Prevention of future deaths report - response
Ofsted and the Department for Education have
responded to the Prevention of Future Deaths report by the coroner following the death of headteacher Ruth Perry.
The new chief inspector of Ofsted, Sir Martyn Oliver has set out what action Ofsted has taken before and immediately after the inquest as well as what it proposes to do next, including:
making sure all inspectors are trained to recognise and respond to signs of distress in school leaders
establishing a clear and simple process for providers who have concerns about an inspection to speak to an unconnected senior Ofsted employee
implementing a new policy on pausing an inspection for up to five days if there are serious concerns about the wellbeing of leaders
establishing an expert reference group, including external representation, to look at leader and staff wellbeing
appointing an independent expert to lead a learning review of Ofsted’s response to the tragic death of Ruth Perry
Ofsted re-started its inspections in January.
Workload reduction taskforce recommendations
The government’s teacher workload taskforce has published
early recommendations from its work to help minsters meet their pledge to cut five hours from the working week of school staff. These include:
scrapping performance-related pay from 1 September 2024 and replacing it with a “less bureaucratic way to manage performance fairly and transparently”
including a list of administrative tasks that teachers should not have to do in the school teachers pay and conditions document
using INSET days to look at workload issues
The taskforce will make further recommendations by March 2024.
New guidance to help schools and colleges tackle harassment of staff
The government has promised new guidance to help schools tackle harassment of staff and extended its school leader mental health support scheme for another three years, according to Schools Week.
The guidance pledge comes as the proportion of school leaders who have been verbally abused by parents is rising. Some
schools have called for a national campaign to stamp it out.
MP’s call for a “nuanced” alternative to Ofsted judgements
The Parliamentary education committee has published its first report on
Ofsted’s work with schools following its enquiry into the organisation following the death of Ruth Perry. It recommends less frequent, more detailed inspections, a longer five-day notice period before inspections take place and reviewing the government’s policy on “coasting” schools. MP’s also want there to be a more “nuanced” alternative to single-phase ratings (outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate).
Revised Code of Practice on requests for flexible working
In July last year
ACAS’s consultation on its we wrote about Draft Code of Practice – handling flexible working requests. After considering the feedback received during the consultation Acas has published a which includes a few changes to the original document including: revised Code of Practice
recommending that employers discuss with the employee other options if it cannot fully agree to their original request
removing the need to hold a formal meeting if the employer agrees to the request
expanding the list of individuals who can accompany an employee to a request meeting (whilst making it clear that there is no statutory right to have a companion present)
suggesting that all organizations, regardless of their size, assign a different manager to handle appeals related to flexible working requests.
New government guidance on holiday pay and entitlement
The government has published new
guidance on changes to the Working Time Regulations which come into force from 1 January 2024. It covers the meaning of an irregular hours worker and part-year worker, holiday entitlement for these workers, carry over of leave and holiday pay calculations.
The guidance is not binding on employers or tribunals and contains some errors!
Changes to paternity leave
The government is making changes to the way paternity leave operates. It has published draft legislation:
Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 which will make the following changes:
To give fathers and partners more flexibility, they will be able to take their two weeks leave in two separate blocks of one week (rather than having to take just one week in total or two consecutive weeks).
Employed fathers and partners will be able to take this leave within a year of a child’s birth, rather than in the first eight weeks.
They have to give 28 days’ notice to the employer prior to taking each period of leave.
The new regulations come into force on 8th March 2024
but only apply to parents where the expected week of childbirth is on or after 6th April 2024, and children whose expected date of placement for adoption, or expected date of entry into Great Britain for adoption, is on or after 6th April 2024.
New skilled worker threshold won’t apply to everyone
The government has recently
confirmed that the general salary threshold in the Skilled Worker route which is due to increase to £38,700 in April 2024, won’t apply to people who are already in the UK under a Skilled Worker visa, or to those who apply for a visa before the rules change when they change employment, extend their stay or want to settle here.
Employers fail to support women with menopausal symptoms
According to a
, a staggering 83% of menopausal women aren’t able to access support within their workplaces. The report says that, even where support is available, women often feel uncomfortable discussing their experiences, particularly in male-dominated work environments. They also complain that they are not provided with simple adjustments such as fans for the office or being allowed to take time off to cope with debilitating experiences such as hot flushes. survey conducted by Unite
The union is demanding that employers recognize their responsibilities towards their staff and take action to create menopause-friendly workplaces.
Age discrimination common at work
research by the Centre for Ageing Better, 37% of people in their 50’s and 60’s who experienced age discrimination, said that it happens most often at work. Pay growth slows as vacancies reduce
According to the
Office for National Statistics, pay growth is slowing and job vacancies fell 5% in October to December compared with July to September. Extra nursery places in primary schools
Labour has appointed the former head of Ofsted to conduct a review of the expansion of childcare services. Labour is exploring the idea of creating numerous nursery places within existing primary schools to help working parents.
71 courses face the axe in favour of wave 4 T Levels
Over 70 courses taken by more than 32,000 students are set to be cut by the government in effort to make way for the fourth wave of T Levels, according to
guidance issued by the government.
Socially selective comprehensive schools
research by the Sutton Trust has revealed that disadvantaged students in England are less likely to gain admission to top-performing schools compared to their more privileged peers. The study found that certain comprehensive schools exhibit higher levels of being socially selective than grammar schools. The Sutton Trust has called on the government to review the admissions code in order to enhance access for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The report, titled "Selective Comprehensives 2024," identifies over 150 state-maintained comprehensive schools that are more socially selective than the average grammar school. The research, which spans from 2019 to 2022, indicates that the situation has not improved since 2016 and may have worsened.
Labour reveal plan to keep track of home-schooled children
The Labour party has said that, if elected it will introduce new legislation to require local authorities to set up and maintain a new register of children not attending school to tackle absenteeism. It will include children who are home-schooled. Each child would be given a unique number to link records across schools, health visitors, and councils.
Homeschooling at its peak
recent figures published by the Department for Education (DfE), more than one in 100 children in England were homeschooled during the summer term of 2023. The number of homeschooled children increased from 86,000 at the beginning of 2023 to 97,000 during the summer term, indicating a rise in homeschooling.
While the Covid-19 pandemic initially led to an increase in homeschooling, only 4% of parents cited health concerns over Covid as the main reason for their decision. Instead, nearly 25% of families mentioned "lifestyle choice" and "philosophical or preferential reasons" as their primary motivations for educating their children at home. These figures suggest that the trend of homeschooling may become a permanent choice for some families.
Inadequate funding for sixth form students
The Funding Shortfall in Sixth Form Education report commissioned by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) and conducted by London Economics, reveals that the average funding for sixth form colleges in 2023/24, when adjusted for inflation, is 15% lower than it was in 2010/11. Specifically, funding has reduced from £6,820 per student to £5,760 per student.
To maintain funding levels in real terms for 2025/26 at the same level as 2023/24, an additional £410 per student would be necessary to account for rising costs. Furthermore, to address the urgent need for additional student support services such as mental health and welfare, as well as non-qualification activities like employability training and tutorial sessions, an extra £300 per student would be required.
Education net-zero roadmap to be published by Autumn 2024
The Department for Education
confirmed that a roadmap outlining their plans to achieve net zero emissions will be released by Autumn 2024. This commitment follows a warning from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) that only 20% of schools in England will meet the net zero standards by 2050. The EAC also highlighted a considerable funding gap between the Department for Education's sustainability goals and its current budget. While the Department's commitment is appreciated, the EAC emphasizes the need for long-term funding to effectively meet sustainability objectives.
Read more – February 2024
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