LPEC News Update July 2021

Department for Education

2021 Reception baseline assessment: assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA) – 6th May

This statutory guidance contains information for assessing and reporting the reception baseline assessment in the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

All the assessment resources should have been delivered to schools at the beginning of June.

Schools and colleges to benefit from boost in expert mental health support – Press Release – 10th May

Gavin Williamson has announced that more than £17 million is to be used to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges as part of Government’s commitment to build back better for every young person.

Up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England will be offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year, part of the Government’s commitment to offering this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025.

Funding also includes a new £7 million Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme, which provides free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year. The programme builds on the success of the Department for Education’s Wellbeing for Education Return, used by more than 90% of councils since its launch last summer.

Education staff wellbeing charter – 10th May

The education staff wellbeing charter is a declaration of support for, and set of commitments to, the wellbeing and mental health of everyone working in education.

All state funded schools and colleges are invited to familiarise themselves with the charter, and to sign up when it is available in the autumn, as a shared commitment to protect, promote and enhance the wellbeing of their staff. It is voluntary and there is no deadline to sign up.

Education, health and care plans: England 2021 – National Statistics Data – 13th May

The DfE have published the latest Education, Health and Care Plan statistics based on the January 2021 data collection.

  • The total number of EHC plans has continued to increase

  • There were 430,700 children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans as at January 2021 (390,100 Jan 20)

  • The number of new EHC plans made in the calendar year has also continued to increase

  • There were 60,100 new EHC plans made during 2020 (53,900 in previous year)

  • The proportion of new plans issued within 20 weeks has decreased

  • In 2020, 58.0% of new EHC plans were issued within 20 weeks, down from 60.4% in 2019

  • Slight increase in the number of children with EHCP being educated in mainstream setting

Behaviour hubs – Updated 13th May

This document sets out how the Behaviour Hubs programme will enable schools with exemplary behaviour to work with other schools to improve their behaviour culture. It has been updated to clarify the aims of the programme and new guidance has been added on what support is available and a list of current lead schools and hubs.

Every school with Reception class offered early language training – Press Release 13th May

Every state school with a Reception class in England can now apply for training and resources through an early – years catch-up programme funded by the Government, to support thousands more pupils with vital communication skills.

Registration for 2021-2022 can be found here. You have until 30th July to apply.

Senior mental health lead training – 2nd June

This newly published guidance informs you of the grant funding and training that schools and colleges can get to help develop a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing.

This training is not compulsory. Having a senior mental health lead who can attend this training is encouraged to help you develop your setting’s holistic approach to promoting and supporting the mental wellbeing of pupils, students and staff, and make best use of existing resources.

Promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges – Updated 15th June

This guidance enables you to find out what help you can get to develop a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. This updated version contains a list of mental health and wellbeing resources for teachers, school staff and school leaders.

Teaching about mental wellbeing – Updated 15th June

This guidance on practical materials for primary and secondary schools to use to train staff about teaching mental wellbeing has been updated with guidance to support relationships, sex and health education curriculum planning, as part of education recovery.

Pupils to benefit from better quality PE and sport next year – Press Release – 17th June

The DfE have announced that they will be allocating £320 million PE and Sport Premium to primary schools to help schools prioritise physical activity with education, as schools build back better from the pandemic.

Special educational needs in England: January 2021 – National Statistics – 24th June

The DfE have published the latest SEND statistics taken from the 2021 January census.

  • Number of pupils identified as SEND SEN Support – 1,083,083 (12.2%) – Education, Health and Care Plan – 325,618 (3.7%)

  • The percentage of pupils with an EHC plan who are in mainstream schools has increased from 48.7% to 50.4% in 2021, while the percentage in state-funded special schools has dropped from 42.6% to 40.6%.

  • The most common type of need for those with an EHC plan is Autistic Spectrum Disorders and for those with SEN support, Speech, Language and Communication needs.

  • 38% of pupils with an EHC plan and 34.3% of pupils with SEN support are eligible for free school meals

Education Secretary launches call for evidence on behaviour in schools – 29th June

The Government is asking teachers and school leaders for views on managing good behaviour, including on the use of mobile phones in the school day.

The consultation closes on 10th August

Standards and Testing Agency

Reception Baseline Assessment

The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) becomes statutory from September 2021 – a number of documents have been produced by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) to help to implement this.

Key stage 1: administering the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils – 16th June

This guidance is for schools administering the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2021 autumn term.

Reporting to parents at the end of key stages 1 and 2 – Updated 10th June

This is guidance for schools on writing statutory end of year reports for parents.


Curriculum Research Reviews

Research review series: science – 29th April

Research review series: religious education – 12th May

Research review series: mathematics – 25th May

Curriculum research review series: languages – 7th June

Research review series: geography – 17th June

Research Report – Supporting SEND – 13th May

This study was developed to explore how the needs of children and young people are met in mainstream schools and how approaches vary between providers. It has to be emphasised that this research was conducted using a very small sample of schools and pupils. 

Key findings:

  • Schools often took a pupil-centred approach when identifying needs and planning provision, but staff did not always know the pupils well enough to do this

  • Pupils with SEND regularly spent time out of class working with teaching assistants (TAs), but there were some concerns about social exclusion and over-reliance on a single adult

  • Occasionally, schools were teaching a curriculum to pupils that was not properly sequenced or well matched to their needs

  • Collaboration between practitioners and families supported schools in meeting pupils’ needs more effectively

  • Mechanisms for co-production with parents and carers were often in place but implementation was not always meaningful. This is likely to impact how far schools can tailor provision to children’s needs

  • School SENCos were essential for mediating provision but experienced a range of challenges in carrying out their role

  • Schools employed a range of tailored strategies to meet pupils’ needs, sometimes supported by multi-agency services

  • Local authorities had strong ambitions for multi-agency collaboration, but this did not always translate into improved practice and positive experiences for schools and families

  • Some pupils received support from external services, but not always to the extent they need

  • This research raises questions about what ‘success’ looks like in terms of supporting children with SEND in mainstream schools

Review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges – 10th June

This document contains Ofsted’s findings and recommendations on sexual harassment and sexual violence, including online sexual abuse.

The review included visits to 32 schools and colleges. In these, Ofsted spoke to over 900 children and young people about the prevalence of peer-on-peer sexual harassment and sexual violence, including online, in their lives and the lives of their peers.

Children and young people with SEND disproportionately affected by pandemic – Ofsted – 16th June

A new report from Ofsted has found long-standing problems in the system of care for children and young people with SEND have been made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report reveals the findings of joint visits to local areas by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), carried out during the autumn term of 2020 and spring term of 2021. It highlights the cumulative effects of disruption caused by the pandemic on the health, learning and development of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). And it describes the negative experiences of children and families, including missed and narrowed education, the absence of essential services such as physiotherapy or speech and language support, and long waiting times for assessment and treatment.

The report SEND: old issues, new issues, next steps can be found here.

HMCI commentary: putting children and young people with SEND at the heart of our recovery plans – 16th June

This is Amanda Spielman’s commentary on the report above.

School inspection handbook – Updated 28th June

Ofsted have released a new version of the school’s inspection handbook that will come into force on 1 September 2021. The existing guidance still applies in the meantime.

There is a summary of changes document which lists all of the amendments. There is an added section on sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Other information

Lessons Learnt from Lockdown – DfE, Council for Disabled Children and National Children’s Bureau – June 2021

This report presents the combined findings and key messages arising from over 425 children and young people who took part in focus groups and 218 who contributed their views and experience through the online survey. It also contains contributions from 128 parents and 110 professionals.

National SENCO Workforce Survey: Time to Review 2018 – 2020 – Bath Spa University, nasen and Hannah Maloney

The purpose of this second report is to present key SENCO demographic data from the SENCO workforce survey 2020, relating to responsibilities, leadership and training. Equally, the report seeks to present findings related to how the role is facilitated in schools, including the time allocated to the role and the support the SENCO professional can access in addition to the impact on the role and the school, as perceived by the SENCO.

How schools are coping with the impact of Covid-19 on the teaching of pupils with SEND: lessons for schools – 25th June

The Special Education Needs Policy Reference Forum (SENPRF), an independent sector expert forum jointly funded by nasen and the Pears Foundation, have published their report – ‘How schools are coping with the impact of Covid-19 on the teaching of pupils with SEND: lessons for schools’.

Once you have read the report, the SENPRF are seeking your views via a short questionnaire.

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