Policy Update, Oct 2

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

Dyslexia Awareness Week

This year Dyslexia Awareness Week runs from the 2nd- 8th October 2017 with the theme Positive about Dyslexia. We’ve got lots planned here at DYT to increase awareness and get involved in the #PositiveDyslexia conversation!

From Last Week

New Academies Minister

The founder of the Inspiration Trust academy chain, Sir Theodore Agnew was confirmed as the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System by Downing Street.

Labour Party Conference

Shadow Secretary of State, Angela Rayner committed to the creation of a National Education Service to provide “cradle-to-grave” provision and “high quality education for all.” In his Leader’s speech, Jeremy Corbyn restated pledges on free school meals for all primary school pupils and on school funding.

Conservative Party Conference

On Sunday Justine Greening delivered her speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, covering a range of topics.  

Greening told the conference hall that “education and skills are at the heart of building a country that truly works for everyone.” She put an emphasis on literacy and numeracy for children before they enter key stage 1, announcing a new £140 million strategic school improvement fund to focus on reception numeracy and literacy. This will include a “£12 million network of English Hubs, in the Northern Powerhouse, to further improve early language and literacy.

Elsewhere, Greening also put the quality of alternative provision on the agenda saying “I don’t think we can ignore the varying outcomes for children who end up in alternative provision.” The focus on AP follows the Education Select Committee who are to hold an inquiry into this area.

Greening also announced: 

  • An additional £6 million funding for “maths hubs.”
  • Invest £30 million to support schools that struggle the most with recruitment and retention.
  • Pilot of student loan forgiveness for teachers, especially for maths and science teachers.

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the NAHT, welcomed elements of her speech: “The focus on additional support for early language and literacy is very welcome. Our recent report on School Readiness highlighted that an increasing number of children are starting school with poor communication skills. We will wait with interest to see the detail of these plans.

“Today the Secretary of State has demonstrated that her focus is in the right areas. All too often, predecessors have been distracted by changes to structure, with little impact on standards overall. It feels like progress can be made if the government will work with the profession to make sure that all young people get the education they deserve.”

Watch the full speech.

Things to keep an eye on: 

  • The Chancellor, Philip Hammond makes his speech today. Keep an eye out to see if there any concessions made in the area of school funding –  reports circulated on Saturday that the teacher pay cap will rise. The speech comes as the Sixth Form Colleges Association warned Hammond that sixth forms will close without more cash.
  • Theresa May will deliver her speech on Wednesday at around 12:30pm, the speech will be incredibly important for revitalising the Prime Minister after a bruising 2017.


Education Britain Summit

On Wednesday we will be at the Education Britain Summit at the Manchester Enterprise Academy. Confirmed speakers include Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon and Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner. 

 At 1.45pm, DYT Senior Consultant teacher, Jules Daulby will be contributing to a panel on Leading – new landscape, new structures; same challenges?” Jules will be joined on the panel by Robin Street, Co-principal, UCL Academy and Tom Rees, Headteacher of Simon de Senlis in Northampton.  

Follow us on twitter for live updates of the day.

TES SEN show

The TES SEND Show – celebrating it’s 25th year – is one of the landmark events in the SEND calendar.

DYT Consultant Teacher Nancy Gedge will be delivering a seminar at this years SEN show. Nancy’s seminar – ‘The View from the other side of the fence: Why include? Who is it for?’ – will be taking place between 15.30 – 16.30 on day two of the Show.

As well as Nancy’s seminar, DYT are excited to be an official exhibitor at the TES SEN show. So, please do come and see us at conference stand 17 to chat with us about all things DYT – including our flagship programme, Drive for Literacy.

In the News

Mixed-ability groupings help us all learn together
DYT Consultant teacher, Nancy Gedge writes for TES arguing “Children learn from each other when they are not unintentionally excluded by teachers.”

National statistics on phonics screening check and KS1 assessments released
Statistics released last week show that 81% of pupils met the expected standard in the phonics check at the end of Year 1, Schools Week cover the findings here.  However, last week’s publications by the Department for Education also show that almost one in four did not reach the expected standard in reading at the end of Year 2.

Greening: Teaching will cease to be only for university graduates.
Schools Week have interviewed the Education Secretary, she set out new thinking on routes into teaching and prioritising alternative provision.

‘Her speech might have been short on detail, but Justine Greening does appear to want to work with the profession’
General Secretary of ASCL, Geoff Barton reflects on Greening’s speech for TES.


Dan Baynes is Policy and Research Executive for Driver Youth Trust

Dan Baynes, Driver Youth Trust