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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

Rodillian MAT hit with financial notice to improve after ESFA investigation

A Yorkshire academy trust has been hit with a financial notice to improve as a result of “historic failures” of governance and a failure to balance its budget. Under the terms of the notice, many of the Rodillian multi-academy trust’s spending powers are suspended, and decisions have to be run past officials. However the trust’s chief executive has said its deficit increased after being put under pressure by the government to take on struggling schools. The trust was previously under investigation by the Education and Skills Funding Agency for spending nearly £8,000 a 78-night stay in a four-star hotel for its chief executive. The ensuing investigation found a number of “significant failings and weaknesses” at the trust. Today’s financial notice to improve said some of those issues still remain “unresolved”. Inspectors noted that trustees have taken “positive action” following an initial governance review last March, but the ensuing reports by the ESFA as well as the trust’s financial statements reveal ongoing weaknesses in accounting controls, as well as an imbalanced budget. Mike Pettifer, director of academies and maintained schools at the DfE, wrote to the chair and chief executive of Rodillian to say he “acknowledged that you have taken some...

How are schools implementing flexible working?

Schools are letting teachers take their planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time at home, banning work in the staff room and cutting the hours of senior leaders, all in the name of staff wellbeing and flexible working. But researchers believe more still should be done to “normalise flexible working in schools”, and have launched a project to help teachers and their employers catch up with other sectors. At the Chartered College of Teaching’s second annual conference, held in London on Saturday, several speakers and panellists focused on issues of workload and staff wellbeing. And while some leaders shared examples of how flexibility was helping schools and their staff, others spoke of the need for change, especially in relation to encouraging younger women to return to the classroom. Lucy Rose, a participant in Teach First’s innovation series, explained to delegates how through her flexible teacher talent project, she and her research partner Lindsay Patience hoped to find ways to keep teachers in the profession who might otherwise leave for good. “There is a well-documented recruitment challenge in education, and we’re interested in this group of women aged 30 to 39. 6,000 of them leave the profession every year, and there’s not...

DfE hands out £2m for more levy research

An FE-focused research centre has been given the ministerial nod to continue its work until 2020, and the apprenticeship levy will be particularly in focus. The Centre for Vocational Educational Research had its mid-term review at the beginning of this year. After an initial £3 million grant from the Department for Education in May 2015, and there had been speculation about its long term prospects. It has now been given an extra £2 million to continue until the end of the decade, and has some stirring projects up its sleeve. These include evaluations on FE’s role in increasing social mobility, and the impact of university technical colleges. Its work on the apprenticeship levy, however, is likely to bring the most interest. After gaining recent approval from its steering group, CVER has started planning a major evaluation of the policy, which came into effect last April. “The focus of the work on the apprenticeship levy will be on its effect on training outcomes, overall and by sector,” said Dr Sandra McNally, who leads the centre. “Questions will include: ‘to what extent has the training been additional to what would have taken place otherwise?’ ‘How has the volume and composition of apprenticeship...

Employer satisfaction surveys to be audited for the first time

The government will audit the results of its employer satisfaction survey for the first time, due to concerns over the way it is distributed by providers. The ESFA said it would provide “additional quality assurance” in this year’s survey, in new guidance, in order to ensure the data is comparable between providers. It specifically wants to “ensure that colleges and training organisations are using the prescribed methods to survey their employer customers”. To pass the audits, providers must email their employers with a link to the survey along with their employer ID. The ESFA claims this is the “best method” for surveying, as results are “instant” and easily comparable. If employers are more likely to respond by paper, a hardcopy of the questionnaire can be sent. The guidance makes clear, however, that interviews must not be done over the phone or in person as employer confidentiality “must be protected”. The agency will “monitor” cooperation with the rules through its audits, which have been introduced to ensure comparability. The questions themselves will also be different this year. These are being updated to “ensure the survey continues to provide information that employers find useful”, but the agency did not provide examples. As...