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Items relating to the work of schools and colleges, including resources and training opportunities.

Will Chancellors extra money go direct to schools?

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, pledged the in-year bonus during last week’s budget, suggesting the money could be spent on computers or whiteboards. He said the extra grant would average £10,000 for each primary school and £50,000 for each secondary.

However, a document released by the government to help schools work out how the money will be handed out reveals that “in some cases the payments may go through local authorities, or multi-academy trusts”.

There’s very little to stop MATs pooling this or distributing it in a way of their choosing

Both the chancellor and the Department for Education have made it clear they expect the money to go directly to individual schools.

Read more.


The school for bullied children.

The bullying started when Hannah Letters was 11. “I struggled with the transition to secondary school and found it hard to make friends.” Her classmates made snide comments about her appearance. When her mother was diagnosed with cancer, the comments got worse. She was sent messages on social media, telling her that no one liked her. “One of the girls turned and said to me, ‘If you had looked after your mother better, she wouldn’t have got cancer.’ I had such low self-esteem by then, anything she said I believed. I started to blame myself.”

By the time she was 13, Letters was self-harming. The bullies were constantly on her mind and she would wake up screaming from nightmares. She wasn’t happy with the response she got from her school, and “each time my mother or I complained, the bullying got worse”. When the bullies physically attacked her, it was the last straw for Letters’ mother. She took her off the school roll. That meant her school was absolved of its legal responsibility to provide her with an education. She became yet another statistic: one of the 16,000 children aged 11 to 15 who, each year, “self-exclude” from school due to bullying.

Read more.


Private schools take out legal insurance.

Private schools are now taking out legal insurance for teachers, amid a rise in parents calling in top law firms when their children are in trouble.  

If a complaint to a housemaster or head of year about their child does not yield favourable results, wealthy parents are increasing turning to solicitors’ firms in an attempt to force the school’s hand.

This can be terrifying for teachers as any kind of allegation against them can damage their career even if it turns out to be false, according to John Roberts, founder of Edapt which provides legal cover for school staff.

“It is something you are more likely to see in independent schools where parents have the means to be able to do that,” Mr Roberts told The Sunday Telegraph.

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The academy trusts whose GCSE students keep disappearing

Some of England’s most influential academy chains are facing fresh questions over the number of children disappearing from their classrooms in the run-up to GCSEs, following a new statistical analysis of official figures.

The same four academy chains have the highest numbers of 15- 16-year-olds leaving their schools in both of the last two academic years. In some cases, two pupils are disappearing from the rolls for every class of 30. Some local authorities are also approaching these figures for dropouts.

Fears have been increasing that some schools are “offrolling” – getting rid of students who could do badly in their exams – in an effort to boost their league table position.

The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, is among those voicing concern. The inspectorate has yet to find a way to differentiate offrolling from cases where schools have acted in the best interests of children, but it has started to gather its own data.

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Academies filing financial rules late.

The Department for Education has named and shamed 88 academies and multi-academy trusts that failed to file at least two financial rules on time.

Eileen Milner, the chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), first warned trusts last December that she intended to publish a list of those that filed late.

At the time, she wrote: “In the interest of fairness to those trusts who consistently submit returns on time, we are therefore now taking a firmer stance on non-compliance with the submission date set out.”

Today’s list includes the Academy Transformation Trust, whose governance was severely criticised by the ESFA last year.

In a statement posted on its website today, the ESFA said that submitting financial returns on time was “an essential requirement of the Academies Financial Handbook”.

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Former head of academy chain banned from teaching after receiving 'second salary'

A former head of an academy chain has been banned from teaching indefinitely after he was paid two salaries. 

Liam Nolan, whose academy trust was once praised by former prime minister David Cameron and Conservative education secretaries, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct last month.

 

Mr Nolan used to be executive headteacher, CEO and accounting officer at Perry Beeches Academy Trust in Birmingham until he resigned in 2016 during an investigation into the academy chain. 

 
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Mr Nolan - who was once described as a "superhead" - appeared before the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) in relation to £160,000 of payments he received while CEO of the trust.

 

A previous investigation found that the academy chain paid nearly £1.3m to Nexus Schools Ltd - a private company contracted to help run the school - without following proper procedures.

Nexus then paid Mr Nolan £160,000 via a company of which he was sole director. This payment was on top of his £120,000 annual payroll salary.

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£8m fund to boost skills ahard of T levels.

Teachers and staff across the country will benefit from a new £8 million professional development offer, being developed by the Education and Training Foundation(ETF), to help them prepare for the roll-out of new T Levels.

Teaching professionals will be offered the opportunity to participate in the new T Level Professional Development Programme to help them to develop their skills and knowledge so they are ready to deliver T Levels - the technical equivalent to A Levels - from 2020.

The first T Levels courses in education & childcare, construction and digital will be taught in over 50 further education and post-16 providers from September 2020. A further 22 courses will be rolled out from 2021 onwards covering sectors such as finance & accounting, engineering & manufacturing, and creative & design.

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British teachers work hardest.

British teachers work harder than peers in most other countries in the world, global study suggests.

But the public underestimates the number of hours teachers put in by almost a whole school day per week, according to the new research. 

 

Teachers in the UK are working the fourth highest number of hours per week (50.9) out of 35 countries surveyed – and only teachers in New Zealand, Singapore and Chile work harder.


Call for more support for music lessons.

Musician John Thirkell has called on the government to support music lessons for children.

"Music education has been thrown to the wolves in the UK," said the trumpet player, who has worked with George Michael, Tina Turner and Bruno Mars.

His comments coincide with research published by the Musicians' Union (MU) suggesting poorer children are priced out of learning musical instruments.

Children in low income households were half as likely to take music lessons.

The report suggests only 19% of children from families earning less than £28,000 learned a musical instrument, compared with 40% of those in high-earning households.

This is despite similar levels of interest from both groups of children.

The report also suggests higher-earning parents were twice as likely to want their children to learn an instrument.

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Which countries value teachers.

If teachers want to have high status they should work in classrooms in China, Malaysia or Taiwan, because an international survey suggests these are the countries where teaching is held in the highest public esteem.

But their colleagues in Brazil, Israel and Italy are at the other end of this "teacher status index", based on research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Varkey Foundation.

The UK is in the upper half of the rankings of 35 countries, with the teaching profession held in higher regard than in the United States, France and Germany.

But China leads the way - with 81% believing that pupils respect their teachers, compared with an international average of 36%, in a survey of 35,000 people.

Read more.


 

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