Start strong with a head start from us
September is here and whether you’re reluctantly rolling out of bed for the new term, or full of beans and raring to go, getting back into the swing of things can sometimes seem daunting.
To help you start the new academic year feeling up to speed, we've compiled the top stories and headlines from across the school sector this summer in 1 big round-up post.
The top stories of the summer ☀️
A round-up of the top topics in the news between 21 July and 31 August 2023.
- Over 100 schools told to close over concrete concerns
Schools have been informed they must close any building made with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), and may have to start the new school year in temporary accommodation or alternative locations. [BBC]
Support from The Key: get answers around the current situation and what action to take, with our RAAC and school disruption FAQs page.
- GCSE and A-level grades fall towards pre-pandemic levels
The number of pupils gaining top grades has fallen as grading returns to near pre-pandemic levels, amid concerns about regional and advantage attainment gaps [Schools Week and The Independent].
Support from The Key: use our template action plan to help raise progress for groups of pupils and tackle attainment gaps in your school.
- Unions accept teacher pay deal, ending strike action
All 4 major education unions have accepted the government’s pay deal for 2023/4, although NASUWT is instructing its members to limit their working time later this term [BBC News and Schools Week].
Support from The Key: check that your teachers’ pay policy meets all its requirements for the start of the year, with our model policy, checklist and examples.
- Pupils with SEMH needs are absent twice as frequently as their peers, research finds
The Education Policy Institute calls for more mental health investment in schools, as pupils with social, emotional and mental health issues were absent from school at double the rate of pupils without SEND [Tes Magazine - registration required].
Support from The Key: read our top tips for improving attendance, including how to create a safe environment to support pupils with mental health challenges.
The headlines from the holidays
Elsewhere in the news, stories from the sector also featured in the following publications over the summer.
- Lessons taught by non-specialists increase in half of subjects
- Pandemic has impacted social skills in half of children, study finds
- New electronic register system will go ahead for September 2024
- Exam entry fees rise for 2024
- 1/5 undergraduate teacher trainees don’t gain QTS
- Over 40% of tutoring funding went unspent last year
- New grant for chess in 100 primary schools announced
- Less than 4/10 schools make changes following Ofsted inspection
- New PE policy changes come into force for autumn term
- Rise in misogyny in schools leaves teachers to ‘pick up the pieces’
- ASCL publishes 2024 ‘manifesto’ calling for limits on school leaders’ working hours
- Children referred to social care face GCSE attainment gap
- More girls are playing football in primary school playgrounds, teachers report
- Language catch-up scheme for early years extended
- High demand for second-hand uniforms over summer holidays
- Thousands more pupils to resit GCSE English and maths
- Charity raises concerns over cuts to PE hours
- Education Development Trust publishes report on reducing school workload
- SENCOs will be required to take NPQs from September 2024
- Consultation launched to improve the experiences of people with ME and chronic fatigue, including in schools
- Every state-funded school now has a defibrillator on site
- UNESCO recommends a classroom ban on smartphones
- Children on FSM more likely to experience online harm, survey reports
- AI chatbots support pupils with exam revision
- Concerns that 2023 cohort will miss out on university places and future employment over grade deflation
Ready, set, September!
Whatever your situation, The Key is here to help every step of the way, giving you and your whole team the support that matters, for the decisions that count.
To help you hit the ground running this September, tap into our free resource on the changes in education for 2023/24. This will get you up to speed on all the essential sector updates for the coming year, including the top DfE and Ofsted news.
Head to our 'Ready, set, September’ resource hub of hand-picked resources to shorten your team’s to-do lists and tackle your new-term tasks with confidence.
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