Today’s news review looks at head teachers’ concerns about EU pupils in their schools and a story about Ofsted statistics that misses a crucial fact.
NAHT letter on EU pupils in UK schools
Today the Guardian reports that the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has written to David Cameron for reassurance on the status of schoolchildren from the EU who are enrolled in UK schools. The letter says pupils from the EU are worried about their future in the country and fear being forced out. It also says they are concerned about bullying.
David Cameron has been clear that there are no plans to make any changes until negotiations to leave the EU have been completed.
There is no place in schools for bullying and all schools must have a behaviour policy with measures to tackle it. Where bullying, including racism, outside of school is reported to teachers the government's advice is that the report should be investigated and acted on. If the bullying develops into a hate crime the government expects the school to take immediate action and if an incident constitutes a criminal offence it should be reported to the police.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
No child should live in fear of racism or bullying. The Prime Minister has been clear there will be no immediate changes for European citizens living in the UK. We will not stand for intolerance and hate crimes of any kind must be stamped out.
Schools must promote the fundamental British values of mutual respect and tolerance for those of all backgrounds and faiths, and they are required by law to have measures in place to prevent bullying – including racist bullying.
To support them we are providing charitable organisations £3.3million in 2015-16 on top of the £4m pledged the year before to deliver training, support and expertise in tackling bullying.
More children in outstanding schools
The Sun reports on outgoing Ofsted Chief Inspector Michael Wilshaw voicing concerns that there is a gap between schools in the north and the south. The story is based on official figures released by Ofsted yesterday.
The story ignores the fact that the figures show that there are more children than never before in good or outstanding schools, up from 84% of pupils in August 2015 to 86% now. It means there are more than 1.4 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools now than there were in 2010.
The figures also show that:
- In this academic year alone 100,000 more pupils are now benefiting from attending good or outstanding schools;
- Around 350,000 children now study in sponsored academies rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ – previously many of these schools suffered from chronic underperformance, blighting the life chances of young people and preventing them from achieving their full potential; and
- 80% of free schools are now rated good or outstanding – up from 78% last year.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
We are determined to spread educational excellence everywhere and today’s figures reveal that we have come a long way in doing just this. Since 2010 over 1.4 million more children attend the best schools in our country – a triumph for hard working teachers and pupils everywhere.
We have introduced tough reforms to raise standards, improve the level of teaching in our classrooms and introduce real choice and accountability through academies and free schools. Today’s figures suggest our schools have responded well to the challenge and are providing our children with the best possible start in life.
But we are determined to go further and in our recent white paper we set out plans to tackle areas of underperformance to ensure no child is disadvantaged just because of where they live. Furthermore, we are ensuring that all schools have the resources they need through the introduction of a new National Funding Formula that, for the first time, will make sure funding is genuinely matched to need.