The TES is reporting that researchers are looking for secondary schools to volunteer to take part in a major new study into whether professional counselling helps young people to cope with anxieties. The £835,000 project will provide 18 schools with professional and experienced school-based counsellors at no cost for two years.
School staff will assist to identify pupils who may be helped by counselling and want to take part in the research. Students will then be divided into two groups, with half receiving up to 10 weeks of counselling and the other half being helped by the school’s existing support system.
The Guardian is reporting that home secretary Theresa May has announced that elected police and crime commissioners should be given the power to set up their own free schools to support “troubled children”. The move will be part of a major expansion of the powers of police and crime commissioners into the areas of youth justice, probation and court services to be proposed after their second set of elections take place in May.
The home secretary said that the next set of PCCs should “bring together the two great reforms of the last parliament – police reform and school reform” to set up or work with “alternative provision of free schools to support troubled children and prevent them falling into a life of crime”.
At the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, the BBC is reporting warnings from headteachers that children’s untreated mental health issues could spiral into psychiatric problems later in life unless more is done in schools, with particular concern over the situation in primaries. The National Association of Head Teachers says with a fifth of children having a mental health problem before age 11, it is a key concern. A snapshot survey of 1,455 English heads suggests two-thirds of primary schools cannot deal with such issues.
Read more at – BBC: Heads warn over pupils’ untreated mental health issues.
Exchanging Excellence® is a framework for sharing best professional practice. It is the umbrella programme for all of the work Herts for Learning (HfL) are doing, and plan to do in the future, to find and share best practice and professional learning with our shareholders and customers on a range of current and relevant topics.
The Exchanging Excellence® framework is split into six themes for schools to easily identify different areas of good practice. Under each theme you will find case studies and resources to help identify interesting practice taking place in Hertfordshire schools and beyond.
Find out more at:
The ‘National Leaders of Governance – East of England‘ have recently published 3 case studies that will be of interest to Herts Governors:
This case study, written by Craig Smith, NLG Central Beds, discusses a soft federation of seven secondary and one 11-18 special school, called Luton Futures, working collaboratively together to improve outcomes for learners. The federation has been in operation since 2011 and has developed real impetus – so much so that after starting as a Heads forum it further developed with LFIGs (Luton Futures Improvement Groups) designed to focus in on and support specific areas. These LFIGs were developed from 2012 onwards and focused on areas such as Teaching and Learning, Literacy, Data, SEN, Behaviour, Business Managers. In 2013 the model was extended to cover Governance and an LFIG Governors Group was set up – to offer peer to peer support to the Chairs of Governors of the eight schools and to support leadership development across the federation.
Read the full article here.
Written by Victoria De Naeyer, this study discusses Samuel Ward Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust with a family of academies in Suffolk. The trust consists of 3 secondary academies, 3 primary academies and a special school. The Suffolk Borders Teaching Alliance was established in September 2015, led by Samuel Ward, and is made up of 15 schools in the locality. Samuel Ward has embraced its responsibilities for school to school support and system leadership as it relates to governance and is really having an impact on raising governance standards across its trust and wider teaching school alliance.
Read the full article here.
Written by our own Kathy Dunnett, this study discusses the evolutionary process from the creation of Herts Leaders of Governance, through to National Leaders of Governance and leading on to Strategic Leaders of Governance; this latter group has grown from a small kernel of 6 in 2012 to nearly 40 now helping schools in Hertfordshire to meet their objectives.
Read the full article here.
The Hemel Roadshow recently attracted interest from the local newspaper ensuring that the message gets spread even further. hemeltoday reported the event as follows:
A school governor recruitment roadshow will be stopping off at the Volunteer Centre in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, on Saturday, June 27.
Schools and academies are being rallied with the support of the Hertfordshire Association of School Governors (HASG) and Herts for Learning, to recruit people for their governing bodies.
The district of Hemel Hempstead has been identified as having recruitment problems currently, which is why HASG are delighted that the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Robert Mclean and MP Mike Penning are supporting this event, to raise the profile of the role and encourage people to volunteer.
Mike Scandrett, chairman of the Hertfordshire Association of School Governors said:
Being a governor is not just about attending meetings. It is much more about being part of your local school and local community while making a contribution towards the development and learning of young people who are the citizens of tomorrow. Governors are there to ensure that schools are run well, to shape their future and that children thrive and enjoy learning. Being part of that is a reward in itself. Be proud to be a governor. I am.
As a school governor you are part of the strategic leadership team for the school. You will steer the school vision, aims and objectives, ensure financial best value and support and enable the staff to provide an excellent learning environment. Could you be a school governor?
- If you have the time and commitment to help improve the education of the pupils in your chosen school
- If you are prepared to attend governors’ meetings and visit the school
- If you are prepared to attend training to ensure that you fully understand your role then you would make an ideal school or academy governor.
There has already been a successful event in Stevenage earlier in June, when local MP Stephen McPartland said:
It is really important we get people with the right skills to volunteer as School Governors. It is an incredibly rewarding position and makes a massive impact on the quality of education locally. School Governors work closely with staff to ensure the resources are available to make a difference to every child’s education and help them succeed in life.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a school or academy governor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively check out the websites at www.hertsdirect.org/governors or www.hertsgovernors.org/
UKGovChat is a weekly Twitter discussion normally taking place between 8:45 and 9:15 every Sunday evening, providing a home for Governors to learn, share, challenge and support each other and improve the governance of all of schools to the benefit of the children and young people. From the original concept being born in 2013, well, as the website says:
Exactly a week later #UkGovChat was born, delivered to over 400 eager followers in a fast and furious chat encompassing “top tips” for new governors and the biggest challenges to effective governance.
The website remains totally independent of any government or commercial interest. To find out more visit UKGovChat at ukgovchat.wordpress.com, search Twitter for hashtag #ukgovchat or follow the group @UKGovChat. The site also has an impressive list of inks to a range of useful blogs and archives of weekly chats going back to 2013. Recent chats were on subjects such as:
The Hertfordshire school improvement strategy 2014-17 sets out the vision, aims and priorities to ensure a step change in improved performance for Hertfordshire schools, children and young people for the future.
The family of schools in Hertfordshire is strong. The creation of Herts for Learning, owned by Hertfordshire schools and the local authority, embodies a shared moral purpose and passion for continued improvement in outcomes for all children and young people. The strategy will be delivered by Herts for Learning in partnership with schools and the local authority.
The strategic priorities are drawn from the vision of sustained high achievement for all children and young people across the county and analysis of current performance in a context of a continued national drive for higher educational standards.
The strategy also aims to clarify the:
The Hertfordshire school improvement strategy recognises that governing bodies have a crucial impact on ensuring school improvement whether it is in maintained schools, free schools or academies. This role has become increasingly important as schools gain more autonomy.
In all types of schools, governing bodies need to have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
Where governing bodies are well organised and focus effectively on these core strategic functions, it helps schools to thrive and they are far less likely to find themselves in difficulties.
A clear strand of this strategy is to promote high quality training, support and challenge for school governance.
Support for governing bodies may include:
Exchanging Excellence® is Herts for Learning’s (HfL’s) framework for sharing best professional practice. It is the umbrella programme for all of the work they are doing and plan to do in the future, to find and share best practice and professional learning with our customers on a range of current and relevant topics.
The programme was launched in January 2014 with a cross phase project “Closing Gaps”, designed to find practice that is having most impact in improving outcomes for pupils eligible for pupil premium; whilst ensuring that other groups continue to be stretched and achieve at least expected progress.
The research findings from the first phase of this project were shared as a ‘Synthesis of Best Practice’ at our hugely successful ‘Closing Gaps’ conference on Monday 7th July 2014. The report ‘Pupil Premium in Hertfordshire: Use and Impact’ highlights the main research findings and recommendations; the report’s Introduction is shown here:
The Pupil Premium was introduced in 2011, providing additional funding to help schools improve the learning of disadvantaged pupils, reduce the attainment gap and in doing so, reduce educational inequality. The funding is allocated per pupil, and initially covered children looked after, the children of service personnel and any children who were eligible for free school meals at any point in the past 6 years (the Ever6 measure) and children who have left the care system through adoption, residence orders or special guardianship orders, collectively referred to as ‘Post LAC’ (Looked After Children).
Nationally, the headline statistics that illustrate the achievement gap between children eligible for FSM and children looked after are now well rehearsed and rightly are the continued subject of much scrutiny and action.
In England early achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds are overtaken by their wealthier peers by age 7, the likelihood of a pupil eligible for FSM achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C including English and mathematics is less than one third of a non-FSM pupil, and a pupil from a non-deprived background is more than twice as likely to go on to study at university as their peers from deprived backgrounds.
Despite the efforts of schools and successive governments, the attainment gap remains a stubborn and entrenched feature of our education system. In 2013, at a national level,
63% of disadvantaged children achieved level 4 or better in reading, writing and mathematics compared to 81% of their peers at the end of key stage 2 (KS2). The gap remains in secondary education, with the three year average showing that 38.7% of disadvantaged pupils achieved 5+ A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and mathematics at GCSE, compared to 66.3% of their peers
In 2014/15, the Pupil Premium will increase to £1,300 per FSM Ever6 primary pupil, £935 per FSM Ever6 secondary pupil and £1,900 for children looked after and Post LAC.
This research project has been jointly commissioned by Herts for Learning (HfL) and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) as a key initiative in addressing priorities within the Hertfordshire School Improvement Strategy.
This report seeks to: identify impactful practice in the use of the Pupil Premium grant within Hertfordshire and beyond; explore perceptions around the barriers schools face in closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils (henceforth Pupil Premium pupils) and their peers and to make some recommendations on the basis of this research.
HfL is a School Company with 509 Hertfordshire shareholding schools. It has developed a framework for sharing best professional practice – Exchanging Excellence®. The findings from this Closing Gaps project will be shared widely as part of that programme.
We would like to express our appreciation for the warm, open and professional dialogue in which colleagues have engaged with us during this research. We have been particularly impressed by the importance schools in Hertfordshire attach to the Pupil Premium and their desire to learn from others to improve practice.
Supported by a suite of case studies the full report can be viewed at the HfL website: http://www.hertsforlearning.co.uk/content/exchanging-excellence.
Taking place Monday 7th July 2014, 9.30am to 4.00pm at the Hertfordshire Development Centre, Robertson House, Stevenage, SG1 2FQ.
This evidence-based cross phase conference is a must for ALL Hertfordshire schools as we bring together and celebrate best practice that is having the most impact in Closing Gaps and improving outcomes for pupils both nationally and across the county.
National Pupil Premium Champion, John Dunford (pictured), will be our keynote speaker and delegates will be able to choose from a range of practical and inspirational workshops which will draw upon best practice uncovered through the research phase of the Closing Gaps project, led by David Birch and Marc Rowland.
A detailed programme for the day will follow shortly.
This conference will:
The subsidised cost of attending this conference for Hertfordshire schools is £50.00 per person (including all day catering). To book your place at this event please visit www.thegrid.org/schoolworkforce/training using course code: 14CON/001A
Exchanging Excellence® is our umbrella programme for all of the work we are doing and plan to do in the future, to find and share best practice and professional learning with our customers on a range of current and relevant topics. For further information:
Visit the HfL web site: www.hertsforlearning.co.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @HertsLearning #HfLExchEx