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  • 'First entry' definition changed for BTEC Firsts

    Advice November 2015

    The DfE has changed the definition of what will count as 'first entry' for BTEC First qualifications.

  • 16-19 study programmes

    Advice January 2019

    The guidance on the review of end of year 16 to 19 study programmes data for 2016 to 2017 has now been updated.

  • 2015 summer exams

    Advice November 2015

    Following issues surrounding the quality of marking with the 2015 summer exams, ASCL has been continuing discussions with exam boards as well as seeking reassurance that similar issues will not recur in 2016.

  • 2016 secondary inspection dashboards update

    Advice March 2017

    Inspection dashboards for secondary schools have now been updated in line with validated data.

  • A common purpose

    Leader article January 2016

    The English and Welsh education systems may be diverging but both must be shaped by the values of their educators if improvement is to be sustained, say ASCL’s Leora Cruddas and Tim Pratt.

  • A lighter touch

    Leader article September 2014

    Suzanne O’Farrell looks at the changes to Ofsted inspections being introduced this year ahead of a new framework in September 2015.

  • A lighter touch - inspections

    Leader article April 2015

    Schools rated ‘good’ are the focus of the most important change to the Ofsted framework this year with more emphasis on professional dialogue.

  • Academies - submission arrangements for 2015-16 audited accounts

    Advice December 2016

    All academy trusts that have a signed funding agreement during the accounting period to 31 August 2016 must submit audited accounts (annual report, financial statements and auditor’s management letter) for the period ending 31 August 2016 to the EFA.

  • Academies Accounts Return 2015 - 2016

    Advice December 2016

    The accounts return online form is under review and should be available soon. The EFA will be contacting all academy trust accounting officers with instructions for registering and setting up the new online system for their accounts return.

  • Academies Financial Handbook

    Advice July 2016

    The 2016 edition of the Academies Financial Handbook has been published on the DfE website.

  • Academies Financial Handbook - 2017 version

    Advice August 2017

    This core document for academies has been reviewed and updated and the revised version published 27 July 2017. ASCL's Business Leadership Specialist Val Andrew provides a summary of the changes.

  • Academies – Calling to account

    Leader article October 2014

    Val Andrew explores what’s new in the 2014 Academies Financial Handbook.

  • Accountability Measures

    Policy paper June 2015

    Accountability is the obligation of an individual and organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

  • Amendments to Ofsted guidance April 2014

    Advice May 2014

    Ofsted has made some minor changes to its subsidiary guidance and handbook in April. There is a new paragraph to ensure ‘Inspectors clearly understand the governance arrangements for a school and that they identify and engage with the right people’.

  • Analyse school performance (ASP) - December update

    Advice December 2017

    The DfE has asked us to make members aware that KS4 2017 provisional data and destinations data for 2015/16 is now available in ASP.

  • Analyse school performance (ASP) update

    Advice September 2017

    Key Stage 2 data is now available in ASP (the replacement service to RAISEonline) – this is provisional data for 2016/17. CLA data is not currently available, therefore breakdowns of data have not been published; this will be added at the end of October along with KS1 and Phonics data for 2017.

  • Analyse school performance (ASP) update - March 2019

    Advice March 2019

    KS4 revised data for 2018 and revised Destinations (after KS4) for 2017, is now available in ASP.

  • Analyse school performance (ASP) update - November 2018

    Advice November 2018

    Key Stage 4 2018 provisional data and destinations data for 2017 is now available in ASP. Three-year time series data is also included within this release.

  • ASCL self evaluation tool

    Advice April 2018

    Building on previous self-evaluation (SEF) tools created by consultant Tony Thornley, ASCL’s Inspection & Accountability Specialist, Stephen Rollett has developed an April 2018 (SEF 2018) update to ASCL's framework of SEF tools to support school leaders.

  • Assessment of reformed qualifications

    February 2016

    Ofqual has confirmed the assessment arrangements for reformed GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications for first teaching in 2017.

  • Be true to your SEF

    Leader article May 2014

    As Ofsted announces a shake-up of the inspection framework, Tony Thornley looks at how approaches to school self-evaluation have evolved and explores what a genuinely useful SEF should contain.

  • Become a Chartered Educational Assessor

    Advice February 2019

    The role of the Chartered Educational Assessor (CEA) is to quality assure the assessment policies, procedures and processes that schools, colleges, or MATs use. This CEA training programme supports professionals engaged in assessment across multiple subject contexts.

  • Brief encounters

    Leader article September 2015

    The impact of leadership is the key evidence that inspectors will be seeking under the new shorter Ofsted inspections. Suzanne O’Farrell explains this and other significant changes to the framework.

  • Call for evidence: JCQ Independent Commission into malpractice in the UK assessment system

    Advice February 2019

    As part of the programme of evidence gathering for the Commission on Examination Malpractice, the Commission would like your views and is asking if members can complete a short survey.

  • Changes to Ofsted inspections in the Midlands

    Advice June 2014

    As of 9 June, Ofsted will be piloting a change to inspections in the Midlands.

  • Changes to point scores for Progress 8 and Attainment 8 in 2017

    Advice April 2015

    Progress 8 and Attainment 8 will be introduced as new headline measures in 2016, or 2015 for those schools which choose to opt in early.

  • Changes to rules regarding new GCSEs and early entry

    Advice June 2015

    The DfE also announced that only new reformed GCSEs will be included in performance measures as the new GCSEs come on stream. Legacy qualifications will not count.

  • Clerking Competency Framework

    Advice April 2017

    The government has published a Clerking Competency Framework, which sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to provide professional clerking to school and academy governing boards.

  • Coasting Schools Consultation

    Guidance paper November 2015

    This guidance paper is relevant to senior and system leaders in maintained schools in England. It outlines the DfE’s proposed definition of a ‘coasting’ school and details the consultation process.

  • Combined English/English Literature discounting in performance tables

    Advice November 2014

    Despite strong and prolonged discussion with ASCL, the DfE has refused to reverse its decision to discount English and English Literature GCSE exams. While this affects a minority of schools, we know that some will be very seriously disadvantaged in the performance tables.

  • Conversations on the curriculum

    Advice November 2018

    With renewed focus on the curriculum, ASCL invited education advisor Mary Myatt to share her views on what leaders in all phases of education can be thinking about now to ensure they have a clear understanding of the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum.

  • Countering Fraud In Education

    Advice October 2014

    As the accountability agenda gathers momentum, there is an increasing emphasis on corporate responsibility and the need to ensure that financial systems and processes, both internally and externally, withstand close scrutiny and testing.

  • Creating the perfect mix - leading and governing groups of schools

    Leader article May 2015

    Hard partnerships between schools are likely to proliferate in the next few years so what basic principles should they be built on? Leora Cruddas explains ASCL’s guidance.

  • Cymru timeline – suggested activities to manage curriculum and assessment and accountability changes from 2014-18

    Guidance paper March 2015

    Changes to assessment, curriculum and school performance measures mean that school leaders will have a range of matters to consider as they plan their offer for the coming and future academic years. This document offers some guidance which we hope are helpful.

  • Delivering a clear message

    Leader article April 2015

    The incoming government has a golden opportunity to work with the profession to create a world-class education system, says Brian Lightman. But it will need to focus on a few key priorities.

  • DfE Data checking exercise

    Advice June 2016

    The DfE has written to schools to notify them that the June data checking exercise is now open. Schools should take the opportunity to check the list of eligible pupils and their characteristics. Ensuring these are correct can make significant differences to performance tables and RAISE; this data e

  • DfE publishes assessment principles

    Advice April 2014

    The DfE has published a set of recommended assessment principles to help schools to effectively assess their pupils’ progress against their school curriculum.

  • DfE publishes statement on primary accountability and assessment

    Advice March 2014

    On 27 March, the DfE published a response to the consultation on primary accountability and assessment following the introduction of the new national curriculum. ASCL members will find parts of this document informative as it includes arrangements for the new Key Stage 2 assessments from 2016.

  • DfE Statement of Intent

    Advice September 2016

    The DfE has published the statement of intent that outlines the full list of performance measures to be included in the primary, secondary and 16-18 performance tables for 2016, which will be published in the 2016/17 academic year.

  • Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 - statutory guidance for schools

    Advice March 2015

    New guidance on disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 and disqualification by association has now been published by the DfE. This replaces the guidance published in October 2014.

  • Do you work with international leadership organisations?

    Advice June 2016

    ASCL is keen to build strong relationships with organisations focused on school leadership in other countries, or similar organisations with international remits.

  • Does your governing board or clerk make a significant impact on your school?

    Advice September 2018

    The Outstanding Governance Awards 2019 are the only national awards that celebrate school governors, trustees and clerks.

  • Download the new FFT/ASCL 2017 KS4 school dashboard

    Advice November 2017

    Schools subscribing to FFT now have access to a full national analysis of their 2017 KS4 results. This year's reports include Attainment 8, Progress 8 and the new DfE 9-1 point score measures, together with results re-calculated from previous years.

  • Due diligence guidance

    Advice March 2019

    The DfE has published best practice guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools, local authorities and academy trusts on Due Diligence in Academies and Maintained Schools.

  • Early estimates for Progress 8

    Advice September 2018

    Following another extensive collaboration exercise between schools, SISRA has kindly allowed ASCL to publish early estimates for Attainment 8 (A8) overall and the respective elements. The estimates are based on the results of around 185,000 pupils.

  • Early estimates of Attainment 8 averages by prior attainment

    Advice September 2017

    ASCL has been working with SISRA Ltd to provide early estimates for 2017 Attainment 8 averages. Schools using SISRA have been invited to opt in to an anonymised data sharing exercise.

  • EBacc for all

    Advice June 2015

    The government announced that pupils starting secondary school in Year 7 this September must study the key English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects of English, maths, science, history or geography, and a foreign language at GCSE.

  • Edexcel A level maths exam - June 2018

    Advice June 2018

    We are aware of the allegations of malpractice or wrongdoing in relation to Edexcel’s A level C4 maths paper taken on 22 June 2018. ASCL is in discussions with Ofqual seeking urgent clarification of the situation.

  • English GCSE

    Advice September 2014

    Nationally there has been a 1.9 per cent drop in A*- C grades in English entries this year however behind this figure the effects of new systems on individual students and schools, are much more complex.

  • English GCSE results

    Advice October 2014

    This is a serious concern for schools whose students took English Literature GCSE for the first time in November 2013 or June 2014 – and whose students also took combined English GCSE during the same time period.

  • Entries to BTECs report

    July 2016

    Pearson has launched a new report that it has developed with the Social Market Foundation (SMF). The report looks at trends in entries to BTEC, drawing on data from the National Pupil Database, as well as a series of interviews with headteachers and a poll of parents.

  • European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

    Advice April 2017

    The Technical Award list has been updated for 2018 and the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) has been withdrawn, which means it will no longer count in performance tables from summer 2018.

  • Every School an Academy : The White Paper Proposals

    Advice April 2016

    Following the Chancellor's announcement in his Budget statement of 16 March 2016 and the subsequent publication of the White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere, the House of Commons has published a briefing paper Every School an Academy: The White Paper Proposals.

  • Exam dates 2019

    Advice January 2019

    A reminder to members about the earlier start this year to GCSE and A level external exams, and about the exam contingency day.

  • Exam Results Helpline

    Advice August 2016

    The DfE will be opening its Exam Results Helpline on Thursday 18 August.

  • FAQs on conflicts of interest and declarations

    Advice January 2019

    We are pleased to announce that following calls from ASCL, JCQ has now produced a set of FAQs giving more clarification around conflicts of interest and declarations in relation to the design, delivery and assessment of examinations for centres.

  • FE and Skills Inspection Handbook

    Advice May 2018

    Ofsted has now updated its inspection handbook. Key changes include the provision that providers judged ‘Good’ for overall effectiveness at their most recent inspection will now usually be inspected within five years.

  • First Principles

    Leader article January 2016

    The profession needs to take back the initiative on assessment and recover the ground lost during the decades when it became a tool of accountability rather than an aid to learning, says Brian Lightman.

  • Flawed but fairer

    Leader article September 2014

    Duncan Baldwin explores the moral issues raised by the new performance measure, Progress 8.

  • Funding for IGCSE Post-16

    Advice October 2016

    The DfE has confirmed that regulated IGCSEs count in the 16-18 performance tables’ English and maths progress measure.

  • GCSE Computer Science assessment arrangements

    Advice January 2019

    Ofqual has confirmed the long-term future of computer science assessment arrangements.

  • GCSE Early Entry Guidance for Schools

    Advice May 2014

    The DfE published a guidance paper on the rules around early entry in March 2014.

  • GCSE results - Ofqual analysis

    Advice September 2016

    Ofqual has published analysis of this year’s GCSE results.

  • GCSE, AS and A level marking review and appeals system

    February 2016

    Ofqual is proposing to make changes to the appeals and reviews of marking of GCSEs, AS and A levels and, it is sending a letter to all schools to explain the main proposals.

  • GCSEs 2017: clarification on resit requirements for English

    Advice August 2017

    Following publication yesterday of this year's GCSE results, it has become apparent there is some confusion regarding the requirement and eligibility for resits for English. ASCL has therefore been in direct contact with Ofqual and the DfE to clarify this matter.

  • Governing body reconstitution

    Advice October 2014

    We would like to recommend and remind members about the importance of timelining governing body reconstitution in maintained schools now in readiness for September 2015.

  • Government response to primary assessment consultation

    Advice September 2017

    Last week, the government released its response to the consultation on primary assessment. ASCL has produced a detailed summary for members.

  • Have your say on school governance

    Advice May 2016

    The NGA has once again joined forces with TES to survey the nation's governors, trustees and headteachers, with over 5,800 taking part in 2015.

  • How governors should and do influence strategy

    Advice February 2016

    Governors are meant to be the strategic decision makers for their schools. However, there is a lack of clarity around what this means.

  • How inspectors should be using data

    Advice November 2014

    A helpful summary about how inspectors should be using data and a broad overview of the proposed changes to inspection for September 2015

  • Identifying schools for improvement support

    Advice February 2019

    Alongside the recruitment and retention strategy, the Department for Education has published a consultation on how it proposes to identify schools eligible for support.

  • Impact is what counts

    Leader article December 2014

    Workload pressures in schools are exacerbated by the often arbitrary demands of ‘compliance’, says Brian Lightman. The government needs to recognise the fact and take a grown-up approach to accountability and inspection.

  • Improvements to Progress 8 and Attainment 8 reporting

    Advice January 2016

    Three small but important changes have been made to the RAISEonline interactive reporting of Progress 8 and Attainment 8.

  • Inspection

    Policy paper June 2015

    Inspection is a key part of the accountability system of schools and colleges in England. Accountability is the obligation of an individual and organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

  • Inspection data summary report (IDSR) - Key Stage 4

    Advice December 2018

    Ofsted has now published IDSR for Key Stage 4 using provisional data. It can be located on the DfE’s Analyse School Performance (ASP) service.

  • Inspection windows

    Advice April 2018

    Ofsted has announced important changes to inspection windows, which take place with immediate effect.

  • Inspection, Oversight of and Intervention in Schools

    Guidance paper December 2014

    This guidance provides a factual overview of the respective roles of Ofsted, regional school commissioners and local authorities in relation to schools they maintain.

  • Inspections update

    Advice January 2015

    Ofsted has published Issue 1 of the School Inspection Update, which is guidance for inspectors and details key areas of focus such as IAG, SMSC, governance, outcomes for groups, and disqualification by association, warning notices and the 2014 performance measures.

  • Inspections update - March 16

    Advice March 2016

    The latest issue of Osted's School Inspection Update is now out.

  • Inspections update: November 2017

    Advice November 2017

    Ofsted’s November School Inspection Update has been published and contains helpful messages regarding KS3 curriculum, prior attainment (including special schools), and short inspection conversions.

  • Inspections – What’s the outcome?

    Leader article October 2014

    Individual lesson grades have been dropped, so now inspectors are gathering evidence from a range of activities and lesson observations to judge the quality of teaching. Suzanne O’Farrell examines the implications.

  • Inspiring Governance

    Advice November 2016

    Inspiring Governance connects schools and colleges with skilled volunteers interested in serving as governors and trustees and provides support, advice and guidance to ensure that volunteers newly appointed to boards are able to govern effectively right from the outset.

  • Insurance top-up funding for academies

    Advice December 2016

    Academies eligible to claim top-up funding for their insurance premium can now use the academies funding claim form on GOV.UK for academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17.

  • Join the conversation about school inspection

    Advice November 2016

    Ofsted’s National Director, Education Sean Harford has a highly active Twitter account, with much of the conversation centred on Sean’s continuing quest to dispel old myths about Ofsted inspections.

  • Joint letter to school governors and trustees

    Advice June 2018

    In celebration of Volunteers' Week the National Governance Association, the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers have published a joint letter to thank school governors and trustees for their remarkable contribution to education.

  • Key Stage 1 and 2 assessment

    Advice March 2016

    The DfE has published a clarification document on Key Stage 1 and 2 teacher assessment and moderation for this summer.

  • Key Stage 4 and 5 destination measures

    Advice July 2014

    The DfE has published KS4 and KS5 destination measures. The data relates to those students who left KS4 or who took A level or other Level 3 qualifications in 2010/11 and shows their destinations in 2011/12.

  • Key Stage 4 and 5 destination measures data (2011–12 cohort)

    Advice January 2015

    The next set of Key Stage 4 and 5 destination measures data is being published today, six months earlier than previous cohorts, showing the destinations of the 2011-12 cohort in 2012-13.

  • Key Stage 4 performance tables: Early entry guidance

    Advice March 2014

    Following pressure from ASCL that early entry policy should be explained more clearly, the DfE has produced a guidance document which brings together the rules for counting the first exam entry.

  • Key Stage 4 shadow measures

    Advice April 2017

    The DfE has published shadow Attainment 8 data using 2017 points. The information shows how national 2015 to 2016 Attainment 8 scores look when re-calculated using a 2017 point score methodology.

  • Know your boundaries - curriculum and assessment

    Leader article May 2015

    Cherry Ridgway explains how comparable outcomes work for setting GCSE grades and looks ahead to the national reference tests, starting in 2017.

  • KS4 Inspection Data Summary Reports (IDSR)

    Advice January 2018

    Ofsted has published its new-look Key Stage 4 report which replaces the old ‘inspection dashboard’. Primary IDSRs were launched in the autumn term and data on secondary schools has now followed suit.

  • Leading and Governing Groups of Schools

    Guidance paper March 2015

    This guidance is for senior leaders, governors and trustees who are considering growing their stand-alone academy trust or establishing a multi-academy trust (MAT) or federation. It is intended to be a general guide, not a comprehensive list covering every consideration.

  • Level 3 Value Added (L3VA) ready reckoner

    Advice November 2017

    The DfE is carrying out a survey about the L3VA ready reckoner. The L3VA ready reckoner is the tool the DfE provides to help schools and colleges calculate Level 3 value-added measures.

  • Looking for governors (or volunteers) for your school or college?

    Advice January 2016

    Inspiring Governors is a new service that allows you to find people for free who are interested in serving as a governor. Many of the volunteers are highly skilled professionals in areas such as in finance, law, HR and marketing.

  • Marking or moderation errors

    Advice July 2017

    Ofqual has announced that schools and colleges in England will in future have a second opportunity to challenge GCSE, AS level, A level and project results if they continue to have concerns about marking or moderation errors.

  • MAT Development and Improvement Fund

    Advice October 2017

    The DfE has just launched a new grant aimed at supporting trusts in improving schools. In order to qualify, trusts must plan to either take into your trust and improve at least two additional schools or form a new MAT of two schools or more and improve them, both within the next 12 months.

  • Multiplication Tables Check (MTC): Voluntary national pilot

    Advice April 2019

    The MTC is a new assessment, and the first national curriculum assessment in England, to be delivered on a digital platform. The Standards & Testing Agency (STA) is giving schools the opportunity to try out the new assessment with Year 4 pupils this summer in a voluntary national pilot.

  • National Audit Office (NAO) Study: Converting Schools to Academies

    Advice April 2017

    ASCL has been asked to submit views on the DfE’s arrangements for the conversion of schools to academies. NAO studies are very important and we would like as much up-to-date information from members on this as possible. We need to respond to the NAO by Fri 28 April.

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