Damian Hinds and his new education team faced their first questioning by MPs earlier today, as speculation about the future of the new Children’s Minister grew over the weekend (see more on this below).
Hinds also released the single departmental plan today, which (as I guessed in my blog) is remarkably similar in tone and substance to the agenda of Justine Greening. Social mobility remains the overarching goal of the DfE with the four areas set out by Greening in December constructing the main priorities of the department (including “boosting access to high-quality early language and literacy”). Unfortunately, SEND only has one mention in the plan that commits to “taking forward the biggest changes to SEND provision in a generation,” and there is no place for the review that Greening promised into the attainment of vulnerable learners.
On the subject of Justine Greening, she has given her first interview since her resignation. She told Radio 4 it was a “privilege” to serve as Education Secretary and pledged to become a champion of the DfE’s new strategy – listen here from 2:13.
Pressure put on Children and Families Minister
Nadhim Zahawi is under pressure after he attended the President’s Club dinner “in a personal capacity”, the department for education said it would not comment further because “it was not official departmental business”.
Labour’s Angela Rayner has written to Damian Hinds calling on Zahawi to resign. It follows the resignation of David Meller, a non-exec director at the DfE who also attended the dinner.
Still there is no reply to my letter to the Secretary of State over minister Nadim Zahawi MP concerning his attendance at the #PresidentsClubCharityDinner so many questions still not answered pic.twitter.com/ZKIeQKK2RB
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) January 26, 2018
GCSE Results: more schools fall below floor standards
The attainment gap between pupils with SEN compared to pupils with no identified SEN remains the largest gap of all characteristics groups: pupils with SEN perform significantly worse than pupils with no identified SEN across all headline measures of attainment. The average Attainment 8 score per pupil with SEN was 27.1, compared to 49.5 for pupils with no identified SEN.
The government welcomed the fact that “more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, SEN pupils and pupils on free school meals are being entered for EBacc subjects since last year – helping ensure pupils have the knowledge and skills they need for future success.”
Monday 29th January
Damian Hinds faced his first Education Questions since his appointment earlier today. He stated that he is ‘carefully considering’ proposals to lift the faith cap on new free schools, refused to accept that schools are facing a funding crisis and committed to ensuring that LGBT+ is fully included in sexual and relationship education (more here.)
The new Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, answered five questions on SEND including from Maria Caulfield who asked if the department will accept the recommendations made in the APPG for Autism’s latest report.
Our thanks to @mariacaulfield for raising our report with the All Party Group on Autism in today's Education Questions in Parliament. Great to hear @nadhimzahawi looking seriously at recommendations. pic.twitter.com/7ZR9R74R6M
— NAS Campaigns (@NAScampaigns) January 29, 2018
Public Accounts Committee
Inquiry into Academy Schools Sector in England Consolidated Accounts 2015-16
The number of schools in deficit has increased over the last year, with academies set to see a similar trend, Jonathon Slater, the top Civil Servant at the Department for Education told the committee. Read more.
Tuesday 30th January
Education Select Committee
Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision
The Health and Education Committees hears from the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, and education providers, on new proposals of the green paper in joint inquiry on mental health provision for children and young people. Find out more.
Debate on Treatment of adults with autism by the criminal justice system
Led by Kevin Brennan MP
Wednesday 31st January
APPG for Autism
The APPG will be launching their report on Autism and Education, new Secretary of State Damian Hinds MP will be in attendance.
Debate on accessibility of public building for people with autism
Led by Thangam Debbonaire MP.
4.30pm – 5:30pm
Headteacher boards ignore SEND experts
Schools Week reports that headteacher boards have been ignoring post-16 and SEND experts in their decisions on academisation, despite promises made by the Department for Education.
Simon Knight, director of Whole School SEND, part of the London Leadership Strategy, said it was “concerning” that SEND experts do not have automatic seats on the boards.
DYT calls for this step to be taken immediately to enhance accountability of MATs to their SEND learners.
Shocker! RSCs should review SEND provision before they’re allowed to convert or grow as a MAT.
— Chris Rossiter (@_chrisrossiter) January 29, 2018
University with Disabled Student Allowance – well that didn’t work!
DYT Founder and Chair, Sarah Driver reflects on her experience of the DSA process. Read here.
Accessibility, Ease and Confidence with Browsealoud
DYT Operations Manager Anja Teichert takes us through the latest piece of accessible tech to arrive right here on the Driver Youth Trust Website. Read here.
Top academy schools sound alarm as cash crisis looms – The Observer
Major trusts warn overpay, staff levels and maintenance costs.
Schools need more money, says former No 10 chief, Nick Timothy – TES
The country is “tired of austerity” and education is one of the key policy areas which should receive extra funding, Theresa May’s former chief of staff has suggested.
Labelling In Education: Supportive Or Stigmatising? – HuffPost
“We have to make sure students don’t carry related stigma into their adult lives, diminishing opportunity.”
Teaching assistants: We are kicked, spat on, hit and sworn at – BBC News