https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/14/adoptions-school-uniform-grants-and-class-sizes/

Adoptions, School Uniform Grants and class sizes

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at adoption trends in England, Local authority school uniform grants and class sizes.

Adoptions in England

Today, Monday 14 October, marks the start of National Adoption Week. Adoption UK has issued a press notice claiming figures from the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board show there are more children in England waiting for adoptive families than there are families approved to adopt. This was covered by the Daily Mirror, Independent, Daily Express , Metro, Telegraph, Guardian and I News.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We know there is more to be done and in this National Adoption Week, we want to encourage people of all backgrounds to come forward to become adopters.

To ensure there are enough adopters for those children needing a loving stable home, we have been working closely with Regional Adoption Agencies to focus on finding adopters from a range of communities and backgrounds, especially for those who are sometimes harder to place.

School Uniform Grants

On Sunday 13 October, the Observer published a piece regarding the number of local authorities that offer financial aid for school uniforms. This was also picked up by the Mirror.

Local authorities are responsible for managing their budgets in line with local priorities. Next year we’re giving councils the biggest increase in access to funding since 2015 - £49.1 billion – which is a 4.3% increase on the year before.

Non-statutory guidance on school uniform can be found here.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to, or attend, a school of their choice.

Our guidance is clear that schools should prioritise keeping uniform costs low and the Education Secretary has made clear that he will make the guidance statutory at a suitable opportunity. We trust councils to decide if they should be offering additional support to families who may be struggling with uniform costs in particular but ultimately it’s a matter for the local authority to decide.

 Class sizes

On Sunday 13 October, the Daily Mail published an article on ‘super-sized’ classes, using a year 6 class in Broadclyst Community Primary School as a case study. This is also covered by the The Sun, Times, and Mirror.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We have more children in our education system than ever before, yet average class sizes have remained stable. At primary level, this is 27.1 pupils, despite an increase of almost 540,000 pupils since 2010. At secondary, average class size remains low at only 21.7 pupils.

Around 920,000 additional school places have been created between 2010 and 2018, and we are on track to create 1 million places this decade, the largest increase in school capacity in at least two generations.

This Government has announced the biggest funding rise for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child. We are investing a total of over £14bn more in schools over the next three years to 2022-23.

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