April 2015

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

ASCL’s response to changes in the education system

ASCL commissioned BritainThinks, a consultancy, to undertake research into the changing nature of school leadership. Expand

ASCL commissioned BritainThinks, a consultancy, to undertake research into the changing nature of school leadership. The thinkpiece Leading the Way – a review of the changing nature of school leadership, can be downloaded from www.ascl.org.uk/reviewnature

This research pointed to the diversification of school structures – specifically, the proliferation of cross-phase MATs, federations and other forms of partnership. This is resulting in the erosion of sectoral differences between primary and secondary schools. The research says, ‘Alliances and trusts that join both primary and secondary schools together were felt to have profoundly altered the landscape of leadership.”

In light of this changing landscape, at its January meeting, ASCL Council held a discussion on whether the current eligibility criteria is fit for purpose and will be right for the future as cross-phase system leadership emerges. To this end, ASCL Council passed a resolution:

ASCL is the first choice professional association for system, secondary school and college leaders. As such, we will:

  • develop our offer to system leaders
  • building on the blueprint, lead the way through thought-leadership and articulate and shape a vision of the future of leadership
  • revise and develop our strategic approach to communications and public engagement so that it reinforces our positioning

The definition of system leaders was agreed as ‘leaders who are working beyond the boundaries of their own institutions’. Discussion about the practical implications for ASCL of the growth of cross-phase, system leadership will continue at the Council meeting on 23-24 April in Sheffield. In particular, Council will consider whether changes are needed to the constitution so that it allows the association to respond as the landscape continues to change.

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Leading and governing groups of schools

ASCL, in partnership with the National Governors’ Association and the law firm Browne Jacobson, is publishing guidance on leading and governing groups of schools. Expand

ASCL, in partnership with the National Governors’ Association and the law firm Browne Jacobson, is publishing guidance on leading and governing groups of schools. The guidance will be for headteachers/principals, senior leaders and governors/trustees who are considering growing their stand-alone academy trust and/or establishing a multi-academy trust or federation. Look out for the guidance on the ASCL website: www.ascl.org.uk

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Ofsted report fails to recognise schools’ achievements

Commenting on Ofsted’s report, The Most Able Students, ASCL President Peter Kent, said: Expand

Commenting on Ofsted’s report, The Most Able Students, ASCL President Peter Kent, said:

“This Ofsted report fails to recognise that school leaders have done an extraordinary job in difficult circumstances in raising standards and delivering a good education for all children.

“Most schools are now judged good or outstanding under Ofsted’s own criteria. In our view, their press release should have focused on the significant amount of good practice identified in the report rather than leading with comments that some schools are not doing enough to ensure the most able children fulfill their potential.

“Schools are achieving great outcomes despite serious financial pressures on many of them because of insufficient levels of funding which are distributed according to an outdated and inequitable system.

“School leaders want to raise the bar themselves and provide a world-class education for all students. They want to move the system from being good to being great and are willing to respond to constructive challenge.

“ASCL believes the way to achieve this is through government stepping back and the teaching profession stepping forward to deliver progress in a coordinated and well-managed way, supported by a fair and equitable funding system. This approach will deliver great outcomes for all students of all abilities.”

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Maximising the impact of teaching assistants

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published new guidance to support schools to maximise the impact of teaching assistants. Expand

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published new guidance to support schools to maximise the impact of teaching assistants. See the guidance at http://tinyurl.com/qjmtzs8

Previous research had shown that in many English schools, teaching assistants are not being used in ways that improve pupil outcomes. However, recent research demonstrates that when they are well trained and used in structured settings with high-quality support and training, teaching assistants can have a noticeable positive impact on pupil learning.

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Inspiring Leadership 2015

The conference for leaders in education is back: Expand

The conference for leaders in education is back: Inspiring Leadership 2015 will take place from 10 to 12 June in Birmingham. A carefully curated programme of thought-provoking speakers and practical master classes will give you a fresh perspective on leadership – both within and beyond the education sector.

Inspiring Leadership is brought to you by ASCL, CfBT Education Trust and NAHT. It is the conference that is by leaders, for leaders. What does it mean to be a leader in education today? We understand the pressures and the demands – which means that we also understand how important it is to take time out to reflect, reconnect and re-energise. At Inspiring Leadership, you will have the opportunity to learn from fantastic speakers and link up with like-minded leaders to recharge your batteries for the challenges ahead.

For more information and to book, go to www.inspiringleadership.org

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General Secretary 2015-2020

In accordance with trade union legislation, it is a requirement that the association elects its general secretary at least every five years and the current term of office expires on 31 August 2015. Expand

In accordance with trade union legislation, it is a requirement that the association elects its general secretary at least every five years and the current term of office expires on 31 August 2015. In October 2014, ASCL members were invited to submit nominations. The deadline for nominations has now passed and we can now confirm that the association has not received any nominations from its membership. Therefore, President Peter Kent is pleased to announce that the candidate put forward by ASCL Council’s Nomination Committee, the current General Secretary Brian Lightman, is elected unopposed. Peter said, “We congratulate Brian and look forward to the next five years of continued growth and success of the association.”

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Post-16 funding 2015-16

The funding rate and guidance for post-16 funding: Expand

The funding rate and guidance for post-16 funding: funding for academic year 2015/2016 has been released by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). While members will be relieved that there has been no further reduction in the funding rates for 16-18 year-olds, it remains clear that this level of funding is woefully inadequate.

ASCL has repeatedly said that colleges and school sixth forms cannot be expected to continue to deliver high-quality education on this level of funding. The funding restrictions have already led to a reduction in students’ curriculum options, the removal of curriculum enhancement activities so vital for social development and preparation for employment and an increase in teaching group sizes.

ASCL is in ongoing discussions with the government about the funding crisis and we will update you on any further developments.

(see http://tinyurl.com/pbbgxj4)

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Guidance on the headteacher standards

The DfE has published a new set of headteacher standards for England, titled National Standards for Excellence for Headteachers. Expand

The DfE has published a new set of headteacher standards for England, titled National Standards for Excellence for Headteachers. These are non-mandatory standards intended to be suitable for use across all types of schools. The new headteacher standards were developed by a group of practitioners, including ASCL Past President Ian Bauckham. They replace the previous version dating back to 2004 and aim to capture a vision of excellence for today’s context, rather than a minimum standard. They should be read in conjunction with the DfE’s guidance (see http://tinyurl.com/pzbcurb), which makes clear how the standards should and should not be used, as well as ASCL’s own guidance to members (see www.ascl.org.uk/headguidance). We would advise all heads to read both these documents and to share them with their governors.

It is our hope that the new standards will communicate to a wider audience just how central the headteacher’s role is in our society.

We need more school leaders to be prepared to take on headship roles, and it is important that what we articulate about headship inspires more people to do so.

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ASCL position statements

ASCL Council members were extremely busy at the last Council meeting that took place in January in Coventry and they approved the following position statements on a number of important education issues. Expand

ASCL Council members were extremely busy at the last Council meeting that took place in January in Coventry and they approved the following position statements on a number of important education issues.

GCSE grading

Clear criteria are needed for awarding of qualification grades. While there is a need to protect cohorts in a time of changing qualifications, an over-reliance on comparable outcomes to award grades is not appropriate, as they do not give an accurate measure of a student’s attainment. Students’ attainment should not be capped. ASCL will work with Ofqual to create a system that is equitable, transparent, understood by all and fair to students.

AS and A levels

The AS examination should be recoupled with the A level qualification at the earliest opportunity. Students should have breadth and depth of study over the whole two-year A level period. Vocational qualifications Rigorous, high-quality Level 2 vocational qualifications should have the same status and weighting as GCSEs. ASCL is committed to working with Ofqual and the government on the reform of vocational qualifications. Vocational qualifications below Level 2 need to be rigorous, challenging and accessible for all students.

Accountability and curriculum planning

School leaders need clarity about the rules regarding accountability and performance tables to help inform their planning of the curriculum. These rules need to be agreed with the profession and remain stable for at least five years. School and college funding Unfunded, substantial increases in employer contributions are incompatible with world-class education. ASCL calls upon the incoming government to provide the additional financial resources necessary to ensure the funding of schools and colleges is sustainable and sufficient.

School business leaders’ and managers’ pay

ASCL reafirms its commitment to a formal mechanism for the alignment of pay for all members of the leadership team, regardless of their qualification base and route into leadership roles. We will support members in demanding employers review role profiles in order to ensure the job evaluations of business leaders and business managers accurately reflect their roles and responsibilities.

Post-16 funding

We are gravely concerned that the continuing reduction in funding for Post-16 education is jeopardising the prospects of a generation of students.

Local oversight and improvement

The regional schools commissioners, the Further Education (FE) commissioner and the sixth form college commissioner should work together to support schools and colleges to develop local improvements.

Post-16 data collection

The rationalisation of post-16 data is essential to ensure clarity in supporting accountability, governance, system improvement and learner choice. Data needs to be valid, reliable and significant.

For more information about ASCL Council, including how to contact your Council representative, see online at www.ascl.org.uk/member/council

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Overcoming inequalities in leadership

In response to the article by ASCL Council Member and Headteacher Carolyn Roberts, in the December 2014 issue of Leader magazine, and following requests from members for ASCL to help to address the imbalance of equality and diversity in school and college leadership, we are setting up a reference group to help us to make a difference in this area. Expand

In response to the article by ASCL Council Member and Headteacher Carolyn Roberts, in the December 2014 issue of Leader magazine, and following requests from members for ASCL to help to address the imbalance of equality and diversity in school and college leadership, we are setting up a reference group to help us to make a difference in this area. Our Leadership and Teacher Professionalism Specialist Carol Jones is developing regional equality and diversity leadership networks for specific groups of school and college leaders including black and minority ethnic (BME), lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and women, all of whom will mentor aspiring leaders. If you wish to be part of the networks, please email Carol at carol.jones@ascl.org.uk

(see www.leadermagazine.co.uk/articles/tackling_inequality)

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Radicalisation

Schools and colleges that may have considered that they are not in ‘an area of risk’ may now be concerned about what they can do to protect their students in addition to in-school measures such as preventing access to social media sites in school/college. Expand

Schools and colleges that may have considered that they are not in ‘an area of risk’ may now be concerned about what they can do to protect their students in addition to in-school measures such as preventing access to social media sites in school/college. (Although the focus has been on Muslim students, it is worth noting that the site Britain First has had twice as many ‘likes’ as even the most popular mainstream parties, including UKIP.) ASCL has provided guidance and some schools in sensitive areas will have the advantage of the ‘Prevent’ strategy. Local Safeguarding Children Boards should also be able to advise and a useful starting point to materials for online protection is the UK Safer Internet Centre website www.saferinternet.org.uk Please also see the ASCL guidance paper (www.ascl.org.uk/guidanceonsafety) and evaluation framework (www.ascl.org.uk/evaluationonsafety) on safety, safeguarding and radicalisation.

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Female Genital Mutilation

The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) has strongly come out against mandatory reporting of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Expand

The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) has strongly come out against mandatory reporting of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The College states that there is no ‘credible or conclusive evidence’ that it will assist in protecting children and young people and that it may have the undesirable effect of preventing the approximately 137,000 women and girls who have been victims of this practice from seeking medical help. It is described as a ‘blunt legislative instrument’.

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Revenge porn

Schools and colleges that are dealing with the fall-out of online aggression may want to draw to the attention of their students that ‘revenge porn’, defined in legislation as the ‘non-consensual publication of intimate images’, is now a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of two years. Expand

Schools and colleges that are dealing with the fall-out of online aggression may want to draw to the attention of their students that ‘revenge porn’, defined in legislation as the ‘non-consensual publication of intimate images’, is now a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of two years.

The fact that there have recently been two convictions under previous legislation for exactly that offence may make one wonder why new legislation was needed, but students need to know that it exists.

In the meantime, it is worth knowing with regards to when material that attacks individuals is published, Google has been ruled to be a data controller for the purpose of the Data Protection Act; and that under Section 10, an individual has a right to prevent the processing of information by a data controller that is ‘likely to cause alarm or distress’.

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Asbestos

The continuing issue of asbestos in buildings was given weight by an ex-England footballer, Stuart Pearce, who explained his anxiety at exposure to asbestos when he worked as a part-time electrician. Expand

The continuing issue of asbestos in buildings was given weight by an ex-England footballer, Stuart Pearce, who explained his anxiety at exposure to asbestos when he worked as a part-time electrician.

An attempt in Wales to allow the NHS to charge firms found guilty of asbestos offences was ruled beyond the powers of the Assembly by the Supreme Court but the need to check on contractors is witnessed by several prosecutions every month. It cannot be said often enough that a school or college must make sure that any contractor doing any demolition or adaptation of school premises has obtained an asbestos survey of the premises; has made a risk assessment; and has decided on a safe method of working.

It is also important that whoever is monitoring progress makes reasonable checks to see that that plan is being followed.

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E-cigarettes: First legal case in school

There has been the first legal case of e-cigarettes in school. Expand

There has been the first legal case of e-cigarettes in school. The circumstances were that a worker for a catering company that provided meals for a school was seen by the headteacher ‘vaping’ in front of young people. The headteacher complained to the company.

The company was proceeding to discipline their employee when she resigned and claimed constructive dismissal. Her claim was dismissed but raises a number of issues. First, the school had a policy on smoking: there should be none on school grounds. However, it did not have a policy on ‘vaping’. This omission then raises a further issue of whether a school should ban e-cigarettes, and who for? If there is no policy, on what grounds can a school proceed against either staff or young people? (The toxicity of e-cigarettes is variable because there are no standards but is believed to be low.)

A school can, of course, make any reasonable rules it likes for either staff or pupils. What it cannot do, as has been pointed out by one firm of lawyers, is rely on existing legislation on smoking. The definition of smoking in the legislation is ‘tobacco or any other substance that can be smoked when lit’ and e-cigarettes do not work like that.

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Legal services

There has been an increase in local authorities (LAs) setting up shared legal services. Expand

There has been an increase in local authorities (LAs) setting up shared legal services. This may be good news for schools, which rely on local authorities to provide them with legal advice, or it may not. Schools may wish to investigate carefully if such a legal arrangement is set up in their area.

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Adjustment disorder

The murderer of the teacher Ann Maguire failed to convince a very high-powered Court of Appeal that suffering from ‘adjustment disorder’ with ‘psychopathic tendencies’ was a reason to reduce his sentence. Expand

The murderer of the teacher Ann Maguire failed to convince a very high-powered Court of Appeal that suffering from ‘adjustment disorder’ with ‘psychopathic tendencies’ was a reason to reduce his sentence. ‘Adjustment disorder’ is a diagnosis where any one of, mainly traumatic, incidents, causes a person to act in an uncharacteristic way, not always violently.

The evidence that the killer attempted to involve his girlfriend in the killing and that allegedly he had been planning the murder for three years may have limited the persuasive impact of this claim.

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Holidays

All those schools that do not presently enjoy the power to set their own terms and holidays will get that power in September. Expand

All those schools that do not presently enjoy the power to set their own terms and holidays will get that power in September. Newspapers have suggested that 60 per cent of heads will use that power to help parents avoid holiday surcharges. Only time will tell whether this is the case.

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Public Accounts Committee

The Public Accounts Committee may seem to be an unusual arena for discussion of education, but in pursuit of its main aim, to secure the prudent and proper use of public finances, it has been holding hearings on the overall governance of education. Expand

The Public Accounts Committee may seem to be an unusual arena for discussion of education, but in pursuit of its main aim, to secure the prudent and proper use of public finances, it has been holding hearings on the overall governance of education. It has had free and frank exchanges with individual school leaders but has more generally concluded that the DfE does not have sufficient grip on the academy sector. ‘In safeguarding, financial integrity and governance the DfE is too reliant on whistleblowers.’

Given that there are powerful disincentives to whistleblowing to the point that there has been discussion of adopting the US ‘Dodd–Frank Act approach’ of awarding a proportion of any fine to whistleblowers to encourage them, this reliance does seem to be inadequate.

The Committee also believes that academy chains have grown too quickly and some ‘do not have the necessary capacity or capability’. Sponsors who have been ‘paused’ from taking on any more schools, they point out, are in charge of educating more than 100,000 students.

They note that of 179 academies liable for intervention under government criteria, only 15 have received warning notices. Nor does the Education Funding Agency (EFA) inspire greater confidence in the hearts of the Committee. Only 4 out of 11 academies suspected of fraud by the EFA have received a notice to improve.

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Too late to resign

If an employer treats an employee in such a way as to undermine the whole basis of the contract between them, then the employee can resign and claim ‘constructive dismissal’. Expand

If an employer treats an employee in such a way as to undermine the whole basis of the contract between them, then the employee can resign and claim ‘constructive dismissal’. But if s/he does not do so, then the legal assumption is that s/he has accepted that what the employer did does not break the contract. In a recent case, an employee was on sick leave for 18 months and then claimed that the employer’s treatment had caused the problems and broken the contract. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) did not agree. The employee had accepted sick pay for 18 months. That was an affirmation that the contract continued. It was not possible, after that time, to claim that it had been broken and that the employee had been constructively dismissed.

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Cyber security

With stories in the media almost every day about a new hacking incident and the Information Commissioner increasingly using his powers to come down heavily on organisations that are careless with data, schools and colleges cannot afford to be careless on data security. Expand

With stories in the media almost every day about a new hacking incident and the Information Commissioner increasingly using his powers to come down heavily on organisations that are careless with data, schools and colleges cannot afford to be careless on data security.

Although a hacker may not find information that will be of great financial value, what is held in school and college systems may be capable of causing distress, and a malicious hacker may be able to cause chaos in the system that will cost a great deal to put right.

The government provides advice to small businesses, which is highly relevant to schools, and last April launched the Cyber Essentials scheme (http://tinyurl.com/o8jrgbj). While it is not really aimed at schools and colleges, the framework may be useful when they are reviewing their security approaches. The areas it identifies are: strongly protected firewalls; secure configuration; effective passwords; access control; malware protection; and formalised patch management so that the system is kept constantly up to date and weaknesses that the software manufacturer has identified are covered on all devices.

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Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 – statutory guidance for schools

The new guidance has now been published and replaces the advice published in October 2014. Expand

The new guidance has now been published and replaces the advice published in October 2014. ASCL has and will continue to argue that schools should be removed from the remit of the Act and regulations on the basis that they were not designed for schools and are inappropriate in the school context. In the meantime, significant progress has been made in getting the guidance amended to mitigate the impact on schools. ASCL Parliamentary Specialist Anna Cole has produced a summary of the guidance that is available on our website; see www.ascl.org.uk/disqualificationguidance

(see http://tinyurl.com/pq3654h

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Insurance and mental health

Schools and colleges may wish to consider the kinds of things that insurers are looking for employers to do about ensuring the mental health of their staff. Expand

Schools and colleges may wish to consider the kinds of things that insurers are looking for employers to do about ensuring the mental health of their staff. These sorts of things are fairly obvious but still worth checking.

Employers should train managers to spot possible causes of stress and to watch out for signs of stress among their colleagues. There should be a culture of allowing mistakes to be reported quickly and not covered up. Resources such as counselling should be available for staff. There should be training to raise staff awareness and a safe environment in which it is possible for people to share that they are under stress.

In a world of Ofsted and zero-tolerance accountability, not to mention diminishing resources, it is obviously hard to manage this, but the costs of failure to do so may be high and getting higher.

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GCSE science practical assessment

Ofqual announced that it will be pressing ahead with plans to drop the direct assessment of practical work from GCSE science*. Expand

Ofqual announced that it will be pressing ahead with plans to drop the direct assessment of practical work from GCSE science*. Commenting on the announcement, ASCL Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe said:

“Practical work is essential to the learning of science and should therefore be examined and reported as part of science qualifications. It is not good enough to rely on it being assessed solely by written exam questions in place of genuine practical assessments, as Ofqual has decided.

“Whilst questions in written papers can assess some skills they will not provide valid evidence of the writer’s full range of practical work skills.

“Ofqual’s own evidence also shows that assessment helps determine teaching and learning activities and this decision gives the wrong message about the value of developing practical science skills and abilities in our young people.”

*(seehttp://tinyurl.com/ofdc6sk )

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Duty of care

A number of newspapers picked up a survey of awards for staff members who had been injured in schools. Expand

A number of newspapers picked up a survey of awards for staff members who had been injured in schools. These varied from £19,000 for injuries sustained in breaking up a playground fight to £2,500 for damage to the throat from chemical fumes. Many of the cases could not be put down to mere accident.

It is sometimes easy to forget responsibilities to staff; and staff themselves are often careless. ‘Health and safety’ has a bad ring, but schools and colleges should make sure that it is on every agenda.

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School trips

A story in the newspapers that some schools have been expecting parents to pay for trips as part of compulsory sections of the curriculum is a reminder that public education is, and must be, free, and has been since the Education Act 1944. Expand

A story in the newspapers that some schools have been expecting parents to pay for trips as part of compulsory sections of the curriculum is a reminder that public education is, and must be, free, and has been since the Education Act 1944. If a trip goes out in school time, any payment must be truly voluntary and schools must make arrangements to subsidise them for those who do not wish to pay. Sooner or later a school that is deliberately or carelessly breaking the law will be brought to account, with unfortunate results for the head who has authorised this illegality.

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Guidance

Leader contains general guidance on the law. Expand

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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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.

Blueprint for a world-class education system

ASCL’s blueprint to create a world-class education system and boost the life chances of every young person was unveiled in February.

It proposes a system in which the government would step back from micro-managing schools and colleges and in which the teaching profession would step forward to lead development – taking responsibility for creating a culture that would be constantly self-improving. 

The blueprint has had the backing of several main political parties with many senior political figures endorsing it, including Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan, Schools Minister David Laws and Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt.

ASCL President Peter Kent said, “We believe that the best way to take our education system from being good to great, and to improve the life chances of every child, is for it to be led by those who best understand it.”

Read the press release for more at www.ascl.org.uk/blueprintunveiled You can see the final blueprint at www.ascl.org.uk/blueprint where you will also find a short animation video that gives an overview of the document.

In addition, General Secretary Brian Lightman attended an Ofsted seminar at which there was extensive, in-depth discussion on all aspects of inspection. In particular, Brian had a number of useful discussions with senior Ofsted and DfE officials about ASCL policy and the blueprint for a self-improving system. Ofsted is arranging a follow-up visit with HMCI and us.

We are also in ongoing dialogue with Ofsted about the eight regional conferences that they are planning for June/July to launch the new inspection framework. We will be involved in these conferences and will confirm dates with you as soon as we receive them from Ofsted.

Business leaders’ and managers’ pay

As part of ASCL’s ongoing commitment to leading the campaign for more consistency in the way that pay for school business leaders and school business managers is decided, we are appealing to all employers – starting with local authorities (LAs) and academy chains (see letter at www.ascl.org.uk/localletter) – requesting an urgent review of their systems and processes used for making remuneration decisions. It is imperative that all role profiles and job families held within any evaluation scheme accurately reflect the evolving nature of roles and responsibilities at both strategic and operational level.

We have provided copies of our new guidance paper (see www.ascl.org.uk/settingpay) and offered to support their review process to ensure that there is no longer any disadvantage for those who are working as an integral part of their school leadership function.

SEND funding

Funding Specialist Richard Newton-Chance attended DfE special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) seminars to feed back ASCL’s views on the implementation of the new SEND arrangements. This was followed up with individual conversations with officials.

We have been keen to emphasise that there needs to be clear direction from the DfE to local authorities about the need for schools to be allocated enough notional SEN funding to deal with the majority of need and then for them to have simple and quick access to high-needs top-up funding.

We also support the move to allocate high-needs funding to local authorities via a formula plus place funding, to address the historical unfairness of the present system.

Workload Challenge

ASCL broadly welcomed the publication of the government response to the Workload Challenge but indicated that it did not go far enough, particularly around issues related to Ofsted. ASCL wants to see a review into the consistency of Ofsted judgements and an opportunity to include this in the DfE’s action plan has been missed. ASCL, together with four other associations, wrote a joint letter to Secretary of State Nicky Morgan and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to express this concern (see the letter at www.ascl.org.uk/workloadchallenge).

A and AS level reform

General Secretary Brian Lightman wrote a letter to Secretary of State Nicky Morgan (see www. ascl.org.uk/decoupling) reiterating ASCL’s view that decoupling A and AS level is against the interests of young people. This followed the recent statement by Graham Stuart MP in his capacity as chair of the Education Select Committee, adding his voice to the large number who want to retain the link between AS and A2.

Nicky Morgan has responded by letter (see www.ascl.org.uk/decouplingresponse) confirming that the government will still be pressing ahead with the decoupling of the qualifications regardless.

ASCL will continue to lobby further on this.

AQA working group

Brian Lightman attended the AQA working group on assessment. The group discussed some of the most challenging issues around assessment and each member of the group will write an article on a specific aspect that will be published by AQA at a special launch in Parliament on 8 July.

Teacher supply and initial teacher education

Brian and Leadership and Teacher Professionalism Specialist Carol Jones attended a meeting in Parliament chaired by Ian Mearns MP, to discuss teacher supply and initial teacher education.

They had a wide-ranging discussion including on initial reactions to the recently published Carter Review (see http://tinyurl.com/ kddbxmn) that reflected a large number of the recommendations in ASCL’s submission (see www.ascl.org. uk/carterresponse).There was widespread agreement about the need for the teacher supply model to be improved. In addition, a new free service called Teachvac has been launched, which monitors main scale vacancies at more than 3,000 secondary schools and links them with potential applicants. For further information, see www.teachvac.co.uk

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LEADING READING