https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/27/school-sport-srmas-and-modern-foreign-languages/

School sport, SRMAs and modern foreign languages

Today the blog looks at a new report on School Resource Management Advisers (SRMAs), as well as funding to facilitate increased physical activity and media coverage of modern foreign languages.

SRMAs

Today, Monday 27 January, the department has published a report on the impact of the School Resource Management Advisers (SRMAs) pilot programme. Findings show that SRMAs – financial experts who offer impartial advice – have helped schools find £172 million of savings to the benefit of pupils.

Whether a trust is facing financial difficulties or not, the role of an SRMA is to give impartial advice to provide effective challenge, share fresh perspectives and highlight good practice from across the sector.

Recommendations made to schools, including ways to deploy staff more effectively, are designed to be optional for trusts to implement.

Lord Agnew, Minister for the School System, said:

As consumers, we are all regularly advised to look at our household bills, such as energy, who we bank with and our internet providers – so it’s only right that we help schools ask the same questions and get the maximum value possible for their money.

Our expert advisers are already having such a positive impact on the schools they visit, and alongside the additional total £14 billion investment in schools over the next three years, we want to make sure every pound schools spend benefits pupils.

We are not asking schools to return funding which is not being optimised, we are asking them to spend it more effectively.

School sports announcement

Yesterday, Sunday 26 January, the Education Secretary announced £1.6 million in funding to help schools make better use of their facilities for more sports activities after school and in the school holidays.

As part of a national drive to encourage 60 minutes of physical activity per day across the week, the total funding is now worth £2.4 million for better sports activities and teaching, including for schools in 19 areas across England to collaborate with sports organisations and increase the opportunities to use school sports facilities outside the school day.

As part of plans to extend their facilities to sports and activity clubs outside of teaching hours, schools will be able to generate additional sustainable income from leasing their premises to external organisations at affordable rates.

There was coverage of this announcement in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, 26 January, as well as in the Daily Mirror today.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Getting children active from a young age helps them build confidence and learn skills they will use in later life. Many schools already open up their facilities so their communities can benefit and I want to encourage even more to do so.

By backing schools with this extra money we can make more fun activities available all year round - everything from football to dodgeball – to help children find a sport that they will enjoy and which will keep them healthy.

Modern Foreign Languages

Today, the British Council published research which finds that girls are more than twice as likely as boys to achieve a pass in a GCSE modern foreign language. The report finds that gender is a stronger predictor of success in languages than a pupil’s level of disadvantage.

The report has been covered by the Daily Mail, Metro, Telegraph, I, Independent, Times, Sun and Radio 4’s The Today programme.

Studying languages is compulsory for all children between Years 3 and 9 on the national curriculum.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We are committed to ensuring more pupils are studying languages, which is why it is now compulsory in the national curriculum for all children between Years 3 and 9.

The introduction of the EBacc also halted the decline in take up of GCSE languages (with 47% taking a language in 2019, rising from 40% in 2010). The proportion of boys taking modern foreign languages at GCSE level has remained broadly stable over the period.

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