Policy Update, Nov 6

 A look at the events and articles to be aware of in the education and SEND world, powered by Driver Youth Trust.

It’s a short week in Parliament as MPs break for recess on the 13th November. Nevertheless, there is still a full schedule kicking off with Justine Greening and her ministerial team facing Parliamentary Questions on Monday….

Justine Greening launches new Institute for Teaching

Greening said: “I want high-quality professional development to be a fundamental part of a teacher’s career and these new programmes – backed by government funding – will give them the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to provide a world class education for all children.”

The Institute for Teaching will operate mainly in the North and central England, including in the Education Secretary’s Opportunity Areas which have been identified as social mobility ‘cold spots’.

The Institute for Teaching has received government funding as part of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. This fund supports new programmes to deliver knowledge and skills-based training for teachers. The first eight projects to benefit from the fund have now been announced and include programmes focused on leadership, managing challenging pupil behaviour, improving the quality of teaching and phonics.

Government still hasn’t published grammar school response

Schools Week reports that the government has further delayed the publication of responses to their grammar school consultation which closed almost over a year ago. The policy to expand selective education was dropped shortly after the general election in June. Officials say further details will be out “in due course.”

Read DYT’s response to the consultation here. 

Catch up with various Parliamentary questions asked over the last week on SEND: 

  • Seema Malhotra MP asked the Justice Minister “what proportion of young offenders in young offenders institutes have speech, language and communications difficulties; what proportion of such offenders are receiving support services; and what proportion of those not receiving such support services are in a waiting list to receive them.”
  • Read the answer given here which revealed that “data collected to inform the custody placement decision for young people shows that 32% were recorded as having ‘learning disability or difficulty concerns’ between April 2014 and March 2016.”
  • Lord Addington has tabled a number of written questions to the Department for Education on the issue of Disabled Students’ Allowance, about the average cost of diagnosis for dyslexic students, why dyslexic students have to undergo a second assessment and to ask whether any studies have been carried out on the impact of dyslexic students applying for higher education.


Education Questions, 2:30pm 

Ministers face a number of hot topics including on financial accountability and transparency in multi-academy trusts and calls for a review into the new exam and assessment framework.

Other questions to look out for:

8. Rosie Duffield – What steps she is taking to support children with special educational needs.

12. Steve McCabe – What progress she has made on identifying the departmental efficiency savings of £1.3
billion announced in July 2017.

17. Paula Sherriff – What steps she is taking to support children with special educational needs.

Read the full agenda here.

Westminster Hall, 4:30pm 

The Petitions Committee has scheduled a debate on mental health education in schools in response to an e-petition started by YoungMinds to “Make mental health education compulsory in primary and secondary schools.”

The petition has received more than 103,000 signatures and aims to make mental health education a full part of the UK curriculum to raise awareness and discussion among young people. The debate will be led by Catherine McKinnell MP.

The Special Educational Consortium, have created a short survey on the process for transferring children from statements to EHC plans in your area: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SMTMRS6.

This survey is for any group, professional, or organisation with an overview of the transfer process in a local area, including parent carer and young people’s groups. However, we are not seeking the view of individual parent carers or young people at this stage.

SEC is acting on concerns that a lack of resources in local areas is resulting in many children with statements not receiving their full entitlement to an EHC needs assessment and that the EHC plans resulting from this process are of poor quality. SEC are now seeking evidence of whether or not this is the case.

Take the survey here.

65% of special free schools are for autism, which includes a quote from our Director, Chris Rossiter (Schools Week)

Education cuts could crowd pupils into super-sized classes of 100-plus (The Times £)

Ian Bauckham to advise government on improving Relationships and Sex Education in schools (Gov.uk)


Dan Baynes is Policy and Research Executive for Driver Youth Trust

Dan Baynes, Driver Youth Trust