Policy Update, Oct 30

A look at the events and articles to be aware of in the education and SEND world.

Powered By Driver Youth Trust.

 As we enter the last week before the November recess, Parliament is winding down but Ofsted is in the spotlight of educational news with Labour and the Education Committee challenging the work of the school’s inspector.

Angela Rayner: Ofsted is ‘not fit for purpose’

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner argued that OFSTED was ‘not fit for purpose’ and that it would be an entirely different body under a Labour government. Specifically criticising OFSTED’s approach to children with SEND, Rayner’s comments coincided with further information on Labour’s ‘National Education Service’.

OFSTED rejected her claims, saying inspectors “pay particular attention” to how well schools support pupils with SEND.

Greening backs part-time PRU’s to reduce permanent exclusions

Education Secretary Justine Greening called for a ‘race to the top’ in the quality of PRU’s. In an Education select committee hearing on PRU’s, Greening argued that having children split their time between mainstream education and alternative provision may hold the key to reducing permanent exclusions.

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

  • David Drew on the Government’s policy on secondary school inclusion; and how that policy has been taken account of in the new funding formula.
  • Tracy Babin asked how many children with both special educational needs and a disability have received a 30 hours free childcare eligibility.
  • Paul Williams on how many 16-25 year olds with autism had access to a statement or EHC plan.
  • Lucy Frazer asked the Department if they will assess the potential merits of increasing the number of non-pupil days for special needs schools to allow teachers to train to meet pupils’ health needs.


On Tuesday: 

Education Committee @ 10am 

The committee is set to hear from Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, and its chair, Julius Weinberg.

House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee @ 3:30pm 

The economics of higher, further and technical education.

Westminster Hall debate @ 4:30pm 

Angela Eagle raises the issue of education funding in her Wirral constituency.

On Wednesday: 

Westminster Hall debate @ 11am 

Anna Soubry leads discussion on Olympic sports and accepted GCSE PE activities. It comes as the government announced it is making £320m p.a. available to primary schools under its PE and Sports Premium.

On Thursday: 

Main Chamber after 9:30am 

Debate on a Motion on sexual harassment and violence in schools. From the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller and Labour’s Jess Phillips. There is concern from the committee about the rising number of sexual assaults in schools, and will debate the need for new specific guidance to be developed by schools to tackle this issue.

The Education Committee’s call for evidence of their inquiry into the quality of alternative provision (AP) closes on Wednesday. Department for Education statistics indicate that there are 353 Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) schools in England and 15,000 students in PRUs, an increase of 16% since 2011/12.

Look out for our fact sheet on AP and exclusions and feed into DYT’s response to the inquiry by contacting daniel.baynes@driveryouthtrust.com. 

Prime Minister unveils plans to transform mental health support. The government will release a green paper to transform mental health support in schools, we’ll keep you updated on when this happens and how to have your say on what is needed.

  • Five things to be positive on the future of children’s mental health (Schools Week)
  • Academy accounts: 165 trusts in deficit and 4 other things we learned (TES)
  • Government ‘developing fundamental British values curriculum’ (Schools Week)


Dan Baynes, Driver Youth Trust