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About Schools Week

Schools Week

Schools Week is read widely by headteachers, governors, business managers and the education leaders of the future. Established in 2014, our weekly print newspaper is now read by around 22,000 education managers and sector stakeholders, and 1.4 million unique users visited our website in 2015-16. We have quickly become the “go-to” news source for reliable education journalism, with a formidable reputation for hard-hitting investigations, breaking news and expert analysis.

About FE Week

FE Week

FE Week is the premier news source for the further education, apprenticeships and skills sector, with a reputation for breaking news, investigations and expert analysis that is second to none. Our weekly newspaper is read by over 10,000 education managers and sector stakeholders and over 75,000 people access our website on a monthly basis. Trust is essential, and our readers know that FE Week provides an unrivalled platform for sharing accurate, timely information.

In the News

Greening: £23m fund for bright pupils who ‘could do with extra help’

A £23 million fund to trial new teaching practices is being targeted at the brightest pupils because they “could do with a bit of extra help”, Justine Greening has said. Speaking exclusively to Schools Week after the launch of her social mobility action plan this morning, the education secretary defended her decision to focus on brighter disadvantaged pupils with the new future talent fund. The policy is one of a handful of new announcements in the plan, which also outlines how around £800 million in existing and new investment will be spent to boost social mobility. The future talent fund is about a bit of investment around the kids who are really bright and could do with a bit of extra help Greening told Schools Week that the future talent fund was “part of a much broader strategy”. “I think what I’m saying is there’s a need for balance and we’ve got to help all children. The future talent fund is about a bit of investment around the kids who are really bright and could do with a bit of extra help. “It’s something that people like Sir Peter Lampl at the Sutton Trust have really talked about for a...

Number of maintained schools in deficit up 46%

Hundreds more local authority maintained schools had a budget deficit in 2016-17 than the year before, new data from the government has revealed. In 2016-17, 1,461 maintained schools ran a deficit revenue balance, up from 1,000 in 2015-16, a rise of 46 per cent. The proportion of maintained schools with a deficit also rose, from 6 per cent last year to 9.1 per cent this year. A higher proportion of secondary schools are in deficit than primary schools. At the same time, the number of schools running a surplus has decreased from 15,621, equivalent to 93.2 per cent, in 2015-16, to 14,498, or 90 per cent, this year. Spending by councils on schools continues to slump as more and more schools are converted into academies. In 2016-17, councils spent £28.1 billion on schools, compared to £29 billion in 2015-16, a drop of more than 3 per cent.

The six main findings from the NAO’s report into Learndirect

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The National Audit Office has today published its report into the circumstances surrounding the monitoring, inspection and funding of Learndirect. The nation’s biggest FE provider was given an ‘inadequate’ rating by Ofsted in a report published in August, and the government offered it special treatment by allowing it to retain its contracts for almost a year – much more than the usual three-month termination period. FE Week has the report’s main findings: 1. Plans were aborted for full Ofsted inspections in 2015 and 2016 Ofsted identified “risks” with Learndirect’s delivery of apprenticeships and classroom-based teaching in 2015 but only gave it an “amber” rating at the time, which did not trigger an inspection. In March 2016, Ofsted changed this risk rating to red, and in July that year made an internal decision to schedule a full inspection for the following November. Learndirect however asked to “defer” this inspection while it was negotiating the sale of its apprenticeships business to another party (a sale which never actually went through), to which Ofsted agreed. On March 16 this year, Ofsted notified Learndirect that it intended to conduct an inspection between March 20 and 23, but the provider immediately asked to defer  again...
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NAO report: So which minister signed off on Learndirect’s special treatment?

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The special treatment afforded to Learndirect after its infamous grade four from Ofsted was actually a ministerial decision, even though the ESFA’s former boss attempted to take “personal responsibility” for it, the National Audit Office has revealed. The country’s public spending watchdog has this morning published its much-anticipated report into the circumstances surrounding the monitoring, inspection and funding at the nation’s biggest FE provider. It has for the first time shown that the decision to continue funding Learndirect until July 31 next year was ultimately made by a Department for Education minister, even though Peter Lauener publicly claimed it had been his decision. The NAO’s report states that between 2015 and August 2017, Ofsted awarded an ‘inadequate’ rating to 26 providers aside from Learndirect. In 23 cases, the ESFA terminated their contracts with a notice period of three months or fewer. The other three cases involved four- or six-month notice periods. In May this year, around six weeks after Ofsted’s visit to Learndirect, the ESFA concluded that continuing to fund the provider for 2017/18 would “best meet the interests of learners”, allowing the company to wind down and let learners “complete their courses with minimal disruption”. This was because the...
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