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.
Review on teacher shortages
Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe wrote to the Home Secretary Theresa May to make the case for a review of the Official Shortage Occupation List. We argued that a decision to include teachers as a category (like nurses) would provide a lever to ease the recruitment challenges. On 26 May, the Migration Advisory Committee announced a review on teacher shortages. The committee is calling for an evidence review on whether teachers should be retained on the UK shortage occupation list. We are pleased that ASCL’s concerns have been listened to and that this review could go some way in addressing some of these issues that we raised.
Meeting with DfE Director of Strategy
Malcolm met with Tom Shinner, DfE Director of Strategy, to discuss the implementation of aspects of the White Paper including the future role of local authorities and how the profession will be consulted on this. Malcolm stressed the importance of securing the leadership pipeline and providing ways of ensuring that there was a strong supply of confident leaders coming through to lead our schools.
Meeting with new Ofqual chief
Malcolm also met with Sally Collier, the newly appointed Chief Regulator at Ofqual. Malcolm talked about all of the key areas of recent importance including our concerns over the changes in enquiries after results, inter-subject comparability and the severity in MFL grading. He was also able to raise concerns about the potential turbulence in IGCSE grading because of the skewed profile of the entry cohort.
Challenge meeting – Teacher Supply Model
Malcolm and Leora Cruddas, Director of Policy and Public Relations, had previously asked the Secretary of State to convene a challenge meeting with senior civil servants to interrogate the Teacher Supply Model (TSM). This has now taken place. We identified that the cumulative effect of not recruiting enough teachers in some subjects like maths and science, for many years, is having a devastating effect on the ability of our members to recruit teachers. The previous shortfalls in these subjects are not factored in to the way that the number of teachers needed in the future is calculated in the TSM. Therefore, the shortage of these teachers gets worse every year. The DfE also does not look at whether there are enough teachers in the right subjects in different parts of the country – the model only takes account of the national picture.
The Public Accounts Committee’s report
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report, Training New Teachers, which quotes ASCL and reinforces the findings from our challenge meeting. The report calls for an urgent review of teacher training in England, concluding that the government fails to understand the difficulties many schools face in recruiting teachers. It calls for a clear plan for teacher supply. The report also says that the government needs to talk more to school leaders about the recruitment challenges they face.
Meeting with Secretary of State
Malcolm and Leora met with the Secretary of State Nicky Morgan and her advisers to discuss the difficulties that the delay in launching phase 2 of the National Funding Formula consultation will create. They urged the Secretary of State to task civil servants to develop a clear plan for teacher recruitment.
Meeting with the new Permanent Secretary
Malcolm and Leora had an introductory meeting with Jonathan Slater, the new Permanent Secretary. They took the opportunity to outline ASCL’s blueprint and they discussed some key policy areas that they believe need his personal attention, notably teacher supply. Malcolm has followed up the meeting with a letter to Jonathan Slater, citing the Public Accounts Committee report and offering to work with civil servants to facilitate dialogue between DfE and school leaders to develop a clear plan for teacher recruitment.
Education for All Bill
Leora also attended the All Parliamentary Group on Education Governance and Leadership. The meeting addressed the question of the implications of the proposed Education for All Bill for school governance and leadership. The Chair of the Education Select Committee Neil Carmichael asked Leora to speak about the issues on school leadership.
Primary floor standards
The Secretary of State Nicky Morgan has written a letter to all primary schools that sets out the commitment made by her in relation to the proportion of schools below the floor standard this year. In the letter, the Secretary of State has confirmed that no more than 6% of schools will fall below the floor standard, and she also said: “A school that meets the progress part of the floor standard will be above the floor standard overall – even if they have fewer than 65% of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics.” ASCL Primary and Governance Specialist Julie McCulloch is a member of the DfE Primary Assessment Group that pushed the government to confirm this commitment in writing to reassure schools and we are pleased that the government has listened and acted on this issue.Collapse