Read DYT’s education policy round up with a literacy and SEND focus. 

26th November 2018 

With less than a month until the Christmas recess, education policy was on turbo-drive last week with six announcements from the Department for Education. There were also a number of speeches at the Academies Show, including a champagne-related gaffe from Academies Minister, Theodore Agnew and what life might be like under the new National Schools Commissioner, Dominic Herrington.

DYT’s policy team have also been busy with our questions on the new literacy hubs and Local Authority support for dyslexia being answered by the Government.

Coming up this week:

  • Tuesday: The Education Committee hears from representatives of local authorities in its inquiry into school and college funding at 10am. The committee will consider how the role of Local Authorities has changed since 2010 in the backdrop of a 50% fall in budgets. DYT analysis found that over a third of Local Authorities do not have sufficient for specialist dyslexia support.

    In the House of Lords at 2:30pm, there are questions on how schools will develop mental health support.

  • Thursday: There is a general debate in the House of Commons chamber on ‘improving education standards,’ in the run up to the debate, Nick Gibb has written for Conservative Home that the Government’s primary reforms are working. DYT warns that SEND pupils have been lost from this rhetoric and their outcomes in the new system have remained stale and well below the national average – especially important as FFT datalab suggest more pupils have a SEND than you might think.

    Over in the Lords, Baroness Morris leads a debate on the impact on schools of the government’s approach to school funding.

  • Saturday: DYT Director of Operations, Karen Wespieser will present about dyslexia at ResearchEd Kent. Read her blogs reflecting on the presentation in London and Edinburgh.

If you missed it:

Literacy hubs will not cover dyslexia support 

Answering questions from Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the APPG for Dyslexia, the DfE stated that each of the 32 literacy hubs will have five teachers dedicated to supporting schools in teaching literacy. However, these teachers will not be required to hold specific qualifications in special educational needs, something which DYT has campaigned on the hubs to have a specific offer on. Our research finds that over 385,000 learners with literacy difficulties require specialist support in developing reading skills, by not including this provision as part of the hubs, the DfE have missed a golden opportunity to improve support for these pupils.

Increase SEND accountability through “pupil premium” approach

TES summarises the Education Committee SEND session last week where witnesses called for a national template for EHCPs and Lucy Powell MP suggested increasing accountability for learners on SEN support through an approach to funding closer to a pupil premium style approach – something which DYT recommended in our submission to the committee.

Access Arrangement numbers fall

Schools Week reported that the number of pupils with disabilities, illnesses or special educational needs receiving help to sit exams has fallen for the first time in at least five years. Ofqual’s findings showed a 0.5% drop compared to last year – down to a total of 391,000 learners.

TES podcast asks: “why are some children leaving school still unable to read?”

Dianne and James Murphy, authors of Thinking Reading: what every secondary teacher needs to know about reading, talk on the TesEnglish-teaching podcast about how to better support those children who struggle with reading. Find out more.


Get in touch:

Dan Baynes
Policy Executive