Nicky Phillips

  • Faith schools waive church attendance requirements

    Faith schools are amending requirements for prospective pupils to have attended places of worship in the wake of Covid-19 disruption.  Last week, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) approved a modification put forward by the governing body of Lowdham Church of England primary, in Nottinghamshire, to remove the need for pupils to have attended

    5.00 Nov. 22nd, 2020 | News

  • Former RSC on board of trust rapped in government probe

    An academy trust rapped over a contract its chief executive awarded to an online mental health company where she also served as a director lists a former regional schools commissioner on its board. An Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) investigation found weak procurement controls and “a lack of probity in spending public funds” at

    5.00 Nov. 21st, 2020 | News

  • DfE launches hiring spree for Covid response

    A huge recruitment drive has been launched at the Department for Education to aid its response to Covid-19, with 100 jobs up for grabs. Job adverts for the 12-month contracts contain limited detail but state that people are being sought to work in “priority roles” that have been impacted by the pandemic and will be

    6.00 Nov. 21st, 2020 | News

  • DfE denies it withholds laptops on form-filling grounds

    Headteachers claim they have had difficulty accessing laptops for self-isolating pupils because they didn’t fill in an optional attendance form. Schools have a legal duty to provide remote education to pupils who are forced to stay at home, and the government has promised additional laptops to assist. But accessing the laptops is proving an uphill

    15.00 Nov. 20th, 2020 | News

  • Union accused of breaking rules over ‘political’ election ad

    The country’s largest education union has been accused of flouting rules over a “political” Facebook advert critical of Conservative party policy that it paid for in the run-up to last year’s general election. Figures published by the Electoral Commission earlier this month showed the National Education Union spent £505,000 campaigning in the 2019 election. It

    11.00 Nov. 20th, 2020 | News

  • £73k theft at academy not spotted for eight months, government probe reveals

    Over £73,000 was stolen from a single academy trust but the loss went unnoticed for eight months due to “weak internal controls”, according to a damning report into a London school. The fraud came to light after Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) inspectors visited the London Enterprise Academy, run by the Tower Hamlets Enterprise

    5.00 Nov. 15th, 2020 | News

  • We should have protected whistleblowers, says DfE

    The Department for Education has admitted it should have redacted the names of whistleblowers who gave evidence as part of an investigation into cheating at an academy trust. Schools Week revealed in February that three whistleblowers had been named five times across 165 pages of a DfE response to a freedom of information (FOI) request

    5.00 Nov. 14th, 2020 | News

  • Academy loses fight with council on restricting pupil numbers

    An academy that wanted to reduce its admissions to restrict the number of pupils it had to accept mid-year has lost its battle after the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) upheld a local authority’s objection. The Westleigh School in Wigan, which is part The Shaw Education Trust, was attempting to reduce its Published Admission

    5.00 Nov. 15th, 2020 | News

  • Holiday hunger providers demand 'multi-year funding' as DfE extends scheme

    The government must allocate “multi-year funding” for its holiday activities and food programme, previous recipients said after the announcement of a £220 million expansion to the scheme. The extension of HAF to all areas in England and into the Easter and Christmas holidays next year was announced on Sunday, following mounting pressure on ministers to

    15.00 Nov. 13th, 2020 | News

  • Schools miss out as £2.2m cut from overhauled support scheme

    The government has cut funding promised to schools for improvement support after the scheme was repurposed to help leaders struggling with educational issues or remote learning during the pandemic. Under a new recovery scheme, schools can request an “experienced system leader” for up to five days to “help them overcome the challenges faced or exacerbated”

    13.00 Nov. 13th, 2020 | News

  • Timothy’s tweets raise questions over departmental impartiality

    Department for Education board member Nick Timothy has been accused of breaching impartiality rules over tweets expressing partisan views and criticising opposition parties. The former chief of staff to Theresa May and New Schools Network director was appointed as non-executive director at the DfE in March.  Schools Week revealed last month that his appointment was

    11.00 Nov. 13th, 2020 | News