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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

Spielman says inspectors will look ‘more closely’ at schools’ curriculums

The curriculum has been lost “as a needle in a haystack” within Ofsted inspections despite being the “real meat” of a good education, the chief inspector of Ofsted has said. Amanda Spielman, speaking to delegates at the Festival of Education this morning, said too many schools are teaching to mark schemes, SATs and GCSEs rather than considering the actual content of lessons being delivered to pupils. School leaders and teachers often simply consider “the curriculum” to mean what’s in their timetable or what’s in qualifications, rather than thinking about how they can deliver a truly “civic education”, including learning about ancient civilisation or hear classical music. But the current common inspection framework “doesn’t fully yet capture this core substance of education,” she admitted. “Rather than carrying the weight it should, the curriculum can often end up as the needle in the haystack.” However Spielman denied that schools would now be inspected on whether they were delivering an “Ofsted-improved curriculum”, instead that inspectors would look more closely at whether they were properly thinking about their curriculum, planning it well, and delivering it effectively. Ofsted does not want to “get into the space” of defining the curriculum, she confirmed in conversation with...

Silence (from politicians) is golden

England’s government was unusual for not having really bothered about schools until about a hundred years after everyone else. While America and Germany, and just about everyone else in the developed western world, created a network of publicly funded schools in the 19th century, England dilly-dallied. It wasn’t until 1902 that a state board of education was created, and there were another 42 years before an education minister was appointed. By that time, 1944, America had just about half its population graduating high school at 18. In England, staying in school until that age still isn’t compulsory. Why were we so behind? In part it was because neither political party liked the idea of free mass schooling. Both Conservatives and Liberals feared landowners and industrialists, who paid the majority of the taxes, and who didn’t see the point. Another, sometimes forgotten, part is that Britain was pretty busy with foreign matters. Owning an empire is a pretty time-consuming business and it took a huge amount of parliamentary time, with domestic matters largely left to inquiries and charities all through the 1800s while everyone else’s schools systems lurched forward. Politicians are usually trying to make a name for themselves with whizzy...

Ofsted watch: Local authority provider shakes off inadequate rating

A council-run adult and community learning provider has managed to shake off its previous inadequate rating this week, going up to a grade three. And a college boosted its rating from requires improvement to good across the board, in the week’s other main highlight. Leaders at Wakefield Metropolitan District Council’s adult and community learning service were praised by inspectors for having “taken effective steps to re-shape the adult curriculum to support local and national priorities” since its previous inspection in November 2015, which resulted in an inadequate grade. The latest report into the service, published June 21 but based on an inspection in March, found that “most learners are making good progress” but that “apprentices make slow progress because they do not have challenging targets to work towards”. Management of the council’s apprenticeship programme was also deemed “weak”. Milton Keynes College received a grade two across the board – up from its previous grade three – in a report published June 22 and based on a May inspection. College leaders were lauded for making “rapid progress in building a culture of continual improvement with determination”, with the result that “staff across the college are enthusiastic and apply the improvement strategies...

Ofsted chief stresses ‘real challenge’ with apprenticeships register

Ofsted’s chief inspector has reiterated the “real challenge” faced by the education watchdog following the influx of new training providers who deliver apprenticeships. Amanda Spielman described the issue as a “big problem” during an interview with Laura McInerney, the editor of FE Week’s sister paper Schools Week, at the Festival of Education and Skills today. But she also revealed that she doesn’t expect the inspectorate to need more resource to deal with the issue, saying she will retain the same number of employees to work in the post-16 system. Published initially in March, the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers included 1,473 organisations who were given the green light to deliver apprenticeships from May and therefore were in scope for inspection from Ofsted. RoATP was then updated in May, adding 421 providers. The register now sits at 1,894 providers who could be inspected. After being asked how the inspectorate is coping with the new providers, Ms Spielman said: “First of all my expectation is that some of those will never actually translate into actual provision. “But as you can imagine it is something that we have got live discussions with government about to make sure that we have [enough resource] and...