Thursday, 29 September 2016

Press release: Take the time to listen to vulnerable children, say inspectorates

A new report finds that child sexual exploitation can be tackled best when all partners take responsibility for their roles, while also working collaboratively, with strategic goals clearly identified, understood and agreed across agencies. ‘Time to listen’− a joined up response to child sexual exploitation and missing children finds that the police service needs to improve their response by making sure children talk to one person of sufficient skill and experience to know how to help.

Senior staff in key agencies, in particular police and health, must maintain a grip on this matter, because it is not going away. Tackling child sexual exploitation is not just an issue for local authorities, and health and the police must ensure a sufficiently senior person leads this work. A key concern remains that not all frontline healthcare staff are able to identify the signs of sexual exploitation.

Ofsted, Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Inspectorate of Probation undertook the inspections. They looked in depth at how local authorities, the police, probation services, Youth Offending Teams, health services and Local Safeguarding Children Boards are responding to children at risk of child sexual exploitation and those missing from home, school and care in Central Bedfordshire, Croydon, Liverpool, Oxfordshire, and South Tyneside. The report finds that good progress has been made since 2014 to tackle child sexual exploitation and support children who have been missing.

The inspectorates found evidence of improvement in the multi-agency response to tackling child sexual exploitation over the past two years. However, the report is clear that there can be no room for complacency and more can still be done to ensure all children receive consistently good support from all agencies. Raising awareness is also key to protecting vulnerable children. Children themselves can help in developing materials to help other children understand the risks. Schools have a critical role to play here, as do parents and carers, public services such as transport and recreation, and the local business community.

The report also finds:

  • vulnerable children greatly benefit from building a relationship with one trusted individual, such as a social worker, and being actively involved in decisions about their lives.
  • there needs to be a better understanding of why children go missing. The current requirements around return home interviews are not working well enough.
  • the response to children going missing should be based on a proper assessment of all known risks. Current risk assessments by the police are inconsistent and their effectiveness is limited for some children.
  • in too many areas the health community has insufficient resources and, in a minority of cases, an inadequate understanding of the signs of child sexual exploitation.
  • there is variation in police practice between and within areas, which means some children have to wait too long to get the help and support they need.
  • in most cases observed, professionals were highly committed to engaging with children, listening to their views and understanding their experiences. However, in some cases, this engagement is hampered by poor quality assessments, inappropriate language and ill-informed statements.
  • oversight of front line practice by leaders and managers is critical. While there was much evidence of good management in the inspected areas, inspectors still found examples of significant failures.

Eleanor Schooling, Ofsted National Director for Social Care, said:

“Helping victims of child sexual exploitation is a very tough task. We should be optimistic that this is a task that can be done effectively. Our inspections have found that when key frontline staff are well-trained, take their responsibilities seriously, work closely together and, possibly most importantly, have the time to build relationships with children, the issues can be dealt with sensitively and successfully.

“We have found that strong leadership makes a huge difference. Those areas where there was clear direction and a collective will to tackle this issue did well by their vulnerable children.

“Practice needs to improve. Local authorities, police and health services need to gain a better understanding of why children run away from home. We need to understand why the current system of return home interviews is not working if we really want to help children who go missing.”

Wendy Williams, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said:

“Police forces have a vital role to play in protecting vulnerable children, within the overall multi-agency response. Although this joint inspection has found an improvement in how services work together to protect children, there were nonetheless examples where the service provided by partners could be much better, as well as particular areas where the police service needs to improve.

“We found variation between, and sometimes within, forces as to how children were supported. This needs to improve to ensure children receive the support they need.”

Professor Ursula Gallagher, Deputy Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at the Care Quality Commission, said:

“These inspections have revealed a clear need for healthcare providers to make sure their staff are able to not only identify the possible signs of sexual exploitation in children and young people but also, to have sufficient opportunity to do so. It is important that they are able to work together with relevant partners to prevent further harm and abuse.

“Together with the other inspectorates, we have looked at the range of services across social care, the police and health services, including general practice, A&E, school nursing, sexual health, and mental healthcare.

“The overwhelming concern from our joint review is that understanding of the signs of child sexual exploitation by key frontline healthcare professionals is inadequate. Professionals across the board need the time and capacity to build relationships with their young patients if they are to effectively identify those at risk and help to protect them. When frontline staff are well-trained to use risk assessment checklists and apply their professional knowledge and skill, this makes a real difference to children.

“The healthcare system must recognise and act on its safeguarding responsibilities in this area. If it does not, children and young people will continue to be let down by services that should have their best interests at heart.”

Alan MacDonald, Assistant Chief Inspector of Probation, said:

“We saw many good examples of effective joint working during the inspections, which all agencies must learn from. Staff in most youth offending teams were good at identifying the needs and vulnerabilities of children early on and this was making a positive difference. Probation service staff being able to make swift checks on adult offenders who might pose a risk to children helped communication between agencies, which is important so that the risks can be understood and acted upon.”

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from Ofsted - News

Monday, 26 September 2016

News story: Ofsted welcomes 31 new apprentices

A group of 31 talented young apprentices start work at Ofsted this morning, taking up a variety of roles and responsibilities in 5 of the organisation’s offices across England.

Today’s intake is the result of a hugely successful recruitment process, which Ofsted launched in June this year as part of the government’s drive to create three million apprentices by 2020. It is the first time Ofsted has embarked on such a large-scale apprenticeship scheme.

There were over 200 applicants for the apprenticeship programme, which was advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service and Ofsted websites. The Ofsted human resources team also directly contacted schools, children’s services departments and youth centres, specifically to reach out to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The scheme will last for two years, with apprentices completing a level 2 qualification in business administration during their first year, and a level 3 qualification in their second year.

The 31 new apprentices are aged 16 years old and upwards. Some have come straight from school, others from college and some were previously employed.

They are all now full time, permanent members of Ofsted staff, and will be filling various positions across the organisation’s operations, including:

  • contact centre advisors and administrators
  • inspection support administrators
  • human resources advisors
  • regional support administrators
  • social care policy administrators
  • education policy administrators
  • management information support administrators

Matthew Coffey, Ofsted’s Chief Operating Officer said:

I’m delighted to welcome these young apprentices to Ofsted today, and I wish them every success in their new roles. The programme proved to be more popular than we had hoped and the recruitment process was very competitive, so their success in getting to this point shows just how bright and talented they are.

We want to provide individuals with a genuine opportunity to improve their lives, by offering them an alternative career path from the traditional university route. Following our critical report on apprenticeships last year, this scheme is also an opportunity for Ofsted to demonstrate how valuable, enjoyable and genuinely life-changing a well-planned and robust apprenticeship programme can be.

For further information on the scheme, please contact the Ofsted press office.

from Ofsted - News

Sunday, 25 September 2016

This much I know about…an eloquent, authentic argument against the reintroduction of Grammar Schools

I have been a teacher for 28 years, a Headteacher for 13 years and, at the age of 52, this much I know about an eloquent, authentic argument against the reintroduction of Grammar Schools.

Wisdom is priceless. The author of this letter is a retired judge and a retired governor of Huntington School. I am hugely grateful to him for allowing me to publish his email.

Hello John,

I read of your reaction to the proposed new policies on education and wonder if my experiences might help.

I went to my Grammar School from 1948 to 1955 and was fortunate to do so. The teaching was generally to a good standard (sometimes outstanding) with the result the School was high achieving.  It took me and many of my friends to University and into the professions and on this basis I ought to be a supporter of the eleven plus selection. However, as the years have gone by I have realised none of this happened without enormous cost to the community.

From the outset there was an unbridgeable gap between us and the majority who had not passed the exam. Those of us who passed were immediately regarded (and self-regarded) as superior to those who failed and there was a corresponding dejection and feeling of inferiority in those who had not made it. In later life I have spoken to some who failed and they tell me these scars lasted well into adulthood. As our schooling progressed this division between those who passed and those who did not increased. Those superior/inferior feelings were always there and at every level the Grammar Schools ignored the Secondary Schools and accentuated the division. We played sport against other Grammars in (e.g.) Manchester, Bolton and Bradford, but there was never any contact with another school in the City. As individuals socially we stayed with our school friends and our paths never crossed those of the other schools.

Inevitably those in the Secondary Moderns never had the benefit of the stimulus the more able pupils might have provided. But equally the Grammar School boys were deprived of any meaningful insight into the social and developmental problems of the less fortunate, so reducing the maturity and devaluing the intellectual benefits the Grammar School education had brought to those who enjoyed it.

Any comparison with fee-paying schools is not really appropriate: we live in a free society and we all use our means to finance the lifestyle we choose. If some choose to bear the cost and spare the community the expense of educating their children that is a matter for them. But grammars and comprehensives are each financed from the public purse and it does seem basically wrong that that purse should be used to establish the huge inequalities and unfairness selection at so early an age brings.

I am sure you will receive a mountain of comment from others in the City. My view is you know about these things better than most!

My kindest wishes to you and to everyone at Huntington…

from johntomsett |

The gender gap: the perception of causality

In the 1940s the Belgian philosopher Albert Michotte identified our tendency to believe we could see causality. His book, The Perception of Causality, published in French in 1945 showed how certain very simple visual sequences carry the appearance of causal connectedness. Click this link for an example.

Human beings are natural pattern seekers. We see shapes in clouds and faces in wallpaper. We see meaning where there is just random noise. In particular, we believe we can see causes when all we can actually see are effects. In teaching, we look at what happens in a classroom and think we know why it happened. We may, occasionally be right, but usually we’ll miss the hopeless complexities of real life preferring to stick with a convenient narrative: Miss Crumb is an ineffective teacher; Gavin is a feckless, work shy toe rag; Parvinder always tries her best. This is much easier than actually doing the hard work of trying to find out what else might have caused the effects we’ve observed.

One of the most prevalent examples of the perception of causality in education surrounds the observation that girls outperform boys. There’s no end of data to support this assumption and it really does seem to be the case that, on average, girls do better at school and are 75% more likely to go to university than boys. The OECD have found that boys are 50% more likely than girls to fall short of basic standards in reading, maths and science. And of course, everyone knows why. As this Economist article explains, there are 3 clear reasons why girls are doing better than boys: girls read more, spend longer doing homework and boys are ‘too cool for school’. Simple.

Consequently many, if not most, schools have a gender policy. As Chris Curtis points out here, teachers are under pressure to create a ‘boy friendly’ curriculum to ensure that boys are more engaged in lesson content, thereby magically closing the attainment gap.

If only reality were this simple. My suspicion is that what works well for boys will also work well for boys. Chris makes the following observations:

A boy who knows what they want from school succeeds.
A girl who knows what they want from school succeeds.
A student who knows what they want from schools succeeds.
To believe otherwise is to believe that we know the causes for the effects we observe. But it’s so tempting, isn’t it? In Chapter 1 of my book, What if everything you knew about education was wrong? I tell the story of ‘Mr Garvery’.
During a staff training, Mr Garvery and his colleagues were presented with data showing a difference in the mean scores for average GCSE points – with girls achieving a higher mean than boys. The obvious conclusion drawn was that this difference mattered and something needed to be done. Urgently. No ‘proper’ statistics were used to quantify the significance of this difference. So Mr Garvery went back to the raw data and performed a factor analysis of the impact of the following variables:
  • Gender
  • Free school meals (FSM)
  • Originating primary school
  • Key Stage 2 English/maths/science results
  • Key Stage 3 English/maths/science results
  • Reading age
  • Pupil attendance
  • Teacher attendance
  • Special educational needs (SEN)
  • English as a foreign language (EAL)

All had an impact ‘on average’, but the most significant factors were:

  • Teacher attendance
  • Pupils’ attendance
  • Key Stage 2 English results

Of those factors measured, gender and free school meals were the least significant. When Mr Garvery shared this finding with his head teacher, his was told to stop causing trouble and come up with a suitable gender policy.

Why has the story of boys’ underachievement become such a widely accepted and compelling narrative? The problem is that we see graphs with girls’ performance clearly ahead of boys’, so the cause must be due to gender. The way information is presented makes it appear that gender is the biggest factor underlying students’ achievement, but the data makes it clear that attendance and prior achievement correlate much more closely.

Mr Garvery had conclusive evidence that gender difference was among the least important factors impacting pupils’ performance. He continued his data exploration and surveyed all Key Stage 4 pupils for gender, as well as whether they lived in houses with an odd or even house number, whether they owned a games console and whether they were left-handed or right-handed.

When I tell school leaders that whether you’re left or right handed might have more bearing on your educational attainment than your gender they sometimes start nodding and you can see a left handed policy being born. After all, this findings still seems plausible. When I reveal that console ownership was even more statistically significant they look worried: are they going to have to blow the Pupil Premium budget on X Boxes? But when I tell them the most statistically significant factor correlated with outcomes was whether students live in an odd or even house, the relief is palpable. No one can believe that the number of the house you live in can in anyway be causally linked with attainment. It’s a silly idea and we dismiss it immediately.

The ‘pattern’ of boys’ underachievement is compelling because of the way we think about gender: girls are quiet, hard-working and sensible; boys are immature, unruly and easily bored. But as any teacher and every parent could tell you, these are stereotypes – a shorthand that saves us from having to think about reality. But, as ever, reality is a little bit more complicated than that. Recent research into achievement and gender differences has found that school behaviour is much more likely to be a decisive factor for achievement than gender. Hard-working pupils achieve good grades while badly behaved pupils perform more poorly and get worse grades. The distribution of boisterous pupils among the two genders is much the same – about 40 per cent are girls.

I’m not suggesting gender has nothing to do with attainment – it probably does have some bearing – but it’s almost certainly a lot less than we’re inclined to believe. And the extent to which gender might be causal is more likely due to cultural rather than biological causes, as this article makes clear. Our best bet is probably to insist on high expectations for all students and not let boys get away with being ‘just boys’.

The post The gender gap: the perception of causality appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

from David Didau: The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher

Edology EdTech Updates is out! Edition of 25 September 2016

Edology EdTech Updates
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Nick Chater
25 September 2016
Science Education Technology Leisure Sports Art & Entertainment #cpchat #edchat
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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Our common lesson format.


This is our attempt to capture the universal expectations and routines.  It emerged from a staff CPD session last year and was agreed by all departments.  It’s sufficiently flexible for everyone whilst providing a consistent framework across the school.  If you can’t read the image, here’s the text:

Interacting with Student Data
Data-annotated planning sheet. All teachers should have an up-to-date data plan for every class they teach. This can be a seating plan or any helpful hard-copy format.

Data can be coded but should reference KS2 data or Starting Profile; SEN/EAL status, Reading Age, PP status, G&A status and latest AP attainment grade.

Routines for All Lessons
Starting Lessons:

Entry Routines

·       Teacher welcomes class at the door; they go straight in without talking, sit down and get their books and equipment out ready to learn, engaging with any written instructions provided.

·       Teacher uses signal for attention and addresses class with full attention, setting expectations for introductory activities.

·       Once students are working, register is taken. During Period 1 and 4 or for a new teacher or class, registers should be taken close to the very beginning with a full roll-call.

·       If students arrive before the teacher, they wait lining up quietly against the walls to the greatest extent possible.

Behaviour for Learning C1 and C2 must be logged visually on the board.

B8 and C1/C2 Consequences should be issued systematically right from the start. No disruption should be tolerated; C3s must be issued and On Call contacted as required. Red Slips must be completed. Staff should not log C3s directly.

Showing Excellence and Positive Affirmation At least five minutes in every lesson should be devoted to showcasing examples of excellent work or attitudes to learning, highlighting the reasons.

Achievement points and QuickNotes should be issued publicly at this time.

Ending Lessons:

Exit Routines

Students stand behind their chairs with all equipment packed away.

Teacher dismisses them from the door, table by table, calmly into the corridor on the pips.

Common Pedagogical Elements.
Modeling and Practice Where new ideas or new skills are being introduced, teachers should always model the work expected from students.   This could be through worked examples, student exemplars or demonstrations.

Students must have time to practise skills repeatedly.

Structured, targeted questioning. Questioning should include all students with answers selected by the teacher in a deliberate, planned manner.   Questioning should be probing and targeted to specific students where appropriate. Students should not have the option to opt out or to dominate.
Responding to Feedback Feedback will take many forms – verbal comments, written comments, peer and self assessment. There should be evidence that feedback leads to students’ work improving in response.

Agreed departmental workflow procedures should be followed.

Students and teachers should all be clear about where and when feedback will be given and which work should be redrafted, improved or corrected.


Features of Good Speech Students should be required to adhere to the guidance on good speech. This applies to general discussion as well as set-piece structured speech events.
Homework Homework should be set each week. All homework must be recorded on Google Classroom, ideally during the lesson and definitely the same day.

from headguruteacher | Zest for Learning… into the rainforest of teaching and school leadership

Friday, 23 September 2016

M … .

from headguruteacher | Zest for Learning… into the rainforest of teaching and school leadership