Tes 5 November 2021

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in this issue

3 min

When chancellor Rishi Sunak sat down after making his autumn Budget statement last week, the initial consensus among education policywatchers appeared to be cautious gratitude. Year after year of school budget cuts meant that any funding boost was going to feel like pennies from heaven for a cash-starved sector. But – and when it comes to school funding there is always a “but” – it soon became clear that the increase in funding and catch-up support wasn’t as generous as it first appeared, and that secondary students would get double the support. According to the Treasury, the evidence shows that Year 7-11s need the most help, which is why the government is doubling their catch-up premium allocations from next year. Primary pupils are not deemed as needy when it comes to learning…

3 min
it’s time for education to up its green game

With the eyes of the world currently fixed firmly on Glasgow and the COP26 climate change conference being hosted there, you might expect climate action to be high on the agenda for UK schools. And yet the role that teachers will be expected to play in the country’s efforts to tackle climate change has so far been left unclear. But could that all be about to change? Last month, the NASUWT and NEU teaching unions urged the education secretary to fully embed climate change education in our schools. In an open letter to Nadhim Zahawi, the unions, along with other organisations, called for a review of the curriculum to ensure everyone is mobilised for a “sustainable future”, as well as a comprehensive plan to “decarbonise the entire school estate by 2030”. At…

4 min
bold new vision: how a cultural reset can change a school’s fortunes

The first day of any headship is daunting. But it’s especially nerve-racking if a) you’ve never been a headteacher before, and b) the school you’re now responsible for has a chequered past. Where do you begin? When a school’s reputation is shattered, and staff, students and the wider community are disengaged, it can take years of dedication and relentless hard work to turn things around. This is something that Chris Edwards, the headteacher at Brighton Hill Community School in Basingstoke, Hampshire, knows all too well. When Edwards took up the post as headteacher, it was January 2017, and there were 502 students on roll despite there being room for 1,275. The school was half-empty and in serious need of rescuing. Parents sent children on 90-minute round-trip bus journeys to schools out of town,…

7 min
10 questions with… peter kyle

Peter Kyle is Labour’s shadow schools minister and MP for Hove and Portslade. After struggling with undiagnosed severe dyslexia in childhood, he returned to school aged 25 to complete his A levels. He later achieved a PhD in community economic development from the University of Sussex. A former aid worker, he has supported children affected by war in Eastern Europe and the Balkans – and he has also set up an orphanage in Romania. So, what did he have to say when faced with Tes’ 10 questions, designed to draw back the curtain on the person behind the profession? 1. Who was your most memorable teacher and why? Mr Permain. He was a real disciplinarian – very, very strict. He was so tough because he was doing arts and crafts, and this was a…

6 min
what can we do about the growing number of girls being excluded?

Debates on school exclusion often focus on concerns about boys. This is perhaps not surprising, given that they make up the majority of permanent exclusions. However, research published in late September by women’s charity Agenda reveals that, although the total number of boys excluded from school still outweighs the number of girls, the rate at which girls are being excluded is increasing rapidly. Specifically, the Agenda research cites figures from the Department for Education showing that between 2013 and 2018, the number of girls being permanently excluded increased by 66 per cent, whereas the number of boys increased by 27 per cent. This is a worrying development and poses some big questions, not least: why are girls’ exclusion rates rising so rapidly? Brenda McHugh is co-founder of the alternative provision setting Pears Family School…

2 min
spending review brings extra catch-up cash – and pay rise fears

It may not have lived up to the former education recovery commissioner’s ambitions, but the government’s Spending Review announcement was perhaps more generous towards schools than expected. Hopes for extra cash for Covid recovery efforts in schools appeared to have been dashed when chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government had maxed out on catch-up funds, before he announced his spending plans. However, this proved to be somewhat wide of the mark. Mr Sunak announced that nearly £2 billion would be added to the Covid recovery pot – bringing the total catch-up investment for schools to almost £5 billion. He also said that schools would get an extra £4.7 billion by 2024-25, which, combined with plans announced at the Spending Review in 2019, would restore per-pupil funding to 2010 levels in real terms –…