EdCo News Round Up October 2019

Almost 100,000 students leave education without necessary qualifications: Children’s Commissioner calls surge ‘shameful’

18% of teens in England have left education without the necessary grades to enter apprenticeships and technical or academic courses, according to the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield. 98,799 of the students leaving education this year have not achieved five A*-C GCSEs or any equivalent. This amounts to a 24% rise since 2015. A higher proportion of disadvantaged students and students with special educational needs (SEN) left school without the necessary qualifications. 37% of students eligible for free school meals left school without these qualifications as well as 45% of pupils with special educational needs.

The Children’s Commissioner has written to the Department for Education asking them to commit to a five-year plan to halve the number of children failing to gain a Level 2 qualification by age 19. ‘The government must urgently investigate why the progress that has been made over recent years in closing the attainment gap has stalled and now going backwards,’ Ms Longfield added. The General Secretary of the NAHT teacher’s union, Paul Whiteman, says disadvantaged and SEN students are ‘victims of a decade of austerity’ and have ‘disproportionately suffered from funding cuts not just to education, but to all the wider services that should be there to help them.’ However, looking at the whole student population, the report the Children’s Commissioner is referring to suggests the increase is partially due to fewer schools offering vocational alternatives to GCSEs, reducing choice for students.

Nearly 100,000 children leave education without basic qualifications amid shameful rise, children’s commissioner says (The Independent)
Longfield demands review as 1 in 5 leave school without good GCSEs (Schools Week)
'Shameful rise': 18% of children now leave school as low achievers (The Guardian)
GCSEs: 100,000 pupils a year leaving 'without basic qualifications' (BBC)


80% of schools will be worse off in 2020, claim campaigners

Despite the Government's announcement that the schools budget will rise to £7.1 billion by 2022, campaigners have claimed that the majority of British Schools will be worse off in 2020 than they were in 2015. Following the Conservative Party Conference on September 30th, the School Cuts Campaign made the claim that about 16,000 schools will have less money per pupil in 2020 in real terms that in 2015, and that the budget allocation to schools in 2020-21 will need a further £2.5 billion to reverse cuts.

The campaigners also announced that around a third of all schools will see cut to their budgets next year as school costs exceed inflation. Furthermore, while the promised new budget earmarks £700 million for students with special educational needs, the unions claim that the High Needs Block will still be £1.5 billion short of what is needed.

Geoff Barton, the Association of School and College leaders general Secretary, said: "Analysis by the School Cuts coalition shows the additional funding is not enough to repair the damage that has been done to our schools and colleges and further investment is required."

"We are not being churlish, we are just stating the facts. The funding crisis is not over."

Government spending plans ‘leave 80% of schools worse off next year than in 2015’ (Schools Week)
‘DfE extra cash still sees 80% of schools worse off’ (TES)
School Funding: 4 in 5 schools worse off under Government spending plans, finds new analysis (NEU)
Funding for 80% of schools in England 'worse next year than 2015' (The Independent)

Almost half of teachers work in the evenings: Secondary teachers spend just as much time on teaching and non-teaching tasks

A quarter of teachers work more than 60 hours a week, including evenings and weekends, according to a study by the University College London (UCL). On average, teachers will work 47 hours a week during term time, but 10% will be working more than 65 hours per week. To put this into context, secondary school teachers will work 49 hours per week while the average for all OECD countries is 41 hours. Teachers in Finland, for example, work an average 34-hour week. Full-time secondary school teachers also spend just as much time during the week working on management, administration and lesson planning as they do actually teaching every week, attributing 20 hours to each. To keep up with their workloads, almost half of teachers will work in the evenings and 10% will work during the weekend.

Longer working hours for teachers 'are a myth': One-in-four in England work a 60-hour week but average has been stable for a generation despite pledges to reduce their workload (Daily Mail)
1 in 4 teachers work over 60 hours a week – but that’s not why they’re leaving (Schools Week)
One in four teachers work more than 60 hours a week (Nursery World)
One in four teachers in England work 60-hour week despite government clampdown, study finds (The Independent)
Seven key findings about teachers’ working hours (IOE London Blog)
Workload: 1 in 4 teachers works a 60-hour week (TES)
Teachers 'have worked long hours for many years' (BBC)
Workload: 'Bureaucracy is ruining teachers' lives' (TES)