e-Bulletin – Issue 56

Local update

This is a bumper issue as last week was very busy in the world of education, so you might want to read this edition with your favourite drink if you plan to get to the end and explore some of the links!

We were delighted to welcome about 90 of you to the Learning Campus for the headteacher breakfast briefing. It was a great reminder of the strength of the Buckinghamshire community and of the generosity of professionals in sharing their work. Many thanks to colleagues from High Ash CE Primary and St Michael’s Catholic School who shared respectively their ongoing work on curriculum design and oracy development. It was a great reminder of the exciting landscape in which we all work and the power of leaders getting on with the day job. It was clear that both schools held compelling visions that successful and sustained improvement is about teaching and learning and that involving teachers in ongoing discussion, debate and research can help make a powerful difference. It was a real privilege to be part of the morning.

Both schools posed some great questions to their own staff which I noted as I think they are relevant to many:

What do we do that is distinctive?

How do we ensure we provide both breadth and depth in our curriculum?

How to we ensure that we continue to focus on the core business?

How do we continue to look outward for ideas?

How do we ensure that oracy opportunities are planned into the curriculum?

How do we teach students to learn through talk?

How do we support students with learning to talk?

How do we ensure oracy is not seen as part of a wider curriculum but part of the curriculum?

For heads unable to attend and for others interested in what was covered, here is a link to the slides. Please share with staff and governors in whatever way is useful, I’d be delighted if I save you a job.

Ofsted launches a consultation

Ofsted have launched their consultation on proposals for changes to the education inspection framework. Please plan how you can involve staff and governors and engage in the consultation which runs until 5 April 2019. For more details about proposed changes please do refer to the slides from the breakfast briefing highlighted above – they provide a synopsis of some of the key messages. To read the consultation documents in more detail click here.

School inspection update January 2019

The latest edition has just been published. It is intended for Ofsted inspectors but provides a useful insight for us all into the proposed framework. Link here

Association for Science Education Conference update

On Friday 11 January, Shelley Hancock (BLT Education Consultant) attended the Association for Science Education (ASE) conference. This annual event takes place in January each year and this year brought together more than 450 speakers and practitioners to deliver a 4-day programme with over 500 sessions. It is a fantastic CPD opportunity for Primary Schools and Secondary School Science Departments and the diversity of the programme enables practitioners attending to focus on school priorities, develop subject knowledge and learn from other practitioners. It is worth considering as an option when planning your January INSET day for 2020. Shelley was able to attend workshops on application of ideas at GCSE, developing a policy for good practical science in line with the Gatsby Report, Science Capital and to hear Matthew Newberry HMI speak about the new Education Inspection Framework and the implications and challenges for Science as well as networking with colleagues, organisations and providers in the Exhibitors Marquee, outcomes of which will be shared at upcoming network meetings. For further information follow @theASE on twitter and look at #ASEconf to see what others are saying about the event.

Focus on Governance

Just a reminder that our Focus on Governance events will take place on the following dates this term:

Tuesday 5 February 9.30am at the Learning Campus

Wednesday 13 February 7pm at the Holiday Inn in High Wycombe

This will be an opportunity to highlight and discuss priorities for governance in the forthcoming term.  The events this term will focus on the theme of Parental Engagement and the Governing Boards’ role in this area.   An agenda will be circulated nearer to the time.  If you would like to attend please do book on GovernorHub or by contacting the Governor Services team:   govhelp@learningtrust.net. Please note both sessions are identical to give you a choice of date, time and venue.

Finally, I saw a great quote in a school last week. The leaders were recognising the January malaise was beginning to set in with colleagues and wanted to challenge themselves as leaders to continue to strive for excellence. The following quote was written on their board to inspire, motivate and drive their behaviours.

‘The standards you walk past are the standards you accept.’  I’ve made a note for myself!

Have a super week



Kate Rumboll Director of Education Standards


National update

Nuffield Foundation Research:  Pre-School Reading

Research by the Nuffield Foundation and the University of Newcastle has shown that parents and carers who read with pre-school children are giving them a language advantage of eight months.  The research found that receptive language skills, the ability to understand information, are positively affected when pre-school children are read to.

Full details of the research can be found here.

New Model Music Curriculum and Funding Boost for Music Hubs

The Department for Education has announced that a new model music curriculum will be developed by a panel of experts and will be published in the Summer of 2019.  The new curriculum will provide a sequenced and structured curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 and should reduce workload for teachers.

A £1.33million funding boost has also been given to the DfE’s 120 music hubs which help thousands of young people learn to play a musical instrument.  This is on top of the £300million funding allocated to the music hubs between 2016 and 2020.

More information can be found here.

‘Life in Likes’: Report from the Children’s Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner has published a report into Social Media use amongst 8-12 year olds entitled ‘Life in Likes’.  The report, based on focus group research carried out in October and November 2017, gives insight into how social media makes pre-teens feel, how they keep safe online, how influenced young people are by their parents use of social media and how social media affects friendships.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the government, schools and social media companies.

The report can be found here.

Book Trust Letterbox Club 2019 Enrolment

The Letterbox Club is a Book Trust programme which aims to inspire a love of reading and engagement with numeracy amongst looked after and other vulnerable children aged 3-13.

Schools can use Pupil Premium and Pupil Premium Plus funding to enrol pupils for the programme. Enrolled children will receive 6 parcels of books and other resources between May and October 2019.

Enrolment for the 2019 programme is now open and more details can be found here.


DfE Announcement: Centre for Excellence in Modern Foreign Languages

The Department for Education has announced that the University of York will be a centre for excellence in Modern Foreign Languages. The centre, which will be known as the Centre for Excellence for Languages Pedagogy, will work with schools to help more young people learn foreign languages and will co-ordinate the work of nine modern foreign language hubs.

More details can be found here.

 Education Endowment Foundation Email Course: Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning

The EEF are launching a new free email series designed to support teachers in changing classroom practice to improve pupils’ metacognitive skills.

Sign up to the series here.

Ofqual: GCSE Tiering Decisions 2019

Ofqual have clarified the arrangements for grading higher tier GCSE’s in combined science and modern foreign languages this year.   Last summer was the first time these exams were taken under the new specification and allowances were made for pupils who achieved lower than expected grades on higher tier papers.    Ofqual have clarified that this was an exceptional situation and this will not be permitted in summer 2019.

More information can be found here.

DfE Consultation: Proposal to Increase Employer Contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme

A consultation has been launched seeking views on the Department for Education’s proposal to support certain education institutions with the increase to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in 2019 to 2020.

The consultation closes on 12 February 2019.

More details and the online survey can be found here.