Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the new drive to help children in care into independent schools, a new advisory group to support headteachers, and the report by the Children’s Commissioner for England on child vulnerability.
Children in care
Today, Thursday 4 July, Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced the next steps in the Government’s ambition to improve educational outcomes and boost aspirations for the most vulnerable young people in society. Ten teams will work across the country to identify opportunities in independent schools for young people in care, where it is suitable to meet their needs.
The new programme, backed by £500,000, aims to improve access to the top independent schools and builds on Minister Zahawi’s commitment to see as many as 1,000 independent schools involved in schemes that offer opportunities to children in care.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
Every child, whatever their background, should have access to an education that helps them to fulfil their potential. We know that all too often children who have experienced trauma in their life can fall behind in education, through no fault of their own.
While standards in state schools continue to rise, I want independent schools and Directors of Children’s Services to play a greater role in helping raise outcomes for these vulnerable children. A number around the country are already making fantastic offers to children in care, but I want more to come forward and councils to take up the opportunities. I am clear that this cannot be put off any longer, and I will accept no less.
This is now about providing resources to councils to identify and place children where it is right for them. Together, we can and must increase access, improve opportunities and foster aspirations and belief in what looked after children can achieve.
Support for headteachers
Today, Thursday 4 July, The Department for Education announced that a team of experts will help make sure headteachers have the guidance and advice they need to support the recruitment of the next generation of school leaders.
The advisory group, which will be led by Malcolm Trobe, an education specialist and former General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, will lead a review into updating the Headteacher Standards, which underpin best practice for heads and school leaders in recruitment, appraisal and training.
The group will aim to ensure the standards are of more practical use for heads and school leaders, encouraging them to be adopted more widely in the sector. This will include addressing how they relate to the variety of leadership roles in the school system.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb, said:
Strong head teachers are key to driving up academic standards in our schools, helping teachers thrive and ensuring pupils realise their potential. That’s why it is important that we support school leadership across the entire school system.
The advisory group that meets today is made up of a wide range of talented and knowledgeable experts who have unrivalled experience in the world of school leadership. The group will play an essential role in helping us to ensure the support heads and school leaders receive is consistent, and of the highest quality.
Film and TV apprenticeships
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has committed £100,000 to help deliver an innovative Film and TV Apprenticeships pilot which will enable around 25 apprentices from underrepresented groups to benefit from hands-on experience on the sets of major films and TV shows.
The pilot will launch in late 2019 with recruitment focussed on young people from all backgrounds and without previous relevant qualifications.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
It’s great that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is investing in apprenticeships to help more young people from underrepresented groups to pursue a career in TV and film.
Apprenticeships give people of all backgrounds the chance to learn the skills they need to get a great job. There are a range of high-quality and exciting apprenticeship opportunities available in creative industries – everything from Junior 2D Artist, to Broadcast production assistant or Post production technical operator.
I would urge anyone who is thinking of a career in the sector to visit our apprenticeships website www.apprenticeships.gov.uk and kick-start their apprenticeships journey today.
Children's Commissioner report
On Thursday 4 July the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) released its annual report on child vulnerability in the country.
Anne Longfield used the launch of the report to call for an extra £10 billion a year investment in services for vulnerable children from the next prime minister.
The report estimates there are 2.3 million children in England growing up with a vulnerable family background, including those with parents with mental illnesses, addiction problems or domestic violence
The key findings in the report are that children’s social care budgets are one of the areas under the greatest pressure, and that they are put under this pressure because of increasingly acute and complex needs.
A Government spokesperson said:
It is a measure of a strong society how we support the most vulnerable people in this country. We are making record investments in education and in children’s services to help improve outcomes and support young people to overcome the challenges they face.
This includes action across Government on children’s mental health, making sure excluded pupils receive a good education, tackling the root causes of violent crime, supporting parents with early learning at home, and providing tailored support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
We know the compounding impact disadvantages and vulnerabilities have on children’s outcomes but also recognise council and school budgets are under pressure. That’s why we are providing £2.4 billion each year to support disadvantaged pupils through the pupil premium and gathering as much evidence as possible on what works to support those most in need ahead of the Spending Review.