Welcome to this week’s edition of ‘The Week Ahead’  (2nd July 2018) Here you will find the latest updates on literacy and SEND policy from Parliament and beyond.  

Things to know:

  • £6.5 million fund to support children who need the most help with early language and speech skills. Parents who need help teaching their children reading, writing and language skills will get practical help such as home visits and online tools. Voluntary groups will get a share of the multi-million-pound fund to run projects that support children with additional needs. Minister Zahawi appeared on Pienaar’s Politics yesterday to talk about the funding (listen from 9:00).
  • First fall in overall teacher numbers in six yearsOverall teacher numbers in England have fallen by 1.2 per cent, from 457,200 in 2016 to 451,900 in 2017 according to new official figures. The findings came as the pupil population increased by 66,000 this year. The Teaching Unions called the revelation a “serious threat to educational standards”.
  • Calls for mandatory governor training In a call backed by the NGA, National Leader of Governance, Jo Penn said that governors should have “pre-appointment training” before they sit on school boards, paid for by the government. Last week DYT launched the SEND Governance Review Guide to support governors to measure the effectiveness of their SEND provision. Download the guide from sendgov.co.uk.
  • Debate on SLCN this WednesdayRebecca Pow MP has secured a Westminster Hall debate next Wednesday, 4 July between 9.30am-11.00am on speech, language and communication support for children. This debate is a great opportunity to hear the Government’s initial thinking on Bercow: Ten Years On review.
    The debate will be open for members of the public to attend or can be watched here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Commons

If you missed it:

  • The government’s call for evidence on greater oversight of children whose parents elect to educate them at home closes at 11:59 pm today – make your views known here.
  • The Public Accounts committee published their Annual Report which criticised the Department for Education for its approach to saving and a lack of accountability – Schools Week covers the seven key findings.
This Week:

Tuesday 3rd July 

At 10 am the Education Committee hears from key figures who have been involved in reviews of and changes to the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system. Among the witnesses will be Stephen Kingdom, who led on the 2014 reforms during his time at the Department for Education. He will be joined by Baroness Warnock and Brian Lamb who chaired previous reviews of the system.

Later, there will be an Estimates Day debate on the spending of the Department for Education.The Department for Education is one of the big four spending departments (the Resource Departmental Limit is £66.5 billion) which is dominated by grants to schools, making up around £50 billion of the budget. In addition, £4.9 billion goes on education standards and curriculum, with another £4 billion to the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Read a briefing of the debate here.

Wednesday 4th July 

At 9:30 am there will be a Westminster Hall debate on Speech, language and communication support for children. The debate, sponsored by Rebecca Pow MP follows the Bercow: 10 years on review, the summary to which you can read here.

Keep up to date with DYT’s campaigning work

Over the weekend, the School Cuts campaign launched a  petition  to support calls for local authorities and schools to have sufficient funds and resources to guarantee all pupils with SEND have access to education.

This petition was launched off the back of 39 local councils – supported by the NEU and School Cuts coalition partners – wrote to Damian Hinds to demand more money to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The publication of the letter received a great deal of attention from local and national media and also parents and other groups campaigning on this important issue.

DYT support the campaign and encourage you to share and sign it.

Sign the petition

  • DYT’s CEO, Chris Rossiter, wrote for TES about the aim of the SEND Governance Guide to ensure that governors are able to properly interrogate SEND support and planning. Read here.
  • Drop ‘misleading’ school statistic, government told (BBC)
  • DfE: Schools get bigger as pupil population increases by 66,000 (Schools Week)
  • Education reforms causing greater inequality in schools, major study finds (The Independent)
  • Catherine Leahy, a Senior Her Majesty’s Inspector in the South West region, explains how Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission work together on local area special educational needs and disabilities (LA SEND) inspections. (TES)

Get in touch: 

Dan Baynes
Policy & Research Executive