We know people who work in schools and trusts are busy supporting students, preparing materials, attending meetings and completing multitudes of ‘essential’ paperwork so it can be difficult to make time to sit down and read the latest education news.
As it’s our job to give schools and trusts insight into their most essential needs, we thought we’d help you out by compiling some of the education stories that hit headlines this week:
- Sex education review announced after MPs raise concerns
- Labour pledges to introduce annual school safeguarding review as part of reforms
- 10 trusts lined up to run attendance hubs
- The return of academy trust league tables
- Teacher strikes: what would pause the walkouts?
1. Sex education review announced after MPs raise concerns
The government will review how sex education is taught in schools in England following concerns that children are being exposed to "inappropriate" content.
Rishi Sunak said the review would ensure schools are not teaching "contested content" in Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE). The Department for Education (DfE) will carry out the review. But James Bowen, director of policy at the NAHT school leaders’ union, said it was “hard to be anything other than deeply concerned by this announcement”.
Source: Sex education review announced after MPs raise concerns - BBC News
Our Safeguarding in the Curriculum report uncovers pupils' feelings about the current coverage of the RSE/PSHE curriculum. The report covers three main areas; coverage of the RSE/PSHE curriculum, pupil perceptions of value and support from teachers. Sign up to receive the report.
2. Labour pledges to introduce annual school safeguarding review as part of reforms
A Labour government would introduce an annual review of safeguarding in schools as part of plans to overhaul Ofsted, the shadow education secretary said.
Bridget Phillipson says parents “deserve better” than the current accountability system as she sets out plans to consult on a “report card” to replace the four headline grades that Ofsted awards to schools.
In a speech at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) annual conference, Ms Phillipson announced proposals to bring in an annual review of safeguarding following concerns about sexual harassment in schools.
Source: Labour pledges to introduce annual school safeguarding review as part of reforms | The Independent
Over the last 6 months, we’ve carried out England’s largest-ever review of children’s feelings and safety in school and beyond. Here’s what we found.
3. 10 trusts lined up to run attendance hubs
Up to 10 multi-academy trusts are lined up to establish attendance hubs after education secretary Gillian Keegan urged sector leaders to get involved.
The rollout of the programme follows a pilot project run by Northern Education Trust, which involved around 60 schools working together to tackle absence.
The idea behind the hubs is that a lead school will share its approaches to attendance with a network of schools that have similar cohorts and challenges.
Source: 10 academy trusts lined up to run school attendance hubs | Tes
Our data found that worryingly, 1 in 10 pupils have missed school because they feel unsafe. We can see that more pupils feel safe online than at school or out of school. For pupils who felt unsafe in school, other pupils were the most likely to make them feel unsafe. 12% of pupils who felt unsafe at school felt that way due to a teacher.
4. The return of academy trust league tables
Big education news for trusts is for the first time in three years, the Government has published trust performance data. The trust figures cover key stage four results from 2022, when secondary pupils sat external exams for the first time since before the pandemic.
The government recently said that public data was “important” for parents and students, but urged them to use it “cautiously” and ask schools for context given Covid’s uneven impact.
As schools now find themselves making a return to the way they have always done things, some lessons can be learned to ensure data is being used in a positive rather than a damaging way.
Source: 10 Academy trust league tables are back: what do they tell us? (schoolsweek.co.uk)
There are plenty of ways for schools and trusts to share data that isn't just focused on student performance. For example, pupil learning experience, staff retention and parental engagement are all key areas that stakeholders look for. Our surveys cover these (and more) and due to our large datasets, you can easily compare against the national average.
5. Teacher strikes: what would pause the walkouts?
Walk-outs by teachers across England are again hitting education news. Taking place throughout March, there's a stalemate between the government and unions that is showing no signs of being resolved.
Education secretary, Gillian Keegan, has offered to “consider a settlement” on pay, including discussions about next year’s increase and a “non-consolidated award for 2022-23”. She would also continue discussions on “workload, terms and conditions’ improvements, and productivity-enhancing reforms”. But she insists strikes must be called off for formal talks to begin.
However, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary at National Education Union, said there was “no need for a precondition of halting strikes. A decent offer will result in the NEU pausing strike action as members consider the pay deal. Halting strike action for a serious offer can be done quickly, as all at the DfE know.”
Source: Teacher strikes: What would it take to pause the walkouts? (schoolsweek.co.uk)
Recent research shows that the proportion of school staff considering resigning now is higher than before the pandemic. Data from our Staff Wellbeing survey shows that overall, the number of staff of all roles considering resigning increased from 34% in the 2020/21 academic year to a four-year record survey high of 42% in 2021/22.