10,000 children ‘not attending school’

10,000 children ‘not attending school’

As many as 10,000 children are missing out on full-time education, with many of them left vulnerable to abuse or getting involved in antisocial behaviour, Ofsted has warned.

Following visits by Ofsted inspectors to 15 local authorities, it was found that a combined total of 1,400 children were being educated part time.

Extrapolated across all local authorities in England, this would mean more than 10,000 children are missing out on full-time education.

report by the regulator warned that the children were at risk of being “invisible to local authorities”.

“If no-one in authority knows what education these children and young people receive each week, or whether they even attend, they not only miss out on education but can be vulnerable to abuse,” Ofsted chief inspector Michael Wilshaw said.

“Everyone must take greater responsibility for knowing where they are.”

Inspectors found that the main reasons children were missing education was because they had been permanently excluded; have social and behavioural problems; mental health or other medical problems; are pregnant; or have complex needs.

Inspectors found that some authorities were good at ensuring no children “slip out of sight”. However, other local authorities were failing to properly arrange and monitor education for children directly in their care.

Only a third of the local authorities visited for the survey were found to keep a close enough eye on these children and gather information and analyse it centrally.

“It is simply not acceptable that only a third of local authorities have a detailed understanding of what is happening to pupils who are not receiving full-time education,” Wilshaw added.

“Ofsted is shining a spotlight on these failings.

“Our new arrangements for inspecting children’s social care services, which starts this month, will request a specific report on school-age children who are not attending full-time education.

“Everyone must take greater responsibility for knowing where these children are. We owe it to them to ensure they are safe and can succeed.”

The report recommends that local authorities and schools should establish a central record of children not accessing full-time education, including those who are accessing alternative provision full-time away from mainstream school.

They should also identify clear lines of accountability and share information across local authority boundaries and other agencies.

Children’s commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson said many of the findings echo those of her inquiry into school exclusions.

“I also found evidence of children being illegally excluded from school, and of local authorities who could not tell me how many of their children were not receiving education,” she said.

“I strongly endorse Ofsted’s recommendation that local authority inspections should examine the location of children not in school.

“This should encompass all children in the area, not just those in local authority schools.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said that local authorities’ ability to ensure all children receive a suitable education had been “systematically undermined” by the government.

“The coalition government’s structural reform has fragmented the school system and severed important links between schools and local authorities.

“Savage cuts to local authority budgets mean that capacity within local authority services to ensure children are receiving a suitable education has been severely reduced.”

Source: CYPNow


Stonewall is excited to launch a flagship new campaign this Anti-Bullying Week, supported by Musmnet and Will Young. We’ll be asking schools and supporters to help us tackle the endemic levels of homophobic language in Britain’s schools.


Young people are hearing the damaging phrases ‘that’s so gay’ and ‘you’re so gay’ every single day at school.

▪    99 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people hear phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in schooL

▪    Only 10 per cent of gay young people say that staff intervene every time they hear homophobic language

▪    84 per cent of gay young people are distressed when they hear the word ‘gay’ used as an insult


To tackle this problem, Stonewall has teamed up with Will Young and Mumsnet to give schools, teachers and young people the tools they need to challenge homophobic language.

We’ve created new posters and guidance for both pupils and teachers across the country that will challenge misuse of the word gay.

Source: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/9291.asp

Academy chains should face Ofsted inspection, say MPs

Academy chains should face Ofsted inspection, say MPs

Ofsted should be given powers to inspect organisations that run chains of academies, says a report from a cross-party committee of MPs.

The Education Select Committee wants to improve the way groups of schools work together in partnerships.

More than half of secondary schools in England are now academies, operating outside local authority control.

Graham Stuart, committee chairman, said schools needed clearer incentives to “look beyond their own school gate”.

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has previously said he believes that sponsors of such academy chains should face inspections.

Co-ordinating schools

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Ofsted already inspects all school and academy performance, while the Department for Education examines the performance of chains.

“Where academies are underperforming, we take action – this can involve issuing a pre-

There is a danger that many schools will operate in isolation rather than in co-operation”

Graham StuartEducation select committee

The report by MPs has examined partnerships and co-operation between schools, against a background of greater school autonomy and different levels of accountability.

Mr Stuart says his committee supports giving schools “more freedom to innovate” but there also needs to be a “degree of co-ordination”.

“Otherwise there is a danger that many schools will operate in isolation rather than in co-operation,” said Mr Stuart.

The report says that while there is widespread support for the idea of raising standards through greater collaboration there is still a lack of incentive for schools to work together.

It argues that local authorities have a “critical role” in improving schools and calls on the government to clarify how they can act as brokers between local schools.

‘Middle tier’

But with the expansion of academies, it says that academy chains will play an increasingly important part in helping schools to improve.

It warns of the need for co-ordination from this “middle tier”, between individual schools and central government, particularly in areas where schools are at risk of underperforming.

Hundreds of schools are now collaborating on a scale never witnessed before ”

Department for Education

The Education Select Committee MPs say that academy chains should be open to inspection by Ofsted, in the way that local authorities can be inspected.

The committee also argues there should be a mechanism to allow outstanding schools to leave academy chains, including without the approval of the organisation running the chain.

The MPs also raise concerns that some outstanding academies are not providing support for weaker neighbouring schools and the report calls for closer monitoring.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, giving evidence to the committee earlier this year, told MPs that there needed to be a level playing field in the accountability of organisations running groups of schools.

“We will be inspecting local authorities and we should inspect academy chains as well, if we identify underperformance,” said the Ofsted chief.

“I have made that clear to the secretary of state. It is only fair and equitable that we do that. We have not got the same powers at the moment, but I look forward to receiving the powers to do that.”

Raising standards

Sir Michael told MPs that there was an “ongoing discussion” with the Department for Education, but he thought the principle had been accepted.

He also backed the idea that academy chains could be ranked in performance tables in the same way as local authorities.

There are now 3,444 academies, representing 53% of secondary schools and 9% of primaries in England.

Among these there are 1,600 schools in academy chains, up from fewer than 900 in autumn 2012.

“Hundreds of schools are now collaborating on a scale never witnessed before – brilliant heads and teachers are working together, sharing best practice and driving improvement throughout the system, raising standards for their pupils,” said a Department for Education spokesman.

Labour’s schools minister Kevin Brennan said: “Labour has long argued that collaboration between schools is what is needed if we are to deliver a step-change in standards across all schools. In June, we said that all schools would have to demonstrate effective collaboration with weaker schools for them to be rated as outstanding by Ofsted.

“This report – by a cross-party group of MPs – is a damning indictment of David Cameron’s schools policy that drives competition between schools instead of incentivising partnerships between them.”

What do you think ??

Source: BBC News

Children-in-need data indicates referrals decline

Children-in-need data indicates referrals decline

The number of children-in-need referrals is at its lowest level for three years, according to latest government figures.

The Department for Education (DfE) children-in-need census figures for 2012/13 show that 593,500 referrals were made to children’s services. This is a 1.9 per cent fall on the previous year’s figure of 605,100 and the lowest since the first census was compiled in 2009/10. But despite the drop in referrals the number of children granted the status rose slightly during the same period from 369,400 to 378,600. Children-in-need status covers a range of services including family support, leaving care, disability support and adoption. The area with the highest rate of children in need is Middlesbrough, where the rate is 785.3 per 10,000 children. The lowest is Wokingham with a rate of 154.4. A slightly higher proportion of boys (53 per cent) are given the status and the largest age group within the children in need population is 10 to 15 years old, which is similar to the previous year. The figures also show that an increasing amount of children are being given child-in-need status due to abuse or neglect. The proportion rose from 45.5 per cent to 47.3 per cent between 2011/12 and 2012/13 and remains the most common reason for the status. In addition, the number of children at risk of harm subject to a child protection plan has risen by 1.1 per cent to 52,700 in 2012/13. Also, fewer children in need are being re-referred to children’s services, the figures show. The proportion of re-referrals dipped from 26.1 per cent in 2011/12 to 24.9 per cent in 2012/13. Nushra Mansuri, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), said a possible cause for the drop in referrals and increase in children in need and child protection cases was that councils were getting better at identifying children that need support. Improvements she cites include the creation of multi-agency safeguarding hubs (Mashs), where social workers work alongside police and other children’s professionals to filter referrals and prioritise cases. She said: “There have been developments such as the creation of Mashs, which are improving the way referrals are dealt with and prioritised.”

Source: CYPNow

Youth reoffending rate reaches 10-year high

Youth reoffending rate reaches 10-year high

The number of young offenders who go on to commit further crimes has risen to the highest level for more than a decade, latest figures show

Ministry of Justice statistics show that of the 74,684 10- to 17-year-olds who were either cautioned, or handed a community or custodial sentence in 2011, 26,819 reoffended within 12 months – a rate of 35.9 per cent.

This represents an increase of 0.6 per cent on 2010 when the rate was 35.3 per cent and is higher than at any other time over the last 11 years in which comparative full calendar year figures are available.

Frances Done, chair of the Youth Justice Board, said: “The reoffending rate of a small group of young people in England and Wales remains high and these latest figures emphasise this.

“However this must be viewed against the wider context, which shows the overall level of youth offending is falling and the number of first-time entrants is continuing to reduce.

“As a result the youth justice system now manages a smaller cohort, consisting of the most prolific, difficult and challenging young people.

“Notwithstanding this, it remains one of our priorities, to ensure this group receives the most effective rehabilitation, along with support around education and welfare, to ensure they lead a life free from crime and help reduce reoffending in the future.”

Although the overall reoffending rate increased, the rate for young offenders released from custody in 2011 has gone down.

The statistics show it has fallen to 70.7 per cent, a fall of 0.3 of a percentage point compared to the previous 12 months and fall of 6.1 percentage points since 2000.

Meanwhile, separate Ministry of Justice statistics show that the number of antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos) being issued to children and young people has fallen to its lowest level since 2002.

In 2012, a total of 273 Asbos were issued to 10- to 17-year-olds, a 27.2 per cent fall on the 2011 figure of 375.

The figures show there has been a steady and dramatic fall in the number of Asbos issued to children and young people since the peak in 2005 when 1,581 were issued.

The statistics also showed that since 2000, juveniles are more likely than adults to breach their order.

They account for a disproportionate number of Asbo breaches, 44 per cent, despite accounting for just 37 per cent of Asbos issued. In total, nearly two-thirds of young people breached their Asbo.

Asbos are set to be replaced by new measures to tackle antisocial behaviour, which are currently being legislated for in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill going through parliament.

Penelope Gibbs, chair of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, suggested the fall in Asbos issued to young people is because they are ineffective in preventing reoffending.

“Nearly two-thirds of children breach their Asbos, which means the restrictions did not work.

“Asbos are a very blunt instrument to deal with problematic behaviour.

“If it’s really low-level troublemaking, it would be better dealt with through restorative justice.

“Most serious ‘anti-social behaviour’ incidents are, in fact, crimes and would be better dealt with in the justice system.”

Source: CYPNow