Policy Update, Jan 8
We take look at the news and events to be aware of in the education and SEND world, powered by Driver Youth Trust.
Happy new year to the Whole School SEND community. We begin 2018 with cabinet reshuffle speculation rife in the air, at the forefront has been rumours that Justine Greening will be removed from the Department for Education as Theresa May seeks to refresh her cabinet. ITV’s Robert Peston has blogged today:
‘Justine Greening seems to be dead minister walking at the Department for Education. Her crimes? “Senior backbench MPs are still fuming at the way she killed the plan to open new grammar schools” said one of her colleagues. “And my goodness she goes on and on at Cabinet. The annoyance on the prime minister’s face when Justine won’t stop talking is quite a picture”.’
Since being appointed to the role in July 2016 Greening has begun to stamp her mark on the brief, her speech last month set out a new agenda to promote social mobility through education across England. She has been a “listening” education secretary (breaking with the past legacies of Gove and Morgan) as she has overseen consultations on exclusion protocol, flexible working and qualified teacher status. And she has recently put SEND on the agenda both in recognising that Alternative Provision is a priority and with a new targeted approach for the most vulnerable children expected to be revealed this week.
It is no wonder then why the education community has reacted strongly to the suggestion, coming to Greening’s defence on the matter – TES lists the six reasons teachers want her to stay.
Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see what happens to the other Education Ministers – Skills Minister Anne Milton has been tipped to become the new health secretary so expect a degree of movement here as well.
The reshuffle is expected to begin at 11:30am, follow DYT on twitter for updates of changes to the Department for Education.
In what could be her last announcement as Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening pledged new funding for initiatives to help more children from disadvantaged backgrounds master the basics of reading in primary school.
The plans include:
- A new Centre of Excellence for Literacy Teaching that will set up a national network of 35 English Hubs across the country – backed by £26 million investment.
- £435,000 investment in phonics and reading “partnerships”, including £100,000 for 20 roadshows across the country.
- New £7.7 million curriculum fund – delivering on a manifesto commitment – to encourage the development of high quality teaching resources by organisations, including by leading cultural and scientific institutions.
- £5.7 million of existing strategic school improvement fund money to be used in 469 schools to improve literacy skills among around 40,000 children.
Adam Boddison, chief executive of Nasen, said: “It’s not right. I understand that there are some complex situations that take longer than 20 weeks. But this means that for some young people there is at least a year when needs are not being properly met because a plan is not in place.
“Families and young people are left in limbo. No young person should have to wait more than a year.”
Now Teach, the charity set up in 2016 to encourage people who have already had one successful career to retrain as teachers has received DfE funding to start work in Hastings.
The Schools Minister, Nick Gibb commented on the announcement by saying: “Great teachers are at the heart of our plans to ensure every young person reaches their potential, and the expertise that these experienced professionals have can be put to great use in the classroom, teaching pupils valuable knowledge and skills.”
Now Teach will host a launch event at Hastings Pier on January 20.
Ministerial Statements: Robert Goodwill on expanding the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND) to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans alongside the educational aspects.
New Education Committee Inquiry: The Education and Health Committees launches a joint inquiry in response to the Government’s green paper on Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision.
In response Goodwill stated: ‘It is for individual ITT providers to use their professional judgement to determine the content, structure, and proportion of courses that relate to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).’ He went on to confirm that ‘In order to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status, trainees must satisfy the Teachers’ Standards which include a requirement that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND and are able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.’
House of Commons Library paper on SATs: This briefing paper provides information on SATs – or national curriculum assessments – in England. It looks at what is tested, when, how the results are used. It also looks at changes to primary assessment since 2015.
A Westminster Hall debate on the Disability Confident scheme is scheduled for Wednesday 10 January 2018 at 2.30pm. The Member leading the debate is Luke Graham MP. The debate follows the Work and Pensions Committee publishing its Disability Employment Gap report in 2017.
Later on that day the adjournment debate in the main chamber will be on the academisation of primary schools in Cambridge – Daniel Zeichner MP proposes the topic.
On Thursday at 10am we could see the first appearance of Justine Greening’s replacement as Women and Equalities questions takes place in the House of Commons.
David Laws, Prospect Magazine
“But the reality is not that geographic access is merely unequal—the scale of the inequality is huge and it has been growing since 2010, in spite of government promises to improve education outside London and the South East.”
Bren Prendergast, Special Needs Jungle
“For TAs to do their jobs well they need their school to invest in them. For improved pupil outcomes, parents need to question the LA as to what interventions their child requires and the level of training of TAs delivering them. High-quality and consistent whole-school approach to SEND will improve outcomes for all.”
“Often, I think we could justifiably be accused of letting a child’s SEND stand in the way of their access to the curriculum. It’s not just a matter of sending them off to their intervention when they should be in music, PE, art or history – or any other subject deemed not important enough – but also in the way that we unintentionally dilute knowledge when we adapt texts to make them less challenging to read.”
“The number of people recognised for services to special educational needs also continues to fall. Just six people were singled out for praise in this area this year, down from 11 last year and 14 the year before.”