In 2018-19, we will be focusing our work on the following actions projects to drive change in each of our three priority areas. More information will follow in Autumn 2018.
World-class teachers and leaders, particularly in the most disadvantaged areas.
Investment and commitment from system leaders for development of leadership, wellbeing and CPD in schools
We call for renewed focus and investment in CPD, leadership development and teacher wellbeing to attract and keep staff in the education profession, particularly in areas of high disadvantage. We call for the strategic use and increase of government funding in this area to target those areas that need it the most. We are working with schools and organisations focused on these areas (including the Chartered College for Teaching, Teach First and Ambition School Leadership) to ensure that provision responds to the needs and capacity of the system. This also builds on the ‘Every Child Included in Education’ campaign's call for greater focus on teachers as professional learners. In this way we will build a pipeline of expert teachers and transformative leaders to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.
An education system which develops the whole child
A shared language and framework for skills development
It is possible for every child to build a high level of competency in essential skills, but to do so requires these skills to be taught explicitly – we cannot presume that they are innate or that they just ‘rub off’ on students after enough opportunities or experiences. We need a fundamental shift in mindset towards thinking about these essential skills with just the same rigour as literacy and numeracy. To do this we need a shared language and framework for skills development. The FEA is supporting the rollout of the Skills Builder Framework to be adopted by schools and practitioners across the country.
sharing and embedding “rounded education” practice
Many schools across the country are overcoming funding and workload issues and embedding practice which values development of social and emotional skills and wellbeing alongside academic attainment. Independent evaluations have shown the impact this is having for disadvantaged young people in terms of decrease in behavioural issues and increase in prosocial behaviour. The FEA is committed to highlighting, sharing and disseminating such practice across school networks and practitioners, so leaders can learn from each other and increase adoption of this type of approach to education. We will be working with the ‘Every Child Included in Education’ campaign on this alongside their priorities to promote kindness and wellbeing and increase recognition of parents, carers and wider communities.
Implementing a new vision for school accountability
The FEA has supported a commission led by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) to develop a new vision for school accountability. The commission has found that the current accountability system is not working for disadvantaged young people; amongst other issues, it deters talented staff from working in more deprived communities, narrows the curriculum and encourages ‘teaching to the test’. In September 2018, the commission set out its vision for the future of school accountability. This included a call for use of comparative performance data within families of schools in inspection, to mitigate against unfavourable judgements on schools serving disadvantaged communities. The FEA calls for support to implement the commission’s recommendations from government and the wider sector and will work with NAHT to do this.
School funding policy to allow for pupils with higher needs
The FEA continues to believe that national spending should not decrease in real terms on a per pupil basis. The government must ensure that all schools are sufficiently funded to meet its own aims for the education system, and fairly funded across the regions. Funding for pupils with higher needs should be protected. To achieve this, the government should consider a transparent and independent review into the provision that the best-performing schools offer, the cost of providing this on a per-pupil basis, and work with the Treasury to meet any shortfall between the cost of this provision and current funding arrangements. This should inform long term budgets in the 2020 Spending Review, and lead to additional funds in 2018 and 2019 where needed. The second stage of the national funding formula should also be reviewed to address continued inequality in funding between similar schools in different areas. All political parties should continue to support higher needs funding, including the pupil premium and funding for opportunity areas.
Joined up support for all post-16 destination routes
Greater collaboration to provide joined up information about all post-16 destination routes
We want to see more collaboration between employers and post-16 education providers in the way they provide information to schools about the range of options available and how they are interconnected. We welcome efforts by the Careers and Enterprise Company and a number of local collaborations to provide better networks between schools and colleges with employers, post-16 education providers and universities. We want to ensure every child gets consistent and effective advice and guidance so that they have the awareness and knowledge to make the right choice for them.
Sharing and embedding a whole school approach to careers and post-16 progression in more schools
In light of the careers strategy announced by government this year, many schools and school leaders have already adopted practice which puts post-16 progression at the heart of their strategy. Schools are being required to ensure progress towards all eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks by 2020. The FEA is committed to sharing great practice in this area from across schools and enabling schools and leaders to learn from each other. In this way we want to ensure every child gets consistent quality advice and guidance no matter which school they attend or which area they live in.