Policy and Practice round-up April 2019

01 April 2019

This month we bring you news of Ofsted subject reviews; Teacher Tapp data on music education; Andreas Schleicher of the OECD’s evidence for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Inquiry, including the importance of teacher CPD and the statement ‘art may become more important than maths’; the launch of the Creative Industries Federation Creative Careers programme; Paul Hamlyn Teacher Development Fund evaluation with CPD lessons for the sector; details of the new National Lottery Heritage Fund grants, and a reminder to celebrate World Creativity & Innovation Week.

Ofsted inspection framework consultation results and subject reviews

Amanda Spielman gave the keynote speech at the ASCL conference on 16 March, and opened by saying she was a great advocate for arts education.

Spielman announced in the speech that from next year Ofsted will be publishing subject reviews, in the same vein as previous reports:

Starting next year, initially in a small range of subjects, we intend to publish a series of subject reviews, based on what we are seeing on inspection under the new framework. This will be complemented by a detailed look at the what the research says in those areas.’

We know colleagues would warmly welcome these in arts subjects to support high quality teaching in schools, and will be asking for arts subjects to be included.

Ofsted also published a blog on the pilot inspections they have been running using the new inspection framework that will come into effect in September 2019. In the blog they confirm that they expect to publish the response to the current Ofsted consultation, together with the final new framework and inspection handbooks, by the end of May, to give schools time to prepare for inspections from September.

This Friday 5 April is the closing date for consultation responses on the new Ofsted Inspection framework. Read our key points and make sure you respond to the consultation.

Who gets a music education? New data from Teacher Tapp

Teacher Tapp asks teachers at 3pm each day to spend a minute answering questions about their work to learn about teachers' daily lives, views and the schools they work in. It is all done via an app. If you work in a school do take a look and consider signing up. Their blogs are fascinating.

On 8 March Teacher Tapp published the results of a survey they ran in partnership with BPI Music about music education in schools. The results are shocking and ‘reveal stark inequalities in the music education that students get across different types of schools.’ BPI Music has published further detail on the survey and some key asks on their website.

The survey found that:

‘In the independent sector, 92 per cent of teachers agree that music teaching is of some or high importance in their school. In state-funded schools serving the most affluent communities in England this figure is 72 per cent. By contrast, only 45 per cent of teachers who work in state schools serving the most disadvantaged communities agree that music is treated as important in their school.’

In the most disadvantaged communities 24% of schools have no musical clubs available to students, compared to 5-7% of independent schools or state-funded schools serving more affluent students. One in four schools serving disadvantaged communities offer no music instrument lessons to students who want them. The teacher tapp survey also found:

One-third of state-funded secondary schools now have no compulsory music lessons in year 9 (in more disadvantaged communities this figure is around 50%). One-in-five primary teachers say that their class has NO regular music lesson at all.’

The survey also found that:

  • At Primary level only 44% of music lessons are delivered by specialists
  • State schools have seen a 21% decrease in music provision over the past 5 years
  • Independent schools have seen a net increase of 7% in music provision over the past 5 years
  • Around 30% of state schools have seen a decrease in curriculum time for music, or a reduction in the number of qualified music teachers.

Read more detail on the Teacher Tapp and BPI Music website.

Fourth Industrial Revolution Education Select Committee Inquiry: ‘art may become more important than maths

On 26 February an evidence session was held by the Education Select Committee on their inquiry into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the extent to which the UK education system is prepared for it. You can read or watch the session. Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the OECD was invited to give evidence. We were very struck by him saying:

In the fourth industrial revolution, art may become more important than maths. We often talk about soft skills as being social and emotional skills, and hard skills as being science and maths, but it might be the opposite. The science and maths might become a lot softer in the future, where the relevance of knowledge evaporates very quickly, whereas the hard skills might be your curiosity, leadership, persistence and resilience.’

Strengths and weaknesses of UK education

He talked about the strengths of British students, saying we were better at tasks that ‘are more associated with the past than the future. The kinds of things that are easy to teach and easy to test are precisely those things that are easy to digitise.’ In his view, the greatest weakness in UK schools is that we are teaching routine cognitive skills and not focusing on non-routine analytic skills, such as problem solving and making judgements.

Robert Halfon MP, the chair of the Committee, pressed Schleicher on countries that were better preparing for the fourth industrial revolution and what they were doing. Schleicher talked about systems that required students not just to learn information, but to apply information and to develop problem-solving skills.

More time for CPD

He also talked about successful systems giving teachers more time for CPD and to work with individual students, but less class teaching time via larger classes.

‘Teachers spend more time with individual students and more time learning themselves, because the fourth industrial revolution is also about teachers investing in continued learning. In Singapore, you would see 100 hours per year and, in Shanghai, 240 hours. There is significantly greater investment in the professionalisation of their staff. That is clearly a differentiator.’

In the UK the amount of time teachers spend teaching, rather than preparing or training is among the highest in the OECD.

When questioned about our accountability system and exams he advised England to raise the stakes for students: ‘The stakes for students in testing are not that high, but the stakes for schools and teachers are high.’ Saying you want the opposite to be true to incentivise students to work hard and teachers NOT to teach to the test.

Professionalisation key to teacher job satisfaction

He talked about TALIS, the Teaching and Learning International Survey for teachers and school leaders, and the findings on teacher job satisfaction. The survey has found that it is not salary or class size but the degree of professionalism that results in satisfaction. Professionalism is defined as professional knowledge, professional autonomy and a collaborative culture.

The next evidence session is on 2 April.

Creative Careers programme launched

On 13 March in Leeds the Creative Industries Federation launched its Creative Careers programme with support from the Creative Industries Council. The programme is one of the commitments in the Creative Industries Sector Deal, part of the UK Industrial Strategy, and part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

There are more than 2 million (2,008,000) jobs in the creative industries; creative jobs have increased by 28.6% since 2011 and the creative economy accounts for 1 in 11 jobs across the UK, and employs 700,000 more people than the financial services. With the contribution of the creative industries to UK GVA now topping £100 billion a year, and growing at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the UK economy (53.1% vs 28% since 2010) it is vital that young people are aware of the career opportunities, and that the pipeline of talent into this very successful industry is safeguarded.

The careers programme has three key strands of work:

  1. Inspire young people aged 11-16 to discover the possible routes for pursuing careers in the creative industries and wider creative economy
  2. Ensure young people aged 14-24 who are considering their career options have access to the information and advice they need
  3. Equip employers to diversify their workforce and plug skills shortages by developing the most urgently needed apprenticeship standards

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) is keen to get colleagues working in the creative industries involved in the programme and suggests a number of ways in including signing up to Speakers for Schools and becoming an Enterprise Advisor. Read more about getting involved and further information on the Creative Industries Federation website.

Paul Hamlyn Teacher Development Fund evaluation: CPD lessons for the sector

The excellent Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund (TDF) has been supporting teachers and school leaders to build the skills, knowledge and confidence to embed learning through the arts in the primary curriculum since 2016.

More than 400 teachers and school leaders have engaged in enquiry-based continuing professional development and learning (CPDL) facilitated by artist practitioners. This focus on professional development is particularly apposite given Andreas Schleicher’s (OECD) comments above.

On 22 March the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education published evaluation of the first two years of the programme. There are also accompanying case studies that offer helpful findings for teachers, school leaders and organisations interested in arts-based learning.

What you need to embed arts-based learning in schools

The evaluation looked at the role of leadership, and the types of capacity needed in primary schools to successfully embed arts-based learning:

  • Prior knowledge, skills, capacity and roles related to embedding learning through the arts
  • Alignment with a pre-existing, sophisticated professional learning environment
  • Capacity to draw skilfully on specialist support
  • Evidence and reflection: the case study schools all had significant pre-existing reflection and enquiry skills.
  • Alignment between the TDF goals and the school’s existing model of teaching and learning

Arts practitioner role

All the schools in the programme worked with artist practitioners. They found as they moved through the two years of the programme and focused more on curriculum development, they reduced the number of artists they worked with but worked with each practitioner in more depth. The role of the artist practitioner changed from working directly with children and focusing on a single artform, to developing teacher and leadership expertise in using the arts for meet strategic aims.

‘In year two, with support from project leads in understanding school leadership and the curriculum, and recognising the schools’ starting points at a more strategic level, the artist practitioners’ focus moved from the direct implementation on arts-based learning towards collaborating with colleagues to embed teaching and learning through the arts in the curriculum.’

Teachers and artists moved to a model co-delivery and ‘By the end of year two, teachers and artist practitioners reported working in partnership, or sometimes co-delivery, as the main activity.’

You can read the full evaluation and case studies on the Paul Hamlyn Foundation website.

National Lottery Heritage Fund new strategic funding framework

On 30 January the National Lottery Heritage Fund (renamed from Heritage Lottery fund) launched its new Strategic Funding Framework. They have added a new outcome to their funding framework – ‘People will have greater wellbeing’ and there is now a simplified range of grants, which still includes small grants (Grants for Heritage) for community groups, ranging from £3,000 to £10,000. They will offer social investments and loans, run heritage campaigns and have joint funds to deliver strategic initiatives in partnership.

You can read more about the new framework and find out how to apply for funding on the Heritage Fund website.

World Creativity & Innovation Week

‘Creativity and innovation, at both the individual and group levels, have become the true wealth of nations in the 21st century’


April 15-21 is World Creativity & Innovation Week #WCID. People, businesses, organisations, cities and countries are encouraged and reminded that they can use their creativity to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too. The UN points out that ‘Innovation, creativity and mass entrepreneurship can provide new momentum for economic growth and job creation’.