Monthly Archives: June 2015

Fis-edsolutions ltd blogs Tough targets to stop schools from ‘coasting’

Grammar schools and high-performing comprehensives and primaries are expected to be among hundreds of schools targeted in a crackdown on ”coasting” schools.

Head teachers who fail to ensure that bright children are stretched to their full potential will be removed or have academy sponsors imposed.

Ministers accept that some schools rated “good” by Ofsted are likely to fall foul of new performance targets


Fis-edsolutions ltd blogs School governors to be named on national database

A national database of school governors in England is going to be created, says the government.

Until now there has been no central register of who is serving as a school governor.

The announcement is a response to the Trojan Horse claims about schools in Birmingham being taken over by groups with a hardline Muslim agenda.

The Department for Education says it will deliver more “transparency” for parents and the wider community.

Records gap

Among the problems identified by the Trojan Horse inquiries was that governors had been interfering in the running of schools and had undermined head teachers.

There were calls for more oversight of governors, but as the BBC revealed in February, the Department for Education did not have a register to check who was serving on governing bodies.

This raised questions about a lack of knowledge about who was in these positions of influence and whether there were networks of individuals who had become governors in multiple schools.

Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, had said that many parents would have been surprised to discover that the Department for Education did not keep a record of people who were school governors.

A report last year said that there were about 350,000 governors, with a major role in overseeing £46bn of school spending.

The Local Government Association called for more oversight to identify governors with “ill intentions”.

But in the government’s response to the Trojan Horse report, which argued that MPs had downplayed the seriousness of the problems in Birmingham, there are now plans to gather information about governors.

“We will create a national database of school governors by toughening up requirements on schools to publish the identities of their governors,” says the education department.

The details of governors published by schools should also include “details of where they serve on governing bodies of schools elsewhere”.

This will help “enable more effective oversight,” says the Department for Education’s response.

But Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governors’ Association, said that the proposed “national database” will initially rely on information being published on the individual school websites, including whether they govern at another school.

Ms Knights said there should have been more attention drawn to another change in the wake of the Trojan Horse reports, that “no-one should govern on more than two governing boards unless there are exceptional circumstances”.

“But in many places this has not yet been implemented and has not been well communicated,” she said.

“We are disappointed that the DfE did not take advantage of this report on Trojan Horse to highlight this guidance to schools which seeks to limit the undue influence of individuals.”

Fis-edsolutions ltd blogs report – Teachers told to name pupils at risk of radicalisation

TEACHERS will be legally required to identify and report children thought to be vulnerable to recruitment by terrorists, according to guidance being sent to all schools tomorrow.

A manual has been sent to every local council outlining the training to be given to all schools. It sets out steps to help staff identify children vulnerable to extremism and includes case studies of young people at risk of radicalisation.

The move follows the departure of a number of British schoolchildren to join the jihadist cause in Syria. It is the first time that the education department has sent specific statutory guidance on extremism to schools.

Schools will also be required to build children’s resilience to radicalisation and make sure that pupils accept British values, such as democracy and tolerance of other religions and cultures.

Fis-edsolutions ltd report -National tests for England’s infant pupils ‘could return’

Ministers are planning to revive national tests for seven-year-olds in England, according to the Times Educational Supplement.

Currently, Year 2 pupils sit tests in reading, writing, maths and science which are marked by teachers and moderated by local councils.

The results of any new tests would be used to hold schools to account on pupils’ progress, the TES says.

Teaching unions have already threatened to boycott any new national tests.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb is reported to be considering the proposals as his department gets to grips with how pupil progress is to be measured and recorded now the system of National Curriculum levels has been scrapped.

This was the system of checking pupils’ year-by-year progress against a set of national expectations.

‘Step too far’

Pupils are expected to reach two levels of progress between the end of infant school – or Key Stage 1 (KS1) – and the end of primary school, or Key Stage 2 (KS2). Schools are held to account on this through the league tables.

A source told the TES: “Nick Gibb is looking at the idea of scrapping teacher assessment in KS1 tests entirely in favour of having reported tests.

“It is because there is a difficulty with using teacher assessment for progress, plus they want to reduce teachers’ workload.

“The issue is that you can’t measure progress accurately with teacher assessment, and there are incentives for schools to depress pupils’ scores to show progress is being made.”

Any move to bring in national tests for infant pupils would be controversial, as teaching unions have long argued that they skew learning and can set children up to fail in the early years, when youngsters develop at different speeds.

Ofsted support

The KS1 national tests for seven-year-olds were scrapped more than a decade ago after complaints that seven, or six in some cases, was too early an age to put children through the stress of external testing.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, which represents mainly primary schools, said reintroducing these tests would be seen as “a step too far”.

He added: “My members would take it very badly if they had to abandon teachers’ assessment, which was a key part of the review we agreed upon years ago.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said bringing back tests would be a “total nonsense”.

However, the move is supported by Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, who, in 2013, called for the return of the tests.

Formal, externally marked national tests for 11-year-olds remain and are used to measure how well schools are serving pupils through school league tables.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Tests have always been a part of assessment arrangements at Key Stage 1.

“We have already announced that tests to assess the new national curriculum are being developed, to be brought in from summer 2016, and schools will be informed of the arrangements for teacher assessment by September 2015.”


Fis-edsolutions ltd blogs Fewer pupils signed up to PPG

A government priority in providing  free school meals for all students between the ages of five and seven could see disadvantaged pupils worse off as the scheme takes away one of the incentives which encouraged parents to sign up for the pupil premium initiative. Registration for pupil premium funding provides a free school meal for the student but also directs £1,320 to his or her school in an effort to improve the performance of disadvantaged students. Department of Education figures show that 1.6% fewer pupils were signed onto the scheme between 2014 and 2015,

Fis-edsolutions ltd blogs Tories’ flagship free school outperforms Wellington and Marlborough in A level results

The Tories’ flagship free school, the London Academy of Excellence, has outperformed the likes of Wellington College, Roedean and Marlborough College.

Set up in Newham, a deprived part of East London, the school is the first of its kind to see more students score AAB in at least two subjects commonly required by universities, like English and maths, than a number of top independent schools.

Of the 160 A level pupils on its roll, 63 of the first cohort achieved AAB in at least two facilitating subjects last summer – that is 39 per cent of the total number in the school sitting A-Levels.

Fis-edsolutions ltd reports on – Ofsted purges 1,200 ‘not good enough’ inspectors

Ofsted is ditching 1,200 school and college inspectors after assessing them as not good enough to judge schools.

The move by England’s education inspectorate is part of its plan to improve quality and consistency, and bring inspections in-house.

Ofsted had been using about 3,000 additional inspectors, contracted through inspection service providers.

Teachers have long complained about inspection quality, but Ofsted insists it does not mean it is substandard.

Speaking to the Times Educational Supplement, Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s head of quality and training, said the organisation wanted to have high quality inspectors.

‘Not up to the job’

He said: “I am committed to making sure that my colleagues in headship can be assured they have a good inspector walking up the path. I’m determined that will happen.”

But National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Russell Hobby said: “You look back and say, for the last few years we’ve been inspected by a group where 40% weren’t up to the job.

“If Sir Michael Wilshaw had done this from the start, we would have avoided everything that has followed.

“If people could say, ‘It’s tough but fair,’ then fine, but it was tough and unfair and tackling that should have been a priority.”

Sir Michael announced last year that Ofsted would no longer use such “additional inspectors”. These are inspectors employed by one of three private firms which are contracted to supply inspection services to Ofsted.

There have been numerous complaints that many of these inspectors did not have the relevant teaching or leadership experience.

Ofsted said of the 3,000 additional inspectors it was using, 2,800 had expressed an interest in becoming in-house Ofsted inspectors.

Fis-edsolutions ltd report on The Education Secretary welcomes the latest Ofsted inspection data

Today (16 June 2015) Ofsted published data on the latest inspection results for schools in England, which reveal the proportion of schools rated good or outstanding is at its highest level on record.

As of March this year, the figures show:

  • 82% of schools are rated good or outstanding, up 1 percentage point since August last year
  • the proportion of good or outstanding schools has risen by 1 percentage point for primary schools, and 2 percentage points for secondary schools since August last year
  • more than 1 million more pupils are in good or outstanding schools than in 2010

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hailed the figures, saying:

This report shows there are record numbers of children in good or outstanding schools, with the proportion of schools reaching this benchmark rising to 82% – the highest level on record.

This equates to more than 1 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than when we began our reforms in 2010, a testament to the hard work of teachers, headteachers and governors across the country.

At the heart of our commitment to social justice is our belief that every child deserves the opportunity to attend a good local school. Today’s figures are a cause for celebration for all of those with the best interests of children at heart.

Fis-edsolutions ltd reports on Submitting your academy trust’s 2014 to 2015 accounts to EFA

You will need to:

  • complete a short online form covering important information from your audited accounts
  • upload your audited accounts and auditor’s management letter to EFA’s Document Exchange

We will publish further information on how to do this by the autumn.

New trusts incorporated on or after 1 March 2015 need to contact EFA by 30 September 2015 if they intend to defer their first set of financial statements or to prepare dormant financial statements. The contact form is at the end of this page.

Fis-edsolutions ltd report on 14-15 The Academies Accounts Direction is the reference pack for academy trusts and their auditors to use when preparing and auditing financial statements for the accounting period ending on 31 August annually.

To produce the Accounts Direction, EFA takes requirements set out by the Charity Commission in its Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) and translates them into a form applicable to academy trusts. The Charity Commission issued a new SORP in July 2014, which is effective for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015. EFA produced a short guide on this in August 2014. Therefore, there are two versions of the Accounts Direction 2014 to 2015: one based on SORP 2015 and one based on the previous SORP, SORP 2005. Which version you use will depend on your academy trust’s date of incorporation.

The Accounts Direction outlines the requirements for each academy trust to:

  • prepare an annual report and financial statements to 31 August
  • have these accounts audited annually by independent registered auditors
  • produce a statement of regularity, propriety and compliance and obtain a regularity assurance report on this statement from the auditor
  • submit the audited accounts and auditor’s regularity assurance report to the EFA by 31 December
  • file the accounts with the Companies Registrar as required under the Companies Act 2006
  • publish the audited accounts on the trust’s website by 31 January

The Accounts Direction explains the elements you must include in your academy trust’s annual report and financial statements and the accounting treatments required. It also provides a model format for the report and the financial statements and ensures consistency of treatment between academy trusts.