Today's Education in the media blog looks at our advice for schools to help them tackle bad behaviour in schools, as well as what we are doing to tackle grade inflation, our investment in 30 hours free childcare, school funding and Clean Air Day.
Bad behaviour in schools
Today, Thursday 21 June, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman is speaking at the Festival of Education about bad behaviour in schools and her suggestions for how to tackle it. Spielman is also expected to back headteachers who choose to ban mobile phones from their schools –as seen on the BBC here.
This has been reported by the I news and the Times.
We have taken action to put teachers back in charge of the classroom by giving them the powers they need to tackle poor behaviour and discipline.
We also issue advice for schools to make clear that tough but proportionate sanctions for misbehaviour are permissible, from verbal reprimands, writing lines or providing a school based community service such as picking up litter or weeding the schools grounds. We trust teachers to use their professional judgement to apply appropriate and proportionate sanctions.
Schools can ban or limit the use of mobile phones on school premises and during the school day. Schools should make any policy in regard to mobile phones known to staff, pupils and parents, and they should outline any sanctions that will be imposed for breaking the rules. The DfE guidance for schools is online.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Head teachers already, of course, have the power to ban mobile phones in schools and we support their right to do so. We know that 95% of schools already impose some kind of restriction on mobile phones use during the school day, with a substantial number banning them from the school premises altogether.
University Grade inflation
Today, Thursday 21 June, think tank Reform published a report on university grade inflation stating that the ratio of grade classes must be maintained to protect the value of a degree.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Students across the country work hard for their results and they deserve a grading system that recognises their hard work. Grade inflation undermines this. That is why this government has put an end to grade inflation in GCSEs and A-levels, and why it is time for universities to do the same.
Today, Thursday 21 June, the Times has reported that some schools are using Amazon wish lists to ask parents to buy resources for them because of a lack of funding. We provide schools with funding to buy the resources that they need. A child taking their GCSEs this year will have seen investment of over £65,000 across their education since the age of three. This is double the funding their parents’ generation would have received.
If schools are requesting voluntary contributions, they must always make clear to parents that these are voluntary only and they are under no obligation to contribute in any way.
A Department for Education spokesperson:
Core school funding will rise to a record £43.5 billion by 2020 – the highest ever - and 50% more per pupil in real terms than in 2000. We are giving every local authority more money for every school in 2018-19 and 2019-20. In fact, this year a typical primary class will get £130,000.
We are absolutely clear that no parent can be required to make financial contributions to a school and all schools must make clear that any requests for donations are voluntary.
30 hours free childcare
Today, Thursday 21 June, the Department for Education has published data showing over 340,000 children aged three and four years old benefitted from a 30 hours place in its first year, giving thousands of families access to high-quality, affordable childcare.
The 30 hours free childcare offer is backed by the government’s record investment of around £6 billion per year in childcare, which includes an extra £1 billion per year by 2020 to deliver the free entitlements.
We also announced today that foster parents will now have access to the Government’s flagship 30 hours free childcare offer for three-and-four-year-olds from September, giving them the same rights as other working families in England.
Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi said:
We know childcare is one of the biggest issues affecting working parents of all kinds, which is why I am pleased that 340,000 people have benefitted from 30 hours of free childcare. Foster parents do an incredible job caring for children whose young lives have been disrupted in difficult and often traumatic ways, bringing them back into a supportive family unit and providing a more settled home life.
We want to make sure foster parents have the option of being able to work on top of their caring responsibilities, where it works for them and the children they care for. For many, this could make the difference between being able to foster or not, so it’s absolutely right that we support them with this challenging but rewarding role.
Clean Air Day
Today, 21 June, is Clean Air Day, which is a chance for everyone to find out more about air pollution and take steps to make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
Everyone must play their part in giving our towns and cities cleaner, healthier air. There are lots of simple things we can do to improve air quality.
The government has published an ambitious Clean Air Strategy setting out how we will reduce air pollution in line with limits set by the World Health Organisation and we have pledged £3.5bn to reduce emissions across the UK.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
We all have a part to play in cutting air pollution and that starts with looking at opportunities to swap the car keys for our walking shoes or bike – and this includes on the school run.
Not only will leaving the car at home make our air safer to breathe, it’s also a chance to get active each day; which is good for children and parents alike.
You can access all the 30 hours free childcare data here.