Archive | January, 2017

The National Funding Formula beckons and schools/ academies will feel the winter chill of financial reductions

1 Jan

Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, unveiled to parliament on 14 December 2016 details of the National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools.   Consultations will close on 22 March 2017.

The introduction of the NFF will be a two-stage process.

(a)   From April 2018, the government will redistribute the overall school/academy funding to local authorities and directly to academies and free schools in accordance with the new formula.  However, local authorities will remain in control of allocating the school funding in accordance with their own, unique formulas.

(b)   From April 2019, there will be a National Funding Formula (which the DfE has styled a hard NFF) and local arrangements for the sharing will be eliminated.

Altogether, 10,740 schools/academies (54%) may see an increase but 9,128 (46%) could suffer severe losses.  Small rural schools/academies stand to gain and those in cities with increasing wealth will be hit.   But even schools which stand to benefit will see increases outweighed by extra expenditure over the rest of this parliament, i.e. to 2020.

Ms Greening said that schools/academies could lose up to 3% of their budgets over the next two years.  She told MPs: “The proposals for funding reform will mean that all schools and local areas will now receive a consistent and a fair share of the schools’ budget so that they can have the best possible chance to give every child the opportunity to reach their (sic) full potential.

“Once implemented the formula will mean that wherever a family lives in England, their children will attract a similar level of funding, and one that properly reflects their needs.”

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‘NowTeach’ seeks to lure industrial compatriots into teaching

1 Jan

I        Teacher recruitment crisis

The number of teachers leaving the profession has increased by 11% over three years according to a report from the National Audit Office. The shortfall in teachers has been exacerbated by ministers failing to hit their recruitment targets for four consecutive years (despite a £700m annual bill for their efforts). More secondary school classes are being taught by teachers without relevant post-A-Level qualifications in their subjects – especially in physics.

When The Guardian did a straw poll of teachers, one told reporters, “With fewer teachers in certain subjects, some teachers have had to move over to a different department or straddle more than one. This can be a good thing if you have a brilliant teacher who can pick up a topic quickly but, more often than not, a teacher is being asked to slide into a different teaching area and offered no support.

“Maths is my subject and I know a great deal of Maths teachers without a degree. I am not saying this is the worst thing, but not having an A-level in Maths is certainly a problem for most of them. Those teachers tend to be the ones trotting out the same error-filled lessons and are understandably scared and insecure when confronted with their own lack of expertise.”

A headteacher said: “We now have a situation where it’s so hard to find a good head of department in certain subjects that if you promote someone to an assistant headship, for example, you have to ask them (sic) to continue doing their (sic) old job too. So someone might be a head of department and an assistant head and teach a 90% timetable. This is driving people out as it puts them under so much pressure.”

A member of the leadership team at another school remarked: “A shortage of teachers means that those higher up in the profession don’t have time to help less-qualified teachers. Students as well as teachers are being let down because of it.  When there’s an observation or a department is being inspected, your heart sinks because you know certain teachers aren’t going to be perceived as good enough.  This is especially the case when you have a supply or agency teacher in as they (sic) tend to get even less support.

“Inconsistency is, therefore, a big issue.  In certain subjects that are harder to recruit for, you might have 10-15 staff members of varying standards and levels of training and support. It’s probably true that none of them gets enough support.  I have waited more than six months to get feedback from a lesson observation by an assistant headteacher – by the time I got it, it was worse than useless.”

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Data from international tests rain down in Autumn 2016 like confetti

1 Jan

In the last week of November 2016, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) published its report on the Trends in Maths and Science Study (TIMMS).  A week later, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) – an arm of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – published its findings.   Both are based on a battery of tests which samples of pupils/students took in 2015.

I        TIMMS

TIMMS is a survey of the educational achievements of pupils in years 5 (aged nine-to-ten year olds) and 9 (aged 13-to-14 year olds) in 57 participating countries, as well as comparisons of the curriculum and the teaching of Mathematics and Science.

The national report for England found that while the country’s maths results are now at the highest point for 20 years in both age groups, overall improvement is still lagging behind other countries. Since the first assessment in 1995, England’s score in Maths increased by 12.8% for year 5 and by 4% for year 9. Despite this, the score is behind top-achieving countries who have seen more rapid improvement. The East Asian group of countries continued to perform extremely well across the assessments.

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