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      Filtering what matters in the education sector.

      The week got off to a busy start with Education Questions yesterday, the last one of 2017 saw clashes on school funding, home education and accountability of MATs. We also learnt of two new announcements from Justine Greening – a consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status in February 2019 and the launch of a “social mobility action plan” (with Greening expected to make a speech to launch this on Thursday). We will be awaiting to see what firm commitments are made and ask again – where does SEND fit into the grand plan?

      Over the weekend we saw two big SEND stories break, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman will use the launch of the their Annual Report to warn against the rise of results-based exclusion practices and teaching unions have warned about a “black hole” in high-needs funding. As we approach the new year, there is plenty for SEND advocates to be shouting at the government about.

      Main Stories: 

      Spielman to condemn schools that push out underachieving pupils to boost results

      The Ofsted Chief Inspector has warned that SEND pupils are being off-rolled out of mainstream education leading them to be pushed out of “mind and sight” by school leaders. She is expected to condemn the practice as illegal when she launches Ofsted’s Annual Review on Wednesday.
      DYT welcomes the HMCI’s intervention and raised such concerns in our response to the exclusions consultation in July. Furthermore, our Joining the Dots report made a number of recommendations to Ofsted to improve the accountability for SEND learners, for instance – Ofsted can require schools to undergo a review of how Pupil Premium funding is spent where disadvantaged pupils are not making expected progress. We suggest that inspectors should do the same for SEND pupils and hope to see progress here in the Annual Review.

      Local Authorities face £226 million shorthall in high-needs funding 
      The NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keats says there is “a growing crisis” in SEND education as the black hole in SEND funding continues to grow. With the number of SEND learners increasing and changes to the funding formula meaning councils have less flexibility to fund their high needs commitments, councils are under huge financial pressure to implement the 2014 reforms and provide special school places.
      The Department has commented: “under the new high-needs national funding formula, every local authority will see an increase in funding.”
      Read the response of the Special Educational Consortium – which DYT is a member of – on the reforms to the high needs funding formula.
      Read the full story. 


      Westminster Education Forum on primary assessment 

      DYT Facilitator Richard Selfridge presented at the Westminster Education Forum’s discussion on primary assessment last week.

      Richard was quoted in a Schools Week article about calls to boycott the reception baseline assessment, stating that the fact that “people are discussing boycotts at this stage” highlights the “concerns that people in the profession have about the new assessment.”


      DYT presentation in Parliament to dyslexia group

      DYT Policy & Research Executive, Dan Baynes gave a presentation at the most recent All Party Parliamentary Group on Dyslexia on the 29th November.

      Dan looked at primary assessment reform that is on the horizon and the need to return to the recommendations of the Rose Report on the access and availability of dyslexia specialists as we approach it’s ten year anniversary.

      Watch his presentation slide show.


      Education Questions

      For the last time in 2017 the Education team faced a series of questions from MPs – see here for the main topics that came up.

      In regard to SEND, there were two questions on how the Secretary of State is ensuring that school staff are properly trained and have adequate resources to support autistic learners (from Rosie Cooper MP). Sir Edward Davey raised the issue of Kingston’s high needs budget which is set to be overspent this year by £6.5 million, or 35%—the worst in London.

      Read all the questions and answers here.

      Coming up:

      On Tuesday evening, Luciana Berger leads an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on the green paper on mental health in schools.

      DYT will respond, ensuring the link between dyslexia & SEND with mental health conditions is prioritised. 

      On Thursday, Lord Addington will raise an Oral Question on the “Transferring of responsibilities relating to Disabled Students’ Allowances for some students to higher education providers.”

      This will be followed by a debate on a report on vulnerable children by the Children’s Commissioner for England. The report in July found that  children with Special Educational Needs accounted for half of all permanent exclusions, despite being 14 percent of the school population – read this brief ahead of the debate.


      New report by the National Literacy Trust 

      1 in 8 of the nation’s most disadvantaged children say they don’t have a book of their own at home, according to new research published by the National Literacy Trust as they launch their Christmas Stories campaign.

      The research report, Book ownership and reading outcomes, found that children who own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and are four times less likely to read below the expected level.

      Exposed! Nationwide transport charges for SEND learners

      Two thirds of county councils are charging post-16 SEND learners for transport to and from their lessons, FE Week has discovered.

      Read the full piece.

      #ToYouFromTes: The myth of inclusion

      Rob Webster writes in TES about how his latest research, the biggest observational study of children with SEND conducted in the UK – demonstrates that inclusion is not truly being practised in mainstream education.

      Read the full piece.

      DYT on the road – TA training event in York

      DYT hit the road at a recent training event for TA’s in York – here’s a report on how the day went…