Monthly Archives: March 2014

Annal Nayyar :New assessment system will focus on accountability

The Government has announced the outline of the new assessment and accountability system for schools, to begin in September 2016. The document makes it clear that the new system is designed to hold schools to account for the progress and attainment of their pupils and students.  Children will be tested at four and again at seven and 11

Schools are expected to be able to choose from a range of commercially published tests which have yet to be developed. There will be a new benchmark for attainment in English and maths at equivalent to the current level 4b. It will be expected that at least 85 per   cent of children in a school will achieve this standard in both subjects. Schools will have to publish on their web sites data for attainment and progress for their 11 year old pupils, comparing them to other children, nationally, who had similar starting points in the test at age four. Secondary schools will publish pupils’ progress from age 11 to 16 (compared to others with the same results at age 11); what their pupils’ average grade is across eight subjects;

what proportion of their pupils achieve at least a C in English and maths, and  what proportion of their pupils achieve the EBacc.

Annal Nayyar-Fourteen academy chains have been barred from running more schools because of concerns over, among other things, the standards and financial management in the ones they run now, MPs have been told.

Fourteen academy chains have been barred from running more schools because of concerns over, among other things, the standards and financial management in the ones they run now, MPs have been told.

The 14 chains, which include the biggest – Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) – are responsible for running about 200 state schools between them.

The news, which emerged on Wednesday, Budget Day, has fuelled claims that the Coalition Government took advantage of the Chancellor’s speech to bury bad news.

It has also reignited the row over whether Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, should be given power to inspect academy chains in the same way that it inspects individual schools and local authorities.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief schools inspector, and David Laws, the Liberal Democrat Schools minister, believe that Ofsted should be empowered to inspect academies, but so far Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has not backed such a move.

AET runs 77 schools and had prompted concerns over its rapid expansion. Another of the chains is E-ACT, which was forced to hand back a third of its 34 schools this year because of poor Ofsted reports.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “My main concern is for the children in those schools they already run – and whether they are getting a decent standard of education.

“It is one thing to say they can’t run any more schools, but what’s happening in  the schools already in place?

“These schools are left in no-man’s-land. When you add to this some of the free school fiasco, it is a story of educational failure. The issue has always been a lack of any local control over the schools.”

John Denham, the Labour MP and former Universities minister who had asked  how many chains had been barred, added: “It is extraordinary that so many academy chains have been barred from running schools.

“This will fuel attempts to make sure the academy chains are inspected – and not just individual academies.”

Annal Nayyar comments on the latest across a National Schools Formula

The Department recently announced a proposal for an additional funding allocation in 2015-16. It appears that the coalition government are reluctant to commit to a full national funding formula during this term.  It seems likely to occur after the next general election?

Annal Nayyar-Could it happen in your school…?…or worse, is it happening in your school……?

With 3,689 Academies now open in England (as of 1st March 2014) and a number of high profile weaknesses in financial regularity and propriety highlighted there is increasing focus on the Financial Governance structures and skill sets in place for Academy Governors and Accounting Officers to discharge their financial responsibilities.

Could it happen in your school…?…or worse, is it happening in your school……?

The following occurrences of poor financial stewardship have been identified at Academies; Accounting Officer failing in responsibility for prudent & economical administration, Inappropriate and personal use of school resources in school time and failure to reimburse the school budget, use of extravagant venues and refreshments to host senior leadership meetings, failure to declare business interests, favouritism towards family members for employment, undeclared gifts and hospitality from school suppliers, inaccurate financial management and governance self assessment, failure to reconcile bank statements, failure to reclaim VAT incurred, lack of supporting invoices for payments, failure to undertake competitive tendering, inappropriate use of petty cash, lack of effective internal control.

How can you identify if you have a potentially toxic financial environment?

FiS-EdSolutions Ltd have been working and supporting schools and academies in all aspects of financial management. Qualified Accountants with 25 years experience of schools finance they can help you by undertaking a financial health check of your financial governance and work with you to put things right. With a track record of success in improving schools financial management can you afford not to speak to them?

Annal Nayyar – document provides an overview of the formula factor values chosen by local authorities as at 6 March 2014.

It provides charts and brief commentary on the ranges of unit funding amounts they have selected, and the proportions of schools block funding attributed under each of the permitted factors.

In January 2014, local authorities in England submitted to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) their formulae for allocating their dedicated schools grant (DSG) schools block funding for 2014-15 to their schools. For 2014-15, schools are funded using a maximum of thirteen clearly defined factors. Details of the formula factors that local authorities can use for distributing their schools block funding were described in the document School funding reform: findings from the review of 2013 to 2014 – arrangements and changes for 2014 to 2015, which was published by the Department for Education (DfE) in June 2013.

The funding formulae data file is also included.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-block-funding-formulae-2014-to-2015

Annal Nayyar reports Ofsted to consult on changes to schools’ inspections

Head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw has announced a consultation on the

introduction of more frequent, lighter touch, one-day inspections by HMI for good and outstanding schools. He made the announcement in a speech last Friday to the annual

conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in Birmingham. Michael Cladingbowl, head of schools at Ofsted, said the proposed one-day inspections would be to see how things were going at schools rated good or outstanding, and look at data and behaviour. The inspectors would either validate what the school was doing or move the process on to a full

inspection.

Annal Nayyar reports Local government staff offered 1% pay increase

Local government staff offered 1% pay increase Council staff have been offered a 1% pay increase in an agreement affecting over one million employees. The increase would take affect from 1 April 2014, with those on salaries under £14,880 receiving a slightly higher increase. The National Employers said the deal was fair for staff and taxpayers considering the ‘financial pressures’ faced by local government. Cllr Sian Timoney, chair of the Employers’ Side, said: ‘There is a broad consensus among councils that there should be a pay offer to staff this year. ‘At a time when local government is tackling the biggest cuts in living memory, this offer balances our commitment to increase the pay of our hardworking employees with the responsibility we have to address the significant financial pressures we face. ’We believe that this is a fair deal for employees, given the limits of what we can afford, and a fair deal for the taxpayers and residents who use and pay for the vital services which local government provides.’

Annal Nayyar reports Fourteen academy chains have been barred from running more schools because of concerns over, among other things, the standards and financial managemen

Source :The Independent Newspaper 21 March 2014

Fourteen academy chains have been barred from running more schools because of concerns over, among other things, the standards and financial management in the ones they run now, MPs have been told.

The 14 chains, which include the biggest – Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) – are responsible for running about 200 state schools between them.

The news, which emerged on Wednesday, Budget Day, has fuelled claims that the Coalition Government took advantage of the Chancellor’s speech to bury bad news.

It has also reignited the row over whether Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, should be given power to inspect academy chains in the same way that it inspects individual schools and local authorities.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief schools inspector, and David Laws, the Liberal Democrat Schools minister, believe that Ofsted should be empowered to inspect academies, but so far Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has not backed such a move.

AET runs 77 schools and had prompted concerns over its rapid expansion. Another of the chains is E-ACT, which was forced to hand back a third of its 34 schools this year because of poor Ofsted reports.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “My main concern is for the children in those schools they already run – and whether they are getting a decent standard of education.

“It is one thing to say they can’t run any more schools, but what’s happening in  the schools already in place?

“These schools are left in no-man’s-land. When you add to this some of the free school fiasco, it is a story of educational failure. The issue has always been a lack of any local control over the schools.”

John Denham, the Labour MP and former Universities minister who had asked  how many chains had been barred, added: “It is extraordinary that so many academy chains have been barred from running schools.

“This will fuel attempts to make sure the academy chains are inspected – and not just individual academies.”

He accused the Department for Education of attempting to “bury bad news”, adding: “I put down a number of questions a week last Monday and all bar this one were answered quite quickly.”

The Department for Education rejected his claim, saying it was “way off beam” and that the information had been available to the House on Tuesday. However, Mr Denham said it had not been published in Hansard until Budget Day.

In his response to Mr Denham’s question, Edward Timpson, an education minister, said: “The Government is tough on under-performance wherever it occurs – be it in council-run schools or in academy chains.”

The DfE spokesman added that the 14 academy sponsors that had been barred from taking on new commitments were out of a total of 350.

Annal Nayyar reports on The School Data Dashboard provides a snapshot of school performance at Key Stages 1, 2 and 4

The School Data Dashboard provides a snapshot of school performance at Key Stages 1, 2 and 4

The School Data Dashboard complements the Ofsted school inspection report by providing an analysis of school performance over a three-year period. Data can be filtered by key stage or by topic:

  • Expected progress
  • Attainment
  • Attendance
  • Closing the gap between disadvantaged and other pupils
  • Context

Users are asked to refer to the guidance document for additional information on the measures contained in the reports.

http://dashboard.ofsted.gov.uk/

 

 

Annal Nayyar blogs Budget 2014: local government

Annal Nayyar blogs Budget 2014: local government

The 2014 Budget speech held no great surprises for local government, with extra cash for flooding, roads and housing taking centre stage.

Chancellor George Osborne stepped up to the deliver his penultimate budget before the 2015 General Election, with news that the economy is recovering faster than forecast, and the deficit is dropping.

‘The OBR has revised down the underlying deficit in every year of their forecast. Before we came to office was 11% – this year it will be 6.6%,’ the Chancellor claimed. By 2018/19 he suggests there will be no deficit at all.

In public sector pay, Mr Osborne claimed the Government had introduced the Hutton pension reforms, and promised a ‘prudential’ approach to pay. ‘It is the right thing to ensure Britain lives within her means,’ he said.