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.
Post-16 GCSE retakes
ASCL welcomed the news from Minister Nick Boles that the government is reviewing its policy on requiring post-16 students who failed to get a C grade in GCSE English or maths to retake the qualification. General Secretary Brian Lightman said, “We are pleased the government has listened to concerns raised by ASCL and others. Developing good literacy and numeracy skills is essential, but for a minority of students GCSEs are not appropriate.”
ASCL in Northern Ireland and Scotland
General Secretary Brian Lightman and President Peter Kent attended the ASCL Northern Ireland Conference in November that the First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson also attended.
Brian and Peter together with Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe also represented ASCL at the School Leaders Scotland (SLS) conference. Both ASCL Northern Ireland and School Leaders Scotland continue to be very influential and thrive.
Brian met Charlie Taylor Chief Executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) for a discussion about Initial Teacher Training (ITT), development of teaching school alliances and the future of National College licensed programmes.
ASCL believes that the future supply of teachers cannot simply be left to the market. While entry to the profession may be through a variety of routes, long-term centralised planning is required to ensure consistent high quality and the targeting of shortage areas of teacher supply.
Brian also met with Her Majesty’s Treasury finance team to discuss school and college funding and priorities for the next spending review that will take place after the election. ASCL continues to press for a funding mechanism that distributes funding equitably and according to need, and that allows equality of opportunity to students in all types of institution.
Prior to this, Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe and Funding Specialist Richard Newton Chance attended a School and Academy Funding Group meeting at the DfE at which they were able to raise a number of issues, including representation at Schools Forum, and seeking confirmation that the National Insurance increases planned for April 2016 were going ahead. They also again stressed the need for a national fair funding formula that is activity based, transparent, fair and sufficient, and includes post-16. Richard has also contributed to the research being conducted in to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) funding by the DfE.
Malcolm and Curriculum and Assessment Specialist Cherry Ridgway have been in ongoing discussions with Minister David Laws and DfE officials on discounting and performance table issues. We were pleased with the announcement that the DfE has reversed its decision on iGCSE English literature – this will count as a full GCSE in 2015 and 2016. The DfE also reversed its decision on discounting of maths and statistics at GCSE – both will count in Progress 8 in 2015 and 2016.
Business Leadership Specialist Val Andrew attended the DfE Efficiency Sub Group meeting last Friday. The issues discussed included the ongoing development of a toolkit that schools can use to measure their levels of efficiency and a benchmarking report card that will help schools measure expenditure levels against schools in similar situations.
Over the last half-term, Pay, Conditions of Service and Employment Specialist Sara Ford has been negotiating with several academy chains to develop pay and conditions policies that secure the best terms for members while ensuring that they have the autonomy required to continue to improve standards in their schools. If you have any questions about this work, please contact Sara on firstname.lastname@example.org
DfE ‘Working Longer’ project
Pensions Consultant David Binnie has joined the steering group of a major DfE initiative to explore the implications of teachers having to work longer. It is intended to engage in research, including appointing independent research professionals, to identify the issues for both teachers and employers once the raised retirement ages begin to impact. The outcomes are due in the autumn of 2016.
Teachers’ Pensions Scheme Pension Board
The DfE has published the membership of the newly constituted Pension Board that will play a major part in the governance of the reformed scheme. We are pleased to announce that David Trace, an ASCL member, has been accepted as a Board member. David was nominated jointly by ASCL and NAHT with the full support of the joint teacher unions.
David has been a long-term ASCL Council member, a former Chair of the Pay and Conditions Committee, serving through most of the pension reform process, and brings valuable knowledge and experience to this important role.
David’s role will be to promote the interests of all scheme members as one of four member representatives. It is reassuring to have an ASCL presence on such a significant body.