Friday Five: education and enrichment, faith school admissions, school buildings, Now Teach, SEND reforms


3rd May 2024

1. CfEY and UK Youth launch new report on education and enrichment

Launched this week in parliament, CfEY and UK Youth have released a new report on how partnerships between the education and youth sectors can improve the accessibility, quality, and impact of enrichment activities.  This exciting and unique research, supported by the National Citizens Service Trust (NCS) and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), provides some of the first evidence-based guidance on how the education and youth sectors can work together effectively to give all young people enrichment opportunities  – and the government policies that need to be in place to support this work.

Our research identifies five key conditions for effective partnership in this context: 

  1. Local context: cross-sector partnerships benefit from support from brokerage organisations, which offer quality assurance and support. Examples include community hubs and Multi-Academy Trust.
  2. People: while most partnerships lack dedicated education-side staffing, those that do often see benefits such as better tailoring of enrichment activities to young people’s needs.
  3. Ways of working: effective partnerships require strong organisational and philosophical alignment, including agreed outcomes and shared values, pedagogies, and approaches.
  4. Financial and material resources: partnerships are typically funded by the core budget and Pupil Premium of the education setting partner. Some partnerships leverage economies of scale and resource sharing for efficiency.
  5. Power and equity: successful partnerships foster a sense of co-ownership over enrichment activities. There’s room for improvement in involving youth voices to tailor enrichment activities better.

Recommendations include the establishment of a framework for effective enrichment provision, updates to education sector inspections, teacher training on partnership working, and the creation of an enrichment premium to fund access for disadvantaged youth.

Read the full report here

2. Government announces consultation on removing 50% rule on faith school admissions

Faith schools in England will no longer have to offer at least 50% of places to children who don’t belong to their religion under proposals announced by the Government this week. The proposals, currently at consultation stage, would also allow churches and other religious groups to offer schools for children with special educational needs (SEND). This controversial announcement has naturally received considerable opposition from faith leaders and figures from across the education sector – Rowan Williams, current Archbishop of Canterbury, and writers Philip Pullman and Ian McEwan, have all raised ethical concerns.

Read more here.

3. Over a third of headteachers have fundraised for building repairs, NAHT survey finds

37% of headteachers in England have had to fundraise to cover building and estate management costs, a new survey by the NAHT trade union has found. Over 83% of senior leaders indicated their schools lack the funding to maintain their buildings and premises. These findings come as the crisis over raac remains ongoing, with many schools forced to maintain temporary teaching spaces as their permanent buildings remain unusable. But the crisis in the state of school buildings extends much further than raac, and NAHT are calling on the Government to increase funding for school building-related maintenance and repair.

Find out more here

4. DfE to defund Now Teach’s recruitment programme 

The Department for Education announced this week it will not renew its funding for Now Teach past the end of the 2024 academic year. Designed to encourage professionals from over sectors to take up a career in teaching, Now Teach has received £4.4 million in funding from the Department of Education in 2023-24. The decision to withdraw funding has drawn criticism from across the sector, including from former education secretary Lord Blunkett and ex-DfE policy adviser Sam Freedman, who argue that it’s ill-timed given the ongoing recruitment crisis in education. Now Teach, founded in 2016, has supported over 1,000 professionals transition into teaching, particularly focusing on STEM subjects. The Government’s move to halt funding for this program comes amidst other cuts in education-related schemes, raising concerns about its impact on teacher recruitment and retention.

Read the full article here

5. Government’s £70 million SEND reform pilot programme reportedly massively behind schedule

The Government’s flagship £70 million programme to pilot a new approach to SEND and alternative provision is already nine months behind schedule, SchoolsWeek reported this week. Response to early tests of the new approach have been mixed, with some aspects reportedly working better than others. While changes to education, health, and care (EHC) plans have apparently not been well received, the Government’s proposed new three-tier model for alternative provision has gone down better during the pilot.

Read more 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.