Friday Five: arts education, sexual harassment guidance, T levels, EHCP deadlines, SATs absence trends


24th May 2024

1. New ‘Report Card’ from the CLA and CfEY paints a bleak picture of state of arts access and participation

A new ‘Report Card’ written by CfEY head of policy Baz Ramaiah, on secondment to the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA), has examined the state of arts access and participation. It does not make for positive reading. Drawing on a wide range of secondary data analysis and literature to highlight how access to arts education in English secondary schools has changed since 2010, the report finds that:

  • Since 2010, Arts GCSE entries have declined by 42%.
  • Dropoffs in GCSE entries have been especially steep in Design & Technology (71%) and Dance (48%).
  • Between 2016/17 and 2022/23, the percentage of schools with no entries for Music increased by 14%.

Read the full report here.

2. A third of school staff want better guidance on sexual harassment, new poll shows

A new poll by TES has found that a third of school staff feel that current sexual harassment and violence guidance is insufficient. This comes amid a reported rise in safeguarding concerns: 59% of teachers, designated safeguarding leads, and school leaders feel safeguarding concerns have increased over the last year, while 85% of respondents feel that concerns have increased compared with five years ago.

Commenting on the findings, CfEY non-executive director and SEND and inclusion specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders Margaret Mulholland, called for a new approach: “the scale of this is far too great for the designated safeguarding lead alone and requires a whole-school approach,” she told TES.

Read the full findings here.

3. First follow-up survey of the T-levels cohort 

A recent report of the Technical Education Learner Survey, carried out by NatCen and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), indicates positive outcomes for the first T level cohort who completed programmes in Digital, Construction, Education and Early Years in 2022. The survey shows that 93% of these learners are in education, employment or apprenticeships. Most learners remained in their T level subjects, were satisfied with their current status, and reflected positively on their experiences. However, challenges remain in access and retention in the T levels, particularly for disadvantaged students. The first T levels cohort comprised only 0.1 percent of the 16/17 years old cohort in 2022, only jumping by a few points the following year. Additionally, requirements such as grade 4+ in Maths and English and the size and demands of the T levels and their degree of specialisation remain to be barriers for access and retention of pupils on the programmes.

Read the full report here

4. Thousands of missed EHCP deadlines for children with complex needs

Thousands of children in England with complex needs are missing out on support due to councils failing to meet the 20-week legal deadline for issuing Education, Health, and Care Plans (EHCPs), a BBC investigation has found. From April to December last year, eight councils met the deadline in fewer than 5% of cases. Factors contributing to delays include increased demand, insufficient funding, and a shortage of educational psychologists. Despite government efforts to increase funding, many councils struggle financially and plan to cut services. The issue highlights significant disparities in EHCP processing times across different regions, with some councils performing significantly better than others.

Read the article here

5. Year 6 absences fell during SATs week

The folks over at the FFT Education Datalab have been looking at Year 6 absences during SATs week. Based on data from over 6,000 primary schools, they found that absences over the Monday-Thursday that exams were held were well down each day compared to preceding weeks. The absence rate was below 2%, against an average of around 5% in the three weeks prior to the exams. By contrast, the absence rate for Year 5 pupils remained around the 5% mark across the week.

The full analysis is here.

That’s all for this week! If you found this blog useful, please be sure to share/tweet it and follow @theCfEY, @Barristotle, and @conorcarleton for future editions.