to suffer.”

  • Another said: “We have been living with this nightmare for too long. When will the government realise that they are damaging the futures of our students?” Other findings from our survey included:
  • Nearly all respondents (99%) have had to make cost savings over the past 12 months, with nearly half (46%) saying this amounted to over £100,000.
  • Half said their school was running with an in-year deficit in the current financial year, and 60% said they will be in deficit in the next financial year.
  • More than nine in ten (92%) said they will have to make cost savings over the next 12 months, with 40% saying this will amount to more than £100,000.
  • A total of 21% said the senior leadership team will be reduced, 43% said there will be cuts to the number of teachers and 64% said support staff numbers will be reduced.

The online survey was sent to school business leaders at English state schools in April 2018. Most respondents are from secondary schools (66%), and the rest from primaries (25%) and all-through schools, and from a mixture of academies, maintained and voluntary-aided schools.

The full results are available here: www.ascl.org.uk/SBLfundingsurvey

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Public Relations Team

Our Public Relations Team is at the centre of all activity here at ASCL and has the vital role of keeping all ASCL members up to date with the latest information. Expand

Our Public Relations Team is at the centre of all activity here at ASCL and has the vital role of keeping all ASCL members up to date with the latest information. Be it through Leader magazine, social media, email newsletters, or via the media, you will have received some form of communication from the team.

Head of Public Relations Richard Bettsworth has been at ASCL for three years and handles our external relations, working with the national, regional and specialist media, writing press releases, articles and blogs, responding to enquiries on a range of subjects and setting up press and broadcast interviews. He was previously the editor of the Leicester Mercury, a regional daily newspaper serving the city and county, and prior to that deputy editor, and head of news. He also worked for ten years at another regional daily, the Portsmouth News, in roles that included political editor and defence correspondent.

Interesting fact: Richard is a keen runner and competes in local road-running and cross-country leagues. His proudest running achievement was completing the London Marathon in 2008 in a time of 2:56:14, and the Belvoir Half Marathon in 2010 in 1:18:56.

Publications Editor Permjit Mann has worked at ASCL for more than six years and is responsible for creating and editing Leader magazine, and all of the email newsletters that you receive. Prior to working at ASCL, Permjit worked for Leicestershire County Council’s Public Relations Unit for 14 years, where she was Media Officer responsible for key campaigns, including promoting the historic sites connected to King Richard III and publicising the county’s multi-million pound Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects.

Interesting fact: As part of her role at the Council, Permjit attended many Royal visits to Leicestershire and she has met many members of the Royal family. On one occasion, she had to stand in front of Her Royal Highness Princess Anne to protect her derriere from being photographed by the media. The Princess had bent down to talk to a canoeist.

Online Editor Sally Jack has been in the PR team since July 2015. Her role involves managing the content of ASCL’s website, and editing guidance and information papers and other downloadable resources. Sally is also the face behind ASCL’s social media presence, responsible for ASCL’s tweets (and ‘live-tweeter’ at Annual Conference), Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates.

Prior to her role at ASCL, Sally worked at Leicester’s Women’s Aid charity, and completed a degree in creative writing and English language as a mature student (following her successful escape from a previous life in corporate banking).

Interesting fact: Sally loves theatre and is a critic for the British Theatre Guide, covering the East Midlands, and the Edinburgh Fringe when she can. She also co-founded Upstairs at the Western, Leicester’s first pub theatre.


Keep in touch with the PR Team

Follow ASCL (Sally) on Twitter at @ascl_uk or find us on Facebook, or LinkedIn, and if you have an interesting story you’d like to share in Leader, or that you wouldn’t mind sharing with the media, about yourself or your school or college, please get in touch with the team at leader@ascl.org.uk.

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ASCL influence

Key areas of focus for our policy engagement over the last few months have included the following: Expand

Working on your behalf to influence goverment policy

Key areas of focus for our policy engagement over the last few months have included the following:

General

We have responded to four Select Committee inquiries:

  • special educational needs and disabilities
  • school and college funding
  • the fourth industrial revolution (how best to prepare young people to take advantage of future opportunities by looking at the school curriculum, the role of lifelong learning and how best to help people climb the ladder of opportunity)
  • life chances (the impact that early years education and social policy have on determining children’s life chances)

We held seminars with members and other experts in each of these areas to inform our submissions, and hope to be called to give oral evidence to at least some of the inquiries on the basis of these.

We have also submitted responses to two major Welsh consultations, one on the implementation of pay and conditions devolution to Wales and the other on the inquiry into the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.

Teacher recruitment, retention and careers

The DfE response to its Strengthening QTS consultation has been published. This was much as expected, and reflected many of our suggestions. Proposals include the retention of qualified teacher status (QTS) awarded on completion of the initial teacher training (ITT) programme and the introduction of an Early Career Framework (ECF) for a two-year induction period. We will shortly be moving into discussions with the DfE on the next stage of the development of its proposals.

After much pressing from ASCL, the DfE has now engaged with the teacher and leader associations on the development of a strategy for teacher recruitment and retention. The DfE has set up a task group with us to focus on the development of a strategy. This is a significant step forward by the department, which has previously been very reluctant to share much information with us. At this stage, we are pressing to see the full range of activities that the DfE is currently undertaking, such as costings and evaluations. The evidence gathering was due to be completed by the end of May with hypotheses developed, and a set of proposed solutions done, by mid-September. This is to enable testing of the findings by the end of October and the strategy fully developed by the turn of the year. The DfE has not yet decided whether it will publish the strategy or if it intends to use it as an internal document. We think that it should be shared with the major stakeholders.

Following pressure from us, the DfE opened a ‘special window’ during which organisations could register to run teaching apprenticeships. This enabled schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) who were originally denied the ability to do so, as they had failed the arcane registration process, to get on to the register of approved providers.

General Secretary Geoff Barton is on a government panel focused on reducing teacher workload, chaired by Professor Becky Allen.

Accountability and inspection

We welcomed the Secretary of State’s announcement on streamlining the roles of the different stakeholders in the accountability system, and on replacing the current floor standard and coasting definition with a single measure, both things that we have called for. We are working with the DfE’s accountability team on what that measure might look like, and are considering other ways in which we might influence the accountability system for the better.

Curriculum and assessment

Interim Director of Policy Julie McCulloch is on the DfE’s Reception Baseline Assessment stakeholder group, helping to shape the implementation of this policy. The group has had the opportunity to comment on the approach likely to be taken by the assessment provider, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), and is in active discussions about how the data from this assessment should be used.

Pupil wellbeing

The Timpson review of exclusions was set up as a response to the publication of the race disparity audit. The remit of the group is not to examine exclusions itself, but how it is used in practice, and why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded from school. The review is not expected to put forward any changes in legislation but can recommend changes to regulations, guidance and practice. ASCL responded in writing to the review. There is an Expert Reference Group to support Edward Timpson in this review and Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe is a member. The group is there to advise Edward Timpson but is not decision making and the final report will be the recommendations of the chair himself. The timescale is relatively quick with the final report to be produced before the end of the year.

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