Archive | August, 2013

Teachers’ salaries now predicated on performance

27 Aug

I           Introduction

As from September 2013, automatic progression up the pay scale for teachers ceased and was replaced by salary increases based on performance.   Every governing body is required to devise a pay policy for staff based on this change, albeit there are no statutory modifications to the manner in which staff on the Administrative, Technical, Professional and Clerical (ATPC) Scale are paid.

Previously, automatic progression happened only for those teachers on the main scale from points 1 to 6.   Teachers wishing to progress on to the upper pay spine (where there are three levels) had to demonstrate that their performances were excellent.   Advanced Skills Teachers (ASTs) and those on the leadership scale also had their salaries tied to performance.  However, there are now no free lunches for all teachers.  They will have to sing well for their supper. Continue reading

Young people must remain in Education, Employment and Training to 17

27 Aug

As from the summer of 2013, young people were required in England and Wales to be in education and/or training up to the age of 17. This will be raised to 18 in the summer of 2015.   They can move on to sixth form, tertiary or Further Education (FE) colleges. They could also take up employment at the age of 16 provided that they are also being trained simultaneously.  The government, through its Work Programme, has released funding for employers to hire apprentices for this purpose. Continue reading

Parents take back-seat in Free School Initiative

27 Aug

The number of Free Schools being established by parents has fallen to 5% of the most recent cohort of state-funded, independent schools.   In May 2013, the government announced that 102 new Free Schools had been approved to open in September 2014 – the fourth wave of free schools, which would bring the total up to 292.  But only 5% of the latest tranche is being spearheaded by parents.  In 2011, when Free Schools were first established, a third were started by parents, the most high-profile of which was the West London Free School of whom Toby Young, a journalist, was one of the founders.  Continue reading

“Hole in the Wall” Guru to develop Cloud Schools

27 Aug

Dr Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, is the winner of the 2013 TED prize of $1 million (£670,000).  He plans to build seven ‘Schools in the Clouds’ – five in India and two in England – to enable children to explore and learn from one another.   (Read more here.) Professor Mitra believes that children can teach themselves using the internet and that this can trigger vast improvements in a number of areas, including English comprehension.    “We must not assume that the only way they can learn to read is the way they are learning now,” he avers.   “Maybe they can learn to read by themselves.”

This is a development from his “Hole in the Wall” venture where he installed an internet-connected, child-height computer in a Delhi slum. Children worked out its functions by themselves which spawned his theory of the self-organised learning environment (SOLE). Continue reading

The Commons Education Select Committee releases July 2013 report on Governing Bodies

27 Aug

The Education Select Committee published its report on The Role of School Governing Body on 4 July 2013.  See the report here.

Its recommendations are as follows.  Continue reading

Ofsted turns its guns on Nurseries

27 Aug

The Standards of Education (Ofsted) watchdog will be bringing nursery schools under a more powerful microscope with tougher inspections.   Underperforming maintained and private schools will be closed if, when placed in special measures or given a notice to improve, fail to improve rapidly.  Also, nursery schools requiring improvement and failing to improve within a timeline of two years will be placed in special measures and could, if bouncing along at the bottom, be closed. Continue reading

Assessment of pupils’ achievements and progress grows in complexity

27 Aug

I           School developments

At an institutional (meta) level, it is a self-evident truth that information on pupils’ progress and achievement is essential when embarking on an exercise to improve the quality of educational provision at a school.  Teachers use performance data  (and there is lots about) to set challenging targets as well as contribute to future planning so that they encourage pupils to exploit as fully as possible their potential.

School governors have three sources of data:

i.            RAISEonline (see here and here) –  a mass of information issued by Ofsted and the DfE in the second half of the autumn term – which analyses the results and progress of the pupils over the last few years setting the data out in a national context.

ii.            The Family Fischer Trust (FFT) analysis (see here), which sets out how well the pupils at the school are currently doing and what they should be attaining at the end of the key stages.

iii.            Ofsted dashboard (see here), where governors can access a summary of the data that are presented in RAISEonline.

A health warning about Ofsted’s dashboard at this point is apposite.  The website is a summary of end-of-key-stage results and does not provide detailed information about the progress that pupils are making year-on-year, something that inspectors scrutinise when they visit schools.  For this, governors rely on their headteachers to provide information so that it can be clinically scrutinised. Continue reading