Your Weekly Sector News 01/03/24

Discover the latest trends, insights and developments in education with Your Weekly Sector News. This week, we explore new guidance for managing attendance, real-terms cuts to school funding, and research on the working lives of teachers and leaders. 
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Government increases school absence fines to improve attendance  

The government has released new guidance to improve attendance, which is set to become mandatory in September. This includes the introduction of a national framework, which will require all schools to consider a fine when a child has missed 10 or more sessions (5 days) for unauthorised reasons. Currently, it’s the responsibility of the local authority to decide whether to issue fines to parents, which means the process varies from council to council. Ministers hope the new national framework will establish ‘a more consistent penalty system.’ 

Absence fines are also set to rise from £60 to £80, or £160 if not paid within 21 days. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, warns that ‘higher fans could just be further punishing already struggling families.’ However, the government clarifies that fines are to be used only as a last resort and parents will be offered help to improve their child’s attendance first. Money raised via fines will be used only to cover the costs of administering the system and funding attendance support. 

From September, schools will also be required to share daily attendance registers with the Department for Education (DfE), local authorities and trusts as a result of the new guidance. This is intended to help schools identify and support pupils displaying worrying trends of persistent absence, or those in danger of becoming missing in education. 

★ Every child has the right to a full-time education. If your school is struggling with attendance, our Education Welfare & Safeguarding team can deliver a full Attendance Audit to identify the barriers and put action plans in place. 

Get in touch to discuss your requirements. 

Teacher survey reveals longer working weeks and less job satisfaction

The latest findings from the Working Lives of Teachers and Leaders survey reveal that teachers and leaders are working longer hours than last year, despite the government’s drive to reduce workload.  Results show the full-time teachers’ average working week in 2023 was 52.4 hours, rising from 51.9 in 2022. Similarly, the full-time leaders’ average hours rose from 57.5 in 2022 to 58.2 in 2023. 

More than 10,000 participants responded to the survey. Whilst 79% said they enjoyed classroom teaching, only 46% said they were satisfied with their current job most or all of the time. This figure has fallen significantly from 58% in 2022. Teachers and leaders also expressed greater levels of dissatisfaction with their pay and longer-term prospects. Just 7% were happy with the changes to teachers’ pay.

A majority of respondents said that their job had a negative impact on their wellbeing. 88% reported feeling stressed at work, 73% reported that the job left no time for their personal life, and 63% reported that the job negatively affected their mental health.

Around two-third reported feeling valued by their school. However, when asked if they felt the teaching profession was valued by society, only 12% agreed. Just 4% agreed that teachers’ views were valued by the government. Over a third indicated that they were considering leaving the profession within the next 12 months. This represents an increase from 25% in 2022. The most common reasons given for thinking about leaving education included high workload, stress and poor wellbeing, and not feeling valued by policymakers. 

★ The One Education Wellbeing Award has been designed to help you promote positive mental health across the whole school environment, building the foundations for a happy, healthy workforce.

Contact us to learn more.

Majority of schools facing real-terms cuts since 2010

Almost three-quarters of schools are facing real-terms cuts since 2010, according to analysis from the Schools Cuts campaign. Altogether, 66% of maintained primary schools and 88% of secondaries have been affected.

School Cuts is organised by a coalition of education unions and other organisations, including the National Education Union (NEU), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), National Association of Head Teachers, National Governance Association, and ParentKind. Reflecting on the latest findings, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, says ‘the government must make education a priority at the Spring Budget, giving schools and colleges the investment they urgently need.’

The campaign calls for a £12.2 billion investment from the government to reverse the effects of 14 years of austerity. This includes £3.2 billion to reverse the impact of government cuts, alongside £4.6 billion to ensure children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) receive the support they need. Further, the campaign argues that schools need £4.4 billion to begin making repairs to buildings and bringing facilities up to scratch. 

One Education is a purpose-led company, passionate about supporting schools to support children. 

By sharing expertise and equipping schools with the tools they need to thrive, we’re proud to play a pivotal role in shaping the success of school leaders, teachers, and their pupils. 

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