February 2018

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

Simply select a headline on the right and click the Expand button to read the whole article.
Hit the Collapse button to return to the contents list.

Bookmark and Share

News and guidance

Experts in Financial Health and Efficiency

The most recent Academies Financial Handbook has given the Education and Skills Funding Agency ( Expand

The most recent Academies Financial Handbook has given the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) the ability to prescribe an expert in school financial health and efficiency (financial experts) to trusts identified as requiring support. The aim of the change is to identify and support trusts early before ESFA is required to issue a formal Financial Notice to Improve.

It is not yet clear whether these financial experts would be procured from ESFA or from other academy trusts, or indeed whether trusts would be expected to find their own financial expert. However, the introduction should be seen as a positive step in ensuring that trusts get objective support with their finances as early as possible.

Trusts will want to ensure that they engage experts on terms that will not expose them to increased or unwanted scrutiny. It is therefore important that when engaging with financial experts, the terms of their appointment make it clear that any services provided are for the benefit of the trust, rather than for ESFA. Trusts should also make it clear that the financial expert keeps any relevant information confidential and no data is passed over to ESFA without the trust’s consent.

Collapse

Do we have your correct details?

To make sure you don’t miss out on the latest information, please take a minute to tell us of any change in job title, school/ college address, home address and email. Expand

To make sure you don’t miss out on the latest information, please take a minute to tell us of any change in job title, school/ college address, home address and email. You can do this 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.

Collapse

Exclusions

After a term of the new DfE exclusions guidance being in force, recent queries have strayed away from the subtle changes imposed under the new framework and, instead, focused on more fundamental issues relating to exclusion. Expand

After a term of the new DfE exclusions guidance being in force, recent queries have strayed away from the subtle changes imposed under the new framework and, instead, focused on more fundamental issues relating to exclusion.

A recent example centred on who counts as a pupil for the purposes of exclusion and, specifically, whether this is solely dependent upon the child being of compulsory school age. The legislation (Section 51A Education Act 2002) and the 2017 exclusions guidance both expressly give the power to the headteacher to exclude a pupil and do not reference compulsory school age. The legal definition of ‘pupil’ is a person for whom education is provided at a school. It excludes those persons more than 19 years of age who receive further education and those over compulsory school age who receive part-time education. Therefore, formal exclusion procedures will apply for those children in reception all the way up to Year 13. This may have a consequential effect on any arrangements, especially in reception, about sending children home with parents where there are behavioural concerns as, if these are disciplinary in nature, they should be formally recorded as exclusion. To do otherwise would run the risk of claims of unlawful exclusion being made against the school.

Collapse

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.

Collapse

Fiduciary duties

A recent High Court case has raised the question of whether members of an academy trust owe fiduciary duties to the charity and, if so, whether they can be held liable for being in breach of those duties. Expand

A recent High Court case has raised the question of whether members of an academy trust owe fiduciary duties to the charity and, if so, whether they can be held liable for being in breach of those duties.

The circumstances of the case are somewhat convoluted but, in brief, the case revolved around the proposed payment of $360m (£280m) from one charity, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), to another charity as a result of a high-profile divorce. The terms of the proposed payment included the wife, a trustee and member of both CIFF and the recipient charity, resigning from both roles at CIFF if the payment were made. As such, the proposed payment was considered a payment for her loss of office that needed the members of CIFF (the husband, wife and the third trustee) to approve. The court looked at whether the members could consider how the proposed transfer would personally impact on them or whether they should only think about the benefit to CIFF when making their decision.

The court decided that the members had to only consider what was in the best interest of CIFF and therefore the husband and wife could not vote on the decision because they were personally interested. The court directed the one remaining member to vote in favour of the payment. The decision is being appealed.

Although the Charity Commission’s guidance for members has always stated that they owe fiduciary duties to the charity, this is the first time that the court has recognised the responsibility and the case raises significant issues for members of academy trusts. Should members be required to disclose any interests that they have and be prevented from using their powers to vote on decisions where they have a conflict of interest? If members vote notwithstanding a conflict or choose not to exercise their powers in certain circumstances because of a personal interest, could they be legally liable for a breach of fiduciary duty? To date, most insurance policies do not provide indemnity insurance for members to cover them for breaches of fiduciary duty so how would members pay the costs of defending themselves and any penalties imposed?

Matters will be clearer once the appeal reaches the Court of Appeal but, in the meantime, members of academy trusts should declare any personal interests that they have and not participate in any decisions where they have a potential conflict of interest that could cause them to be in breach of their fiduciary duties.

Collapse

Check-off your obligations

Check-off is the system where union membership subscriptions are deducted from members at source by the workers’ employer and then passed on to the union on the members’ behalf. Expand

Check-off is the system where union membership subscriptions are deducted from members at source by the workers’ employer and then passed on to the union on the members’ behalf. In August 2015, the Conservative government announced that they would be abolishing check-off in the public sector on the basis that public funds should not be used to assist unions in collecting their membership fees. The proposed ban was controversial and was accused of being a political attack on unions.

After pressure from the House of Lords, a compromise was reached whereby check-off would continue for relevant public sector employers providing:

  1. employees are given the option to pay their membership fees by other means
  2. the union makes a reasonable payment in respect of the employer’s operation of check-off

These new obligations are effective from 10 March 2018 and apply to a wide range of education providers, including maintained schools and academies. Check–off was quite extensively used by the teaching and other unions at one stage but is no longer in common use. However, in readiness it would be good for schools to check if they have union members paying through this system and, if affected, education providers are advised to consider doing the following:

  • Although not clear who is obliged to provide the alternative means of payment, employers could write to affected employees to explain their options and make clear that check-off is not mandatory.
  • Review any relevant policies to ensure it is explicit that check-off is not mandatory.
  • The legislation explains that the ‘reasonable payments’ that the union must make should be substantially equivalent to the total cost to public funds of making the deductions. These could include additional pay-roll costs incurred and quantifying the time it takes internal staff to make the deductions. It is recommended that education providers conduct a review of these costs.

Check-off is a vital subscription levying method for some unions and it is within their interests to comply with the new regulations. We would recommend taking legal advice in the face of any substantial resistance.

Unions may request details (including names) of union members whose subscriptions are collected via check-off. Under current data protection legislation, trade union membership information is classed as ‘sensitive personal data’ and can only be divulged to third parties in very limited circumstances. Employee’s consent is likely needed before disclosing any information. The new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May 2018, also imposes strict conditions on what constitutes valid consent. Specialist advice should be taken before any trade union membership information is passed to third parties.

Collapse

Enabling smooth transitions

GL Assessment has been the leading provider of formative assessments to UK schools for more than 35 years. Expand

GL Assessment has been the leading provider of formative assessments to UK schools for more than 35 years. Today, it leads literacy, numeracy and ability testing in schools, providing teachers with insights and evidence to improve outcomes for pupils.

Transition between primary and secondary can be a difficult time for children. Where they struggle to assimilate and are not given the right support, it can have a knock-on effect into Year 8 and even beyond.

GL Assessment’s key recommendation to secondary schools is the Transition Assessment Package (TAP), which allows you to create a comprehensive profile of every pupil as they enter Year 7, looking at their ability, attainment and any learning barriers they may have, and monitor the progress they make through Key Stage 3. TAP includes:

  • Cognitive Abilities Test: Fourth Edition (CAT4)
  • Progress Test in English (PTE)
  • Progress Test in Maths (PTM)
  • Progress Test in Science (PTS)
  • New Group Reading Test (NGRT)
  • Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS)

Exclusive benefits to ASCL members:

  • TAP customers will receive free training valued at £100.
  • There is a 10% discount for schools purchasing the Cognitive Abilities Test: Fourth Edition (CAT4) digital version for the first time.

Get in touch to find out more, quoting the code ‘ASCL’: Phone: 0330 123 5375 Email: info@gl-assessment.co.uk www.gl-assessment.co.uk

Collapse

Early years and childcare provision

It is a fairly common practice for schools to manage and operate nurseries where such provision is being provided directly by the school and managed by the governing body. Expand

It is a fairly common practice for schools to manage and operate nurseries where such provision is being provided directly by the school and managed by the governing body. In these circumstances, a question that is frequently asked is are there any Ofsted registration requirements for school-based provision?

The Childcare Act 2006 is the legislative framework that sets out when providers operating early years and childcare provision are required to register. However, section 34(2) of this act grants schools an exemption from separate Ofsted registration in relation to their early years provision for children aged two years and above (nursery provision for younger children must be separately registered) if:

  • A the provision is made at the school as part of the school’s activities
  • B the provision is made by the proprietor or a person employed to work at the school
  • C at least one registered pupil of the school is present in the early years provision

Ofsted’s guidance is clear that as long as the three-part exemption test above is satisfied, then schools do not need to separately register their early years provision on the Early Years Register. Ofsted is, however, very clear that a school must register early years provision if it admits children who are not yet two years old or if it is for children who are not pupils at the school, such as a separate pre-school or a nursery that is not on the school’s site.

The Ofsted registration requirements apply in the same way to academies as they do to schools. However, any governing body of a school registered for early years provision for children under two years that is converting to academy status will need to be mindful that it must apply to Ofsted to register the provision again. This is due to the change in legal status of the school as the registered provider. This is very important on the basis that it is a criminal offence to run provision without an Ofsted registration and something that needs to be taken into consideration as part of the timescales for the overall conversion process.

Collapse

GDPR Factsheet

From 25 May 2018, General Data Protection Regulation ( Expand

From 25 May 2018, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the UK, and is designed to develop the protection of children’s personal data and the rights of individuals. While many GDPR concepts are similar to those set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, there are a number of new elements and it is important that schools and colleges take action now to ensure that procedures and processes are in place to ensure compliance with the new regulations. Full information on the changes and impact of the legislation is provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (www.ico.org.uk), however, ASCL’s new GDPR Factsheet highlights the key aspects that will affect schools and colleges. Please download and share the factsheet with colleagues at: www.ascl.org.uk/gdprfactsheet

Collapse

Ofsted Annual Report

In December, Ofsted published its Annual Report – you can see the report online at: Expand

In December, Ofsted published its Annual Report – you can see the report online at: https://tinyurl.com/yc5zrt39 Commenting on its release, Geoff Barton, ASCL General Secretary, said:

“We welcome Ofsted’s plans to undertake research into why some schools get trapped in cycles of underperformance, and its acknowledgment that this does not mean there is a lack of desire to improve.

“Its research needs to include looking at the stigmatising impact of Ofsted judgements and government performance measures, which make it difficult to recruit leaders and teachers, and which deter some parents from sending their children to these schools.

“It may be that our high-stakes accountability system is in itself at least partially responsible for trapping schools in a cycle from which it is very difficult to escape.

“We are encouraged by Ofsted’s recognition that improvement requires external support, and we think that creating a more supportive environment must involve how we use accountability measures to identify and direct the help that is needed, without creating a corrosive sense of failure.

“Alongside this, the government must recognise that its underfunding of schools, and the ongoing teacher recruitment and retention crisis, make it even more difficult to secure improvement, and that these factors are putting in jeopardy educational standards in general. Urgent action is needed to ensure that schools have the vital resources that they need.”

Collapse

Repercussive transactions

Academy trusts should be mindful of a change made to the latest version of the Academies Financial Handbook ( Expand

Academy trusts should be mindful of a change made to the latest version of the Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) (https://tinyurl.com/oqg788t), which states that trusts must now obtain the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA’s) explicit prior authorisation to any transactions that are ‘repercussive’ in nature.

The AFH gives little more detail about the nature of what this would cover, other than that it would apply to transactions that “are likely to cause pressure on other trusts to take a similar approach and hence have wider implications”. Trusts may also need to seek HM Treasury approval for some transactions.

Examples could possibly include an increase in CEO or senior leadership salaries that may be deemed controversial and that pressurises neighbouring trusts to increase salaries in a similar manner to protect their position.

Academy trusts need to be able to plan effectively without the fear of being caught by the steady extension of financial controls. While it is an unenviable task to attempt to ensure that there is effective regulation over all potential transactions, more clarity is needed from the DfE in this instance to ensure that well-intentioned transactions do not inadvertently fall foul of the new rules.

Collapse

Gender pay gap reporting

It is now a legal requirement for all organisations including schools, with 250 or more employees, to publish specific figures about their gender pay data. Expand

It is now a legal requirement for all organisations including schools, with 250 or more employees, to publish specific figures about their gender pay data.

The regulations are a key step to address the gender pay gap and help ensure that schools set a strong example to young people that their gender will not hold them back in their future careers.

The gender pay gap figures need to be reported by 30 March 2018 in two places: on the government’s online reporting service, and on your website. Find out what you need to do and how, online here: www.ascl.org.uk/genderpaygap

Collapse

UCAS guide to qualification reforms

UCAS has produced a useful guide to qualification reforms in the UK ( Expand

UCAS has produced a useful guide to qualification reforms in the UK (https://tinyurl.com/jbpts5o). The guide is intended to provide a high-level overview of what is happening throughout the UK for HE providers, teachers and advisers. It includes:

  • how qualification reform in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland may impact on progression and admissions to HE
  • a summary timetable of qualification reform across the UK
  • statements published by universities and colleges about qualification reform and admissions
  • guidance on how the reference can be used to inform HE providers of qualification provision
Collapse

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.

ASCL commented on Ofsted’s annual report. We welcomed the inspectorate’s plans to conduct research into why some schools get trapped in cycles of underperformance. And we said that this research should include looking at the stigmatising impact of Ofsted judgements and government performance measures, which make it difficult to recruit leaders and teachers. General Secretary Geoff Barton was quoted on the BBC News website, and by several regional newspapers, and he was interviewed on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show, ITV Lunchtime News and BBC News Channel.

We said that the measures for education outlined in the Budget were “piecemeal, lacking in a coherent strategy and extremely disappointing”. ASCL’s comments were used in a number of media stories, including an article on the BBC News website entitled “Heads Say Extra Maths Cash is ‘Drop in Ocean’”. We were also quoted in reports in iNews and Schools Week, and Geoff wrote a column for TES that was published under the headline “Deciding Against Major Investment in Schools Points to an Uninspiring Vision of Post-Brexit Britain”.

ASCL has continued to campaign for improved education funding, supporting a joint union lobby of Parliament, and sending a letter to the Chancellor, alongside other organisations, over the severe underfunding of 16–19 education.

Collapse

New ASCL partner

We are pleased to announce that Schoolcomms, the company behind the school information management system ( Expand

We are pleased to announce that Schoolcomms, the company behind the school information management system (SIMS) integrated parent app, has become an ASCL Premier Partner. The partnership coincides with the release of a number of new features in the parent app, including links for surveys, forms and homework.

From its early roots, Schoolcomms pioneered text and email systems for schools, and, more recently, it has been leading the way in technologydriven parent engagement via its School Gateway parent app. The system integrates seamlessly with SIMS, providing schools with a fast, reliable and secure way to share data such as achievement, behaviour, attendance, timetables and reports.

The company offers four app packages – all branded with the school’s logo, colour and banner:

  1. communication – manage everyday administration and communication
  2. engagement in learning – keep parents engaged with their children’s school day
  3. cashless – collect and manage money online
  4. full suite – full functionality

A recent survey of parents rated the app as ‘excellent’. The technology is not only effective at sharing information, but it also helps schools reduce the cost of texting parents.

Member benefit

ASCL members receive a £100 discount (per member) towards their school’s parent app licence. For more information and full details visit: schoolcomms.com/asclbenefit

Collapse

Qualified teacher status

In December, the government launched a consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status ( Expand

In December, the government launched a consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Following the announcement, we issued a press release in which ASCL Deputy General Secretary, Malcolm Trobe, said:

“We welcome this consultation on strengthening QTS and the proposals for a renewed focus on high-quality professional development for existing teachers.

“We broadly agree with extending the period through which a teacher gains full QTS to two years. This approach, together with an enhanced support and development programme, can help to raise the status of teaching as a profession and encourage more people to become teachers.

“The consultation is right to identify that the development of teachers does not stop when they have obtained QTS, and having strong professional development throughout a teacher’s career is one of the measures needed to help retain teachers in the profession. But this must not be over-prescriptive as school leaders are in the best position to recognise the needs of their school and staff.

“These proposals – carefully managed and, most crucially, fully funded – have the potential to go some way to addressing the ongoing teacher recruitment and retention crisis. They can, however, only be part of the solution. Issues such as teacher and school leader workload, and the high-stakes nature of the accountability regime, must also be addressed, as part of an overarching strategy to ensure we have sufficient numbers of high-quality teachers to educate and inspire young people.”

You can respond to the consultation online at https://tinyurl.com/ybl4js3h The deadline for responses is 9 March 2018.

Collapse

ASCL leadership podcasts

Each month we post a podcast on our website by ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton, featuring interviews with leaders in education. Expand

Each month we post a podcast on our website by ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton, featuring interviews with leaders in education. Download the podcasts online at: www.ascl.org.uk/podcasts

Collapse

ASCL Ethical Leadership Commission

The latest developments and plans for ASCL’s Ethical Leadership Commission in 2018, together with details of the full panel, are now available on our website here: Expand

The latest developments and plans for ASCL’s Ethical Leadership Commission in 2018, together with details of the full panel, are now available on our website here: www.ascl.org.uk/EthicalLeadership This page will be updated with links and information as the project continues...

Collapse

Helping you stay 'in the know'

We have created two sections on the ASCL website to help you stay up to date with the latest information on curriculum and assessment, and pay and conditions: Expand

We have created two sections on the ASCL website to help you stay up to date with the latest information on curriculum and assessment, and pay and conditions:

Curriculum Know Zone

Education is operating in an ever-changing climate of reformed qualifications, changing accountability and reduced funding. Our Know Zone will keep you up to date with the latest curriculum and assessment news and information, providing members with regular updates from ASCL’s Curriculum and Assessment Specialist, Suzanne O’Farrell. Find out more at: www.ascl.org.uk/curriculum

Pay and Conditions Know Zone

ASCL’s Pay and Conditions Know Zone will keep you up to date with the latest news and information relating to pay and conditions for school staff in England and Wales, including the school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD) and school teachers’ review body (STRB), and provides members with regular updates from ASCL’s Pay, Conditions and Employment Specialist, Sara Ford. See more here: www.ascl.org.uk/pckz

Collapse

Friendly faces

ASCL’s Marketing and Membership Recruitment Team has a big impact on promoting the work of the association, recruiting new ASCL members, and increasing the number of delegates attending ASCL Professional Development ( Expand

ASCL’s Marketing and Membership Recruitment Team has a big impact on promoting the work of the association, recruiting new ASCL members, and increasing the number of delegates attending ASCL Professional Development (ASCL PD) courses and events.

A large focus of the team’s activity is showcasing the benefits of ASCL membership and helping to make it as easy as possible for new members to join ASCL. The team is always busy managing campaigns and promotional activities, representing ASCL at events across the country and helping our regional teams and policy specialists with resources to support their activities. The team’s range of new initiatives contributed to a record number of new members joining the association during 2017 (ASCL has almost 19,000 members), enabling ASCL to have an even stronger voice in influencing policy, as well as helping to deliver services for all our members as cost effectively as possible.

In addition, the team plays a big role in the planning and organisation of ASCL Annual Conference (www.ascl.org.uk/annualconference).

In 2018, the team will be embarking on the creation of a new ASCL website and mobile app and will be asking members for ideas and suggestions on what digital services you would like to see – watch this space.

Based at HQ in Leicester, the team is led by Annette Wade who joined ASCL at the start of the 2016/17 academic year. Annette previously worked for an organisation that builds and promotes digital education and careers guidance resources, and she has also worked in the FE sector. Annette creates and manages ASCL’s marketing and member recruitment strategy, and also works closely with ASCL PD. Annette’s favourite aspect of working for ASCL is receiving feedback from members about how much they value the services that the association provides, and getting ideas on how ASCL’s services can be enhanced further.

A fun fact about Annette: earlier in her career, while working for a professional sports club, she could sometimes be found taking on the role (and costume) of a 6-foot furry mascot.

Jayne Ferns has worked for ASCL for almost 16 years and knows the association inside out. Jayne coordinates marketing activities, designing marketing material, building campaigns and managing data. Jayne liaises with other departments and local representatives to send messages to members, and is the creative brains behind all the materials produced for ASCL Annual Conference.

Jayne loves the fact that she gets the opportunity to work with every department of the association and the wide variety of challenges that brings.

A fun fact about Jayne: she can make a pair of shoes from scratch (she used to work in a shoe factory).

Maria Griffiths has worked for ASCL since 1999 and has carried out a variety of roles. Many of you may have met Maria at the ASCL stand at the many events we attend around the country. Maria expertly organises our busy events programme and ensures that current and potential members can pick up all the information they need at events, as well as one or two little treats. Maria also supports our regional teams and policy specialists with resources, as well as providing potential members with information to help them join ASCL. Maria’s favourite aspect of working for ASCL is meeting and talking to members at events.

A fun fact about Maria: she recently found herself trawling Leicester’s shops searching for chocolate Brussels sprouts. They were for the ASCL goody bags that we gave away at events during November – we hope you were lucky enough to get one.

Pippa Day has recently moved into the Marketing Team as they prepare to embark on a review of the ASCL website and app. Pippa joined ASCL in 1998 and has carried out a variety of roles within the Association including PA to the Assistant General Secretary and also as Communications Administrator.

Pippa became ASCL’s Website Coordinator in 2007 and has developed her role to include design and imagery for the website, social media and events. Pippa particularly enjoys the design element of her job as well as learning new creative techniques.

Collapse

The benefits of ASCL membership

As a school or college leader, you need information and advice relevant to your role. Expand

As a school or college leader, you need information and advice relevant to your role. From financial management to understanding the latest Ofsted framework, ASCL gives you access to the very best professional advice through our publications, telephone Hotline and legal support. To find out more visit: www.ascl.org.uk/join-us/

Collapse

ASCL influence

Working on your behalf to influence government policy. Expand

Working on your behalf to influence government policy.

Sexual harassment and sexual violence – new guidance

The DfE has published guidance on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children in Schools and Colleges. The advice reflects best practice, and can be used by all schools and colleges in dealing with issues that can be complex and difficult to navigate. The guidance will assist schools and colleges to deal with allegations of sexual assault between children and young people, as well as create a whole-school approach to safeguarding and child protection. The DfE consulted with ASCL members when writing its advice to ensure that it is as helpful and practical as possible. Download the guidance here: https://tinyurl.com/y7b2j7oy

GCSE modern languages

Thank you to all of you who responded to our survey on the issue of severe grading in GCSE modern languages. We received more than 2,600 responses from teachers, and middle and senior leaders, which shows the strength of concern and the huge impact that this problem is having. The survey results show overwhelmingly strong support for changes to the way in which these GCSEs are marked, with 98% of respondents urging Ofqual to take action.

It also shows the devastating impact that severe grading has had on the decline in numbers studying the subject, with more than 90% of respondents reporting that in their school, it is resulting in pupils holding negative perceptions about the subject and is affecting progression routes.

We have presented the findings to Ofqual and have urged the regulator to take urgent action on this matter. ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton and ASCL Curriculum and Assessment Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell have met with Chief Regulator Sally Collier and they have raised this issue with her. Further meetings are planned with Ofqual and we will update you on this through our usual communication channels.

Strengthening qualified teacher status (QTS) consultation

ASCL initiated a round-table discussion on this issue with a range of high-profile education organisations and that was also attended by senior representatives from the DfE. Through this event and through ASCL discussions with the DfE, we were able to significantly influence the content of the consultation published before Christmas (see https://tinyurl.com/ybl4js3h). ASCL has been actively engaging the DfE for some time on ways in which a range of career pathways can be developed for teachers. We were able to emphasise the importance of CPD throughout a teacher’s career and the need to enhance mentoring, and coaching, which are now key strands in the DfE proposals. Throughout our discussions, we have made it clear that all of the proposals must be fully funded and we will again stress this in our response.

Brexit

ASCL Parliamentary and Inclusion Specialist Anna Cole is working alongside the British Council and other educationists to highlight the key concerns, and asks, from a school and college perspective, about issues arising from Brexit. They have agreed on a strategy that will include a concise high-level briefing for the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) that focuses on three main issues:

  1. teacher mobility and retention
  2. pupil mobility
  3. culture, climate, and how to keep part of current and future Europe-wide organised programs for schools

We will keep you updated on this issue in due course.

Teacher supply

ASCL has been pressing the DfE on a range of issues related to teacher supply, including recruitment and retention. Through our actions, the department is now examining recruitment data at local level rather than focusing on only the national information. We are also actively working with the department on changes it is working on related to the Teacher Supply Model (TSM), to ensure that it is more accurately forecasting need.

The recently announced pilot scheme for the repayment of student loans for 1,500 teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and modern foreign languages (MFL), in some regions of England, follows the proposal for loan reimbursement put to the DfE by ASCL nearly three years ago, and continued pressure from us on the department to at least move into a trial programme. ASCL also led the pressure on the Treasury to raise the loan repayment threshold for teachers from £21,000. The Treasury is increasing the loan repayment threshold for all graduates to £25,000 from April 2018.

Agency fees

ASCL has, for some time, been pressing the DfE to take action on agency charges, including ‘finders’ fees, which are an unnecessary drain on school budgets. We now have acceptance from ministers that this is a significant issue and action is being promised to address this as well as to develop a national advertising portal to reduce advertising costs.

Collapse

LEADING READING