Edition 1, 2017
A ‘Green’ School for Northwood see p26
England’s education system still short of world class, see p10
Prepare your school for a digital world, see p18
Teachers urged to use language of music when words fail, see p 12
How to find the perfect IT partner for your school, see p20
Bridging the gender gap: The case for single-sex education, see p14
‘If a school asks for help that’s what I’m going to do.’, see p22
Going back into the classroom keeps you sane, see p16
An autumn statement that works for education?, see p30
The attitude shift – how heathy eating and sustainability is changing procurement in the education sector, see p31 The importance of food allergen labelling for catering professionals in education, see 32 Central England co-operative joins forces with Kids Country children’s education programme, see p34
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Education Magazine Edition 71
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England’s education system still short of world class
The Education Show
Teachers urged to use language of music when words fail
Prepare your school for a digital world
20 How to find the
perfect IT partner for your school
16 Going back into the
classroom keeps you sane
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The attitude shift – how heathy eating and sustainability is changing procurement in the education sector
32 The importance
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22 ‘If a school asks for help that’s what I’m going to do.’
14 Bridging the gender 26 A ‘Green’ School gap:The case for single-sex education
30 An autumn
Central England cooperative joins forces with Kids Country children’s education programme
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Study reveals a quarter of schoolchildren hope to work in science The government announces more than £12 million to support science teaching in schools. New data published on Tuesday 6 December shows more than a quarter of teenagers in England are considering a career in science, while three-quarters of pupils believe their science lessons are helping to prepare them for life post education. The results, as published in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 report, also showed pupils in England typically report being given greater opportunity in science lessons to explain their ideas, draw conclusions from an experiment and conduct investigations than pupils in other high-performing countries. To support the teaching of science in schools the government has announced a £12.1 million investment until 2019. The multi-million pound package will provide continued professional development for science teachers, support schools to share best practice and offer tailored in-school support. The programme will be delivered through a network of national science learning partnerships and also support schools to encourage more teenagers to take GCSE triple science - physics, chemistry and biology. School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “We are determined to give all young people the worldclass education they need to fulfil their potential. It is encouraging to see so many young people setting their ambitions high, as we know science is valued by employers and is linked to higher earnings. Studying science offers a wide range of options following school - whether that’s a career in medicine, engineering or teaching science in the classroom these are the vital skills needed for the future productivity and economic prosperity of this country. This extra funding will further support highquality science teaching in our schools.” More than a quarter of pupils (28%) in England hope to be working in a sciencerelated career by the time they are 30, a significant increase compared to 16% in 2006. The PISA study is conducted every 3 years and tests 15-year-olds in science, maths and reading in over 70 participating countries. More than 5,000 teenagers were tested and surveyed in England and also asked about their learning experience and future aspirations.
Further information Sixty-eight per cent of pupils in England believe that the content of their school science lessons is helping to prepare them for the future and 71% of pupils believe it will help them to get a job when they leave school. This is significantly higher than the OECD average. England continues to perform above the OECD average in science, remains at the OECD average in maths and performs significantly, but only just, above the OECD average in reading.
School revenue funding settlement for 2017 to 2018 Written ministerial statement by Nick Gibb MP about funding arrangements for schools in 2017 to 2018. “I am announcing details of schools revenue funding for 2017-18. This announcement includes the dedicated schools grant (DSG), the education services grant (ESG) transitional grant and the pupil premium. The distribution of the DSG to local authorities will continue to be set out in 3 spending blocks for each authority: a schools block, a high needs block and an early years block. The schools block has been allocated on the basis of the schools block units of funding announced in the Secretary of State’s statement to the House on 21 July 2016. To protect schools from significant budget reductions, we will continue with a minimum funding guarantee that ensures no school loses more than 1.5% per pupil in its 2017-18 budget (excluding sixth form funding and ESG) compared to 2016-17, and before the pupil premium is added. We have been able to provide an additional £130 million for the DSG high needs block. The high needs block supports provision for pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), up to the age of 25, and alternative provision for pupils who cannot receive their education in schools. The DSG early years block comprises funding for the 15 hours entitlement for 3- and 4-yearolds: the additional 15 hours for 3- and 4-yearold children of eligible working parents from September 2017; participation funding for 2-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds; the early years pupil premium; and the disability access fund. The provisional allocations for this block were announced in the Secretary of State’s statement of 1 December 2016. The ESG transitional grant for local authorities will be set at a financial year rate of £66 per pupil and paid for the period April to August 2017. We will also continue to provide a protection to limit the reduction of 4
academies’ budgets as a result of the ending of ESG from September 2017. The pupil premium per pupil amounts for 2017-18 will be protected at the current rates, which are: Pupils
Per pupil rate
Disadvantaged pupils: primary Disadvantaged pupils: secondary
Pupil premium plus: looked-after children (LAC) and those adopted from care or who leave care under a special guardianship order or child arrangements order (formally known as a residence order) £1,900 Service children
A looked-after child is defined in the Children Act 1989 as one who is in the care if, or provided accommodation by, an English or Welsh local authority. Pupil premium allocations for financial year 2017-18 will be published in June 2017 following the receipt of pupil number data from the spring 2017 schools and alternative provision censuses.” Details of these arrangements have been published on GOV.UK.
Plans to end the postcode lottery of school funding revealed Crucial reforms that will tackle the historical postcode lottery in school funding were set out by Education Secretary Justine Greening. “Funding every child fairly and according to their specific needs sits at the heart of delivering the government’s pledge to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, but the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated. It is based on patchy and inconsistent decisions that have built up over many years and on data that is over a decade old. This outmoded system allows similar schools with similar students to receive levels of funding so different that it puts many young people at an educational disadvantage. Currently, disparities in the current school funding system mean a school could get 50% more if it were situated in another part of the country. This cannot be allowed to continue, which is why the government has published its fair funding proposals, replacing the current continues overleaf u Education Magazine
Are Your Staff and Students Ready for Lockdown?
UK schools are experiencing a growing trend for violent attacks on staff and students. In 2015, there were reports of incidents all over the country, including Dulwich1 in London, Dorset2 and Somerset3 in the South, and Leeds4 and Bradford5 in the North. However, it’s not just direct attacks on school property which are causing concern, but other incidents which potentially put staff and students at risk. Examples of dangerous occurrences include armed raiders running into a school after a robbery6, a secure unit abscondee on the loose in Conwy7, a man wielding a gun outside a Cambridge school8 and a shooting outside a Liverpool school9. All these resulted in schools going into lockdown. It is essential that accurate information is communicated clearly and quickly throughout the school, no matter whether the situation warrants evacuation or lockdown. Schools must have a working fire alarm fitted by law, but many use the
same fire bell to announce class changes. This can lead to confusion, and whilst a bell can provide a clear alert that an emergency situation has arisen, it cannot differentiate between lockdown or evacuation. In the event of a possible violent intruder on the premises, the last thing any school wants is pupils streaming out onto a playground and gathering at assembly points. To solve this issue, some schools have installed integrated class change and PA systems such as Bodet’s Harmonys, which store a range of different tones, melodies and prerecorded voice messages. As well as routine announcements such as class change, lunch or the end of school, in the event of an emergency they enable specific alarms to be broadcast across the entire site. That way, both staff and pupils know what’s happening and what action to take. Due to the random nature of these attacks and threats, there is little schools can do to prevent them. However, by having clear and effective communication systems installed alongside robust lockdown and evacuation procedures, schools can be certain they are doing all they can to ensure the
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
safety of staff and students.
Richard Manby is managing director of Bodet Class Change Systems
Website: lockdown.bodet.co.uk Tel: 01442 418800
h t t p : / / w w w. b b c . c o. u k / n e w s / u k - e n g l a n d london-34868503 h t t p : / / w w w. b b c . c o. u k / n e w s / u k - e n g l a n d dorset-30534259 http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/education/ school_in_security_lockdown_1_4238794 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27194984 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bradfordwest-yorkshire-33857626 h t t p s : / / w w w. p re s s a n d j o u r n a l . c o. u k / f p / n ew s / scotland/748968/scottish-schools-lockdownfollowing-attempted-armed-robbery/ http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-walesnews/neuadd-manhunt-schools-lockdownllanfairfechan-10107863 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2911904/ Primary-school-forced-lockdown-mystery-gunmanspotted-outside-lunch-break-turns-police-anti-terrorexercise.html http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/anfield-roadshooting-school-lockdown-6889474
NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News system with a new formula to ensure that children with similar characteristics and similar needs attract similar levels of funding - regardless of where their families happen to live.” As a result of the proposed national funding formula, due to be introduced from 2018 to 2019:
more than 10,000 schools will gain funding, including more than 3,000 receiving an increase of more than 5% up to 3% in per pupil funding in 2018 to 2019 and a further 2.5% in 2019 to 2020
significant protections have also been built into the formula so that no school will face a reduction of more than more than 1.5% per pupil per year or 3% per pupil overall
for pupils with high-level special educational needs (high needs), where funding changes could be even more acutely felt by the most vulnerable young people in our society, no area will see their funding reduce.
Local authorities due to see gains on high needs will see increases of up to 3% in each of 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020. Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “Our proposed reforms will mean an end to historical unfairness and underfunding for certain schools. We need a system that funds schools according to the needs of their pupils rather than their postcode, levelling the playing field and giving parents the confidence that every child will have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential. The detailed proposals set out today are based on the principles and broad design outlined in the first stage of the national funding formula consultation, which received strong support earlier this year. The proposals will allow schools and local authorities to manage the transition to fairer funding while making the best use of their resources and managing cost pressures, ensuring every pound is used effectively to drive up standards and have maximum impact for the young people they serve.” The schools and high needs consultation documents will be open from 14 December for 14 weeks until 22 March. Read the government’s response to the first phase of the schools national funding consultation and high needs national funding consultation at www.gov.uk / government/news The national funding formula will be introduced in 2018 to 2019. There will be a transitional year during which local authorities will continue to set local schools
funding formulae, before a move in 2019 to 2020 to the great majority of each school’s individual budget being determined on the basis of a single, national formula.
Functional skills are qualifications that help people gain the essential, practical skills in maths and English they need and enable them to be confident in life and work.
To support schools in using their funding to greatest effect we have put in place, and are continuing to develop, a comprehensive package to help schools to become as efficient as possible.’
This change will mean that apprentices will be able to take BSL as an alternative to functional skills in English - removing the unnecessary barrier that has been preventing them from getting on.
Government needs to act now on sex and relationships education
BSL isn’t simply English with hand signs, it is a different language with its own grammar and sentence construction. It is also totally different to other sign languages such as American Sign Language or Japanese Sign Language.
The Government has published a formal response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee report on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools. In response to the report’s recommendation to make Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) statutory subjects, the Government says that the ‘case for further action on PSHE and SRE delivery is actively under review.’
“I am committed to breaking down barriers to ensure people of all ages and all backgrounds get on the ladder of opportunity through an apprenticeship.
The Women and Equalities Select Committee is one of several Select Committees and other expert bodies to recommend statutory SRE. At the start of 2016, the Chairs of the Education, Health, Home Affairs, and Business, Innovations & Skills Select Committees wrote to the Secretary of State for Education calling for SRE to have statutory status. Lisa Hallgarten, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum said: “We would urge the Government to act, without further delay, on the recommendation of Select Committees to introduce statutory SRE. We believe the case for statutory SRE has been made very powerfully over a number of years and is settled. There is abundant evidence that good quality SRE helps protect children and young people and can positively impact on sexual behaviour; and that current delivery of SRE is patchy and often inadequate to meet the needs of children and young people. We urge the Government to act now to ensure that every child and young person in every school is able to get the good quality SRE they so desperately want and need.”
Equal opportunities for people who use British Sign Language The government is breaking down barriers to ensure that people who use British Sign Language gain the skills they need. For the first time, British Sign Language (BSL) will be accepted as an alternative qualification to functional skills in English for apprentices where BSL is their first language. 6
Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon said:
For those whose first language is British Sign Language, this simple change will allow them to achieve their full potential. I look forward to implementing more changes like this to make sure apprenticeships can work for as many people as possible, whatever their background. More people with disabilities have been taking advantage of high-quality apprenticeships. Figures show that in 2015 to 2016, 50,640 of those starting an apprenticeship declared a disability or learning disability (LDD). This is 9.9% of total starts and an increase of 14.8% on 2014 to 2015. High-quality apprenticeships are essential to support our employers and address skills shortages facing industry so that everyone, regardless of background, gets the chance they deserve to succeed. English and maths are a key element of this.” Engineering apprentice Max Buxton said: “Being deaf and dyslexic, I find English tests really hard. It’s very difficult to translate BSL into English and for it all to make sense. My employer has said how well I’m doing and doesn’t think my language skills are an issue, but I still can’t complete the apprenticeship without passing that test. It’s an unfair, unnecessary rule that has created a lot of stress, so I’m very pleased things are changing now.” Although more disabled people than ever before are doing apprenticeships, there is still work to be done to make opportunities more accessible to disabled people. A taskforce, led by Paul Maynard, has focused on issues faced by people with disabilities and made a range of recommendations which are now being implemented. Find more information on the Maynard Review recommendations online. Education Magazine
News News NEWS News
News The Get In Go Far campaign is designed to inform and inspire young people to consider apprenticeships as valid and credible routes to a rewarding career. It also aims to increase interest and demand from employers in running apprenticeship programmes. It’s estimated that there are about 9 million people in the UK who are deaf or hardof-hearing - it’s the third most common disability in the world. For more information, visit the British Deaf Association website.
Institute for Apprenticeships guidance published for consultation Further details of how the Institute for Apprenticeships will operate is set out in draft strategic guidance. Guidance from government to help ensure all apprenticeships are of the highest quality and deliver the skills that employers need have been set out by government on 4th January 2017, with further details of how the new Institute for Apprenticeships will operate.
From April 2017, the Institute for Apprenticeships will help ensure employers get the quality skills that they need from the apprenticeships system by acting as the ultimate decision maker on approving apprenticeship standards and assessment plans. Further details of how the institute will operate have been set out in draft strategic guidance. Independent, and with employers at its heart, the Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for approving new apprenticeship standards and how apprentices will be assessed to ensure they respond to the needs of business and give learners the skills and experience they need to succeed. Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “We are building an apprenticeships nation which will give millions of people a ladder of opportunity to secure the job they want and deliver the skills our economy needs. We know apprenticeships work - 90% of apprentices go on to secure a job and nobody understands the skills employers need better than employers themselves. That is why we are introducing the Institute for Apprenticeships.
NEWS NEWS News
With employers at its heart, it will be charged with approving standards to ensure they are the highest quality. The strategic guidance, published for consultation, sets out in draft advice from the government to help it take forward the programme of reform to raise the quality of apprenticeships, giving employers more control over their content and assessment. Under the measures set out under the Technical and Further Education Bill, the Institute for Apprenticeships remit will also expand to encompass all technical education and will deliver reforms across both apprenticeships-based and college-based routes, ensuring a more consistent approach to high-quality technical and skills-based education. This will build further on the government’s upcoming industrial strategy, revitalising the economy by delivering high skills, high wages, and an environment where businesses across the UK can thrive.” The guidance confirms the institute’s main functions:
To set quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans continues overleaf u
NEWS News News News NEWS News NEWS News • •
To review, approve or reject them
To ensure arrangements are in place to quality assure all end point assessments
To advise on the maximum level of government funding available for standards
Alongside the Institute for Apprenticeships, groups of employers called ‘trailblazers’ are designing new apprenticeship standards that set out the exact skills, knowledge and behaviours needed. There are more than 1,400 employers involved in developing new apprenticeships with 260 apprenticeship standards already published. These new apprenticeships are in a broad range of sectors from nuclear to fashion, banking and defence. We are committed to ensuring apprenticeships are a high-quality and prestigious path to a successful career. Through the apprenticeship levy, we will be investing £2.5 billion in apprenticeships; that is double what was spent on apprenticeships in 2010 to 2011. This will support our commitment for all people to get the best start in life. The Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for setting quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans; reviewing, approving or rejecting them; determining the maximum level of government funding available for standards; and quality assuring some end point assessments. There have been 4,300 starts on new standards in occupations such as software developer and aerospace engineer. Before being approved for development, employers still have to demonstrate that all new proposed apprenticeships will meet a high-quality bar, leading to rigorous and substantial training of at least a year to achieve full competence and being at a sufficient level to generate the transferability that would enable the apprentice to undertake the role in a business of any size. Over the past year, 60% of new apprenticeship proposals have been rejected as a result of them not meeting these key quality criteria, ensuring that only high-quality, skilled apprenticeships are being developed.
To qualify, schools need to submit their requirements for new devices and send it to CCS at technologyaggregation@ crowncommercial.gov.uk by 10 February 2017. A webinar explains the process in more detail. CCS will then work with suppliers to get the best price and notify schools after the contract is awarded on 28 March 2017. Schools can then place their orders and arrange payment at the agreed price. This is the first in an ongoing programme of CCS deals to help schools save money and make the best use of their resources. Future procurements are scheduled for:
• • • •
Late April to early May (to allow for summer delivery of devices) Autumn 2017 Spring 2018 More procurement dates will be announced later.
Read more about ordering hardware for schools at https://www.gov.uk/government/ publications/technology-hardware-forschools See the Webinar at https://www.gov.uk/ government/publications/technologyhardware-for-schools#Aggregation-forschools-webinar
Government backs projects to help safeguard vulnerable children Nine projects have been awarded share of grant worth more than £2 million. Nine projects with ambitious plans to tackle specific forms of abuse affecting children have been awarded a share of government grant funding in 2016 to 2018, worth more than £2 million. While for many families the Christmas holidays are an exciting time, for some they bring an added threat of fear and abuse, as families spend more time together in close proximity. This time of year regularly sees a seasonal spike in domestic violence incidents reported to the police.
DfE offers schools the chance to save on tablets, laptops and desktop devices.
The grant funding from the Department for Education will support a range of projects, including a programme in Dorset run by the Children’s Society providing intensive support for almost 200 children and young people who have lived through issues relating to domestic violence and parental substance misuse.
Schools considering buying new tablets, laptops or desktop devices this year could save thousands of pounds by taking advantage of a new deal developed by the DfE and Crown Commercial Services (CCS).
The Tavistock Relationships project, based in London, will intervene with high-risk families experiencing repeated domestic violence, as well as training frontline workers in how to keep children safe.
New deal to help schools save cash on computer equipment
And in Kent, Home Start UK will run a project to tackle domestic abuse and substance misuse aimed at fathers in low-income families to help prevent abuse and improve their involvement in parenting. Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening said: “This funding will help us to support families that have experienced domestic violence, as well as helping to prevent abuse occurring in future. It’s people working with the most vulnerable in our society on the ground who are often best placed to trial new approaches to keeping them safe, and these 9 projects can make a real difference.” The projects will work directly with children, young people and their families, as well as schools, communities and social care professionals. Three projects will use the funding to tackle radicalisation in London, Lancashire and Walsall, 2 projects will address safeguarding young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM). The organisations are:
Midaye Somali Development Network
• • • • • •
Foundation for Women’s Health Research Development (FORWARD) Victim Support Kidscape Sheffield Futures Home Start UK The Church of England Children’s Society
Chief Operating Officer for The Children’s Society, Val Floy, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding to deliver ‘Reveal’, which will support children living in families affected by both substance misuse and domestic violence. This is a fantastic opportunity to deliver a pioneering service and make longterm sustainable improvements to the lives of the most vulnerable children and young people in the Dorset area.” Kidscape’s Director of Services, Peter Bradley said: “Our Extremism and Radicalisation Awareness programme builds upon our current safeguarding work in educational settings. We’re passionate about children’s safety and have been concerned for some time about young people who may be vulnerable to extremist ideologies. This new project will mean we are able to safeguard those young people who previously had little or no support.”
Help prevent infection outbreaks Good hand hygiene, achieved through hand washing with soap and warm running water, is considered to be the single most important practice in reducing transmission of infection as hands can harbour over 150 species of bacteria. Manty Stanley, managing director at TEAL Patents, a world leading, UK manufacturer of portable hand washing units, says: “Infections take a heavy toll on schools and nurseries across the world. It’s well-known worldwide that the gold standard in infection control is washing hands under running water with soap.Yet, many countries still use alcohol rubs and gels. “Alcohol-based hand gels and rubs only provide a protective layer they do not remove germs. Hand washing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of germs and infections ,” says Manty. In support of teachers and pupils alike, TEAL Patents has created the Kiddiwash range, hand washing facilities designed exclusively for smaller hands. Portable and lightweight, the units can be located wherever and whenever a warm-water hand wash is needed. The Kiddiwash Xtra is the ideal teacher’s accessory for indoor or outdoor use. The unit is lightweight and portable providing young pupils with the gold standard of hand hygiene wherever it might be needed. Providing a minimum of 15 handwashes per filling, the Kiddiwash Xtra makes hand hygiene fun and educational. For further information, visit W www.washyourhands.co.uk T 0121 770 0593 E firstname.lastname@example.org
England’s education system still short of world class Ofsted Annual Report 2015/16 A world class education system is within our grasp – but only if serious capacity challenges are urgently addressed, says Ofsted’s outgoing Chief Inspector. On 1st Dec 2016 Sir Michael Wilshaw hailed the “remarkable gains” made by children under 11 over the past 5 years, but warned of a growing north/south divide at secondary level and a serious knowledge and skills gaps that threatens the country’s competitiveness. Launching his fifth and final Annual Report, Sir Michael said that while England’s education system still fell short of being world class, some parts were closer to achieving that status than they have ever been. The report finds:
• • •
For the sixth year in a row, the proportion of good and outstanding nurseries, pre-schools and childminders has risen and now stands at 91%. The proportion of good and outstanding nurseries is now almost the same in the most deprived areas of the country as in the least deprived The proportion of good and outstanding primary schools has risen from 69% to 90% in 5 years. The reading ability of pupils eligible for free school meals at age 7 in 2015 was 6 percentage points closer to the level of their peers than 5 years ago Secondary schools have improved and 78% are now good or outstanding. However, secondary schools in the North and Midlands are still behind the rest of the country. The proportion of pupils who achieved highly by the end of primary school who then went on to achieve A/A* in their GCSEs in the North and Midlands was 6 percentage points lower than in the rest of the country Pressures on the supply of secondary teachers have not abated. Fifteen of the 18 curriculum subjects had unfilled training places this year The proportion of good or outstanding general further education colleges has declined from 77% in 2015, to 71% this year There are some signs of improvement in the quality of apprenticeships. However, the supply of high quality apprenticeships at level 3 is not yet meeting demand
Commenting on the overall state of England’s education system, Sir Michael Wilshaw said:
Sir Michael said the government also needed to address the disparity in the quality of academic and technical pathways.
“We have seen some significant improvements even over the 5 years that I have been Chief Inspector. There are 1.8 million more pupils attending good or outstanding maintained schools and academies today than in August 2010.
One of the great achievements of the past decade has been the rise in the proportion of students going on to higher education. However, far more needs to be done to ensure that all young people are equipped with the skills they will need to compete in the local workforce, let alone the global one.
The gains for children under the age of 11, in particular, are remarkable. For this younger age group, we are now closer than we have ever been to an education system where your family background or where you live does not necessarily determine the quality of teaching you receive or the outcomes you achieve. Our schools have also become great forces for social cohesion. We forget what an incredible achievement this is. Whatever cultural tensions exist outside of school, race and religion are not barriers within them. In the main, schools aim for all children to be taught equally and for all children to benefit equally.” However, Sir Michael, who steps down as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector at the end of this month, made clear that there were still aspects of the education system that weren’t yet working effectively. He said: “Last year, I highlighted the disproportionate number of secondary schools that are less than good in the North and Midlands, compared with the South and East of England. This year, the gap has widened slightly. More than a quarter of secondaries in the North and Midlands are still not good enough. The geographic divides within the country are particularly acute for the most able pupils and those who have special educational needs. There is also considerable evidence that it is schools in isolated and deprived areas where educational standards are low that are losing out in the recruitment stakes for both leaders and teachers. My advice to government is, therefore, to worry less about structures and more about capacity. No structure will be effective if the leadership is poor or there are not enough good people in the classroom.”
Many FE colleges are facing a period of continuing turmoil while the quality of apprenticeship programmes remains patchy. The country is facing serious knowledge and skills gaps that threaten the competitiveness of our economy. The decision to leave the European Union has thrown this issue into even sharper relief. As a nation, we can either intervene to inject the system with the vision, skills and energy it needs, or we can be content with the status quo and the consequences of our failure to improve the quality and status of technical education over many years. Other key findings from the report include:
• • •
In some parts of the country, fewer than 40% of pupils in receipt of special educational needs support are progressing well 65% of prisons and young offender institutions have learning and skills and work activities that are not good enough Of the independent schools that Ofsted inspects, 12% of those serving primary aged pupils and 15% of those serving secondary aged pupils are inadequate. The proportion of good and outstanding schools has declined in both cases 2 years in a row The scale of unsafe practice being uncovered in providers suspected of operating illegally is a serious concern. However, local authorities have become more alert to the need to identify potentially illegal or unsafe practice.
The Annual Report is informed by the findings of almost 25,000 inspections of schools, colleges and providers of early years and further education and skills carried out during 2015/16.
Successful mathematics and reading mentoring scheme Through the Community Action programme, pupils at Oundle School have been given the chance to act as mentors for young pupils in Mathematics and Reading at Oundle Church of England Primary School. The scheme has proven popular at both schools and has been fully subscribed in its first two years. Mentors work with pairs of pupils and see three groups each Wednesday afternoon. This allows mentors to work with over seventy pupils each week in thirty minute individual sessions. Mentors carry the responsibility for pupil learning during this time and many enjoy the opportunity to place themselves in the position of the teacher. Mathematics activities are aimed at the most able pupils at the primary school, extending their experience of the subject through problem solving and considering topics which do not always form part of the core curriculum. English mentors help those in need of support with this vital aspect of their education and seek to build confidence, clarity and fluency in the young readers. Oundle pupil, Emma Calveley (16), one of the Mathematics mentors, commented, “I really enjoy my Wednesday afternoons at Oundle Primary School. I volunteer to help some of the children while they challenge themselves with more complex maths. It is a very fulfilling experience, especially being able to encourage them to explore more about a subject which I feel so passionate about. I hope the children enjoy doing something different and more difficult.” The primary pupils enjoy both the example of an elder mentor but also the intellectual stimulation of challenging subject matter. Two Year Four pupils from the primary school, Charlie and Daniel, commented, “Our mentor Rebecca teaches us so much about maths. She always knows the fastest and most efficient way to solve maths problems. We wish the sessions were longer and happened every day! We really liked learning about probability when we tried
to work out how many heads we could get from tossing four coins and finding out all the different ways that it can happen. “ Reading mentors help pupils through books aimed at their current reading level. Sophie Lee (15), one of the reading mentors commented, “To be able to influence the children’s learning and growing is a privilege and they never cease to amaze me. Their whirring minds and impressive ability always go hand in hand with a positive attitude and desire to improve, and to see this energy towards learning flow in such abundance is truly inspiring. I thoroughly enjoy my Wednesday afternoons, meeting with the children is always fun, lively and productive.”
to have to say farewell at the end of the year. The positive response of the pupils and the intrinsic rewards for mentors have made this initiative one which we look forward to developing in the years to come.”
Maths teacher at Oundle School and teacher in charge of the mentoring scheme, Gordon Montgomery said, “Often we hear our pupils comment that they feel ready to take on greater levels of responsibility and one of our challenges is to find genuine opportunities where they can truly take the lead. A healthy mix of male and female mentors has also been useful so that primary school pupils see that boys and girls can both be interested in reading and Mathematics.
Head of Oundle CE Primary School, Janet McMurdo commented, “At Oundle CE
For the Mathematics mentors, the activity challenges their own understanding of the subject in a different way. Having to put themselves in their teachers’ shoes challenges mentors to consider the sequencing of methods and to consider key questions through the various stages of problem solving. Mentors are regularly impressed by the capability of some of their young charges, their speed of thought and ability to handle some challenging problems. Feedback from the primary school pupils has been enthusiastic and they look forward to the arrival of their mentors each week. The ability of our mentors to inspire younger learners is a key attribute in the success of this activity and relationships that they build are excellent, with both parties disappointed
Primary School we are pleased at this development of our partnership with Oundle School which seems to be of mutual benefit. Our pupils are typically enthusiastic about much of their learning but the influence of older pupils as positive role models gives this a different dimension and our pupils have responded very positively.”
Teachers urged to use language of music when words fail Teachers from Kent, Surrey and Sussex were told that music could be used as a proxy language to aid expression at Breaking the Bubble, a conference to develop new ways to help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Adam Ockelford, Professor of Music at Roehampton University, said music made sense, brought consistency to a complicated world and was perfect for interacting with people, articulating irony, humour or empathy when communication through words failed. Professor Ockelford, a former Director of Education at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, added: “Music can be used to meet people where they’re at and everyone can engage in an equal way.”
in schools and in community ensembles. The project provides advice, training, networks and workshop for special schools, and includes a programme of workforce development to raise the quality, breadth and sustainability of musical opportunities for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Breaking the Bubble, which also attracted teachers from across the UK, is an education programme run across three Arts Council music hubs – Kent Music, Surrey Music Hub and Brighton & Hove Sound City. As part of the programme, schools, teachers, practitioners and managers who work with disabled and special needs students meet each year to share teaching skills and ideas.
also took part in workshops led by Rhythmix, Drake Music, Sounds of Intent, Red Zebra and Jo May and Linda Game, who demonstrated the art of making music with spoons. Throughout the day, students from Ifield School (Kent), Meadowfield School (Kent) and Park School (Surrey) took part in a ‘Creative Classroom’ with James Redwood and his team of young musicians to produce the musical climax of the day, a performance entitled ‘Our Big Adventure’.
The SEN/D Music Development Day was held at Rich Mix arts centre in Bethnal Green, London on Wednesday (19 October). The event featured expert advice and comment from educator Laura Saunders and conductor James Rose and a panel discussion led by Mary Crawley from UP! Orchestra. Teachers
The Breaking the Bubble programme focuses on equality of opportunity in music education, offering children and young people with additional needs better opportunities to take part in music-making 12
Peter Bolton, Kent Music chief executive, said: “Our aim is to ensure our services reach children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and those who may experience barriers to participation in schools or who are experiencing challenging circumstances. We can do this by helping music teachers develop their practice and teaching them how to create the best possible opportunities for their students.” Kent Music, founded in 1948, is a registered education charity and lead partner for the music education hub in Kent. It employs peripatetic teachers to deliver instrumental and vocal teaching across the county through individual lessons, small groups and whole class teaching. The charity also runs county groups and local ensembles, and has run a summer school for nearly 70 years. Kent Music is a partner in music education with Kent County Council.
Music & Drama Education Expo 9 & 10 February 2017 London Olympia Europeâ€™s largest free-to-attend conference for music and drama teachers returns to London next month to celebrate its fifth birthday! The show offers a stimulating programme of over 60 CPD workshops from leading education practitioners, an exhibition showcasing products and resources from more than 150 arts organisations, peerto-peer learning through TeachMeets and Sharing Labs, and networking opportunities with 2,500 of the brightest minds in arts education from over 40 countries. An essential experience for anyone involved in arts education!
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Bridging the gender gap: The case for single-sex education
Before undertaking his degree at Cambridge, Patrick was employed, at 18 years old, as Director of Music at St Hugh’s School in Oxfordshire, where he got to work with Beatles’ producer George Martin on composing a song for the school’s 75th anniversary concert. Whilst at university, he undertook teaching jobs in various locations, including in a Palestinian school in the West Bank of the Jordan. He became a full-time teacher in 1985 – before the National Curriculum had been introduced – and started his career at a state school in Hertfordshire, becoming a deputy head in 1992. He has spent a third of his career working in the state sector, seven years teaching at a world class expatriate school in Singapore and 15 years in the independent sector. Before joining Bickley Park School in 2014, Patrick worked as the head of another boys’ school in Surrey for more than five years. In addition to extensive experience of teaching a range of subjects, Patrick has been a schools’ inspector for 12 years and has undertaken teacher training in the UK and overseas.
The educational gender gap has long been a recurring headline with GCSE results annually highlighting the distance between the sexes. And the most recent set of results once again brought the gender gap into sharp focus, with girls outperforming boys by nearly 9% in 2016 - the widest gap since 2002. The contrast in achievement is not a recent trait, however, with research from the 2015 Cambridge Assessment report showing that as far back as the 1950s – in the era of the O-level – girls achieved better grades. And the gap has also been revealed as a worldwide concern, with research from the universities of Glasgow and Missouri revealing girls do better than boys in the classroom in 70% of countries. The universities’ joint paper also showed the gap prevailed even in those countries where gender inequality towards women is prevalent. In the UK, experts and the government have expressed concern over the ongoing divide – with opposing views as to how it can be closed. Bromley head teacher Patrick Wenham has seen the difference in achievement for boys and girls first-hand during his 30plus years in the classroom, and believes single-sex education is a tool that can be used to improve achievement, particularly for male pupils.
responsiveness to a challenge. Exam results show us year on year that girls outperform boys, but I don’t believe this is a fair assessment of our young male population. Boys have a thirst for knowledge but are often less mature learners than girls and they can be slower to grasp key skills, particularly literacy.”
“Providing them with an environment where they can learn at their own speed among their peers allows them to thrive. At Bickley Park, we are constantly responding to research into how to bridge the gender gap, be it through our millionaires’ reading challenge, which has seen a surge in interest in reading and significant improvements in reading ages, or initiatives such as ‘Adventure School’ which focuses on developing motivation, character, resilience, team and leadership skills.”
As head of independent boys’ school, Bickley Park he believes tailoring the curriculum to respond to male learning traits has tangible benefits.
Another solution to help bridge the gap is the introduction of more role models for boys, to help improve their attainment and behaviour. The small proportion of male teachers in schools has been cited as a contributor towards the gender gap and sparked such concern that in 2002 the Teaching Training Agency set recruitment targets to get more men onto teacher training courses.
He said: “Single sex education allows teaching to be framed specifically to appeal to boys’ preferred learning style and their ‘what’s in it for me’ mindset. Setting attainable goals also appeals to their natural
Patrick, who has also taught in state and international education, is passionate about introducing role models to his pupils and regularly invites inspiring guests into the Bickley classroom. Recent speakers have
included actor Brian Blessed, a member of Canada’s World Cup rugby team and Londonbased explorer Charlie Walker. “Inviting real life professionals into the school helps our pupils see how their education will help them in later life, while giving them goals to aim for,” Patrick added. “Of course there are other contributing factors outside of school to consider when it comes to addressing the gender gap, but giving our children the best possible environment in which to learn – and the encouragement, support and motivation they need – gives them a solid foundation and the confidence to aim high.” He believes however, that steps must be taken to address the gap, which is prevalent from nursery all the way through to university, as it is set to continue to grow. Some researchers suggest that by 2025, 70% of graduates attending university in the UK will be female, and while GCSE results have improved over the last quarter of a century the gender gap has remained marked.
Patrick believes UK classrooms are currently more geared to favour girls’ learning style, which can have a real impact on boys and the way they behave in and out of the classroom. This is where a single sex education can really come into its own in helping to close the gap and ensure boys achieve their best.
“Young boys tend to struggle more than girls with fine motor skills which means their handwriting is often less well developed, and no matter how much the education system has changed, the way written work is presented still has an impact on how much it is praised.
He added: “If you frame education in a way that links to boys’ preferred learning styles and interests, it can significantly impact on their motivation to succeed and progress. Boys have a thirst for acquiring knowledge. You can see it all the way from young boys’ often obsessional learning of dinosaurs’ names to the number of male contestants on quiz shows.
Boys also have shorter concentration spans which means they are often perceived to be a nuisance when sat alongside girls, who are often eager to please. Because of this, girls can receive more praise from both teachers and parents, which motivates them to achieve. This culture can lead boys to be disaffected with learning and cause them to be attention seeking in their behaviour.
“However, boys’ thirst for knowledge can be diminished in an education system that often favours girls. Boys are often less mature learners than girls and are slower to acquire key skills, particularly in literacy. ”
It is perfectly possible to close the gender gap and inspire boys to achieve. By recognising and responding to their interests and preferred approaches to learning it will be possible to maintain boys’ positive view of school and learning throughout their education.”
Going back into the classroom keeps you sane “The answer to whether head teachers should teach” …. Patrick Wenham There has been much debate as to whether heads should teach, considering the responsibilities they hold, and whether they even need an educational background, in light of difficulties schools have had in appointing a leader. This was compounded when the necessity for heads to have Qualified Teacher Status was dropped in 2001, which opened the role to professionals from other sectors Despite their title, head teachers across the country often spend most of their time out of the classroom. Research has shown heads spend just 2.8 hours a week on average teaching with most their time (43%) being taken up by meetings, administration and leadership duties. At Bickley Park School, pupils are seeing head teacher Patrick Wenham at the whiteboard more often because he made the decision to go back into the classroom. Leading and managing the Bromley-based boys prep school remains his core role, but in 2015 he decided to up his time in the classroom.
Education Magazine (EM) What made you want to go back into the classroom as well as carry out the role of Head? Patrick Wenham (PW) I feel it is important as a Head to remember that in amongst the many hats a Head has to wear that core to the purpose of the organisation they run is the interests of the pupils and contributing towards engendering in them an interest in learning and an understanding of that process. In my previous Headship I taught a number of subjects. I had started this new job in Bickley without teaching in the classroom for a year, and I made the conscious decision to go back into the classroom because I believe at the centre of what I should be doing as a Head is leading the learning, and being seen to do so by pupils, parents and staff. EM Was there a Road to Damascus moment to go back into the classroom if so what was it?
“Having teaching experience inherently helps you understand how a school works, allows you to do the job more easily and helps you in the most important aspect of headship – providing a supportive, encouraging environment for your pupils so they can achieve their best.”
PW It wasn’t necessarily a Damascus moment. It was more of a slow burner. I was already sitting in on a lot of lessons. I feel a lot of the Head’s credibility is gained in putting his neck on the line and showing he is in there with the foot soldiers and willing to ‘practice what he preaches’. I was expecting excellence in teaching so I shouldn’t shy away from producing it in the classroom myself. EM What effect does you teaching have on the teachers? PW The teachers undoubtedly have a lot of respect because the Head is coming out of his office and teaching in the classroom. 16
I gain an understanding of teachers’ viewpoints by putting myself into the classroom situation. Undoubtedly it has provided me with insights, not just into what other teachers are doing, but about how pupils are learning. It has given me a more direct insight than I might have gained from either sitting in on a lesson or reading about it in policies. EM You’re a fee paying school: what effect has this had on parents and pupils? PW It has enabled me to speak with more authority about their child, not just in terms of academic progress but in terms of them as a person and their personal wellbeing. This has credibility in the parents’ eyes. Parents want to see the Head running a good school but I think it is the icing on the cake if he or she is also demonstrating the capacity to teach well and to inspire their children. I certainly value the feedback from parents who are saying their children are enjoying their lessons and are progressing well. EM How do you find the time to teach? Have you stopped doing some of the roles that a Head would traditionally do? PW I do everything I used to do and teach! I am a ruthless time manager who responds to the advice of experts in how to prioritise. I have simply put being in the classroom up the priority list. I also work very long days and try to keep myself fit in body, mind and spirit. EM Devoting 80% of your time to being a Head and 20% to teaching. How do you manage to concentrate on both roles? PW I think as with any leadership role you Education Magazine
do you have to enjoy and be motivated by what you do. I think if I didn’t have that at the core of the job I am doing, I would not be taking on the teaching or for that matter the role of Head.
is to develop teaching that is boy friendly. We have had a national conference here on that theme and have had leading figures speak on what motivates boys to achieve. It has been very useful for me to implement some of those practices and therefore talk with greater authority when it comes to discussing policy decision making and practice with other senior leaders and other members of staff.
EM Are there distractions that occur and what are they? PW Inevitably there are days where the wider aspects of Headship encroach but I try to keep its impact on classes I teach to a minimum. I also have a very good support team that enables me to delegate certain duties. I aim to teach, unless there’s a particularly pressing matter only I can address.
EM Being a Head is a management role. In your opinion why should a Head be a teacher? PW Schools are different to other institutions in that you are dealing with children. There’s the human angle where children come to school fundamentally to learn and grow as individuals. For a Head to be removed from the understanding how a child is wired, particularly in the age group I am dealing with, means they are poorer for it in terms of decision making. In all I do as the Head, I try to put the child at the centre of decision making.
It is not just teaching for which I’ve found time. I am also involved in clubs, running community events and competitions. I took up beekeeping after attending a course 18 months ago and set up a beekeeping club. We go and work with bees in hives in local allotments. It’s a good way for me to get to know the children outside the classroom. One boy has gone on to enrol in a national body and has taken his beekeeping even further. It is great to see that! EM Has the school benefitted from you getting back in the classroom? What has been the knock on effects of it? PW I have spent 30 years in the world of education and the experience I have gained from many hours in the classroom can be of benefit the school as a whole. I am principally a historian but have taught other subjects. It adds credibility to my role that I am actually teaching. EM What about policy decisions with Education Magazine
regards recruitment, purchasing or pay? Has it had a direct impact on those? PW The biggest impact that it has had is that we are a boys’ only school and a core aim 17
We live in an age where more and more is poured on the head or a manager in every profession, and I would advise people in my own and other professions to sit back and think what really matters in your day to day job. For me I have concluded (and this is a key motivator in my return to the classroom) that at the centre of what I do should be the child and helping them on their journey through the school. This is an aspect that I consider to be very important. EM Thank you for taking to Education Magazine
Prepare your school for a digital world Free support and face-to-face workshops from Barefoot Dr Jon Chippindall, Teacher at Crumpsall Lane Primary School (North Manchester Federation) Jon was one of the Barefoot Computing Teaching and Learning Resource Developers. He is a teacher and the Computing Leader at Crumpsall Lane Primary School in North Manchester. He is a CAS Master Teacher working to support other teachers across the region in developing and delivering their computing curriculum and works with trainee teachers at The University of Manchester. Dr Chippindall is the Engineering Champion for The University of Manchester’s Science and Engineering Education Innovation Hub. U.K. primary school teachers feel strongly that tech literacy will underpin their pupils’ futures, and 97% believe it’s their role to prepare pupils for a digital world, but only 25% strongly agree that they’re equipped to do so according to a new study from BT and Ipsos MORI. Dr Chippindall, also a teacher at Crumpsall Lane Primary School (North Manchester Federation) looks at the Barefoot Computing Project and how it is helping to equip schools across the U.K. with the computing skills that they need. Technology is reshaping how we live and work. It’s essential for teachers to feel confident and well-trained in leading the next generation as they grow up in a digital world. Despite the fact that the world is now significantly led by technology, often children are passive consumers of tech, rather than active creators, and this could be the difference between being left behind or getting ahead. 78% of teachers surveyed think tech literacy is as important as reading and writing, and 92% say tech skills will be needed for all careers from now on. Therefore, it’s crucial that primary schools give children everything that they need to get to grips with tech. The government acknowledged the importance of a high-quality computing education by introducing the subject to the curriculum in 2014. However, the research from BT and Ipsos MORI also found that two in five teachers (41%) understand little or nothing about computational thinking, which includes the core principles that underpin tech literacy. These include problemsolving, logic, sequencing, and perseverance – the core abilities young people need to make the digital world work to their advantage.
Children encounter these computational thinking abilities in primary school and they will form the foundation of their future success. Today’s teachers are key to the next generation’s success. It is essential to make the subject of computational thinking as engaging, fun, and interactive as possible – for teachers and their pupils. This is why; backed by Department for Education, Computing at School (CAS) which is part of the British Computer Society (BCS) and BT; the Barefoot project supports primary educators with the confidence, knowledge, skills and resources to prepare pupils for a digital world. The Barefoot Project The Barefoot Project includes FREE, highquality teaching resources, lesson plans and local CPD workshops, all designed to help teachers across the UK gain confidence in teaching computational thinking. The study by BT and Ipsos MORI found that teachers who have accessed Barefoot resources are more confident than their peers: 84% said they understood computational thinking, compared with 57% overall. Since its launch, Barefoot has been making a significant impact in schools and classrooms across the U.K. and has:
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supported over 30,000 teachers had 100,000 resources downloaded by registered teachers reached more than 900,000 children in the U.K found that, after a workshop, teachers are over 95% more confident to teach ‘computational thinking’ to their pupils
All Barefoot resources are free, effective and cross-curricular. This means computational thinking concepts can be easily incorporated throughout the primary curriculum. Teachers tell us that this enhances pupils’ progress across all subjects. There is a combination of ‘plugged’ and ‘unplugged’ resources, enabling teachers to engage young people in the key concepts on or offline. Barefoot resources are:
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free, and will remain so supported by the DfE aligned for the curricula of all UK nations with key resource translations into Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic – now also endorsed by Education Scotland * (full endorsements shortly anticipated from Wales and Northern Ireland.) created by a panel of expert primary computing teachers regularly refreshed and updated – new resources are currently being developed
and the resources include:
pupil learning objectives and curriculum links differentiated activities
There are two different types of resources:
teach-yourself concept resources 18
exemplar teaching activities
Teach-yourself concept resources The teach-yourself concept resources equip teachers with the knowledge they need to deliver the computing curriculum and teach computational thinking effectively, with confidence. Covering key computing concepts, language and vocabulary, they help teachers deepen their own understanding of the most important ideas and concepts. This allows teachers to teach with increased confidence, knowledge and understanding. Exemplar teaching activities The exemplar teaching resources for ages 5-7 and ages 7-11 provide engaging activities both at and away from the computer. They provide the computing subject knowledge needed to be able to teach the lesson. The lessons are focused on showing teachers ways to incorporate computational thinking concepts into other areas of the primary curriculum. They show how children can get to grips with the building blocks of the digital world, while simultaneously making progress in subjects like Maths, English and Science. Workshops for your school Barefoot Workshops are lively, hands-on sessions that give teachers the confidence, knowledge, skills and resources to deliver the computing curriculum. They are completely free and run in schools by local, friendly, trained volunteers. Teachers have said that they feel over 95% more confident to teach after just one workshop. During a workshop, Barefoot volunteers demonstrate the Barefoot resources and how they can be used to bring the digital world to life in the classroom. Workshops can be run as part of INSET days, lunchtime or after-school sessions and are delivered in 60- or 90-minute sessions, depending on the school’s needs. They can be arranged to suit your timetable and availability. Anita Raymond, Head Teacher at Kinlet Church of England Primary, brought a Barefoot Workshop to teachers at her school and had the following to say: “I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and it was more activity-based than I expected it to be. [The workshop] wasn’t too long and it wasn’t a death by PowerPoint. It was very active and it gave an overall picture of what we could access on Barefoot… I think the children love computing, they love using laptops and tablets, but I think sometimes we forget that actually computing can also be done without tablets and computers. There’s some activities there that we can use to explain the procedures and the logical thinking.” Find out more To access Barefoot’s resources, find out more about volunteering, and book a workshop for your school please go to our website: http://bit.ly/1j37tEi Education Magazine
‘Application apathy’ hurting teachers and schools by Stewart McCoy.
Two thirds (66%) of the teachers polled by Randstad said they have failed to complete an application for a job because the process is too time-consuming and requires an energy they simply do not have after their teaching commitments. And even when they do complete an application, a significant percentage of teachers respond to only one vacancy: just over a third (34%) said they applied for one position alone because of the time involved.
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Two thirds of teachers say lengthy job application process has prevented them from applying for new positions Roughly a third (34%) of teachers tend to apply for just one position because of the effort involved Nine in 10 teachers want a simple, universal application process that is valid across all schools rather than specific to each
‘Application apathy’ among UK teachers is disincentivising many from applying for new jobs, and potentially having a negative impact on school morale and pupils’ education, according to the results of a new survey* and report — The Invisible Barrier — by Randstad Education.
An overwhelming nine in 10 teachers, meanwhile, have said they would welcome a simple and universal application process that would streamline the entire process and enable them to apply for multiple jobs more easily. The latest findings from Randstad Education, published in two of the busiest months for teacher recruitment — September and October — follow a separate poll of 1365 teachers by the recruiter in March, where 30% of respondents said they are considering leaving the sector in the next 12 months. Stewart McCoy said: “Application apathy is gripping the profession and is adding to the already drastic impact of teacher shortages on schools. At a time when many teachers are considering leaving the sector, having others languishing in roles and schools they would rather not be because they are
disincentivised from applying for new roles cannot be good for either school morale or pupils’ education. With a third of teachers tending to apply for just the one role, for schools themselves it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd by clearly defining their vision, demonstrating their leadership and promoting their results. Failure to promote themselves could mean schools face a teacher drought and miss out on the dynamism and impetus that comes with new staff.” *Randstad surveyed 875 education professionals in July 2016, from permanently employed main scale teachers and teaching assistants to supply teachers. The full report is available at www.randstad.co.uk/ employers/areas-of-expertise/education/theinvisible-barrier
Stewart McCoy, is the Strategic Operations Director at Randstad Education.
How to find the perfect IT partner for your school
Head Teachers: “Cuts to schools’ funding have not been this severe since the 1970s. School budgets are being pushed to breaking point.”
Schools in the UK spend £900m a year on education technology (Gartner). The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) says schools have £619m in budgets for ICT, with £95m spent on software and digital content
On average, students taking their GCSEs in 2015 had £57,000 spent on them between Reception and Year 11. However, The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has forecast current school spending per pupil across England is expected to fall by at least 7% in real terms between 2015–16 and 2019–20.
That’s a lot of money being spent on computers in the classroom, but one thing you can be sure of, no matter how much is spent, is that at some point all of these systems will require maintenance and support.
Not just that, but it seems the amount spent per student is subject to vast differences - of pupils taking their GCSEs in 2013, 10% had less than £49,000 spent on them and 10% had more than £67,000.
Educators are specialists in many things, however, unless they are teaching ICT, it’s unlikely that they are IT experts. That can mean that when faced with the inevitable technology related hiccup, things can grind to a halt – disrupting not just teaching, but also lesson plans, and the students. Additionally, in many schools, once an investment has been made in IT equipment, it will be some time before this is replaced – making timely, and thorough, repairs even more critical. This makes finding the right IT partner integral to providing consistent, high quality, IT supplies to both staff and pupils. But with so many IT providers to choose from, how do you choose the one that will become your school’s trusted advisor? Obviously any potential contract will have to go through the school’s own procurement process – covering cost, quality, warranties and delivery timescales, but it’s also important to consider the following:
Word of mouth – Nothing is as valuable as a good recommendation – and this is often an excellent starting point when initiating the process. Don’t be put off if smaller companies don’t have as many references as larger ones – it doesn’t mean they don’t provide an excellent service to a smaller client base. Are they listening? Make sure that any potential supplier is listening to your requirements, and coming up with a solution that will work for your school – rather than trying to convince you of how much you need their top sellers. Point of contact - Knowing who to contact, and that they will know and understand you and your school, can make a huge difference when it comes to arranging new equipment or repairs quickly. Make it personal – You should be able to customise equipment to suit your needs – be it increased memory or specific features that may not come as standard. Continual improvement – as well as providing timely maintenance and repairs, your IT partner should also be able to advise on how to make cost effective improvements where
necessary – perhaps using refurbished machines to keep costs under control. Chris Stankus, Software Development Manager at Carmel College, Merseyside, believes his positive working relationship with Hardware Associates has been key to Carmel achieving its ICT goals: “When it comes to the IT provision at Carmel, our aim is that students have a positive experience and are able to go about their work in a frustration-free manner where we actively try to maintain the best possible availability for our users. That means reliable machines, but also a quick turnaround on resolving any issues. Because we have now worked with Hardware Associates for some time, we feel confident when making any purchases from them that we will receive the necessary support in a timely manner. It’s reassuring to know that the support is there when you need it.” Making sure you find an IT partner that will take the time to ensure they fully understand your school’s requirements, and that means getting into the guts of how the equipment is used, by whom, and for what purpose, will pay long term dividends. Only by doing this, can they be in the best possible position to advise on how and where improvements can be made in the most cost effective manner. Using refurbished equipment is also an excellent way of keeping costs down, particularly when it comes with a warranty– rather than always buying new. Contrary to what some might think, refurbished machines do not mean lower quality. In fact, it can mean that you are able to afford better quality, more reliable machines at a fraction of the ‘new’ price. Chris Stankus agrees: “The IT systems that we use at Carmel are integral to the learning experience for our students, using the best possible and most up to date software on a good hardware platform. Some schools might be put off buying refurbished equipment – feeling that they always need to buy new. For us however, using refurbished machines from Hardware Associates has directly contributed to our goal of achieving academic excellence.” The politics of paying for IT in education Barely a week seems to go by without a news story about how education budgets are being slashed, and the knock on effect that has on schools, staff, and of course, students. According to The National Association of 20
Despite these pressures, schools are still preparing our young people for future lives and careers. It’s no longer enough to simply be able to create a word document or spreadsheet. In an increasingly interconnected and tech dependent world, schools are now being expected to prepare students for the world of work – often for jobs that haven’t even been created yet. Computer coding is already part of the curriculum, and it’s only a matter of time before we start to see the likes of virtual reality and 3D printing in classrooms. Of course, allowing students to experience using these things leads to a deeper learning experience – not just learning about new ideas and concepts but maybe even leading to new ones. Which, on a grand scale, isn’t just good for the individual, but also for employers when it comes to finding skilled workers, not to mention a country’s economic future, even the World’s ability to tackle challenges in an innovative manner. In 2015 annual global spending on educational technology in schools was been valued at £17.5bn (Gartner). In the UK, the spending on technology in schools was £900m. According to British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), schools had £619m in budgets for ICT, with £95m spent on software and digital content (2015) and the UK has among the highest levels of computer per pupil (1.4 pupils per computer). However, as with so many things – it’s never quite enough. Technology is changing all the time, the expectation for interconnected, personalised learning, supported by technology continues to grow, and yet – as mentioned earlier – real term spending per student does not. So who is going to foot the bill? In some schools, in order to meet the growing desire to provide students with tech-enriched learning at the same time as keeping costs down, parents are now being asked to pay for equipment such as iPads. Of course, given the budgetary pressures schools are facing it is no wonder that they are unable to provide this technology for every student. However, is simply transferring the cost to the family (many Education Magazine
of whom are also under increasing financial pressures) any better? In one such school, parents who do not qualify for a discount are asked to pay £785 in 36 monthly installments for a fully insured 64GB iPad Air 2. Not exactly small change for anyone – and that doesn’t even take into account having more than one child. Of course, some families will qualify for discounts, but with that comes the age old stigma of whose parent can afford to pay, and whose can’t. Not a position anyone wants to see his or her child in. However, there is another option when it comes to keeping costs down, and avoiding putting that pressure on families. It is not
always necessary to buy new. In fact, it is rarely necessary. Refurbished IT equipment, including Apple, is often available at a fraction of the cost – and in excellent condition. Many fear that buying ‘second hand’ works out as a false economy – preferring to buy a new machine straight off the shelf. However, the cost reduction of buying a refurbished machine can be so significant that it is often possible to buy higher-grade equipment – larger memory or processing speed, along with enhanced warranties, and still pay less than buying new. For example, a fully insured 64GB iPad Air 2, the same one that would set a parent back £785 in the earlier example, could cost just £399 for a refurbished model. Multiply by that by a class of 30, or even a
whole year group (or school!) and you start to get any idea of the cost savings that can be made. As with any significant purchase, it’s important to do your research. Not only into what you need in terms of capabilities, but also into where to make a sound purchase that will go the distance. Make sure any supplier (for new or refurbished equipment) listens to your requirements and goes the extra mile to meet those (rather than trying to offload excess stock or their top sellers!) and – most importantly – offers a robust warranty on all machines. Bill Champness, is the Managing Director at Hardware Associates
‘If a school asks for help that’s what I’m going to do.’ One of Dorset’s leading educators has been appointed to lead Bournemouth’s first Free school. Alexandra Prout took over the role of Executive Head Teacher at Parkfield School from Terry Conaghan last September. Parkfield is a Free school that opened in September 2013. It teaches children of primary and secondary ages and is aimed at providing quality alternative education; the school is currently located in Bournemouth town centre and is due to relocate at Easter to a permanent site next to Bournemouth Airport. It has a capacity of around 700 but there are only 440 pupils there at present. Alex has been seconded to the school as its executive leadership because it was failing.
Education Magazine (EM) Why was Parkfield, a recently created Free school, failing? Alex Prout (AP) There had been serious leadership failings, which were highlighted in a recent HMI inspection. In addition the school still has not moved to its new location despite having been open for three years. It is due to move in Easter however it is still in a seven storey ex-office block in central Bournemouth. EM What share of the failings at Parkfield are down to leadership and what are down to the environment the children were being taught in? AP It is mostly down to failings in leadership. Environment plays a part however in developing countries you have schools in shacks yet the education they deliver is excellent and so are the results. The same applies everywhere else. Many people had put it down to the environment, but I dispute that. The focus and rigor had to be on the leadership of staff and the teaching and learning the children were receiving to drive up standards EM What made you take the job on and what were your early days at Parkfield like? AP I took the job on as I cannot bear to think there are students that are not getting the best education they could. If a school asks for help that’s what I’m going to do. The policies I brought in from the start were no different to the ones introduced in the three previous schools I’d worked in. I never assume, or let others do so; you will hear that mantra in all the schools I work in. I met the leaders and spent a lot of time
in and out of the classrooms, playgrounds, common areas like the dining rooms and the entrance gate. I also supported current leaders, supported teachers and work with the children. It is interesting getting the perception of pupils and parents when I was out on the gate, they told me they weren’t used to seeing senior leadership out at the gate at all. I wasn’t just in the classrooms doing teacher observations; I took senior leadership in with me because it is vital for all concerned with teaching to be in the classrooms. A school cannot be made to work if staff are in their
offices having meetings during school time. Everyone needs to be on the shop floor the whole time pupils are about. In this way visible leadership is very strong in all of my schools. EM You started in mid-September, what is it like three plus months on? AP There are a lot more systems in place and the school is now very calm. These systems are firmly embedded into the school routine and not forgotten a week later. There are structures in place for the senior leadership team, and we have a middle leadership team who are more proactive
Alex Prout is an experienced school principal and a National Leader of Education. As Principal of Queen’s Park Academy in Bournemouth it progressed from Special Measures to Outstanding. As she is the Director of Primary Education at Ambitions Academies Trust, with her support Tregonwell Academy in Bournemouth and Longspee Academy in Poole have progressed with both schools receiving outstanding Ofsted inspection reports. Alex began teaching at La Sante Union, a Catholic school run by nuns in Southampton. Her first full time post was at Turlin Moor in Poole which was on a deprived estate and struggled to get acceptable results. It was here Alex found that children getting good results it isn’t about the subject you lead so much as how you lead it. At the end of her first year she was asked to coordinate history and geography and the following year was made Head of Maths. Within five years she was fulfilling the Deputy Head role. She then moved to Queen’s Park school as Deputy Head. This school was also a struggling and in an area of high deprivation. Alex has found that she prefers the challenge of a failing school and likes to be with the children who need her help the most.
than reactive. Everyone knows what they are meant to be doing and so there are no surprises. (I work on the principle of ‘tell me what is going on, don’t let me find out’.) We also have a self-review programme so staff know when their observations are due, when their books are being looked at and when we are looking at data. These happen approximately every six weeks and then we have a one to one with that member of staff, in this way everyone understands they are held accountable for their outcomes. EM Did the Ambitions Academy model for recovery need to be adjusted to work with Parkfield school? AP Not really, it can be transferred to any school. This is because it is not specific to the type of school; it’s a model for rapid improvement. The same principles apply to rapidly improving the teaching and learning where ever, and whatever the school is. There are minor adjustments but the model is essentially the same. EM How do you, as the Head, keep your own standards high? AP As a leader it is about holding your nerve and constantly checking up on yourself. By making sure you are following through everything you say and you are modelling all the time to your leaders and all the staff. For instance I will go in the lunch halls and I will do the washing up and clearing tables because I wouldn’t expect anyone to do a job that I wouldn’t do myself. Sometimes leaders can be very aloof whereas I work the other way. I love to learn so I am constantly learning from others.
EM What effect has this had on the pupils? AP It’s positive; they notice that I’m about and that I take a keen interest. I listen and talk to the pupils and parents on an informal basis. Some have now said to me that they love their school. And I have had messages and Christmas cards saying, ‘I love it when you pop into my lessons’. One mum told me, ‘My daughter thinks it is really funny when you come into her lessons, because you always ask her a question. She thinks you’re just a bit nosey!’ That sort of feedback tells me the kids are happy, confident and learning. EM What about the effect on staff? How many have changed? AP They are all the same people as when I arrived, give or take one or two but that was for reasons other than my arrival. This is because I’m fanatical about developing staff. At the outset I can never tell whether they are struggling because they haven’t been trained or taught how, or not been given an opportunity to show what they can do, or whether their capabilities don’t allow them to be better. I will know within a few weeks whether they will develop with me or not. If they can it is essential to develop, develop, develop. A good example of this ethos is that I have had lots of unqualified teachers at my schools who started as TA’s or learning mentors and are now training to be teachers. I have some in their second year of teaching who started with me as a TA. The Trust are all about developing peoples talents, we will bring people on from TAs to senior
leaders. It is a really vital part of the whole ethos of our Trust. At Queen’s Park school, King’s Park school and Manorside school the majority of the staff are the same people as when I joined and they have developed the kids brilliantly. One teacher came to me as an NQT on supply and is now the senior leader in one of my schools. EM So you don’t give up on the children and you don’t give up on the teachers. There must be exceptions? AP No I do not give up, however it is such a shame that sometimes you meet people who have chosen to work in schools who don’t seem to like children; I can spot those people quite easily. They are the ones you can’t develop. For whatever reason they need to leave the profession, they are not happy so why continue? EM What are the tough bits of this turnaround ethos to implement? AP Raising the expectations of the staff. We have the mantra, High Expectations lead to High Achievers and I believe this in absolutely every aspect of school life. Even when staff see it can happen they still don’t always really believe it. For instance some teachers have put books in front of me and say, ‘This is a Year 3 piece of work’, and I reply, ‘That doesn’t look it to me and the standard of that work is not high enough, that child can do so much better.’ I then sometimes then hear back, ‘Not in this school’, or ‘not in this area, so it’s not going to happen.’ I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t continues overleaf u
If a school asks for help continued matter where the school is, results are about the expectations that the school demands of the child. If staff have expectations that are low the children will only rise to that low level. I will take these same staff members to other schools and show them their books, yet sometimes the doubters still don’t think it is possible at ‘their school’. It is not until I sit them with the child and show them how it should be done and prove that they can also do it that their expectations improve. You have to help these teachers and sometimes its tough, but it has to be done. EM What has pleasantly surprised you over the last few months? AP The children always surprise me as to what they can actually achieve. When I go into a failing or struggling school people always forget to tell me about the children. For example; if you Google ‘Parkfield school’ the results are ‘Asbestos’, ‘going to be near an airport’, ‘being in an office block’, ‘Parking’, ‘Parents’. But people always forget to think of the 440 children. The children are so honest and will tell me, ‘I like it when you do this’ or ‘I don’t like it when you do that’, or ‘Why do I have to do this?’ They are open books! Of course, as a new Head coming in, I had the blame for everything. Including questions like ‘Why do we have so much homework?’ to which I respond, ‘I have no idea, I haven’t touched homework yet!’
They may tell me, ‘We’ve missed out on a PE lesson’ and I’ll reply, ‘Right, how many PE lessons have you missed out on? Leave it with me; I’ll see what I can do. If you miss out on any maths lessons you will let me know as well?’ And we all laugh! They are absolutely delightful and they have the right to a good education just as much as anybody else does. EM Will the move to the new premises make a difference and what is the future for Parkfield school? AP The school is moving to the new building over Easter. Only then will GCSE Science will actually be taught in a proper science lab and Arts will be taught in an arts studio. The facilities that students generally have at their schools Parkfield will also now have. There will also be a lot of space and that will make a difference. The only problem I foresee is that Parkfield was created to be a Free school in the centre of Bournemouth. Where it is relocating to is not in the centre therefore I’m not sure how many pupils will be transferring. The new site will only be a seven minute drive from here but many just want to be able to just walk to school. So I’m uncertain as to the numbers who will start there. EM How long are you going to be in post? AP I’ve been seconded for six months. I’m halfway through and when a suitable sponsor is found they will probably want to put their own Head in very quickly. At AAT we would want to do that as it is also our 24
model of working. In the Early Years and Primary Sector I have three academies and two nurseries of my own that I must ensure I am continuing to support and challenge. EM What is the upside for you and why are AAT doing this at Parkside? AP It is what I want to do and its what gives me job satisfaction. There are always things that schools do really well that we can learn from, even when they are struggling. One of the things I love when I move into a failing school is finding hidden gems. There are teachers there who are absolutely brilliant; however, because of the failings of leadership their school became a struggling one. I turn problem schools around, and free the gems to achieve and this is the upside for me; this is what I do. I have a great team and there are always brilliant people in the schools I work in. I just need to find them. One of the other academies in my sector is now the top school in Bournemouth for improvement, while the one in Poole are above ‘floor’ for the first time in five years. St Alhelms (not one of mine), which was once dubbed the worst school in Britain is now a good school. It shows that the AAT has the turnaround model right and that it can quickly help children in struggling schools get the education they deserve and fulfil their potential EM Thank you for talking to Education magazine.
A ‘Green’ School for Northwood St Helen’s new eco-friendly Junior School building opens A new era began at St Helen’s School in Northwood this week as the new Junior School building opened its doors for the first time to pupils on the first day of the Autumn Term. Over the last 14 months, the St Helen’s site has undergone a complete transformation as the new Junior School has taken shape in the heart of the school adjacent to the School’s pre-preparatory Section, Little St Helen’s. The opening of the building was marked by a colourful display as girls from St Helen’s Junior School and Little St Helen’s formed a ‘human daisy chain’ into and around the building. The daisy has particular significance for St Helen’s as it features on the School’s much-loved badge. The brand new eco-friendly building has been welcomed with open arms by members of the school community, and especially the girls who have been members of the Junior School Eco Council, actively involved in raising awareness of environmental issues and encouraging environmental responsibility in Junior School. Pupils at St Helen’s Junior School will be able to enjoy exceptional learning in the large and light classrooms and exciting ‘break-out zones’, to carry out independent research in the state-of-the-art Discovery Centre, and
to maximise their opportunities to learn about the natural world on the vibrant and biodiverse ‘living roofs’ which cover the two ‘arms’ of the building and can be accessed from ground level via paths made from recycled rubber. There is extensive provision for specialist teaching in Music, Art, Design & Technology, Science and Drama, and the resources to stage productions and concerts in the Junior School Hall. Dr Mary Short, Headmistress of St Helen’s, commented: ‘The new Junior School is a beautiful new addition to St Helen’s, and provides a wonderful and modern 26
environment which will promote exciting learning for keen young minds. I look forward to seeing the girls’ imagination and creativity thrive in their new school.’ The ‘living roofs’ are just one of the initiatives which make the Junior School a shining example of environmentally responsible development. The building been designed and constructed to be as energy-efficient and ecologically sustainable as possible: the design incorporates 133 photovoltaic panels on the roof which are estimated to continues overleaf u Education Magazine
A ‘Green’ School for Northwood continued
produce 32,000 kW/h of electricity annually, saving over 14 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and bettering the building’s Target Emissions Rate by 40%. Biodiversity has been encouraged throughout the development: a mostly native selection of plants and trees has been chosen for seasonal interest, textural variety and wildlife habitat creation. This selection of vegetation will offer food and shelter to a host of vertebrates and invertebrates, such as nesting birds, spiders, bees and other insects; a pond and timber deck will create a further wildlife discovery and learning area. The building’s attractive tricolour terracotta rainscreen cladding is another feature which, along with the ‘living roofs’, enables the building to blend in to its surrounding environment. Girls at St Helen’s have long been actively involved in sustaining and protecting the environment: the Junior School Eco Council, the Eco Elves in Little St Helen’s and the Senior School Green Team ensure that all members of the St Helen’s community are aware of their responsibility to the
environment, and that the School continues to meet the standards required to maintain the School’s prestigious Eco Schools Green Flag Award, which was first achieved in June 2010. In addition, St Helen’s girls raised nearly £24,000 for a wide range of environmental charities last year through the School’s annual Calendar Sale and other fundraising events.
The Senior School at St Helen’s has also undergone a remarkable transformation: School House on Eastbury Road, the oldest part of the site, welcomed pupils, parents and visitors at the start of term to a spacious reception area and a suite of seminar rooms 28
designed for twenty-first century methods of learning, along with a comfortable and wellresourced Reading Room, primarily for girls in Years 10 and 11, in the space which was the School’s original Library. Over the coming eighteen months the School hopes to refurbish and redevelop the three buildings now vacated by the Junior School into a hub for the Sixth Form and Futures Department, an Examinations Centre and a new Music School. Dr Short added, ‘Buildings and improvements to facilities are important because they provide the space within which every girl can pursue her dreams and achieve her potential. But what makes St Helen’s truly exceptional are the opportunities which we provide for girls to expand their horizons, discover new passions and develop their leadership skills. They are continually leaving their comfort zone and challenging themselves to make a real difference to the School and to the wider world – an attitude to life and work which serves them well throughout their lives’.
A autumn statement that works for education?
By Robert Stoneman, an analyst, at Kable. At the 2016 autumn statement the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, promised ‘an economy that works for everyone’. Yet many within education felt this was a statement that did little for them. As a chance for the new regime to establish its broader priorities, for education it was as memorable for what wasn’t said as much as what was. More money for expanding grammar schools with no additional funding for schools more widely will feel like salt in the wound for those facing the worst funding cuts in a generation. More welcome was additional funding for university research as part of a broader strategy aimed a raising productivity. Yet there are questions over whether only a handful of universities will see any benefit. Therefore, the statement will leave the education sector with little festive cheer considering what an uncertain year to come remains. For many the headline initiative was the inclusion of an extra £240m over four years for the expansion of grammar schools. The policy caused controversy when first announced in September 2016 as questions were raised over establishing new grammar schools when most schools face continued financial shortfalls. As a result,
the government announced it would only expand existing ‘good and outstanding’ grammar schools, a convenient way to sidestep the controversy over founding new ones. Yet extra funding of just £60m peryear from 2017/18 to 2020/21 will mean only a handful of the 163 in England will benefit. The average grammar school has over 1,000 pupils and, even using conservative estimates from the now defunct Building Schools for the Future programme, an extra £240m would create no more than 17 new sites (at an average cost of £14m each). However, much like converting all schools to academies, it is clear that the government is keen to press ahead with further expansion when the political roadblocks are cleared. Yet this will not be easy: an Education Policy Institute report found that only six local authority areas in England met all the proposed requirements set out by the government for new grammar schools (Solihull, Essex, North Yorkshire, Dorset, Northamptonshire and North Somerset). Even here the expansion principles would only be met in parts of each local authority. Worryingly for schools is that the statement said nothing about schools funding more generally. Across the board rising student numbers and staff costs, most notably employer contributions to national insurance and pensions, are putting pressure on budgets while schools face an overall shortfall of £3bn by 2020 (with an extra £600m per-year for local authority school support services also disappearing from August 2017). With no additional funding some schools will be forced to take drastic measures in order to survive. Schools in West Sussex recently claimed they could be forced to reduce staff numbers, increase class sizes and cut school hours now that all nonessential expenditure has been cut. Some clarity over future funding has been gained since the announcement in mid-December of which schools would benefit from the delayed national funding formula. Yet with no additional funding overall, schools feel the government is merely robbing Peter to pay Paul as increased funding for rural and sub-urban schools will be at the expense of those in cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. Even those that do benefit will have borne the brunt of funding cuts for several years meaning that any increases may only enable them to survive, not thrive. For universities an additional £2bn for research and development by the end of the Parliament has been warmly received. An Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to support cross-disciplinary collaborations between universities and business on the model of the US DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) programme, 30
developing priority technologies via an ‘evidence-based process’. A second stream of funding through the UK’s newly proposed research body, UK Research and Innovation, will award funding based on ‘national excellence’ to increase research capacity and business innovation and will provide extra funding for Innovate UK to further drive science and technology innovations. While additional funding is welcomed, the champagne will remain on ice until it is better understood how this funding will be spread in reality. Most research funding is concentrated at a handful of research intensive universities, particularly those of the Russell Group, so it will concern those with a focus on teaching that they will be overlooked. Yet even those who look set benefit will have questions. Government focus remains firmly upon the commercialisation of research, an area it claims the UK has been historically weak in. It therefore seems this investment will only benefit universities with strong links to business or a specialisation in STEM, with those pursuing purely academic research left behind. Continued uncertainty over the direction of Brexit also means it is not yet clear if this extra funding will cover the potential loss of valuable EU research funding. Until these concerns are allayed and further details received, it remains to be seen whether this will only strengthen a handful of institutions at the expense of the many. Robert Stoneman is Kable’s analyst for the education sector, specialising in higher education, further education, schools and wider education policy. Robert joined Kable in October 2016 after several years working across the education sector. He spent three years as an associate lecturer at the University of Kent while completing his PhD. Afterwards he spent 18 months managing data and ICT as part of a multi-academy trust in Essex and North East London specialising in pupils with special educational needs. Robert holds a PhD, MA and BA in History from the University of Kent.
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The attitude shift – how heathy eating and sustainability is changing procurement in the education sector
project, people are more aware than ever before about healthy eating.
So what should you look for when choosing or reviewing a procurement framework?
So how do catering professionals cope with the change in attitudes and requirements to provide healthier, more sustainable meal choices and keep within tight budgets? This is where specialist procurement frameworks come in. From assessing the supply chain to working with local producers and suppliers, ensuring that procurement procedures provide the best value for money can have a significant impact.
It should not and cannot be a one size fits all approach. As a guide, below are other elements that should stand out when considering this approach.
Choose a procurement partner that has deep understanding and experience of the education sector.
Explore the aggregate spending power and prices that frameworks offer and don’t forget the cost of engagement with a partner.
Member feedback and collaboration should be invited – it is the members that benefit so it is important that are their individual needs considered.
Built-in flexibility is a must to take the complexities out of procurement; it needs to work across the board, not just for a set number of items or certain type of product.
Products should be independently benchmarked to ensure that there is a real saving and not just a perceived one.
Quality assurance of all suppliers is key. Purchasing agreements should be responsible for ensuring that this is the case.
Customer service has to be first-class. Support that guarantees the best deals are being achieved, through regular contract review, is invaluable.
Supply chain - provide the right assurance To meet the demand for transparency and traceability across the food chain, it’s important to make it as easy as possible to identify dishes and products that support causes consumers care about. Flagging ingredients accredited by a food assurance scheme sends out a clear message about an education establishment’s sourcing practices and ethos. Ingredients accredited by organisations including Red Tractor, the Soil Association or Fairtrade all carry assurances about content or sustainability and are a good place to start. Keeping on top of this and clearly marking menus sends out the message that sustainability is taken seriously. Go local and support small producers Many caterers may think that sourcing locally-produced food is too difficult a task when mass-catering. However, offering a few carefully-selected local dishes or ingredients can make a huge difference when marketing to consumers and demonstrating sustainability credentials. A good procurement framework should offer options to source from SMEs and local suppliers too, taking away the administration headache. Sourcing locally also allows for seasonal ingredient variation and supports local businesses.
Mike Haslin, COO at The University Caterer’s Organisation (TUCO) reports… ‘Think globally, act locally’ as the saying goes. Over the past few years, there has been a rise in the popularity of locally-grown and produced food as consumers become increasingly conscious of just what goes into their meals. This comes alongside a growing awareness of the importance of a sustainable, healthy diet as well as concerns around food production and animal welfare – with ethical food and drink now amounting to 8.5% of all household food purchased. Today’s young people and parents are more likely to care about these issues than those before them. High-profile campaigns around the food provided in educational establishments have caused heated debates everywhere from the kitchen table to the Houses of Parliament. From Jamie Oliver’s school meals campaign to the NHS five a day Education Magazine
Take TUCO’s frameworks for example, where 75 per cent of our suppliers are SMEs (many on a regional basis), and we have built-in flexibility to allow our members to work with regional producers, whether that is for a short-term agreement or on a more permanent scale. And now, through our frameworks, our members are able to purchase Fairtrade milk in the first procurement agreement of its kind. Get the best value from a procurement framework Maintaining individual agreements with suppliers and negotiating the best price is a time-consuming and often impossible task for education caterers to do on their own. This is why many establishments across the UK make use of a finance framework and are able to take advantage of the deals negotiated by a larger organisation and free up more time to consider sustainability policies. As with any agreement, catering professionals should assess what arrangement suits their needs and ensure that they are getting the best deal for them.
If done well, this type of agreement can save organisations time, money, and administration headaches, while also positively impacting the bottom line. However, decision-makers need to take the time to understand the business benefits and which option is best for them. View for the future Consumer trends are constantly evolving, but the move towards a healthier, more sustainable diet is certainly one that it here to stay. It isn’t a fad, but a concerted effort that is backed by government bodies and large-scale campaigns. As the next generation grows up there is likely to be a permanent shift in mentality that means school catering professionals need to provide transparency in terms of their supply chain as well as demonstrating sustainability credentials. Consumers have more choice than ever before and it’s essential that education catering outlets keep students on site and avoid losing custom to other establishments or packed meals from home. For more information on TUCO and its specialist public sector procurement frameworks, please visit: http://www.tuco. ac.uk/ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/ system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526395/ foodpocketbook-2015update-26may16.pdf 1
The importance of food allergen labelling for catering professionals in education Ed Bevan explores how to manage the rules on allergen labelling in the education sector. Almost two years ago, new rules came into force governing the declaration of allergens on food packaging. The legislation states that product labelling has to show clearly if it contains any of the 14 major food allergens specified by the EU. For catering operators working in an education environment, this means that students have to be warned if any dish on the menu contains one or more of these ingredients. However, since the rules were introduced, some of the biggest household food brands have fallen foul of the legislation – resulting in a 60 per cent rise in the number of products
removed from supermarket shelves over the past twelve months. 1 This demonstrates that even the big brands can get it wrong – but it also makes it harder for operators to be able to warn consumers of any ‘hidden’ ingredients that are not always obvious. In addition, it shows just how important it has become for the catering departments to know exactly what is in the foodstuffs that they use. Of course, training is key to this. It is essential to know what allergens need to be flagged and which ingredients are likely to contain them. They are not all obvious – for example, it’s fairly well-known that pasta is likely to contain egg, but a more unusual case would be the anchovies often present in Worcester Sauce. It’s not just the legal requirements either, serious food allergies are fairly rare but
when a reaction does happen, it can be fatal. Technology can also help. Educational establishments need to be able to provide detailed information about all meals on request, which potentially drastically increases the amount of paperwork that needs to be completed. This is especially a problem for smaller or independent establishments which have a smaller staff and therefore very limited resource. Help available includes e-procurement platforms, which can harness a huge range of in-depth information at the touch of a button. This can then provide the required information quickly and easily, without distracting education catering professionals from their main priority of looking after residents. These systems can also help to identify and
procure ingredients that are free from certain allergens, meaning that meals can be served with confidence and the risk of a serious reaction is severely reduced or eliminated altogether. Legislation in the foodservice sector can sometimes seem like it is constantly changing, but it is essential to stay on top of new directives and requirements. This is not only to stay on the right side of the law, but also to protect the health and wellbeing of all customers. It does not have to be a mammoth task however, with the right training and technology in place, it should be as easy as the click of a button. Ed Bevan, is the Marketing & Communications Director at Acquire, Foodbuy Limited. 1
The Times, May 9, 2016
Freemasons give £20,000 for dyslexic children in Bracknell The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded £20,000 to the British Dyslexia Association to fund the Help Children to Shine project, which provides out of school literacy support for children with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties. Bracknell is the latest area to be chosen for Help Children to Shine, following successful programmes in London, Manchester and the Midlands. The project will be delivered from Bracknell’s Wildridings School. Initial sessions will support 20 children (Year 3 to Year 6). The children will work in small groups, receiving support with strategies for spelling, reading, comprehension, and numeracy. The long term aim is to create a sustainable model in order to continue the project after
the initial 18 months funded time period. Help Children to Shine aims to break the cycle of poor literacy and numeracy. The project is aimed at vulnerable primary school pupils who are struggling due to dyslexia, special learning disabilities or hidden disabilities such as dyspraxia and dyscalculia to develop literacy, numeracy and self-esteem. Reports have shown that young people with low levels of literacy and no qualifications are five times more likely to be unemployed and are at a higher risk of offending or taking drugs. The funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation grant to the British Dyslexia Association comes entirely from Freemasons in England and Wales. The workshops will be delivered on a weekday after school by experienced
specialist teachers, with the addition of teaching assistants who will be trained by the charity. Parents are involved in the management committee and are also encouraged to take part in the workshops as assistants. At the beginning of the programme the children are pre-tested for reading, writing, spelling, math skills and self-esteem and re-tested at the end of each term, so that the specialist teacher can monitor their progress. So far the Help Children to Shine programme has been delivered in 10 schools nationwide over the last three years. The results have demonstrated that it is a sustainable and cost effective model with all children reported to have made progress in their reading and spelling.
Central England co-operative joins forces with Kids Country children’s education programme The Kids Country team is headed up by Sandra Lauridsen, who commented on the sponsorship deal; “We are delighted to be working together with Central England Co-operative, whose values of making a difference mirror our own so closely. We are passionate about children’s rural education, and to have this recognised and supported so positively by Karen and her team is a real boost. Their support will help us to deliver an even more exciting and engaging programme in 2017.”
Children having fun at a Kids Country Food and Farming Day.
A popular countryside initiative which inspires thousands of eastern counties schoolchildren with vital messages from the world of food and farming has been given a big boost by Central England Co-operative. Kids Country, the education arm of the East of England Agricultural Society has announced an exciting, yearlong sponsorship package with the Society. Central England Co-operative sponsorship will provide both financial support and local resource to support the 18 events that Kids Country will be holding during 2017. The Kids Country programme consists of interactive, hands-on events about food, farming and the countryside.
Activities include potato planting and harvesting, learning about chickens, bee observatory visits and the annual Food & Farming Day at the East of England Showground. In 2016, the programme reached over 6,000 children from across the Eastern region and beyond.
The sponsorship will commence on 1 January, just in time for Breakfast Week, which will see the Kids Country team and Central England Co-operative volunteers visit three local schools to help them learn about where our breakfast comes from. Any schools who are interested in participating in a Kids Country event should contact the Education Team at the East of
England Agricultural Society on 01733 363514. About the East of England Agricultural Society and Kids Country Kids Country is the education arm of the East of England Agricultural Society. Now in its fifth year, it runs a busy and successful programme to help teach school children from the region about food, farming and the countryside. Kids Country works with children in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and Northamptonshire. Please visit www.eastofengland. org.uk/kidscountry for more information. For more information visit www. centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/ centralenglandcooperative
Speaking about the support from Central England Cooperative, Karen Ball, Member and Community Relations Officer said; “The Co-operative has a long tradition of giving back to the community, and we welcome the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives and education of local children. We look forward to building on our successful partnership with Kids Country, and bring a greater understanding of food provenance and the countryside to children through these wonderful events.”
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