February 2013

The know zone

  • Warning signs
    The case of a BNP councillor who took his claim against unfair dismissal to the European Court of Human Rights is a warning to schools and colleges, says Richard Bird. More
  • Toil and trouble
    Changes to local and national funding formulae could be a recipe for a whole cauldron of bother, says Sam Ellis. More
  • Lead vocals
    Quotes from Judy Garland, Kongzi, Ezra Pound, Felix Cohen and Thomas Fuller More
  • Home ground
    After 20 years away, Mark Stanyer returned to the school where he began his teaching career and is now principal of Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy in Stoke-on-Trent. More
  • Nourishing minds
    The Food for Life Partnership (FFLP) is revolutionising school meals by reconnecting young people with farms and inspiring them to grow food and cook. More
  • Keeping pedagogy on track
    Despite being in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in education Brian Lightman explains why he believes there are strong grounds for optimism in 2013. More
  • Adding value
    In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced two changes that will hit high earners, people seeking to boost their pension provision, and public sector workers who benefit from generous employer contributions. More
  • Quantitative easing
    Do you believe changes announced to the teachers’ pay structure will be beneficial or detrimental? Here, leaders share their views. More
  • Plantastic voyage
    Nothing solves a problem quite like a carefully constructed, conscientiously costed action plan. Just make sure that everyone has the correctly coloured stationery. More
  • Leaders' Surgery
    The antidote to common leadership conundrums... More
  • Financial times...
    With changes to pensions announced in the Autumn Statement and proposals to change teachers’ pay published only days before ASCL Council met in December, it was no surprise that pay and conditions were high on the agenda. More
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Leaders' Surgery

The antidote to common leadership conundrums…

Post-16 study programmes

Q How should we plan the details of study programmes for 2013/14 with the advice we have been given so far?

A There is undoubtedly the need to plan provision for English and maths for students who may not have achieved a grade C at GCSE, and to ensure appropriate work experience for all and especially for students following vocational programmes.

For 2013/14, the funding per student will not fall below the anticipated value (taking into account the continuing reductions started in 2011/12). However, there is uncertainty about how the funding per student will be protected in the future. It is not yet clear whether the funding protection for 2014/15 will be based on looking at what students did in 2013/14 using the new formula or by looking at what students did in 2013/14 using the old formula. We are waiting for further guidance from the Education Funding Agency (EFA), which suggests it may be unwise to plan any radical departures in curriculum just yet!

The EFA suggests that planning should be for full-time, so as to not lose funding when protection is eventually withdrawn (600 hours of activity planned and organised by the institution). A starting point would be to consider all the hours of planned/directed and organised activity that students currently undertake during the normal working day.

Raising standards

Q I am concerned about an underperforming department, and what Ofsted may make of it before there is time to turn it around. Any suggestions?

A The quality of teaching and learning appears to be high on the agenda, so this would plainly be the immediate area for development. A monitoring system and robust self-assessment that have a reasonable track record should be taken regard of during inspection, so an action plan, which shows progress against such a monitoring system, ought to lessen the severity of criticism. Use teacher standards to address any underperformance, and do so rigorously. Ofsted is repeatedly making the recommendation to robustly apply Teachers’ Standards

leaders surgery