e-Bulletin – Issue 57

Local update

Focus on Governance – 5 and 13 February

It’s good to see so many of you already booked on one of the two identical Focus on Governance sessions due to take place at the Learning Campus and Holiday Inn Wycombe in February. (See agenda below for details.)  If you’re not yet booked, it’s not too late – remember these are for chairs of boards and headteachers or their representatives and are offered free of charge to schools by Buckinghamshire Learning Trust. They are intended to be very different from the BCC Leadership briefings; we work hard not to cover the same information as we know that’s important to you. The sessions are intended to be informative, thought provoking with time built in for questions and the sharing of great ideas or practice. Each session has a topical focus – we thought this time parental engagement would be a powerful theme to start us all thinking and reflecting on our own context and particularly the role governors can play.  For those of you who like some pre-reading the recently published Education Endowment Foundation report ‘Working with parents to support children’s learning,’ might be a useful starting point and can be accessed here.

We think contributions from those in school are always the most relevant and interesting part of the briefing, so we are delighted that David Hood and Katy Simmons from Cressex Community School have agreed to attend and share some of their work around parental engagement.

To see the full agenda click here. We are happy to extend the invitation to any interested governors. Please book your place either on Governorhub or by emailing govhelp@learningtrust.net or by calling 01296 872345 stating whether you want to attend the session at the Learning Campus Aston Clinton or the Holiday Inn Wycombe.

Ofsted Consultation – Early Years Focus

Many of you will already have begun to familiarise yourself with the Ofsted consultation and proposed framework; if you’ve not yet had time to look please do go back to previous editions of the e-Bulletin to look at links to slides, videos and key information to help you. It’s important that boards and staff consider how they can contribute to the consultation and feedback views.

For those of you with early years the article published in Nursery World last week from Gill Jones, Ofsted’s early education deputy director, gives an indication of what to expect if the framework is implemented.  She writes:

How will we judge your curriculum and the quality of education you provide for your children?

Our inspectors will consider:

how well staff watch, listen and respond to children;
how well staff read aloud and tell stories to children;
how well staff support children to recognise and respond to their own physical needs;
how well staff enable children to explore and solve problems;
how they support children to express their thoughts and use new words.

It’s really important that children develop a good vocabulary. We know that young children learn through first hand experiences, but they also learn lots through hearing stories, learning nursery rhymes and singing songs – it’s through these joyous activities and their play that children learn to understand new words in their proper context.

Much stays the same; evolution, not revolution, is our mantra. The EYFS will still be the curriculum framework (educational programmes) and we intend to keep our definition of teaching. If you are already delivering the EYFS well, through a rounded curriculum for early years children, you have nothing to fear from the new framework. But we want to hear from you about our proposals.’

To read the full article click here.

Nursery World have also written an article outlining the proposed key changes for early years. To read the article click here.

Useful briefing paper

Last week I stumbled across a briefing paper produced for the House of Commons entitled School Inspections in England: Ofsted. It’s actually a useful synopsis in one report of all things Ofsted; so do take a look and forward to others if helpful. To read click here.

Finally, last week I came across a great quote from Edmund Burke.

‘Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.’

It was written on the back of a business card given to me with contact details and made me stop and think how such a simple idea could be used to reinforce key values in an educational setting – if it’s something you already do let me know and I’ll share.

Have a super week.


Kate Rumboll

Director of Education Standards Buckinghamshire Learning Trust


National Update

DfE International Visits and Exchanges Programme

The Department for Education has announced a new £2.5million programme to enable thousands more pupils to take part in international visits and exchanges.  The programme, principally designed to support disadvantaged students, will enable schools to apply for grants to take pupils aged 11 and over to visit partner schools around the world.

More details can be found here

Annual Report of the Chief Schools Adjudicator for England

The Office of the Schools’ Adjudicator (OSA) annual report for September 2017 to August 2018 has been published. The report records the progress made by admissions authorities in England in complying fully with the schools’ admissions code and achieving fair access to schools for all children.

The report can be found here.

Education Policy Institute Report: School Revenue Balances in England

The Education Policy Institute has published a report into school revenue balances in England, using the latest data to build a picture of the current state of school finances.

Key findings include:

  • Almost one in three (30.3%) LA maintained schools were in deficit in 2017/2018 vs 8.1% in 2014
  • There is a marked contrast between the number of Primary and Secondary Schools in deficit with only 8% of Primaries in deficit in 2017-2018

The full report and findings can be found here.

Education Secretary Calls for Schools and the Technology Sector to Work in Partnership

The Education Secretary has called for the technology industry and educators to work in partnership to transform education, cut workload and improve pupil outcomes.   Speaking at the Bett Show in London, Damian Hinds, suggested that teachers should embrace innovative technology such as AI to help reduce their workload. He also announced his plans to launch an EdTech strategy later this year backed by a £10million fund.

More details can be found here.

English National Opera Launch Free Tickets for Under 18’s

Free tickets to the English National Opera Spring Season at the London Coliseum are now available to Under 18’s.     Teachers accompanying school groups of up to 10 children can also do this free of charge.

More details can be found here.