2021 Autumn Term 2

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

Potential for change

While the eyes of all in the profession in Scotland are firmly fixed on recovery and the undoubted challenges which that will bring, Scottish education is facing up to what has the potential to be significant and fundamental system change. Expand

While the eyes of all in the profession in Scotland are firmly fixed on recovery and the undoubted challenges which that will bring, Scottish education is facing up to what has the potential to be significant and fundamental system change. While the catalyst for change has been the pandemic and the unprecedented challenges that it presented the system, the impetus for change was delivered in the reports to Scottish government from the Panel of International Education Advisers, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Audit Commission.

In September, the Scottish government set up the independent Commission on Education Reform tasked with advising on the replacement of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the reform of Education Scotland. The implications flowing from this have the potential to be both extensive and system changing.

I was invited to share my views on two high-level questions with the expert panel leading the consultation: 

  • What would a better future for Scottish education look like as a result of reform? 
  • How radically disruptive do we want to be, need to be and can we be, through this reform?

While discussion across both questions was wide ranging, our response to the former was to create a system within which the learner was at the centre throughout her or his learning journey. Regarding the latter, we advocate a radical approach that moves Scottish education towards becoming a system that recognises the learner’s achievement through a process that is not skewed, being dominated and driven by a high-stakes final examination diet. 

The Education Reform Group will consult widely and submit its report to the Cabinet Secretary early in the new year. Our Presidential Team will have an extended meeting with the expert panel in late November. We will seek the views of our members before submitting our formal response to the consultation.

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Valuing diversity

Question: Expand

Question: In six years, Jill will be twice Amanda’s age. One year ago, Jill was nine times Amanda’s age. How old is Jill now? (For the answer see below)

So, is success in the education system in the UK to do with intelligence measured on an IQ score? Indeed, what is intelligence and are we bound to consider and measure intelligence based on what we value? I think that rhetorical question is probably about right. However, the corollary to that must be a further question on whether those with high IQs always succeed and whether if we have ability, do we always end up capitalising on that in life?

This must be a fundamental question for us all. If IQ is not sufficient for success, then what are the limiters on stopping the potential of an individual? Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The story of success, cites poverty as being one of the most limiting factors to success, even where a learner has practical or intellectual intelligence or both. I think we all recognise that this is the case and through this pandemic, has been even more evident. IQ is not sufficient for success.

Starkly, in Wales we have the highest proportion of children living in poverty in the UK, at 23% with 55,000 children missing out on free school meals as a result of strict eligibility criteria (tinyurl.com/5w9m4u2t). This has been a priority for successive governments and still remains a stubborn problem for us in Wales.

It is also stark that just 15 out of 3,443 leaders in Wales identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) while 12% of learners are BAME. This figure is hard to explain, rationalise or attribute to any one cause. We certainly cannot accept this as where we are as a nation.

We talk of equity and equality, of excellence and recovery and of policy and strategy but unless any of this breaks the shackles of suppressing talent and potential, they are just words. Action is needed from the classroom out, where our learners believe they can succeed because we believe they can. We must not allow a system to negatively define learners by their colour, creed or background. And that a hungry child has no interest whatsoever in how old Jill is.

Answer: 10 years old. I Googled it!

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Take time to reconnect

On 25 and 26 November, ASCL Northern Ireland members will ‘Reconnect’ at our annual conference, as they focus on the theme of ‘Confident Leadership in Challenging Times’. Expand

On 25 and 26 November, ASCL Northern Ireland members will ‘Reconnect’ at our annual conference, as they focus on the theme of ‘Confident Leadership in Challenging Times’. 

We have all heard about leadership traits and skills; often we can recognise ourselves, but too frequently our style appears to be unique to us. Professor Steve Munby CBE, our keynote speaker, will reflect on his own leadership, which he describes as “imperfect”. To acknowledge that we demonstrate imperfect leadership is an honest reflection of our skills. We look forward to hearing about Steve’s journey, the highs and lows and, ultimately, how he learned to refine and improve his leadership. He believes that trial-and-error, butterflies-in-the-stomach leadership, which is thoughtful and invitational, can have a huge, positive impact on young people. 

One of the themes of the A Fair Start report is boys’ underachievement (tinyurl.com/en5jjv2c). It states, “We want an education system in NI that recognises and caters for boys as well as girls and which meaningfully addresses the very specific barriers to learning facing working-class boys, who are at risk of underachievement because of issues which are largely beyond their control.” Mark Roberts, author of The Boy Question: How to teach boys to succeed in school, will focus on how leadership at whole-school and classroom level can tackle boys’ academic underperformance and lack of motivation to succeed. 

Every school leader can recall stories throughout their career that have left an indelible mark and, in many cases, have taught them a lesson. Our conference will conclude with Ryan Wilson, former teacher, senior leader and now journalist, sharing his experiences that he has captured in his book Let that be a Lesson: A teacher’s life in the classroom. This light-hearted presentation will allow our delegates to recall their own experiences and empathise with the experiences still being encountered by staff in their schools. 

If you haven’t yet booked for the ASCL Northern Ireland Conference, it’s not too late to ‘reconnect with colleagues’ – see www.ascl.org.uk/niconf

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Teacher assessed grades

The results of this summer’s teacher assessed grades ( Expand

The results of this summer’s teacher assessed grades (TAGs) in GCSE, AS level, A level and other qualifications saw the vast majority of students achieve exceptional grades. Schools, colleges and students alike should be rightly proud of their successes, particularly given the severe disruption caused by the pandemic.

As a consequence, there were very few student requests for centre reviews and awarding organisation appeals under the procedure designed by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and most appeals were rejected (disallowed) by exam boards. The most difficult challenges appear to have been centred on whether appropriate reasonable adjustments were made and/ or whether adequate special consideration measures were put in place to address a student’s circumstances. 

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ASCL Benevolent Fund

The ASCL Benevolent Fund ( Expand

The ASCL Benevolent Fund (ABF) is an important element in the Association’s policy of providing protection and care for all members, past and present, and their dependants. 

While most members, active and in post, are unlikely to need help, a serious accident, redundancy, chronic illness or disability can change the situation quite traumatically. 

Whether it is a short-term financial crisis or a long-term problem, the fund stands ready to help. If you know someone who may benefit from the fund or if you think you would benefit yourself, please call 0116 299 1122 or find out more at www.ascl.org.uk/benevolentfund

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Membership support

In what has been another incredibly challenging year, ASCL has continued to strive to ensure that your membership provides you with the very best value for money. Expand

In what has been another incredibly challenging year, ASCL has continued to strive to ensure that your membership provides you with the very best value for money. 

We have continued to work to make sure that members have been kept fully informed on all aspects of managing your school, college or trust throughout the pandemic along with a wide range of other issues. 

We have continued with our regular newsletters, Team ASCL webinars and podcasts as well as updating our FAQs and guidance, often on a daily basis. We have also introduced networking groups to help members connect with one another and are delighted that so many members have engaged with our Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), Women and LGBT+ leaders’ networks, together with our trust, primary and business leaders’ groups. And we’ve also been working very hard to influence policy and shape the guidance that is provided by the DfE and other organisations. 

This year has again seen record numbers of calls to our Hotline, and our regional teams and legal department have been supporting members with a wide range of complex cases (read more from our Member Support Team on page 16). We also helped many members avoid potential future issues with their employment, through our complimentary contract checking service – find out more at www.ascl.org.uk/contractchecking 

ASCL continues to hold a substantial reserve fund, which exists for the Association to draw on should we need to support members facing significant legal challenges. 

We continually look for opportunities for efficiency savings without compromising our service to members and we ensure that our procurement policy optimises value for money. 

Fees for all categories of membership will be frozen for 2022 and we are making changes to our part-time membership fees to offer greater flexibility for members. 

We continue to offer discounted fees for members on maternity or parental leave. Please contact the Membership Team at membership@ascl.org.uk or 0116 299 1122 if you work part-time or will be taking maternity or parental leave in the coming months. 

Expenditure in 2020 Approximately 81% of ASCL’s income in 2020 was derived from members’ subscriptions. The largest proportion of our expenditure (74%) was spent directly on supporting our members. This includes regional, field and Hotline officers; in-house solicitors and legal support staff; publications; legal fees; dealing with pensions and pay and conditions issues; and training and support for our local representatives across the UK. The chart below shows how we used your subs in 2020 to provide you with support and guidance: 

Don’t forget that if you pay your subscription personally, 100% of the annual fee is tax deductible. You can find out more about this at: www.ascl.org.uk/tax-benefits

Support when you need it

If you need any help or advice about any leadership issues, please call our Hotline on 0116 299 1122 or email hotline@ascl.org.uk

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Supportive figures

From the beginning of the pandemic, ASCL has increased support to keep members informed with the very latest education updates. Expand

From the beginning of the pandemic, ASCL has increased support to keep members informed with the very latest education updates. Since March 2020, ASCL’s activity has included:

  • Over 4000 new members
  • Over 3500 social media posts
  • Over 450 newsletters
  • Over 400 ASCL PD webinars
  • Over 160 video updates
  • Over 45 Team ASCL webinars
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New ASCL partners

ASCL members receive discounts and special rates on a range of products and services negotiated specifically for you. Expand

ASCL members receive discounts and special rates on a range of products and services negotiated specifically for you. For a full list of what’s available, see www.ascl.org.uk/memberbenefits

Edurio
ASCL is pleased to introduce Edurio as our new Premium Partner. Edurio is England’s leading provider of staff, pupil and parent feedback surveys for schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs), working with over 100 trusts and 2,000 schools across England and internationally. 

Edurio’s platform and nationwide dataset allow schools to benchmark their performance against national averages on topics like staff wellbeing, parental engagement, equality, diversity and inclusion, and pupil experience and wellbeing. 

By measuring the often difficult to track elements of education quality, Edurio can help school leaders make informed decisions to develop engaging relationships with staff and communicate their values to their community. 

Featuring surveys designed in partnership with academic experts, Edurio has developed an advanced survey management and data visualisation platform for schools and multi-academy trusts to easily access these important insights. 

If you’re interested in learning how Edurio can help your school or trust achieve its goals, email contact@edurio.com

Wonde 
We are also pleased to announce Wonde as our new Premier Partner. Wonde’s innovative solutions are used by over 24,000 schools across 58 countries, transforming how they manage and control their data. Wonde’s simple, intuitive data management system integrates seamlessly with a school’s management information system (MIS), providing the user with a single portal from which to control the data they share with third-party applications. 

Through this integration, Wonde can provide products that save time, improve accuracy and, ultimately, support learning. They include: 

  • Single Sign-On – a unique solution enabling multiple students and teachers to log in to learning applications from one dashboard, resulting in time savings, improved accuracy and centralised control.
  • Google Sync – saving hours of work for schools using Google workspace for education. Wonde efficiently enables automatic creation, deletion and updating of school data through the school’s MIS.
  • E-vouchers – a unique voucher platform used by over 12,000 schools to send families vouchers for supermarkets, utilities, books and clothes. 

Schools deserve quality data management solutions that are managed and maintained in a powerful, highly secure, easy to use way and Wonde is dedicated to providing them. For more information visit www.wonde.com

Motor Source Group 
We are delighted to introduce Motor Source Group as a new ASCL member benefit, bringing outstanding new car discounts for our members. 

The Motor Source Group five-star rated, nationwide, programme rewards teachers and emergency services staff with huge savings on a full range of brand-new cars, as well as lease options, and used cars with a 14-day money back guarantee. Individual new car savings are about £4,500 as an average, with some cars even higher, and it has now saved its collective customers over £110 million. Under its parent company, Motor Source Group was founded and run by military veterans, and, with a dedicated team, is committed to offering a rewarding service to eligible key worker customers who deserve to be looked after for the monumental efforts given to our country. 

Find out more at www.teachers.motorsourcegroup.com/asc

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Bill to prevent future school closures

Commenting on Education Select Committee Chair Robert Halfon’s Bill to keep schools open during times of national emergency, we issued a press release in which ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton, said: Expand

Commenting on Education Select Committee Chair Robert Halfon’s Bill to keep schools open during times of national emergency, we issued a press release in which ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton, said: 

“We support the idea of defining schools and other education settings as ‘essential infrastructure’ and doing everything possible to keep them open during times of national emergency. 

“However, this would obviously have to take into account public health advice in any future emergency and it must be accompanied by a commitment from the government and from Parliament to provide education settings with sufficient support. 

“Schools and colleges have been thrown under the bus during the coronavirus pandemic. They have been asked to carry out a range of public health tasks with minimal support from the government, as well as cope with constantly changing guidance and chaotic policy-making. 

“Fine words have to be backed up with material support and resources. We hope that politicians will support our call for that to also be a priority.” 

The Bill will be presented for a second reading in February next year.

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Are you retiring? Join as an associate

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 remain connected to and informed about education leadership. You are also able to continue to enjoy many of the benefits of ASCL membership at a reduced cost. Join as an associate member today and find out more about how we can support you in the next phase of your life.

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Don't miss out! Update your details

If you’ve moved role or employer or changed your home address, email or phone number, please take a few moments to let us know. Expand

If you’ve moved role or employer or changed your home address, email or phone number, please take a few moments to let us know. It’s vital that we know about any changes to your personal contact details or employment. You can do this easily by logging into your MyASCL account (www.ascl.org.uk/login) or by completing the form at www.ascl.org.uk/updatedetails to send us your latest details. Ensuring that we have your most up-to-date details will enable us to help you quicker should you need to contact us for support. It will also allow us to make sure that you receive all your member benefits.

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Anti-vax protests

The announced roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-olds through schools has seen an upsurge in letters to schools concerning the vaccination. Expand

The announced roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-olds through schools has seen an upsurge in letters to schools concerning the vaccination. 

Government guidance for schools (tinyurl.com/6c3p78pf) makes clear that it is the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) that will administer the vaccines, and schools should keep this in mind when responding to any enquiries. Schools are not responsible for carrying out the vaccinations or for making any decisions about the competence of a child as to whether the child has the vaccine or not. 

Increasingly, schools are receiving letters from campaigning organisations regarding the vaccine, typically headed ‘Notice of potential liability of [NAME OF HEADTEACHER] of [X SCHOOL]’. Not all these letters require a response. For those that do, schools should confirm that while the school is being used as the centre as required by SAIS for those who wish to have the vaccine, the school is not offering a view either for or against and is neutral on the matter that is specifically between the children/ parents and the SAIS. 

Parents, children and campaigners seeking more information or with any concerns about the government’s approach should be directed to the government/their local MP or Public Health England (PHE).

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Successful CIF bids

Successful bid writing is an essential part of running the school estate. Expand

Successful bid writing is an essential part of running the school estate. For academies, the annual Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is the most important capital funding round. Here are top tips on writing successful CIF bids:

  • Prepare early: Don’t leave your bid writing to the last minute. It takes time to prepare a thorough bid that will stand out. Start collecting the evidence and supporting information as soon as possible.
  • Identify and prioritise: It is critical to demonstrate the need for your project. The fund is highly competitive. Be realistic and objective, and only bid for works that are urgent. 
  • Evidence is key: Once you have identified your project, ensure the assessor has sufficient evidence to understand the urgency and impact of the issue through photographs and independent reports. 
  • Tick the boxes: Ensure you meet all the core requirements of the bid process. That means satisfying the assessors that your project is well developed and low risk. 

Evidence of cost planning, risk management and deliverability will enhance your bid. 

Barker is an ASCL Premier Partner and the UK’s leading CIF bid consultancy. Call 01279 647111, email education@barkerassociates.co.uk or visit www.barker-associates.co.uk for a free CIF bid consultation

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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 would like to seek advice from a legal professional please contact Browne Jacobson at 0370 270 6000. ASCL members can also call the ASCL Hotline on 0116 2991122 for support on legal issues relating specifically to their own employment.

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MAT inspections

A Bill was introduced to Parliament in September 2021 to give Ofsted the power to inspect multi-academy trusts ( Expand

A Bill was introduced to Parliament in September 2021 to give Ofsted the power to inspect multi-academy trusts (MATs). The Multi-Academy Trusts (Ofsted Inspection) Bill is listed for a second reading on 28 January 2022. 

It follows Ofsted raising concerns to the Commons Education Select Committee earlier this year that MATs are not inspected over the quality of their education, governance, efficiency, and use of resources. 

Currently, Ofsted inspects individual schools but does not have the power to inspect MATs. To address this, in 2019 it introduced summary evaluations of a MAT’s work through a batch of inspections of schools in that same trust. Some commentators state that in the current system there is an inconsistent approach that causes a lack of fairness, transparency and accountability. Furthermore, it is felt that parents only receive a partial picture of what is happening in schools, particularly when it is the MAT board that is the legal entity accountable for the performance and governance of those schools in that trust, and its central vision and approach will influence day-to-day practice in schools. 

Whether this Bill will progress and become law remains to be seen, as it is suggested that it may be unlikely due to timing constraints.

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FOI requests

Recently, settings have received increasing challenge about grades awarded to students. Expand

Recently, settings have received increasing challenge about grades awarded to students. This has included increasing numbers of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from those seeking to challenge the final awarded grades or the overall process generally. 

A recent Tribunal decision has confirmed a school’s approach in responding to a request relating to students who took economics in 2019/2020, including trial exam grades, predicted grades and the final grade given to each student with their names redacted. 

The school disclosed an anonymised version of the information requested in a randomised format. The parent argued that he required the information to be provided per pupil so that the consistency of the grading information could be considered. The school opposed this on the basis that some of the individuals would be recognisable. The Information Commissioner accepted individuals with particularly low grades or high achievers would be identifiable and stated the legitimate interests were met by disclosing the information in an anonymous manner. 

On appeal, the Tribunal considered that the information requested was personal data if disclosed in a non-randomised format, as individuals would be identifiable. It determined it was not reasonably necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests being pursued by the parent, as they only formed part of the picture, meaning they would not provide an accurate way of assessing any inconsistencies. 

The Tribunal dismissed the parent’s appeal and concluded Section 40(2) of the FOI Act could be relied on, as the disclosure of the information was unwarranted as a result of the prejudice to the privacy rights of the children involved, which should be given additional weight.

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Mandatory directing off site

On 17 September 2021, the High Court handed down judgment in the case of R ( Expand

On 17 September 2021, the High Court handed down judgment in the case of R (CHF) v Newick CE Primary School. The case covers some important points in relation to directing pupils off site and is one of the few cases that covers the powers of schools to do so. 

The case related to a small one-form entry maintained primary school and an allegation of sexual peer-on-peer abuse allegedly perpetrated by a boy (B) against two girls. The parents of B strongly contested the facts, stating that it was, instead, the two girls that had sought to play a ‘game’ with B (who was new to the school) and that he was in fact the victim and not the perpetrator. The school, with the local authority’s (LA’s) support, ultimately directed B off site for safeguarding reasons, given how small the school was. The parents of B sought judicial review of this decision on the basis the school did not have power to direct off site in this way. 

While the judge declined to make a finding on the case, he did determine that a maintained school was able to direct off site in some circumstances based on the duty on both the school and LA to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils. 

The case provides helpful clarity on the general management powers of a school that, while specifically related to the facts to a peer-on-peer safeguarding case, are likely to have broader application where there would be a risk to the welfare of pupils in a school. Examples could include where there is bad weather, public health issues or problems with the school site. 

While the case related to a maintained school, the same general management powers will likely apply to academies, relying instead on the almost identical general safeguarding duty under different legislation that applies to them. 

There was little further detail provided on the public law principles that limit the use of the power and how these would apply in practice, but the judgment does refer to any direction off site needing to be reasonably proportionate and procedurally fair. Like the regulations and alternative provision guidance for directing off site to improve behaviour, it would be important for schools to keep any decision under review and to have a joined-up approach with the relevant LA.

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ASCL Influence

Let’s start with the good news – because, goodness knows, we could all do with some. Expand

ASCL Director of Policy Julie McCulloch on some new ministerial brooms and some stubbornly persistent issues.


Let’s start with the good news – because, goodness knows, we could all do with some. As members will hopefully be aware, we published the ASCL Blueprint for a Fairer Education System in September (www.ascl.org.uk/blueprint). We’ve been delighted with how this has been received, with interest in, and support for, the vision and proposals it sets out across a wide range of stakeholders. 

The blueprint gives us a clear set of priorities and proposals to take to ministers and civil servants. We’re also continuing to work with ASCL Council (www.ascl.org.uk/council) and a number of other organisations to delve deeper into some of the recommendations we make, and to encourage policymakers to adopt them. 

Back in the here and now, we know how difficult things continue to be in our schools and colleges this term. As ever, we’re extremely grateful for the messages so many of you send to TellUs@ascl.org.uk about a whole range of issues. You provide us with invaluable insights about how things really are on the ground, which we use daily in our interactions with government. 

New ministerial team 
And we’ve had some new people to talk to about these issues recently. After the recent government reshuffle, there’s now an almost completely new team of ministers at the DfE. Alongside Nadhim Zahawi taking over as Secretary of State, we have a new Minister for School Standards ( Robin Walker), a new Minister for the School System (Baroness Barran), a new Minister for Children and Families ( Will Quince) and a new Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills ( Alex Burghart). Only Michelle Donelan remains as Minister for Universities, with an extended brief that now also includes aspects of post-16 education. 

We’ve written and spoken to most of the new ministers and their teams, and have more formal meetings in the diary with them this term. Here are some of the issues we’re bringing to their attention. 

Funding and education recovery 
We submitted our response to the Comprehensive Spending Review in September (www.ascl.org.uk/spendingreview2021), putting the case for significant additional funding for schools, high needs, post-16, teacher and leader pay, and capital funding. 

We also worked with a number of other organisations to put together a fully costed proposal for a £5.8 billion education recovery plan (www.ascl.org.uk/recoveryplan). This focused on those areas that we believe would have the biggest impact on education recovery – increased provision for early years, a catch-up premium targeted specifically at children and young people in persistent poverty, a post-16 pupil premium and national coverage from mental health support teams. 

As members will be aware, the additional funding set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, while welcome, fell a long way short of what is needed in terms of both long-term investment in education and more immediate funding for education recovery. We will continue to press for the funding that children and young people need and deserve. 

Inspection and accountability 
ASCL Council was joined in October by Chris Russell, Ofsted’s National Director for Education, to discuss our concerns about inspections this term. Issues raised by Council members included the extent to which the pandemic continues to affect schools and colleges; the raising of the bar to ‘outstanding’ and the lack of understanding of this among the wider community; the extent to which sexual harassment and abuse is now dominating some inspections, and the way in which discussions with pupils about this are being handled. 

Following this discussion, and in the absence of a convincing response from Ofsted to these concerns, Council approved the following position: 

“Many schools and colleges continue to undergo significant disruption in autumn 2021 as a result of Covid, with high levels of staff and pupil absence. ASCL does not believe that inspections of schools and colleges in such circumstances can lead to an accurate and fair judgement. We therefore call for any request for deferral from schools or colleges in this situation in autumn term 2021 to be granted, unless the inspection has been triggered by safeguarding concerns, with no detriment to the school or college in future inspections.” 

Council also approved a call for performance tables to be suspended this year at Key Stage 4, as they have been at Key Stage 2. We’re putting this case forcefully to the DfE’s accountability team. 

2022 exams 
We’ve continued to be closely involved in decisions about how students should be assessed next summer. We broadly supported the proposed changes to general (www.ascl.org.uk/examchanges2022) and vocational (www.ascl.org.uk/vocationalexams2022) qualifications next year, while expressing our frustration that the consultations on these issues took place so late. 

We also broadly supported the more recent proposed contingency plans (www.ascl.org.uk/examscontingency2022) for how students will be assessed if exams aren’t able to go ahead, with some important caveats. These included concerns around the term ‘teacher assessed grades’, implications for teachers’ workload, implications for students’ mental health and our frustration that the exam boards have opted not to provide new materials to support formal assessments that could be used to determine grades. 

More recently, as the extent of the disruption to education this term has become clear, we’ve called for the date at which advance information on the content of many exams is provided to be brought forward significantly. 

Initial teacher education 
We continue to be involved in detailed discussions with the DfE and the 10 Downing Street education team on the government’s proposals to reform initial teacher education. We’ve hosted several roundtables on these proposals to enable ASCL members to share their views with officials. It’s too early to say yet where these proposals will end up, but it seems likely, particularly given the changes to the ministerial team, that we may see some movement. 

Finally, the policy team has been on the road again this term, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you at our regional Autumn Leadership Conferences. The chance to talk to members again in person after so long has been wonderful. Thank you for everything you’re doing to support children and young people through yet another difficult term. 

Find out more 
See all of ASCL’s consultation responses mentioned above at www.ascl.org.uk/consultations

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In the news

The continuing disruption to education caused by the pandemic has ensured that ASCL’s profile in the media has remained very high. Expand

The continuing disruption to education caused by the pandemic has ensured that ASCL’s profile in the media has remained very high. We have provided comments and interviews to the print and broadcast media on both that and a wide range of other issues.

We have made regular appearances in broadcast interviews for BBC Breakfast, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the BBC News channel, Sky News, ITV News, BBC Radio 5 Live, Times Radio, LBC radio, talkRADIO and dozens of local radio and television programmes, as well as being featured widely in the national, local and specialist press.

ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton also writes a regular column for TES addressing a variety of educational subjects – see them at www.tes.com/author/geoff-barton

Subjects covered have included the publication of school attendance figures during the autumn term; the need for more investment in education recovery and in education funding in general; the vaccination programme for 12 to 15 year-olds; disruption caused by anti-vaccine protesters; and Covid measures required in schools and colleges during the autumn term, including funding for high-quality ventilation equipment.

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LEADING READING