I am in conversation with Jeff Hart from Best Practice Networks regarding a proposed “Key Issues Facing Schools” webinar in April. I had been asked for a “top two or three current issues” that are impacting on schools. Accepting that the educational landscape is ever changing I started to draft my initial thoughts only to realise the complexity and inter-connectedness of the issues and those responsible for them. Unsurprising, I found it challenging to keep that list to just two or three.
The introduce a National Funding Formula (NFF) – 2017/18. We know that the DfE is considering both hard (funding delegated directly to schools) and soft (funding delegated to local authority and distributed to schools via local formula) formula options. AWPU at different key stages be limited? Deprivation measures. Cuts to the Education Services Grant (ESG). We need to consider both and what a mixture might look like. The extent and coverage of capital funding. Increases to pension (14.1% to 16.4% employer contributions) and higher national insurance contributions (increasing by 3.4% for employers and 1.4% for employees) – estimated at £200,000 a year in for secondary and £40,000 for primary.
For example: a teacher on a salary of £34,000 would currently attract employer national insurance and pension contributions of £7,500. But by 2016-17, assuming the teacher received pay increases, the contributions would be worth £11,200 – a rise of nearly 50%.
Pay and Conditions – Stagnant salaries teacher salaries. Teachers’ performance management, teacher quality, appraisal and the Teachers’ Standards. Managing workload (ever-increasing demands and pressures) and staff well-being.
Connecting to finances – with 70%-80% of total budgets allocated to staffing, there is increasingly difficult to find big enough savings other than in staffing.
Connecting to accountability – “Ofsted will usually expect to see evidence of the monitoring of teaching and learning and its link to teachers’ performance management and the teachers’ standards, but this should be the information that the school uses routinely and not additional evidence generated for inspection.”
A combinations of factors; Qualification and assessment reform – Assessment without levels. New GCE and GCSE Qualifications / Curriculum changes and the ambition for Ebacc 90% / Accountability Changes.
Although Ebacc measures will appear in the Ofsted framework, it is proposed that they will not be a limiting factor on the basis that “no single measure can determine the outcome of an inspection.”
Particular concerns are being raised about the Primary measures and the proposed Year 7 resits.
Connecting to accountability, curriculum changes, staff workload and well-being. Staff in English and Maths departments are supporting one another, as they feel the demands for new KS3, KS4 and KS5 qualifications and teaching.
Connecting to with recruitment and budgets.
Connecting to staff workload – particular evident in Eng and Maths (which then links to Maths shortages)
Recruitment – particularly in Maths and Physics.
Inspection – Concern about the new Ofsted framework, including: Limitations time to gather evidence on short inspections, piecemeal nature of short inspections converting to full inspections – two inspectors at most on the first day and up to eight on the second.
Constant change in strategy and policy for CIEAG does not support the high-quality practice in any ambition.
I have prepared a draft outline. For my personal benefit and to support conversation, I now need to map out these concerns to visualise the size of the concern and impact.