https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/04/01/keeping-children-safe-from-knife-crime/

Keeping children safe from serious violence

A stock image of newspapers representing what has been in the news today

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at today's serious violence summit as well as some of the top stories from the weekend including articles on school funding, pupil referral units and a change to the apprenticeship levy.

Serious Violence Summit

Today, Monday 1 April, the Home Secretary has launched a consultation to ensure public bodies, including hospitals and schools, raise concerns about children at risk of becoming involved in knife crime.

There is a Serious Violence Summit today in Downing Street on the subject – this has been covered by the Times, the Independent, the Sun, the Metro, the Guardian, the Mail and the Telegraph.

The DfE has clear guidance – Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children - which set out what schools and colleges should do to implement their safeguarding obligations, and how agencies should work together to ensure the welfare of children.

Pupil Referral Units

Today, the Guardian and the Times both published articles on the number of primary school children in Pupil Referral Units doubling between 2011 and 2018.

Permanently excluding a child should only ever be a last resort and we are committed to ensuring that young people who have been excluded from school still receive high-quality education and support.

Local Authorities are responsible for arranging suitable education for permanently excluded children and for other children who would not receive suitable accommodation, without such arrangements being made.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

No matter the obstacles they may face or the backgrounds they’re from, we want our young people to receive an education that fosters ambition and a confidence in their abilities.

Pupil referral units exist to work with young people with more complex problems. The classes are often smaller, with more specialist teaching, and can offer the support and mentoring that vulnerable children need.

School Funding

Yesterday, Sunday 31 March, the Observer ran an article about school funding, which focused on teachers in Wandsworth who have volunteered to take a pay cut to save the jobs of colleagues.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Since 2017, we have given every local authority more money for every pupil in every school and made funding fairer across the country.

We know that staff costs are the single biggest item of spending in schools - which is why we supported schools with the cost of the teachers’ pay award with a new £508m Teachers’ Pay Grant across 2018-19 and 2019-20.

While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, we do recognise the budgeting challenges schools face. That’s why we have introduced a wide range of practical support to help schools and head teachers, and their local authorities make the most of every pound on non staff costs.

The Secretary of State has made clear that as we approach the next spending review, he will back head teachers to have the resources they need to deliver a world class education.

Apprenticeship Levy

Almost two years ago, we introduced the apprenticeship Levy to create long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships and to give employers of all sizes flexibility to provide their staff with a range of training opportunities.

We recognise there has been a lot of change for employers, but we have also listened to feedback and have introduced more flexibilities. This includes allowing Levy paying employers to transfer up to 10% of their Levy funds to other employers and this increased to 25% from 1st April 2019. We have also reduced the amount that smaller employers have to invest in training and assessment for new apprenticeships from 90% to 95%.

Read more about the apprenticeship funding rules

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