Department for Education News
ICT Curriculum set to be dropped in September for rigorous computer science
Thousands of Schools sign up for phonics funding
Ministerial Statement on Education Funding
Changes to Ofsted focus
The New Education Bill introduces changes that include the narrowing of the focus of Ofsted inspections and the Secretary of State taking more power to intervene in under-performing schools.
Previously, inspectors measured schools in 27 categories but that is being reduced to four: pupil achievement, quality of teaching, leadership and management and the behaviour and safety of pupils.
Mr Gove said: "There are areas of Ofsted inspections, such as community cohesion or regulations governing what students bring in in their lunchboxes at lunchtime, which are entirely peripheral. One of the problems with Ofsted inspections is that they are asked to inspect and measure for things which, by definition, are hard to judge and not central to what schools are about."
The Bill exempts outstanding schools from routine Ofsted inspections - meaning one in five of England's schools will not be inspected unless problems are reported.
It also puts a duty on the exams regulator Ofqual to compare exam standards in England against those in the rest of the world and to ensure there is consistency in standards across comparable qualifications (i.e. that the same level of work is necessary).
If you are interested in help to prepare your school for this new Inspection regime, then please contact us for more information.
First Data Protection Fine
On the 24th November 2010 the Information Commissioner served two organisations with the first monetary penalties for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act.
“These first monetary penalties send a strong message to all organisations handling personal information. Get it wrong and you do substantial harm to individuals and the reputation of your business. You could also be fined up to half a million pounds.”
The first penalty, of £100,000, was issued to Hertfordshire County Council for two serious incidents where council employees faxed highly sensitive personal information to the wrong recipients.
The second monetary penalty, of £60,000, was issued to employment services company A4e for the loss of an unencrypted laptop which contained personal information relating to 24,000 people who had used community legal advice centres in Hull and Leicester.
For more information please go to our Useful Information page to find the link to the ICO and to make sure that you are covered please see our new Datacomply™ pages where you will find information on our new e-safety, Data Security and Data Protection Services.
More details of plans to overhaul England's schools system are set out in a new Education Bill
The Bill paves the way for more types of schools to become academies, for reduced school inspections and for more intervention in failing schools. The Education Bill is wide-ranging and is largely based on the Education White Paper, which was published in November.The new Bill says that if local authorities believe there is a need for a new school in their area, they "must seek proposals for the establishment of an academy". Free schools are also academies - independent schools directly funded by central government.
The changes also allow special schools and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) to become academies and sets out the conditions for faith schools to take on this status. PRUs educate children who have been expelled from mainstream schools and others in special circumstances such as teenage mothers. The legislation also deals with the issue of land for academies and free schools, which has been recognised as a hurdle to the schemes.
It includes proposals which the Education Secretary Michael Gove says will give schools greater powers to discipline pupils and cut bureaucracy.
For more information: