e-Bulletin – Issue 50

Issue 50– 19 November 2018

Local Update

 It was great to welcome over 80 of you to the headteacher breakfast briefing last week, we covered several items including the latest news from Ofsted, a contribution from our new HR partner Services 4 Schools around managing staff absences, an update from governor services and a valuable input from Bedgrove Junior school about their approach to raising the achievement of disadvantaged pupils. They shared a range of strategies including how they are using pupil mentoring successfully and impactfully to support children and young people. To see the content of the slides click here. As always, I want to try and make life easy, so please use with others in whatever way is helpful. As a follow up to their session Services 4 Schools have helpfully provided some frequently asked questions around staff absence, to access click here.

Governor Services update

A reminder to book your free place at the launch of our BLT online training programme for governors and clerks running on Thursday November 22nd 09.30-11.30 at the Learning Campus.

This system has been designed to revolutionise the way governors and clerks train, offering a ground-breaking way of improving skills and providing that all important body of evidence.   Hear from the experts behind the technology, see the system work for yourself, benefit from practical ‘how to’ guidance …  if you’d like to, bring your laptop and start your unique learning path.

The session is open to those who have already purchased (the online offer is included in our standard development package, at no extra cost), those interested in subscribing as a stand-alone product and those just wanting to see what makes our programme so different.

Book your place here or email echeshire@learningtrust.net

For those unable to attend, we will upload all information to GovernorHub on the day and send out login details to all those with development packages with detailed instructions on how to get started.

EEF: Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants Guidance

The Education Endowment Foundation has updated its guidance on Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants, adding resources to support its implementation. The updated guidance can be found here.

There is a useful poster summarising the findings that might be a helpful starting point for discussions with staff and boards. Click here.

What is coming up at BLT or if I’d known I might have been interested slot

As a Trust we are extremely lucky to be able to attract key national figures to run training on our behalf. We hope this means that as schools and leaders you get access to the very best within Buckinghamshire saving you both the time, effort and the expense of going further afield to London, Birmingham or Manchester. One such trainer is Sir Robin Bosher, who has an enviable track record as Director of Education at Harris Federation, Primary Lead for London Challenge and Director of Quality and Training at Ofsted. Sir Robin is working with us to deliver a programme called – ‘Using National Priorities to Drive Improvement and Secure Evidence for inspection.’  The programme involves a series of half-day sessions run each half-term. Sir Robin has access to information from Ofsted, ministers and the DfE and plenty of experience as a current inspector in both primary and secondary schools. The first session on curriculum included key information and messages eventually released into the public domain six weeks later, so you really do get the chance to hear accurate information first. Although initially intended to be a series of 6 sessions, as each session stands alone and is based on the most pressing current national agenda item, Sir Robin is happy that we open the group to others for the remaining 5 sessions. The next one takes place on the afternoon of 4 December at the Learning Campus and will focus on equalities. What do schools need to be doing? What will inspectors look for? In recognition of the fact that one session has already been delivered we are able to discount the price, to attend the remaining 5 sessions the cost will be £750+VAT. Places are limited so it will be offered on a first come first served basis. To find out more click here. To book a place please e mail me at krumboll@learningtrust.net

Finally, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Ofsted will use their framework to remind us all about the importance of teaching vocabulary as a strategy to raise achievement for all. I’m delighted by this, as successful schools have always known that oracy plays an essential role in a vibrant and relevant curriculum, giving pupils the skills required to become lifelong learners and supporting our most vulnerable and disadvantaged with the vocabulary to access learning. If you’re not already aware of School 21 do look at their website (click here) they are a maintained all-through outstanding school in Stratford, London. They want every child at 21 to find their voice – both metaphorically and literally. They have developed an oracy framework with Cambridge University and placed oracy at the heart of their curriculum. Their aim is to elevate speaking to the same status as reading and writing (link here). I love the idea of the ignite speeches designed to be like mini TED talks, where pupils are asked to give a 5-minute speech without notes. Have a look at what School 21 provide for their pupils and reflect whether there is anything more you could do in your context to raise the profile of speaking.

Have a super week.


Kate Rumboll

Director of Education Standards BLT

National Update

 Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools

The Department for Education has updated its guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools to include information about school responsibilities and how to identify behaviours that may be linked to a mental health problem.

The revised guidance can be found here.

Multiplication tables check assessment framework

The DfE has set out the rules for its new times tables test for eight- and nine-year olds ahead of the voluntary roll-out of the new test next year (link here). There will be time limit built in to ensure that pupils are recalling answers rather than working them out. The government announced last September that its long-planned times tables test would move from Y6 to Y4. It is thought that the test will be available on line for a three-week period in June each year.

Questions will be randomly selected from a bank of 121 from two to 12 times tables, though there will be an emphasis on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 tables “because these have been determined to be the most difficult”.

The online system will automatically give each pupil a score out of 25, which will then be reported to schools. However, there will be no “expected standard” threshold for the multiplication check.

National Centre for Computing Education

The Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, has announced that a new National Centre for Computing Education will be established with £84 million of government investment. A consortium made up of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and Raspberry Pi has been chosen as a provider for the project. Google have agreed to support the project with £1million.

Working with the University of Cambridge, the Centre will start working with schools later this year.  It will operate virtually through a network of 40 school-led hubs. The focus will be on ensuring that computer science teachers are trained to teach the latest digital skills, ensuring young people benefit from high quality computer science teaching and driving up participation in computer science at GCSE and A Level.

More information can be found here.

 ONS Crime Survey: Key Findings on Bullying Amongst 10-15 Year Olds

Key findings from the ONS crime survey have been published detailing information on bullying amongst 10-15 year olds in England.

The findings, which can be found here provide information on:

  • the types of bullying respondents experienced (including cyber-bullying)
  • the frequency of the bullying
  • where it takes place
  • information on how well respondents felt their school dealt with bullying.

 Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP)

The Department for Education has published updated guidance on the Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP) and a link to the portal for schools to submit an assurance declaration about compliance with asbestos regulations.   The portal will be open until 12 February 2019.

A link to the guidance can be found here.

 Ofqual Consultation: The Future Assessment of GCSE Computer Science

Ofqual have launched a consultation on how to assess programming skills as part of GCSE Computer Science.

More details on the consultation and a link to participate can be found here.

The consultation closes at 16.00 on 3 December 2018

Ofqual Consultation: Changes to Rules for GCSE, AS Level and A Level Music and Dance

Ofqual have launched a consultation on changes to rules for GCSE, AS and Level Music and Dance.

More details on the consultation and a link to participate can be found here.

The consultation close at 09.45 on 9 December 2018


National Literacy Trust: Premier League Writing Stars Poetry Competition

The National Literacy Trust have launched the Premier League Writing Stars Poetry Competition for a second year which will be judged by Rio Ferdinand and Olly Murs.

The competition, which has 25,000 entries last year, asks 5-11 year-olds to write a poem on the theme of diversity.

More details can be found here.