• Research Briefing

    Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups

    The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 provided for a new Vetting and Barring Scheme under which individuals who wish to engage in certain types of employment or activity involving contact with children or vulnerable adults will have to apply to be subject to monitoring by a government body: the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

  • Research Briefing

    Academies Bill [HL] Bill 57 of 2010-11

    The Bill allows the governing body of each maintained school in England to apply to the Secretary of State to convert the school to an academy. The Secretary of State will also be empowered to convert schools that are ‘eligible for intervention’. The Bill also makes provision for ‘free schools’ - new schools set up by parents, teachers, charities, universities, business or community or faith groups where there is parental demand. Free schools will have the same legal requirements as academies. During the Bill’s passage through the House of Lords, a number of Government amendments were made, including those on special educational needs provision in academies, consultation during the conversion process and applying Freedom of Information legislation to academies. Many non-Government amendments were proposed, of which two were successful. One of these required the Secretary of State to publish an annual report on academies, which the Government welcomed; the other related to services for children with low incidence special educational needs, which the Government opposed.

  • Research Briefing

    Buses: schools and young people

    This note outlines the responsibilities of the Department for Transport for school buses. It describes the pilot schemes recently carried out on the use of yellow school buses and touches on some of the other areas of concern such as vehicle safety and passenger behaviour.

  • Research Briefing

    Changes to 16-19 education funding

    This note gives an overview of recent changes to the funding of education and training for 16 -19 year olds. It provides general background and also covers the roles of the new funding agencies, the funding formula used to determine allocations and issues emerging from the transfer of planning and funding responsibilities from the Learning and Skills Council to local authorities.

  • Research Briefing

    Trends in GCSE attainment gaps

    National improvements on the headline GCSE attainment measure have quickened in recent years. This has been accompanied by a fall in the performance gaps between different groups of pupils. Some substantial gaps remain, especially by different levels of poverty or deprivation. Others, such as those for most ethnic groups have virtually disappeared. These patterns raise the possibility that this headline indicator is no longer an an adequate measure of performance gaps that still exist and are clear on other measures.

  • Research Briefing

    Children, Schools and Families Bill: Committee Stage ReportBill No 8 of 2009-10

    This is an account of the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Children, Schools and Families Bill. The Bill contained a clause on the charitable status of academies, but the Government decided it could achieve its objectives by non-legislative means, and at the end of the Committee Stage the clause was removed. No other changes were made to the Bill in Committee. There were many amendments proposed by the opposition parties but none was successful.

  • Research Briefing

    School Report Cards

    The Government plans to develop a new approach to school accountability that includes a School Report Card (SRC). The idea is that the SRC will provide a short summary of a school's performance, published at least annually, so that it will be easier for parents to understand the information available. This Standard Note provides background on the SRC proposals, and relates to England only.

  • Research Briefing

    Sources of historical statistics

    Details of online sources of historical statistics across all subject areas other than the economy. These sources are either long-term time series or snapshots of a range of data from a specific point in the past.They allow comparisons between the present day and the start of data collection and any intervening period and give an understanding of patterns -have trends been smooth, random, cyclical etc? Snapshots cover a wider range of data and help us make more general comparisons between 'then' and 'now'. Most of the series go back to around the 1920s or earlier. . This note does not include links to economic data or anything to do with family history.

  • Research Briefing

    Children, Schools and Families Bill. Bill 8 2009-10.

    This Bill provides ‘guarantees’ for pupils and parents in the school system, underpinned by new Home School Agreements, and makes provision for parental satisfaction surveys. It also makes changes to the powers of governing bodies of maintained schools; extends the remit of School Improvement Partners; provides greater powers for local authorities and the Secretary of State in relation to failing schools; paves the way for the introduction of School Report Cards; and makes provision to introduce a licence to practise for teachers. The Bill also seeks to implement the recommendations of several major reports. These changes affect the school curriculum; provide a registration system for home educators; and provide an additional right of appeal for parents of children with special educational needs. The Bill would also make changes to the reporting of information relating to family proceedings. Other provisions relate to Local Safeguarding Children Boards, Youth Offending Teams, the charitable status of academies, and the fees system for the inspection of independent schools.

  • Research Briefing

    Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill: provisions for children, education and learners (Bill 55 of 2008-09)

    This paper is one of two which examine the main proposals of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill 2008-09. It deals with the provisions relating to the dissolution of the Learning and Skills Council, the transfer to local authorities of responsibility for funding 16 to 18 education and training; the education of offenders; the creation of the Young Person’s Learning Agency and the Skills Funding Agency; and the legal identity of sixth-form colleges. The paper also covers the new regulatory body for qualifications (Ofqual); and a new agency to carry out the non-regulatory functions currently performed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. The Bill seeks to strengthen the accountability of children’s services; amend intervention powers in respect of schools which are causing concern; provide for a new parental complaints service; change the school inspection arrangements; create a new negotiating body for school support staff pay and conditions; and address issues related to pupil and student behaviour. See also Research Paper 09/14.

  • Research Briefing

    Schools causing concern

    This note refers to recent school improvement strategies, existing powers of local authorities to intervene where schools become a cause for concern, and outlines proposed changes.