Kalinski1970's Blog

My own personal view on UK Education and bits n bobs


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@FlatCashEd

The following is an amalgamation of a number of things I have written or speeches I have given over the last month.  Some of it is the result of a number of people’s work and therefore I would like to thank all those in the @FlatCashEd core group.

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The government’s decision to protect school funding only in flat cash terms per pupil means that schools throughout the country are facing, according to the National Audit Office, a real term cut of £3 billion by 2020.

However, in East Sussex school funding is already significantly below the national average and the impact of increasing costs will have devastating consequences.

Over the past five years schools have received a flat amount of funding for Key Stages 3 and 4. Post-16 funding for schools has been cut. Yet during this period schools have faced significant and unfunded increases in costs:

  • employer’s contributions to national insurance and pensions
  • the apprenticeship levy (from which many schools will get nothing back and while only 1% of employers nationally will have to pay this levy all maintained schools and most academies will have to pay)
  • Living wage increases
  • increases to salaries approved but not funded
  • abolition of the Education Services Grant
  • 80% reductions to the capital funding for maintaining school buildings

As a Headteacher I have already held difficult conversations with families of children (some with complex needs) regarding the decisions we are having to make about their child’s future. In the context of a lack of other community services, parents increasingly turn to schools to provide the support they once accessed externally. We now face the prospect of withdrawing all but basic statutory provision in order to make ends meet.

 

  1.  What actions have we taken.

Since 2012 we have carefully looked at all our outgoings to be as efficient as possible.  Due to a demographic shift Uplands, has been dealing with a reduced roll since then.  We have used the Government document on efficiency to guide us.

1. Deploy the workforce effectively, with a focus on developing high quality teachers. Teacher quality is proven to be the single most important feature of successful education systems. The most efficient schools that we visited invest a great deal of effort to get the staffing structures right, recruiting the right people and ensuring that they are continually supported to improve.

We have reduced staffing by 9 teachers over the past 4 years.  This has included reducing the SLT from 9 to 5 and removing a pastoral layer.  There are a number of areas in this bullet point that make me chuckle (albeit in a slightly manic way), but mainly recruiting the right people.  As i have discussed before, the Government has missed 5 out of the last 5 years’ worth of recruitment targets.  We have a very efficient timetable, with very little spare capacity (10 hours).  Everyone teaches more (including myself).  People teach across subjects where they can

2. Make use of evidence to determine the right mix of teaching and education support staff. We have found that, particularly in the secondary phase, high attaining schools tend to spend proportionately more on teaching staff and proportionately less on education support staff than their lower attaining peers. This is still the case even when comparing schools in similar circumstances and with similar pupil intakes. However, the way schools deploy support staff is also important, with the potential to have a significant and positive impact on pupil outcomes if used in line with the evidence on what works.

Firstly, all the evidence points to ‘higher attaining schools’ being those in areas of less social deprivation.  Therefore, I doubt there is the need to pay for a family key worker.  Or to have paid into the services for the traveller community.  Possibly not needing an onsite counsellor.  We have had to lose 5 support staff over the past four years.

3. Employ or have access to a skilled school business manager who takes on a leadership role. There is strong evidence that the employment of a high quality school business manager (SBM) can enable schools to save significant amounts of money. In all the schools we visited the SBM plays a prominent role.

Done

4. Make good use of financial benchmarking information to inform the school’s own spending decisions. Schools that use benchmarking information to compare themselves to similar schools, and who act on what they find, manage to generate significant savings.

On the ones we use, our outcomes are very good for our children compared to what we spend.

5. Make use of school clusters, sharing expertise, experience and data, as well as accessing economies of scale when making shared purchases. All the schools we visited were part of some kind of cluster arrangement, and there is clear evidence that schools can drive far-reaching efficiency savings by working together with other schools. 

We have looked at all of our contracts and any saving that can be found in buying through county’s economy of scale have been done.  Our utilities & insurance has been sourced this way.   I have cut every line of my budget where I can. I have checked every contract that is up renewal.  We have reduced the amount of times our grass is cut.  We haven’t spent the £100k per year that I need to to maintain my buildings that was cut from my devolved capital expenditure budget.  I personally buy equipment and resources for my classes and I know that all staff do the same.

6. Manage down back office and running costs. There remains considerable variation in the amount that similar schools spend on running costs, such as energy or premises. The most efficient schools drive these costs down through improved procurement practices and a greater focus on value for money.

If you hadn’t notice this is basically an explanation of the last bullet point.  But, yes of course we have done this.  For example; I don’t claim expenses anymore for travel to meetings.  However, inflation has grown over the last 3 years and is expected to move over 2%; fuel prices have increased etc.  This is unfunded by the government.

7. Have in place a strong governing body and leadership team that challenges the school’s spending. A governing body that is willing to challenge schools on their use of workforce, their use of benchmarking information and the other aspects drawn out above, is a vital factor in encouraging greater whole-school efficiency. Where this is supported by a strong leadership team that is open to and welcoming of this challenge, schools can make significant efficiency gains.

I have a GB that has challenged me every step of the way. However, like all GB they looked at the 5 year budget predictions in 2012, assuming the best.  For new HTs this means walking into a job and being faced with very difficult decisions that you could possibly say the previous HT had decided to leave.

But, let us no kid ourselves about what has been written above.  State schools generally work on an 80% staffing to revenue budget.  Only 1. and a bit of 2.  has any impact on the largest element of a school’s spending.

What all these ‘efficiency’ savings have meant is more things falling to those left, because the amount of jobs we are required to do have increased over the same period.

  • New GCSEs
  • New A levels
  • British Values
  • E-Sfaety
  • Safeguarding changes
  • Finding the efficiencies that will help our budgets
  • Finding grants to help our revenue streams

To name but a few

  1.  Are the cuts required to fund the cost increases required realistically achievable?

Firstly, if my budget had kept pace with the cost increases this year (inflation, Employers Pension Contributions Teachers and the pay settlement) I would have an additional £ £142,955.31 in my budget.  This doesn’t include the £100k that I lost from the Reduction in Devolved Formula Capital Funding.  The £100k that I am told that I must spend to maintain my ageing capital stock.

So the short answer is now no.  To a point there were efficiencies that schools could make, but we have made them  Does this make schools better, no, but we have a responsibility to spend public money as efficiently as we can.  However, from this point forward I can only see the cuts effecting the education of young people.  It will have an impact on our students, especially in our ability to keep them safe or maintain the high standards of outcomes.  But also in our ability to create well rounded adults.

Schools are also dealing with all the issues of the disappearance of the wider safety nets, such as access to CAMHS for none but they most serious.  COPEs family support has to be bought in; behaviour support needs to be bought in; specific support in dealing with absence has to be bought in.  Services that have an impact on our most vulnerable pupils, we have to buy in, but there is no money to buy them in anymore.

The raising of the bar in threshold levels for safeguarding referrals causes schools to be responsible for more.  This is with less staff and less time

On top of that the shortfall being discovered around the country for children with high needs are being clawed back from schools, when budgets are already under huge pressure.

Apprenticeships levy again requires staffing time to run it on top of the funding that we lose to pay for it.  This is when the Houses of parliament and the BBC are exempt and only 1% of employers are being asked to pay the levy.

We already have the situation that our students suffer from being in a rural community. Deprivation here is more than just income;  it is access to jobs; no or very little pubic transport; no access to the arts.  What will education look like for the majority of students, with no GCSEs and A levels in smaller subjects such as music, art, drama, French, Spanish?

We cannot maintain a broad curriculum (which we have had to cut already).  Class sizes will grow beyond the maximum that some classrooms can hold (which is 30).

By 2019/2020

We will be dealing with £69,350.56 less in funding just because the income has not kept up with inflation.  This is only if inflation remains at the Bank of England estimate of 1.7%.  That equates to 2 teachers.

Even with all the reductions in staffing our staffing costs almost remain static because of the increases in associated costs, pension contribution, NI etc.  For the party of business I find it hard explaining back to Conservatives that rising costs, with no rise in revenue has serious implications.

Employer pension contribution, national insurance and an estimated 1% pay rise each year mean that by 2019-20 I will have £118k less to spend on students.  This is three teachers.

Then added to that we have the apprenticeship levy and the living wage means that £168k less to spend on pupils.

SO in 2019/20 as a school we will £237,780.56 less to spend on pupils just from the cost increases.  This doesn’t include an attempt to keep up with maintenance costs of our buildings

BUT, as we are already funded well below the average and that continues.  So like all schools we have to start to consider cuts that are not palatable to any school leader.  We are not talking about luxuries we can do without, but people or service that will have profound implications for students.

  1.  More opportunities to make savings

I am sure there are but they are shifting the deckchairs on the titanic.  In fact, I recently said that the it is less like shifting the deckchairs on that ship, but actually trying to organise a tea party on it while it is broken up and on the bottom of the ocean.  Staffing makes up 80% of a school’s budget.  The cost increases make it virtually impossible to do anything bar lose staff.

So much is unfunded cost increases, so we are not making efficiency savings just keeping our heads above water.  But expected to deal with complete changes to GCSEs and A levels without money to buy resources or train the staff.

What to do?

There has simply been no attempt to benchmark the cost of a curriculum.  Just a simple look shows the following:

150 students require 5 forms of entry.  So, for the three year groups, just teaching them in the traditional 1 hour lessons,  that is 375 hours of teaching per week.  This equates to 16 teachers required to teach that curriculum (each teaching 23 hours a week).  If they were All NQTs that equates to £360k or teachers that are all top of scale that equates to £620k (these figures do not include on-costs).  

Clearly, that is a simple model but one that can easily be calculated down to each pupil.  (Big edit from Tom!).  This gives us a starting point of £1,378 per pupil for a Key Stage 3 curriculum.

We can all appreciate the significant and collective responsibility required to secure the long term prosperity of the United Kingdom but we would urge that it is a false economy to compromise the education of a generation to secure a political or financial agenda over the next 4 years. Our young people are at the heart of this country’s future productivity and wellbeing, if their experience is significantly compromised due to the impending and real financial crisis in schools, then we will all reap the outcomes for generations to come.

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Submitted to Schools that Work for Everyone

Submitted to Schools that Work for Everyone – short version of consultation

Submitted on 2016-10-06 21:00:57

Introduction 1 What is your name? Name: Liam collins

4 What local authority area are you based in? Please select: East Sussex comprehensive school

5 Are these the right conditions to ensure that selective schools improve the quality of non-selective places? No (please provide further comments below)

What is the incentive? It is clearly proven that the way to increase the quality of schools is to allow them all access to all ability levels. Or to ensure that every parent has the choice of a good school. Not ensure that a good school can choose which students it allows in.

6 Are there other conditions that we should consider as requirements for new or expanding selective schools, and existing non-selective schools becoming selective? No (please provide further comments below)

Don’t. It will be popular with UKIP voters, but it will be a massive vote loser as 3/4 of every middle class family quickly work out that their children won’t get into the selective schools

7 What is the right proportion of children from lower income households for new selective schools to admit?

Ensure comprehensives are great. In existing grammars it should be at least the national average or get rid of the existing grammars.

8 How can we best ensure that new and expanding selective schools and existing non-selective schools becoming selective are located in the areas that need good school places the most?

Don’t create grammars. Ensure that schools are funded fairly across the country. Fund schools in areas that are perceived tough in such a way that they can keep class sizes small. That they can offer wrap around care to the support the students and their families. Bring back front loaded funding so that children aren’t behind when they start school. Ensure that teachers and SLT have job security for working in tough areas. Move all those areas to equal term lengths so that staff and students don’t suffer from the ridiculous long terms

New faith schools 9 Are these the right alternative requirements to replace the 50% rule? No (please provide further comments below)

Remove all religious schools and make them all secular. There is no parent choice to a school that chooses its intake

10 How else might we ensure that faith schools espouse and deliver a diverse, multi-faith offer to parents within a faith school environment?

Don’t segregate students by their religion. In studies i have seen it is shown that creating religious schools has the opposite effect you appear to want such as a diverse, multi-faith offer.  See unlocking the gates report where they explain:

“Yet we know from research that children can do better if schools are not socially segregated.  Increasingly our schools are just that, with half of all pupils entitled to free school meals (a proxy for poverty) concentrated in a quarter of secondary schools, while the top secondary schools take – on average – only five per cent of pupils entitled to free school meals, less than half the national average”

11 Are there other ways in which independent schools can support more good school places and help children of all backgrounds to succeed? No (please provide further comments below)

Private schools are private, let them be. Remove the tax relief and use that additional income to fund the services around schools. Especially sure start, mental health service and family support

12 Are there other ways in which universities could be asked to contribute to raising school-level attainment? Yes (please provide further comments below)

By offering a sabbatical relevant to teachers after ten years of service. The teacher goes into supporting ITT and research for a year. Recharge and reinvigorate


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Love the one you’re with – recruitment and retention

Picture1

So Tim Matthews (@purplepedagogy) and I were invited to lead a session at . The last four slides show the feedback we received from the tables, but we would love you to also comment.

Please feel free to leave questions and I’ll do my best to answer them…although see the small print on the first slide!

Sources for the diagrams and tables are

SFR 21/2015 School Workforce in England: November 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440577/Text_SFR21-2015.pdf

National Audit Office Training New Teachers HC 798 SESSION 2015-16 10 FEBRUARY 2016 https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Training-new-teachers.pdf

Initial teacher training census for the academic year 2015 to 2016, England SFR 46/2015, 19 November 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/478098/ITT_CENSUS_SFR_46_2015_to_2016.pdf

Schools Week “What do the statistics say about teacher shortages”, John Dickens, Sep 27, 2015 http://schoolsweek.co.uk/what-do-the-statistics-say-about-teacher-shortages/

Edit (slide 23) I threw away the comment that men are unrepresented in teaching until you get to SLT. This seemed to get an number of quotes from those attending on twitter and at least one raised eyebrow.

Looking at the figures this was me being very Secondary and very Headteacher focused.  Where 62% of the workforce are women and yet only 37% of headteachers are.

 

Women into School Headship (http://www.womenintoschoolheadship.co.uk/womens-leadership/) point out that:

“The DfE School Workforce Census continues to evidence the underrepresentation of women in Headship in all sectors, compared to their numbers in the profession.  With women accounting for over 60% of the profession in secondary and over 85% in primary we would expect to see more women headteachers than the disproportionate 37% and 71% respectively.”

However,

“The Census shows that female deputy and assistant headteachers now make up over 50% of senior leadership teams, an increase of nearly 2% in both primary and secondary schools since 2011. In 2014 there was an incremental increase of 1.6% over the last three years for women in primary headship and a slight improvement in the number of women secondary headteachers by 0.7%.”

I hope that clarifies!


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The P45 Fortnight – a reprise

I wrote most of this for a local newspaper column a year ago.  This is an update…

 

Many of you will be aware that A level results were released last Thursday and that GCSE results will be announced this Thursday. Of course this is an a hugely stressful time for students and their parents. So much rides on these results. A place at a top university, being able to study the A’levels you wanted or a place on an apprenticeship. Each set of results will have its own story from unbridled success to the feeling of abject failure. For each student the results will be the result of a successful or unsuccessful partnership between the student, their parents and their teachers. It is effected by not only those relationships, but everything that is happening in that student’s life.

Many of you won’t be aware that in the age of high accountability that many Headteachers and teachers this is a very stressful time. This is where a aggregation of the student’s results can result in professionals losing their jobs.

Last week we had looked closely at the Average Point Score (APS) for level 3 qualifications (A’ levels and their equivalents). This is the total score achieved by each student averaged across the institution. Have a high attaining cohort that will tend to take 4 or 5 A levels your score should be well above 800. Have a comprehensive intake, that in the main take 3, you are looking for scores above 700. So the league table is skewed by schools that have high ability intakes and who’s students take more than the required 3 A’ levels. That isn’t to say that a Grammar school Headteacher has any less pressure. They have to ensure that their results are at the top of the league table to ensure healthy numbers the year after from academic children.  This is also one of the key league table battle grounds as selected state maintained grammars do battle with selective private schools.  You can obviously make clunky references to the the Olympics where elites do battle with elites.  But, for these schools the pressure is high to ensure that the decision made by parents when their children were 11 or 13 were correct (see the man suing his son’s private school because he gained 1 GCSE).  This is different for the non selective, we see huge triumphs from students that were able to enter vocational courses and go onto university, most of whom tend to be the first going to a university from their family.  However, at comprehensives we also have the higher attaining who gain straight A*s and are off to Oxford.  I feel it is great to see the full range!

But the league table, as I have explained before, is not a comparison of like for like.  An APS of 600 in a non-selective in a tough area can be more significant that all the schools that post 800+.

Tomorrow is the GCSE results.  These are now will be reported in a very different way, Progress8 or P8, when the league tables are produced sometime in the Autumn.  Now your floor target is your cohort and how they did under you care.   The heartache for staff will still be the student that gets one grade below what is expected.  The problem is that what is expected will only be known once all the results come out.  I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.  Yes you heard it correctly.  The target that you have been aiming at will only be fully known once the exams have been marked and reported.

What does this mean?  Well for me it is seriously not really knowing what the outcomes for our students will be for the first time in 10 years (albeit 2012 was tough with the change in grade boundaries).  This is the first year that I am actually unsure.  We had an incredibly hardworking Year 11, but our success or failure will be their performance measured against all the other schools nationally.  If they have done well it will be a positive score, perhaps an exciting 0.75.  Done ok and it will be around 0.  Done badly enough to give you sleepiness nights it will be below -0.5.

So, both results days, require all students to perform consistently across that exam season, for GCSE that involves over 20 exams. When you look at the headline figures you don’t know about the child who has spent the last 6 months in hospital. Or the student that has collapsed under the pressure. Or the one who’s parent has died recently. Each of those children who make up the overall headline figure for the league table are individuals with different backgrounds, ability, home lives, relative poverty or wealth, interested or not interested parents. Yet schools are held responsible for the performance of the students no matter what is going on in the other 18 hours of their day.

So if you know a student, a parent, a teacher or a headteacher, have a thought for them over the next fortnight. Lives are changed irreversibly at this time.


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Bloody Kids

elbowlippykidsLatest column for Kent and Sussex Courier

Last week some of my students stepped out in front of a van turning into the car park next to the school.  The van slammed on the brakes and the driver gesticulated at the pupils.  One of the students decided to gesticulate back.  Clearly this is unacceptable behaviour.  However, what I end up receiving is an email expressing that all my students behave in this manner, and that I must get hundreds of emails complaining about the behaviour of the students.  Well…no.

Last week is a pretty good example.  I received congratulations on the efforts and performances of the students involved in the “In the Field” concert to mark the centenary of the Battle of Aubers Ridge where Wadhurst lost 25 men in one evening during the First World War.  I had emails from parents thrilled at the Sussex championship winning performance of our cheerleading team.  On Friday one Year 8 boy completed the herb garden he had been developing for our food technology department, in his lunchtimes.  Last week there was a number of fundraising events towards the Himalayan trip, where students have to raise the money for the trip themselves.  Our Duke of Edinburgh students completed their work on the use of mobile technology with the third group from the University of the Third Age.  One of those ladies took the time to tell me of her pride in watching our Sixth Formers, unrequested, go and buy cups of tea for those collecting for Remembrance Day on a particularly cold day.  One of our Sixth Formers will goes to the local nursing home to play music and sing to its residents.  The school has raised well over £15,000 this year for various charities culminating in the sponsored walk where the whole College, all the students and staff, walk the 13 miles around Bewl Water.

What I can tell you is this is no different from the work that young people do the breadth and length of this country.  What we do we feel is remarkable, but having worked in a variety of schools it is the norm.  Although, vilified by some, even those who occasionally react or mess about in the wrong ways, will still be those with the propensity for charity and good deeds.  One of our most troubled students comes alive when working with children from local primary schools.

So, yes some members of our community get it wrong at times.  Is there a section of society that doesn’t?  Should we really speak in terms of damning all over the actions of a few?  What I can promise you that day in and day out the young people we work with are truly remarkable.


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OFSTED Consultation – my two pennies worth

So I took the time to complete the consultation.  I may have got a little more heated as the consultation went on.  But, I am more than happy, like the vast majority of colleagues, to talk about this.  But, it is time that OFSTED listened.

If you are a senior leader and want to be part of a positive group looking to change how policy is delivered to schools, rather than with schools, please get in touch with @headsroundtable

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Q1. Do you agree or disagree with the introduction of a new common inspection framework for maintained schools, academies, further education and skills providers, non-association independent schools and registered early years settings from September 2015?

The issue IS consistency, because too many inspectors don’t know or understand the setting that they are inspecting.  Actually thinking about what needs to be inspected and having specialist inspectors for each phase makes sense to me.  How do you judge progress in a yoga class in an FE in comparison to observing 3 years olds talk about a painting.

Q2. Do you agree or disagree with the proposed ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’ judgement (paragraphs 19-20)?

Considering how aligned all the other grades are to overall effectiveness. I cannot see the point of separate grades.  This is actually where the inspectorate being more school improvement partner could have an effect.  If a school’s overall judgement is RI or lower, the separate headings could have the starting points of an action plan to enable the school to work towards improvement.  These should be specific and meaningful to the school and not a set of generic statements.

Q3. Do you agree or disagree with the proposed ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’ judgement (paragraph 21)?

This is impossible to judge in a one day or two-day inspection.  You can only scratch the surface and make superficial judgements in a short time span.  Go to one class, speak to a few students, look at a few books and the outcome for the school can be completely different than had you gone to a different class, spoken to different students etc.  Too many inspections I have been involved in, become a battle over what the SLT see day in and day out and what an inspection team see in a few hours.

Q4. Do you agree or disagree with the proposed ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ judgement (paragraphs 22-23)?

see my comments to the question above.

Q5. Do you agree or disagree with the proposed ‘outcomes for children and learners’ judgement (paragraph 24)?

I strongly disagree if this judgement is skewed by disadvantaged pupils closing the gap.  Especially while we have that judgement based on 5A*toC inc.  It is also skewed by the majority of schools having relatively small cohorts (see John Dunford presentation – Using the Pupil Premium to narrow the gap: policy and practice which shows 6 of the deciles have below 13.2%).

Q6. Do you agree or disagree with the specific additional judgements proposed for the common inspection framework (paragraphs 28-31)?

this is a little going round in circles…they should be judged separately, yes, as they were.  I am confused as to the impact if one area is found to be significantly different in judgement to the others

Q7. Do you agree or disagree that Ofsted should continue to report on the curriculum as part of the judgement on leadership and management?

again going round in circles, because it was…this will create an “ofsted” specified curriculum

Q8. Do you agree or disagree with the proposals for short inspections of good maintained schools and academies (paragraphs 32-34 and 37-40)?

This begs the question of why bother at all if you are looking at the data and find that there has been no significant drop in performance.  Also, like this year’s attainment, in the future,  if similar changes happen to the examination series so that you cannot judge one year’s against another, how will you know that performance has dipped?

Q9. Do you agree or disagree with the proposals for short inspections of good further education and skills providers (paragraphs 35-36 and 41-45)?

see q8

Q10. Do you agree or disagree with the proposals for the inspection of non-association independent schools?

Seems a tidying up exercise.  Not sure why you need to inspect a private concern at all.  Why are you using taxpayers money to ensure the education of students outside of the maintained sector?  If parents want the choice of a school that can be judged by Her Government’s Inspectorate they should attend a state school.

Q11. Are there specific changes to the way that inspectors gather evidence that you think could make our judgements more reliable and robust?

  • Look at other external inspections, like peer reviews, when conducting an inspection.
  • Have your inspectors properly trained and with robust employment history.
  • Have a current HT as part of the inspection process. These should not be anyone with a vested interest in schools failing inspections (CEOs of Chains).  This HT doesn’t need to be a trained inspector, but could be an independent voice based on the experience of currently running a school.
  • Where possible have the lead inspector be part of the team that supports a school from RI or a category. They will clearly know what needs to be done and can be the advisor given to support that school.
  • Use the same team to return to a school judged RI or a category, with one additional HMI, to judge the improvements. This will avoid the inspection bias that we see (ie one inspection is led by someone who has a strong interest in SEN and the next one  is led by someone with an interest in curriculum).
  • Be very specific about the data you want and the way that you want to see it. Communicate this to all schools, as part of these changes to ofsted.  This stops the stress of trying to communicate something with an inspector who doesn’t like the way you are communicating it.
  • Be polite and courteous in a school and stop your inspectors throwing their ego around.
  • Spend time talking about the SEF and how the school came to its own judgements, rather than constantly trying to catch a school out.
  • Don’t throw bombshells into the end of day one meetings that you clearly aren’t going to find the evidence for. It doesn’t test the school;  it makes people worried about their jobs and their families.
  • Make sure judgements are based on statistically valid data. One or two students should not skew an inspection judgement.  Especially if a school can prove a clear strategy that didn’t have the impact they wanted and can explain why.
  • Throwing a school into RI because of one social group not making the same progress as another is not reliable, especially if point 10 is relevant and if the cohort’s ability does not match.
  • Q12. Do you have any other comments about this consultation?

    Please use this moment to reassess the role of ofsted in improving education of our children and not a moment to move the deckchairs.

    Ban any current inspector from being paid consultancy fees to ‘help’ schools through an inspection.


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    New Accountability – thoughts and questions

    UPDATE – based on the Update on Progress 8 measure and Stuart Locks’s blog (http://mrlock.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/what-is-happening-with-the-best-8-measure/)

    Since the @headsroundtable meeting with @timleunig  I had been asking questions of what the new progress measure means to my school.  A few things I hadn’t been able to get right in my head and I couldn’t work out why.

    Over time a couple of comments and assumptions started to get me thinking about the curriculum we are about to offer students in year:

    1. The measure appears to be based on APS with the total based on the basket divided by 8 (see my assumptions below.  So if only 7 subjects count it is still divided by 8. – because of the double count the actual final will be divided by 10 (if a student completes Maths & English and 6 others that count)
    2. The calculations threw an oddity with the double count of English & maths. It appears that a student that gets 8 Cs but will count as a B (and so on in all grades) for accountability, as long as there are no Ebacc gaps – see above
    3. It does appear that @headteachers’ blog (http://headteachersroundtable.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/accountability-roundtable-october-16th/) and @RosMcM’s (http://www.labourteachers.org.uk/blog/2013/10/19/6-reasons-to-smile-about-the-new-accountability-measures-for-schools-and-academies/) blog points about lower ability students stand, as long as the student sits English Literature and passes English and maths.
    4. For student capable of gaining Cs it appears that it is better to get a student worse grades but have no gaps in the ebacc part of the basket in their best 8, than a kids better grades but a gap (ie one gets mixture of Cs and Ds but 3 grades in ebacc does better than a student with better grades but missing an ebacc).
    5. One further question.  With the matrix for progress being set by the exam results last year, will there be analysis on how much the current best eight measure is skewed by BTECs? –  the benchmark will be based on the 2016 exams so the possibility of BTECs taken last year skewing the average is removed

    What have i learnt?

    1. This is undoubtedly a better measure than 5A*toC including (or as @timleunig put it “the 5 Cs measure”)
    2. As a school it is now vital that you get as many students as possible to have their basket of courses right.  For us we will be checking post options that every student capable has three ebacc subjects to avoid any gaps.  But, apparently the straight jacket of the old ebacc has gone, as triple scientists have their three (although question marks remain on how much double science will count…or a normal curriculum choice in schools will require only one more ebacc to ensure this part of the basket has no gaps.
    3. I have concerns about the 30% of our current Year 9s that don’t have KS2 data
    4. It will be risky to only offer 8 subjects, but the new examination system may force this as the amount of end of Year 11 exams is starting to look daunting for students
    5. I am still very nervous about the dead hand of politicians getting to this
    6. The move to pariety of English Literature and Language is very welcome – especially as the better score will count for the double as English (so a student does better in Literature that becomes the english grade that counts as part of the accountability and the language grade will count in the ‘other three’.

    EDIT – @timleunig contacted me to express that the grade scores listed below had not been decided.  But, they are looking at possible replacements for the 58 for an A* and so on.  I would suggest mirroring the 1-9 that has been put forward by OFQUAL. (Update – so it was 1 -9 then!)

    EDIT – I removed the calculations as they are clearly wrong!
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