Subject: SCHOOLS NorthEast Weekly Update - Week 39

I am learning offer

The SCHOOLS NorthEast Weekly Update goes out to every Head Teacher in the North East every week, but if anybody else in your school or LA would like to receive the Update, please send their name and email address to

In this Issue

  • A roundup of the latest in local and national education news
  • School to School with Anne Malcolm from Manor College of Technology in Hartlepool
  • Lord Adonis to speak at the SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit 2012
  • Teaching Agency Schools Direct information session
  • I AM Learning full access offer for a games-based homework, revision and assessment system

Focus on…careers education

From September, responsibility to provide ‘independent and impartial’ careers advice and guidance will pass to schools but a new survey by the TES and Education and Employers taskforce has found that teachers and school leaders are concerned about the impact of the changes.

Almost half of teachers believe the quality and quantity of careers advice on offer will deteriorate and nearly 53% of teachers said that they do not feel confident giving advice about apprenticeships. In contrast, more than two- thirds said they were very or quite confident advising students about university study.

The survey of almost 1,000 teachers and school leaders also revealed that 62% of school leaders said that they still had no firm plans for offering IAG to students.

In a recent survey of young people, a visit to an employer was rated as the most useful source of careers advice for 16-18 year olds.  However, only 26% of 16-18 year olds and 16% of 14-16 year olds, said that they had been given this opportunity.

In the TES survey, almost half of school leaders said that their school would be changing its work experience arrangements this year, with11% scrapping work experience placements altogether, and 28% said that placements would only be available for students aged 16 and above.

Concerns about the quality of careers advice, the capacity of schools to delivery information about the full range of post 16 options, and the provision of work related learning were echoed by attendees at last week’s North East Youth Jobs Summit held in South Shields. At the event chaired by David Milliband MP, who also led the recent ACEVO Youth Unemployment Commission, employers and young people expressed dissatisfaction with the relevance, impartiality and quality of careers advice and work related learning opportunities offered by schools.  Representatives of a panel of young people tasked with collecting young people’s views on the issue said that they were particularly worried about a perceived lack of support for, and knowledge about, non-academic routes post 16 and 18. 

The findings have prompted calls for greater accountability for schools in relation to the provision of IAG.

A spokesman for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers has called on Ofsted to inspect the quality of schools’ provision: “These results are in no way surprising,” the spokesman said. “Many teachers do not feel confident talking about vocational options. We are worried that schools won’t comply with (the new duty). The obvious tool for checking on this would be for it to be inspected by Ofsted.”

Commentators have also suggested that schools need more support from professionals to ensure the independence and quality of careers advice and have raised concerns over the lack of funding available to schools to support high quality careers education.

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Careers advice needs to be backed up with guidance from a qualified professional. There’s a real fear out there that, without proper infrastructure focused on serving young people, there will be a great variability in the quality of careers advice.”

“There will be some good practice, but there will be areas where schools struggle to fund provision. It will result in some schools coming to the pragmatic decision to go for the cheaper option.”

Last week, Inspiring the Future was launched.  This is a free service which enables people from all sectors and professions to work with state schools and colleges by matchmaking volunteers willing to give career insight talks in schools.  In the first week, nearly a third of all state secondary schools in England signed up to the scheme.

Anthony Mann, Head of Policy and Research at the Education and Employers Taskforce, which runs Inspiring the Future, said:  “Overwhelmingly (teachers) want to see young people having greater opportunity to hear first-hand from employers about the range of jobs and careers which may be open to them and best routes into them. This is common practice in the independent sector, where cost-free networks are routinely and easily used.”

And Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg welcomed the scheme. “Too many young people get the message that the best jobs are not for them,” he said. “(This) will give state school students the chance to see, hear and make a connection with someone in a career or job they might not have thought about.”

Also launched this week was new research in how the independent sector works with employers.  The research found that the “networks in place supported by personalised careers guidance reinforce cultures of aspiration and achievement and which are congruent with parental demands.

The research recognised that Independent Schools can draw upon substantial pools of expertise to garner placements and speakers and in so doing expose their pupils to communities of practice, role models and experiences that will enhance university applications and subsequent entry to elite professions”.

The Speakers for Schools programme, established by BBC journalist Robert Peston, aims to help state schools to access role models to inspire students.  Also, Future First, a charity connecting state schools to their alumni for the purposes of raising aspirations, has recently secured funding to expand into new regions.

Finally, the Government is currently consulting as to whether the requirement to provide independent careers advice should be extended downwards to Year 8 and upwards to age 18.  You have until 1 August to respond to the consultation.

What’s your view?  Are you worried about your school’s capacity to deliver a comprehensive IAG service? What support would you like to see for schools in this area? What are your plans for work experience?  What is the role of employers in careers education and how can we improve the connection between schools and industry?

Further reading

Careers advice plan gets vote of little confidence (TES)

Employer Engagement in Independent schools (Education and Employers)

David Milliband – politics for the pinched generation? (The Guardian)

David Milliband addresses North East Youth Jobs Summit (Bdaily)


Statutory guidance for schools careers guidance for young-people

From the Department for Education

In the last few weeks of term there has been a further flurry of announcements and consultations from the Department – the latest of these include:


Making foreign languages compulsory at Key Stage 2  Closing date: 28 September 2012

Consultation on revised safeguarding statutory guidance Closing Date: 4 September 2012

Consultation on careers guidance for schools, sixth-form colleges and further education institutions Closing Date: 1 August 2012


£10 million literacy catch-up programme for disadvantaged pupils

Formula for calculating overall KS2 English levels

Local news by area





North Tyneside


South Tyneside




Top regional news

University applications in the North East have fallen by nearly 12% in the last year according to new statistics from admissions service UCAS.  Nationally, just over 50,000 fewer applicants have applied for university compared with the same point last year, a drop of 8.9%. The South West and the North East have seen the biggest drops, down 12.1% and 11.7% respectively.

North East University Applications fall by almost 12% (The Journal)


Top national education news

Government launches review of school food

The Government has announced that the co-founders of LEON restaurant chain have been asked examine school food across the country. Their role will be to create an action plan to accelerate improvement in school food and determine the role of food more broadly in school life. The move has been met with strong criticism from school food campaigner Jamie Oliver, who said "Now is not the time for more costly reports. Now is the time for action and that doesn't seem to be what we get from Mr Gove when it comes to school food and food education.”

Restaurant owners to review school meals (BBC News)

Jamie Oliver. You might want to hate him, but you can't help cheering (The Guardian)

4 out of 10 schools not ‘fit for purpose’

A survey of nearly 700 Head Teachers has revealed that 40% believe that their school buildings are not ‘fit for purpose’. Many of the respondents said that their school has had to use buckets to catch the rain coming through the leaking roofs. The flooding and high rainfall over recent weeks has added to the problems experienced by schools.  SCHOOLS NorthEast Commercial Supporter,  Aura, has created aTop Tips’ list of some of the actions that you could take to reduce the risk of damage to your school and help to keep your buildings open. 

Overcrowded and crumbling: cutbacks leave schools in crisis (The Independent)

Labour to set up military schools

Shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg, has signalled that the Labour Party plans to set up a network of specialist 'service schools'  that could employ ex-forces personnel as qualified teachers, offer mentoring support, have a cadet force on site and offer adventurous outdoor training.

Stephen Twigg said "The 'service ethos' emphasises the importance of character formation and high ethical standards, as well as the development of crucial skills such as team-working. We are exploring how we can give more of our young people the opportunity to benefit from the skills, talents and insights of our service community. The cadet experience engenders a sense of responsibility and citizenship which combines fun and instils companionship. We want to spread this throughout all schools, while promoting lasting links between pupils from different backgrounds through their cadet experience."

Labour plan to set up service schools (The Telegraph)

Labour wants to set up military schools (BBC News)

City Challenge scheme is more effective than academies according to research

A major research report has questioned the Government’s approach to school improvement after figures suggest that results in England's sponsored academies rose more slowly than in some other poorly performing schools.  Researchers at London Metropolitan University said results rose fastest in schools in the City Challenge programme, which ran in some areas until 2011. Their analysis suggests that pupil attainment in the underperforming schools supported by City Challenge improved significantly more than it did in other weak schools, including sponsored academies.

City schools scheme 'more effective than academies' (BBC News)

Resources and opportunities

Engage your students through game based learning

I am learning is a games based homework, revision and assessment system which has been recently procured by Northumberland for 160 of its school. 

I am Learning is pleased to offer all North East schools the opportunity to try all their resources for free over the summer months and for a full month after the summer holidays. Experience first-hand why Northumberland LA considered this the premium resource choice for their schools. 

For more information email visit or and don't forget to mention SCHOOLS NorthEast.

Poverty proofing the school day

Children North East are developing a toolkit to help 'poverty proof the school day', supported by the North East Child Poverty Commission and pupils and staff from 4 schools in the region. As part of this process, they are collecting evidence about current practice in schools relating to supporting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

They have developed a very short survey (7 questions in total including ones on uses of the Pupil Premium and CPD of staff) which can be found here ( and which they are asking schools in the region to complete by the end of July. All schools completing the questionnaire will receive a summary report of the responses. If you’d like more information on this project please contact Stephen Crossley at .

Inspire your pupils to pursue new career paths

Under a new scheme, scores of leading employers including the BBC and the NHS will call for volunteers across the country to visit a school near them once a year and spend an hour talking with young people about their job.

The Inspiring the Future campaign, thought up by the charity Education and Employers Taskforce, is designed to tackle the "skills mismatch" between jobs and young people, and inspire schoolchildren to pursue careers they would not have otherwise thought of.

To find out more and to sign your school up, please click here.

Inject new life into your PSHE lessons

If you are looking for an innovative way to provide your students with the life skills needed in an increasingly complex world, then local charity ‘Doorways’ has produced a resource to assist you. Doorways Youth Project, who has recently joined SCHOOLS NorthEast as a Commercial Supporter, strives to reach out to young people in difficult situations. They have just launched an educational CD-ROM ‘Life-Skills Labyrinth,‘ which acts as an innovative multi-sensory learning resource. For a one off cost of £56 (plus postage) you will receive the full ‘Life-Skills Labyrinth’ package which can be used on your entire school network, allowing a full class of students to access the resource at any one time. For more information and to order please click here or email

Are you making the most of the mobile devices your students already have in their pockets?

GCSEPod has been specifically designed to take advantage of the rapid increase in the use of Smart Phones and handheld devices by GCSE students. It enables schools and academies to capitalise on one of the largest, most powerful and currently neglected resources available to them; the mobile devices in their students’ pockets. These devices provide a unique opportunity to deliver content to students 24/7 - on the bus, on the train, in the car, in school, wherever they may be...

The GCSEPod app is now available for iPhone and iTouch and it’s FREE for schools with a full GCSEPod subscription. The app can be downloaded direct from the AppStore to any iPhone or iTouch. The iPad and Android apps are currently in development. Click here to view the offer or email to find out more.


SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit – 19 October at St James Park

Now in its fourth year, the SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit is the annual event bringing together the North East's school leaders and leading educationalists and decision makers to discuss the issues, practice, challenges and opportunities that will shape education now and in the coming years. Last year’s event sold out, with over 300 school leaders attending.

Delegate places cost just £80 for Primaries and £100 for Secondaries with discounts for SCHOOLS NorthEast Enhanced Members and group bookings.

For more information and to book now please click here or email .

***SUMMIT UPDATE*** We are pleased to announce that Lord Adonis will be speaking at this year’s Summit.  After serving as Minster for Schools between 2000 and 2008, Lord Adonis is viewed by many as both the architect and the driving force behind the academies programme and his new book on education reform - 'Education, Education, Education' - is to be published in September 2012.

Are you interested in recruiting and training new teachers? – 12 July

School Direct gives schools the opportunity to work with an accredited training provider to recruit and train new entrants to the teaching profession with a view to employing them on achievement of QTS. Join them at an information and discussion event where a representative from the Teaching Agency will present the facts about School Direct and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and talk with other schools.

The event will take place at Harton Technology College in South Shields on Thursday 12 July from 3.45pm to 5.15pm. There is no charge for the event and refreshments will be provided. To book a place please email

School to School

This week we spoke to Anne Malcolm from Manor College of Technology in Hartlepool.

Our school is an inclusive, family community where all pupils are encouraged to succeed and take risks.

Our school motto is ‘Care, courtesy and consideration in all that we do’.

Our school is good at working with vulnerable pupils to ensure that they achieve and succeed, celebrating the success of our pupils, engaging in our community and getting our pupils to become involved in their school.

Our school is working on promoting independent learning and raising the aspirations of all pupils

The biggest challenges for our school are making sure that the needs of our pupils are not over looked as we prepare for 2014 performance indicators, moving our school forward and the state of our school building (we are a Priority School Build school).

We think other schools would be interested in our international work, our inclusive ethos and the impact of our creative and performing arts faculty on our school community.

Question from last week’s school is:   What would you like a new curriculum to have within it, bearing in mind the different ranges of intelligence, which are often overlooked?

Answer:  For us it has to continue to have a range of opportunities which allow all pupils to succeed and be prepared for post 16 education.  It cannot be simply based upon 2014 performance indicators.

Our question to next week’s school is How do you prioritise whole school and individual staff CPD in light of rapid changes to the teaching profession?

Over the last 7 days we learnt…

Have a great week!

If you have any issues you would like to see covered in the Update, or any other comments, I would love to hear from you at the above address.

The SCHOOLS NorthEast Weekly Update goes out to every Head Teacher in the North East every Tuesday, but if anybody else in your school or LA would like to receive the Update, please send their name and email address to