Amanda Spielman took questions from the Education Committee
Ofsted’s Chief Inspector addressed a series of issues raised by cross-party MPs. The theme was accountability, so questions sought to clarify what falls under Ofsted’s remit and if the inspectorate is adequately fulfilling its purpose. Amanda Spielman only took on the role this year, so it was an opportunity for the Education Committee to identify how she is finding the job and what she considers her priorities. Robert Halfon MP, who chaired the meeting, asked Spielman to urgently address careers advice and technical education. See our summary.
Plans to allow flexible working for school staff unveiled by Justine Greening
The Education Secretary announced the new government initiative aimed at helping to increase teacher retention rates and lessen the gender pay gap at a Flexible Working in Schools summit attended by representatives from teaching unions and businesses. As well as developing ways to help teachers work flexibly, the measure looks to enhance Women Leading in Education coaching schemes. The first stage is likely to be a pilot programme. It is hoped that, if successfully implemented, high-calibre candidates will be attracted to, and remain within the teaching profession.
Institute for Teaching launches
Backed by government funding, the new initiative aims at improving teacher training and development. A number of courses will be on offer to teachers with the aim of creating expertise and improving the quality of education children receive.
Nominations open for the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018
Until the end of the month, Welsh Government invites nominations from everyone, including parents, for teaching professionals across the country in a range of categories, to celebrate and reward those who make an outstanding difference to the educational lives and outcomes of children. See https://beta.gov.wales/professional-teaching-awards-cymru to submit your nomination or find out more.
Instruments for Kids project seeks old music equipment
Do you have any unused or unwanted musical instruments lying around? A government initiative - Music Instrument Amnesty Week - runs from 20-24 November, where people across Wales can donate musical instruments. The scheme, called Instruments for Kids, is backed by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams. Once the musical instruments have been collected, they will be distributed via local authorities to schools in need of more music provision.
Education Authority (EA) Launches ‘Smart School Transport’ Competition
Applications are open until 1 December for digital solution providers to pitch the EA their innovative solution to delivering children safely to and from school. The EA provides transportation for 90,000 children, but they are inviting bids from companies who can use technology to make their service even better. The competition has received a budget from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) scheme and will ultimately help to provide a better educational experience for children.
Anti-Bullying Week coming soon
Schools have until 5pm today to register for the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum's (NIABF) Anti-Bullying Week (ABW). Those who sign up can access resource packs from www.endbullying.org.uk on the theme 'All Equal, All Different, All Together'. The campaign runs from 13-17 November.
CSSC chief warns of education financial crisis
Barry Mulholland has said that the funding situation in schools is so bad that parents are being asked to contribute to school funds to help pay day-to-day running costs such as equipment. CSSC represents 48% of schools. Mulholland's statements support findings from our annual Parent Survey, which found that 75% of parents in Northern Ireland have been asked to donate to their child's school.
Primary school children almost as stressed over exams as GCSE pupils
As thousands of eleven year olds prepare to take the 11-plus style grammar school entrance tests this month, fresh research by Oxford Home Schooling suggests younger pupils find testing almost as stressful as teens taking their GCSEs, confirmed by a third of parents who were asked.
Image of Justine Greening by Foreign and Commonwealth Office.