The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Alex Masters

DfE round-up week ending 27/7/15

From data security and pupil premium funding to post-16 education, the DfE released another raft of reports last week. Alex Masters offers a condensed version.

Leadership and governance

Advice: the DfE’s advice publications for schools and LAs which reflect the current legal position but may not reflect the current government’s policies. Changes: find documents about making significant changes to schools (for example, expansion), closing schools and opening new schools. New schools: departmental advice on establishing new schools to help you understand how to comply with the law and what policies mean in practice. You do not have to follow the advice. UTCs: the deadline for applications to establish a university technical college (UTC) is 29 January 2016. To help groups interested in opening a UTC, the DfE will publish guidance this autumn on the application process. Free schools: approved wave 4 free school applications. Parents: these documents relate to recently closed parental responsibility measures attendance census collections, including: the scope of the collection and what data needed to be submitted. There is also information on how LAs should collect and submit data. AP census: a guide for local authorities and providers of alternative provision to help them complete and submit alternative provision census 2016 data. Includes technical specification and validation rules and documents related to recently closed AP census collections. Database: a guide to the national pupil database, individualised learner record and Higher Education Statistics Agency data extract requests. Pupil numbers: find out national pupil projections for the number of pupils in schools by type of school and age group.

Teaching and learning

Languages: the government has stepped in to secure the future of GCSEs and A-levels in community languages such as Panjabi and Turkish. Sixth form: details on the proportion of courses completed at school and academy sixth-forms during the 2013 to 2014 academic year. PE: details of the subject content and assessment objectives for GCE AS and A-level specifications in physical education for teaching from 2016. The arts: this details the number of pupils entering arts subjects from 2010 to 2014. Post-16: this explains how the government will support a restructure of the post-16 education and training sector. Qualifications: the DfE has issued guides for awarding organisations and technical guidance on applying for 16-19 qualifications to be counted in future performance tables. Apprenticeships: this offers guidance for trailblazers and explains how to develop new apprenticeships in England, from bidding to develop a standard to preparing for the standard to be used.

SEN and safeguarding

Safety: the DfE has issued statutory guidance on safeguarding children and safer recruitment. This replaces the 2014 guidance. The DfE has also published guidance on ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006’. Data: advice on how schools need to consider data security when moving services and sensitive information to internet-based facilities of cloud computing. SEN: find information from the school census on pupils with special educational needs (SEN), and SEN provision in schools. Social care: letters to LAs about funding for the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. The first letter explains the purpose of the grant and gives details of payments to LAs. The second letter gives details of payments agreed after February 2015. Services: a direction issued by DfE to Sunderland city council due to its inadequate performance in children's social care services. Childcare: from January 2016, deregulatory childcare measures will include single registration of multiple premises and flexibilities for childminders, who will be able to operate from suitable non-domestic premises. FGM: The Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation met Heathrow’s Safeguarding and Trafficking Team to hear how they protect girls at risk of female genital mutilation. The DfE are updating their ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance. Ministers have also signed a declaration outlining the UK’s progress on the issue of FGM and forced marriage since the Girl Summit 2014. One Year On highlights some of the inspiring actions being taken around the world. Safeguarding: an independent commentary on Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board’s report into child sexual exploitation in their area. Councils: improvement notices about children's services issued to councils.

School business management

EYPP: the DfE has issued a very useful model form and letter for parents regarding the early years pupil premium. There are also statistics on early years provision for children under five years in England. SEND funding: the consultation has now concluded. The DfE said that the feedback will inform the development of future changes. See also details of research by Isos Partnership. Free schools: find out the capital funding received by each free school. UTCs: a range of spreadsheets that set out revenue spending on UTCs and studio school projects.


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