e-Bulletin – Issue 54

Local Update

Happy New Year to you, I wish you health and every happiness for 2019.

I love this time of year – an opportunity to be grateful for what I have and an opportunity to look forward and make plans for the year ahead. With age has come just a little more wisdom and the desire to really appreciate the simple pleasures of life that bring true happiness rather than chasing down a goal that I’ve already given up by the second week of January! A broadcast by Father Brian D’Arcy on New Years’ Eve touched a chord for me and I’ve stolen his list of 10 tips to himself to adopt as my own, to guide me through the year.

  • Don’t hate,
  • Don’t worry
  • Give more
  • Expect less
  • Live simply
  • Forgive often
  • Help others
  • Love graciously
  • Spend less
  • Be a peacemaker

Ofsted update

The consultation for the new framework due to be implemented in September will be launched on 16 January 2019 and run for 12 weeks. We will use the bulletin to keep you updated as it is important that leaders provide feedback to Ofsted about their proposals. Please consider how staff and governors can get involved and contribute during the consultation period.

Headteacher briefing

A reminder that the next headteacher breakfast meeting is this Friday 11 January 08:30-10:00 at the Learning Campus – it’s not too late to book to attend. The briefing is aimed at headteachers or their representatives and is offered at no charge to schools; all we ask is that you book a place so that we can provide a light continental breakfast from 08:15.

We’ve got a great line up of contributions from schools picking up on two key current Ofsted priorities – curriculum design and development and the role of oracy. Both are essential elements of great schools, so we thought it would be helpful to hear from two schools and ask them to share what they are doing in their context to inspire and provoke thought and debate.

08:30 – 08:55 Ofsted Update – Kate Rumboll
08:55 – 09:15 Curriculum leadership. One school’s response to Ofsted’s focus on ‘knowing more and remembering more.’ Headteacher, Sara Boyce and colleagues from High Ash C of E Primary
09:15 – 09:20 Questions
09:20 – 09:40




St Michael’s Catholic School (an all though school in Wycombe). An approach to oracy and involvement with School 21 known nationally for its approach and success at placing oracy at the heart of its curriculum. Executive headteacher, Garret Fay and colleagues from the primary and secondary phase
09:40 – 09:45 Questions
09:45 – 10:00 Plenary

If you’ve not already booked and would like to attend, please e mail tradedsupport@learningtrust.net

Ofsted’s Commentary on curriculum research – phase 3

Just before Christmas Amanda Spielman released a commentary about phase 3 of Ofsted’s research into the school curriculum. The final phase saw inspectors work with 64 schools to gather evidence and test out whether a model of curriculum assessment could provide valid and reliable results. The feedback continues to reinforce the fact that curriculum will rightly be at the heart of the new Ofsted framework. Leaders including governors in Bucks have always understood the correlation between a rich, broad, inspiring curriculum and accelerated progress. The attached commentary might provide a good opportunity for you to revisit principles and engage in robust professional discussion about what great curriculum in your context looks like. A conversation about intent and implementation might be a useful starting point.

To access the commentary click here.

DfE publications


A number of useful publications were published by the DfE during December; the first ‘Approaches to assessment without levels: qualitative research’ is a document which explores the ways teachers assess their pupils in primary and secondary schools following the removal of the national curriculum. To access the document click here.


Secondly, several publications have been updated  to support primary leaders. The technical guide is for all primary schools; it sets out how the DfE will calculate primary school accountability measures for the school performance tables.

There’s also:

  • a summary of primary progress measures
  • a video that explains how the DfE measure primary school performance link here
  • information about how the DfE calculate KS2 progress measure bandings in the school performance tables
  • The guidance on similar schools explains the data and calculations used to create a group of ‘similar schools’ in the school performance tablePrimary school accountability in 2018: technical guidePrimary progress measures: summaryKey stage 2 similar schools guidance: 2017

    How we calculate the progress measure bandings: key stage 2

    Finally, it seems appropriate to end with a joyous clip as a reminder of the simple gifts in life. This shows a small baby hearing the sound of his mum for the first time – link here

     A wish for 2019:

     May you have enough happiness to keep you agreeable;

    Enough trials to keep you strong;

    Enough sorrow to keep you human;

    Enough love to comfort you;

    And enough hope to keep you going.

    Have a super year.


     Kate Rumboll

     Director of Education – Standards

    National Update


    Activity Passport to Inspire Children and Boost Resilience


    The Department for Education has launched an Activity Passport for children, designed to enrich skills and experience.

    Endorsed by organisations such as Action for Children, the Scouts, Girlguiding and the National Trust, the list is designed to support schools and parents in introducing children to a wide variety of fulfilling experiences.

    More information can be found here and the activity passport with related resources can be found here.


    Sustainable Improvement in Multi-School Groups


    The Department of Education has published results of research which aimed to understand what school improvement providers do to facilitate continuous, sustainable school improvement across Multi-Academy Trusts and Federations.

    The research, conducted by the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Nottingham, identifies and examines two sets of high level practices from case studies of 31 MATs and a national online survey of MAT leaders.

    The full research report, which also references the approach in Teaching Schools Alliances and Local Authorities, can be found here.


    Additional Funding to Support Children with Special Educational Needs


    The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced an additional £350million of funding to support children with Special Educational Needs. Councils will receive the funding over the next 2 years on top of the £6billion already provided.

    More details can be found here.

    Primary School Performance Data: The Gap Between Disadvantaged Pupils and Their Peers Narrows

    The DfE has released primary school performance statistics which show that the disadvantage gap index has fallen for a seventh year in succession.  The index has shrunk by 13% since 2011 and 3% in the last year.

    More information can be found here and the statistics here.


    Expert Mental Health Support for Schools from 2019


    The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care have announced that new mental health support teams will be based in and near schools and colleges in 25 areas and will start giving support in 2019. Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and young people in around 20 schools and colleges in their ‘trailblazer’ area.

    The Department for Education will also fund training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges to ensure a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.

    More information can be found here.

    Schools Urged to Go Single Use Plastic Free by 2022

    The Education Secretary has challenged all schools to go single use plastic free by 2022.   School leaders have been urged to stop using items such as plastic bags, straws and plastic bottles in favour of sustainable alternatives.

    More information can be found here.


    National Literacy Trust: Book Ownership, Literacy Engagement and Mental Well-Being


    The National Literacy Trust have published research that demonstrates that ownership of books is strongly linked to attainment and happiness.  The survey, of over 40,000 children, found that

    • Children who have 60 or more books at home are 5.5 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who have fewer than 10 books
    • Children who read above the level expected for their age have twice as many books as those who read below the expected level
    • Children who have a book of their own at home have higher levels of mental wellbeing than those who don’t have any books

    More detail can be found here.

    Adoption Support Fund – Funding Increase

    The Department for Education has announced that the Adoption Support Fund will be increased by £12million meaning that thousands more adoptive families and special guardians will benefit from additional support.

    The fund has provided much needed therapeutic support such as cognitive therapy, play and music therapy and family support sessions since its introduction in 2015.

    More information on the additional funding can be found here.

    Education Endowment Foundation – New Reports and Publications

    The EEF have published a number of new evaluation reports including:


  • Mathematical Reasoning – Almost 7,500 Year 2 pupils took part in a mathematical reasoning trial over 12-15 weeks. An independent evaluation by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) found that pupils who took part in the programme made the equivalent of one month’s additional progress  in Maths compared to other pupils
  • ScratchMaths – 110 schools and almost 6,000 pupils took part in a trial of ScratchMaths, a two-year computing and maths curriculum for pupils aged 9-11. The programme used Scratch, a free online programming environment to integrate coding into maths lessons.  Evaluators found that computational thinking scores increased compared to other pupils and suggested that this could be a cost-effective way to teach aspects of the primary computing curriculum
    • Thinking, Doing, Talking Science – This professional development programme, designed to improve outcomes in Year 5 science by making lessons more effective was trialled in 205 schools and involved almost 9,000 pupils. Evaluators found that whilst overall there was no measurable increase in attainment in science, disadvantaged pupils did make a small amount of additional progress and pupil interest in science did increase.

    More information can be found here.

    Additional Support for Disadvantaged Children During School Holidays

    The government has announced a £9 million programme to support disadvantaged children during the school holidays.  The programme will deliver holiday clubs, activities and free meals to thousands of disadvantaged children.  Organisations from across the country have been invited to bid for a share of the fund to deliver the holiday clubs.

    More information can be found here.


    Life-Saving Skills

    The Education Secretary has stressed the importance of basic first aid and life saving skills under plans for health education to be compulsory in all schools.

    Current proposals are for all children to be taught basic first aid from 2020.

    More information can be found here.

    National Literacy Trust School Library Research

    The National Literacy Trust has published research on School Library use.

    Key findings include:

    • 63% of children and young people say that they use their school library (down from 67% in 2016)
    • The most common reason for school library use was access to interesting reading materials followed by the library being a friendly and relaxing space
    • 73% of children and young people who use the school library have a literacy engagement score that is higher than the average child that doesn’t use the school library.

    More information can be found here.