Education Policy and Research Service 2023-2024 Weekly Update 27 March 2024

Dear Subscribers

Welcome to our last set of weekly updates before Easter! The next set will be out in the week beginning 15th April.  

In a recent update, I mentioned Ofsted’s Big Listen, a major consultation launched in the wake of the death of headteacher Ruth Perry. A children’s version of the Big Listen was launched last week. It consists of a series of short questions for children to answer anonymously. It can be accessed here. In addition to the children’s consultation, Ofsted is partnering with a number of organisations to hold a series of Big Listen focus groups with care-experienced children and young people, including those in the youth justice system.  

Moving on to the theme of food, there is updated guidance for local authorities on free school meals which includes new information about children receiving education otherwise than at school (EOTAS) and reasonable adjustments for disabled children. The guidance states that, for children who would normally qualify for benefits-related free school meals, ‘We expect local authorities to consider making equivalent food provision’.   

And now something of which staff in sixth forms and further education colleges should be aware. The DfE is running a pilot (the modular acceleration programme or MAP) to fund tuition fees for learners who study modules of higher technical qualifications (HTQ), such as a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) which are levels 4 and 5. The programme and learning must be completed by 31 August 2025. More details can be found here.  

Staying with the theme of vocational education, I wonder if your institution has considered offering T levels? There is new information for Post-16 providers on how to register to offer T levels in the 2026-27 academic year.   

Turning to sport, the DfE has published a new guidance document, Enhancing physical education provision and access to sport and physical activity in school. The document explains how schools can meet the ambitions of the PE national curriculum, the aims of the school sport and activity action plan, and the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines. The document includes examples of good practice which would be of interest to both senior leaders and curriculum leads for PE.  

May I take this opportunity to wish you an enjoyable and refreshing Easter break!

I look forward to updating you again after the holidays.

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