Department for Education

Two state Steiner schools face possible closure or takeover | Education

Two Steiner state schools in the west of England face possible closure or takeover after the Department for Education said it intended to cut off their funding later this year. The trusts running the free schools in Bristol and Frome have been issued termination warning notices by the DfE after the schools were rated as inadequate and placed in special measures by Ofsted. The inspections published in January reported a long list of serious safeguarding and teaching problems at the…

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The Tail Wagging The Dog – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes What silly reasons drive good people out of the teaching profession? Until someone in the Department for Education (or Ofsted) has the gusto to pull the plug on all of this nonsense, we can expect our education system to continue in a mindless and self-fulfilling loop for another generation. Imagine two schools … Imagine you are a teacher working in a school (A). You may find yourself lucky enough to be working in a culture in…

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5 Things Which Confuse Me About Ofsted – Education Article

Reading Time: 5 minutes What key points confuse you about Ofsted’s proposed framework? The consultation for school inspection was published on the Department for Education’s website on 16 January 2019  and is open until 5 April 2019. There is a good period of opportunity for everyone to engage in how our education settings are evaluated across England. I consider myself to have a decent understanding of school improvement, but there are five things which baffle me about Ofsted’s proposals and how it proposes to inspect…

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Evidence-Informed Teaching – Is It A Problem? – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes Do teachers support and undertake evidence-informed practice to help improve their teaching? The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned a two-year study to assess progress towards an evidence-informed teaching system. In this report, the term evidence-informed teaching is used to mean practice that is influenced by robust research evidence. Schools and teachers are referred to as more or less ‘research-engaged’ depending on the extent to which they support and undertake evidence-informed practice, specifically teaching. I’ve unpicked the 75-pages, quoted it directly…

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Ofsted asks government to look closely at Steiner schools in England | Education

Ofsted has asked the government to look closely at Steiner schools in England, after multiple inspections of schools operating under the Steiner banner revealed worries over pupil safety. The letter from the head of Ofsted throws into doubt the future of Steiner schools receiving state funding, after several opened as part of the free schools programme launched by Michael Gove in 2011. Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, said in a letter to the education secretary, Damian…

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Minister rejects call for blanket ban on mobile phones in schools | Education

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has said the government should not introduce a ban on mobile phones in schools, saying the decision should be left to headteachers. Hinds’ remarks contrast with those of the schools minister, Nick Gibb, , who has told the BBC: “My own view is that schools should ban their pupils from bringing smartphones into school or the classroom.” But in a recent interview with the Guardian, Hinds said mobile phone use by pupils was a complex…

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Dear Damian Hinds: tree climbing, lifesaving classes … why this policy flurry? | Education

A phrase I learned some years ago working in schools is “busy-work” – work that keeps children busy but has little value in itself, as the dictionary puts it. It first cropped up in an education report in South Carolina in 1886. This old tradition has taken a hold on you and your department. Since late November, you’ve been issuing policy statements at least once a week covering tree-climbing, plastic waste, lifesaving, your “year-long battle” to reduce teachers’ workload, when…

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Curriculum Misgivings For Young People – Education Article

Reading Time: 3 minutes Do we anticipate all pupils to meet an English Baccalaureate curriculum? Last week, the Department for Education published a “list of mainstream state-funded schools and their 2018 English Baccalaureate (EBacc) language entry.” We have a national curriculum to specify, not only consistency across our schools but to ensure an education for every pupil regardless of background. What still confuses me, is the apparent freedom to veer away from the national curriculum by becoming an academy or free school,…

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Exam results will no longer be used to define ‘failing’ schools | Education

Schools in England will no longer be punished for failing to meet the government’s standards in national exams or tests, Damian Hinds will announce as part of a new strategy to attract and retain teachers in the profession. The proposals to be unveiled by the education secretary means schools will not be defined as failing or “coasting” based on results of national tests or GCSE exams, removing a burden of assessment that has been criticised for unfairly hitting schools with…

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‘Short Hair’, Suggests Some Don’t Care! – Education Article

Reading Time: 2 minutes Is it time for schools to ‘get real’ with some of their rules? Being a man with a shaved head, as a school leader, I would have found it very difficult to exclude a child for having shaved hair. Worse? For excluding a child and claiming that “a hairstyle will detract from learning” – is highly dubious and a poor proxy. Dodgy school policy? Schools with archaic uniform policies need to get real. Of course, there…

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Tougher GCSEs widen gap between poorer and better-off pupils | Education

The introduction of new, tougher GCSE exams in England has led to a widening of the gap between the results achieved by disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers, according to official figures. The Department for Education (DfE) analysis of last summer’s GCSE exams found the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others at secondary school grew by 0.6 percentage points, after two years in which it had narrowed. While disadvantaged pupils showed an improvement in the proportion gaining a grade 5…

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Education of academy pupils harmed by trust failures, MPs warn | Education

The education of tens of thousands of children has been damaged by academy failures and the misuse of public funds, a parliamentary watchdog has concluded. In a report published on Wednesday, the public accounts committee (PAC) said governance of academy trusts must be strengthened, and that the Department for Education’s (DfE) oversight must be more rigorous. MPs have also questioned the ability of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to control academies’ executive pay awards following a series of…

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Damian Hinds to lobby Treasury for multi-year education funds | Education – Education Article

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, is to lobby the Treasury for a multi-year funding settlement for education in England similar to the 10-year package announced for the NHS, MPs were told. Hinds, appearing before parliament’s education select committee, said he would make a “a very compelling case” for more funding in this year’s spending review, agreeing that something similar to the recent NHS long-term plan was needed. The cabinet minister’s pledge came as he was put under pressure by his…

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Scandalous increase in school exclusions | Letters | Education – Education Article

Last year I gave a paper based on my book Immoral Education: The Assault on Teachers’ Identities, Autonomy and Efficacy to academics in the Netherlands. When I told them that part of my argument was the rate at which young people were being excluded from schools and gave them the figures, the response was that “if that were happening here there would be national outrage”. The UK figures are now even worse (School exclusion rates in London double the national…

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