Education Policy and Research Service 2023-2024 Weekly Update 15 May 2024

Dear Subscribers

I hope that you all enjoyed the sunshine last weekend!

Firstly, take note of an announcement from Ofsted at the end of last week. The inspectorate has stated that its report website will now show all the sub-judgements which a school receives (quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management) as well as the headline overall effectiveness judgement. The website will also display the sub-judgement for any early years or sixth form provision at the school. Ofsted describes the measure as ‘a small but important step in helping parents get more from Ofsted’s inspection reports.’

Moving on to school attendance with an upbeat press release on the DfE website this week. Against a backdrop of considerable concern about pupil absence, the DfE strikes an optimistic note with the announcement of a new absence data tool, which will enable schools to identify absence trends across different year groups and pupil characteristics, in the hope that measures to drive up absence can be more targeted. The announcement signposts readers to an OECD report, which has ‘recognised England’s wide ranging and comprehensive strategy for tackling school absence’. I shall be including this in the May summaries, which are now underway!

A notice for any T level providers – this week there is an updated list of Higher education institutions which accept T levels for entry. The providers on this list have confirmed that they will accept T levels for entry onto at least one course. I am pleased to see that the University of Bristol is on the list!

There is a new consultation on the DfE website this week on proposals to strengthen protections for children in unregistered alternative provision settings. Alternative provision is education outside school arranged by local authorities or schools. Many schools and local authorities commission education from providers that are not schools – this is collectively known as alternative provision. This consultation is a follow up to a call for evidence which was held in 2022. It will run until 5th July.

This week is mental health awareness week, and there is a data release on pupil’s mental health support to fit the theme. The DfE reports on its delivery to date of the commitments which it made in the green paper ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health’. It reports that as of March 2024, 16,700 settings have claimed a grant to train a senior mental health lead – this  represents 70 per cent of the total number of settings that were eligible to apply. There are nearly 8,500 schools and colleges participating in the Mental Health Support Team (MHST) programme in 2023-24 based on schools and college lists returned from MHSTs. This equates to 34% of schools and colleges in England who are part of the MHST programme.

I have made a start on the Bristol Guide 2024-25, our essential education handbook – lots of revisions to make for the next edition! I am sure that most of you are aware of the Guide – if not, check it out. An invaluable resource, not only for providers of initial teacher training and the early career framework, but also for staff in schools and education consultants.

I look forward to updating you next week.

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