John Dickens

  • Exams and accountability in 2021: The proposals in full

    The government has finally announced today its plans for next year’s exams, when Ofsted will resume and other outstanding issues such as league tables and primary assessment. Here’s your speed read of what’s been announced. *It’s important to note this information is all based on a press release from the government, which had limited details.

    0.01 Dec. 3rd, 2020 | News

  • 'Too many parents had to wait too long': NAO probe exposes free meal voucher failures

    Parents were left waiting “too long” for financial support under the government’s national free school meal voucher scheme, according to a probe that has exposed officials’ lack of oversight of the £384 million contract. A National Audit Office investigation, published today, reveals that parents were left waiting on average five days to receive the £15-per-week

    0.01 Dec. 2nd, 2020 | News

  • 8 key findings from the NAO's free meals national voucher scheme investigation

    The National Audit Office has today published its investigation into the Department for Education’s national free school meal voucher scheme. The report highlights many of the problems that thwarted the scheme throughout its first few months, such as parents facing lengthy waits for vouchers and problems accessing the firm’s website (exposed as part of a

    0.01 Dec. 2nd, 2020 | News

  • Broken promises: DfE snubs exams transparency request

    Gavin Williamson has snubbed demands from the education select committee to provide details of key meetings his department held with Ofqual in the run-up to the exams debacle, despite promising transparency. The education secretary had been ordered by committee chair Robert Halfon to provide the information by Monday, after missing an earlier deadline. It is

    9.30 Nov. 27th, 2020 | News

  • £14m scheme to send 'best' heads into toughest schools missed recruitment target by two thirds

    A flagship £14 million government scheme to recruit the “best and brightest” school leaders to turn around the country’s toughest schools missed its recruitment target by over two thirds. An evaluation of the government’s Talented Leaders programme, launched in 2014, found just 32 leaders of the promised 100 were actually recruited to struggling schools. Furthermore,

    11.38 Nov. 26th, 2020 | News

  • Overruled: DfE's sweeping Coronavirus powers force trust into early Christmas holiday U-turn

    An academy trust has been forced by the government to ditch its intention to close early for Christmas – a move that is likely to kill off any wider attempts to extend the festive break. Focus Trust announced on Friday that its 15 schools across Manchester and West Yorkshire would close on December 11, a week

    9.19 Nov. 24th, 2020 | News

  • Trust ordered to scrap extended Christmas holiday, or face 'action' from ministers

    A regional schools commissioner has told a trust she “can not support” its decision to close early for Christmas, warning if they don’t U-turn she will “escalate” the case to ministers who “may wish to consider further action”. Focus Trust announced on Friday that its 15 schools across Manchester and West Yorkshire would close on

    11.29 Nov. 23rd, 2020 | News

  • Academy trust's 15 schools to close one week early for Xmas to 'protect precious family time together'

    An academy trust with 15 schools in the North West will close a week early for Christmas to “safeguard the wellbeing of staff and pupils and protect precious family time together”. It means the trust’s schools, in Manchester and West Yorkshire, will close on December 11, rather than December 18, with “additional learning days being

    17.48 Nov. 20th, 2020 | News

  • Spielman rules out 'inspection frenzy', suggesting 'gradual' Ofsted restart

    The Ofsted chief inspector has ruled out an “inspection frenzy” when normal business for the watchdog is resumed, suggesting the reintroduction of full inspections could be “gradual”. Speaking at the Schools and Academies Show this morning, Amanda Spielman said a “lot of people are rightly worried” about allowing the suspension of routine inspections to “be

    12.01 Nov. 18th, 2020 | News

  • Williamson: Time to plan for Ofsted return, but inspection results must be 'fair'

    Gavin Williamson has tentatively signalled the government is looking to restart Ofsted inspections next year, but has pledged an announcement in “the next few weeks” to ensure schools have “sufficient time” to prepare. The education secretary said he expects Ofsted to play a “vital role as we work through the pandemic”, while making the keynote

    10.09 Nov. 18th, 2020 | News

  • Fund mentoring and CPD for heads to stop 'post-Covid exodus', commission warns DfE

    Early career teacher support reforms, such as increased mentoring and professional development, should be rolled out to encompass school leaders to prevent a “post-Covid exodus”, a school improvement commission has said. The National Association of Head Teachers report comes as a survey of its members found 47 per cent are now less likely to remain

    0.01 Nov. 18th, 2020 | News