ISC Daily News Summary

ISC Daily News Summary 29 November 2023

Partnerships: 'You don’t need to start with a bang... start small and grow'


In an article for Tes marking the Independent Schools Council's (ISC) Partnerships Week, Gordon Montgomery, deputy head of partnerships and outreach at Oundle School, offers advice on establishing successful cross-sector school partnerships. Mr Montgomery urges colleagues to embed partnerships in their school's ethos and highlights Oundle's summer science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) festival as one such example. He explains: "It began as a residential for 40 children from Kettering and Northampton, and has grown each year. Now over 3,500 children across 22 schools in the area are involved in events linked to the festival." He adds that, looking to the future, the aim is to "help spread access as far as possible".

Spotlight On: Hampton School’s ISSP Music Day

ISC blog

In the second blog to mark this year's Partnerships Week, Elizabeth Esser, head of academic music at Hampton School, reflects on the success of this year’s ISSP Music Day, an event that brings together more than 170 pupils from state and independent schools for a day of singing and music-making.

DfE announces £400m childcare investment in England

Primary education and early years

The government has announced a £400 million package for the childcare sector as part of its plan to expand free support for working parents in England from April 2024. Childcare providers responded saying it is a "welcome increase" but warned that demand for places could soon outstrip capacity. By Nathan Standley, BBC News.

The Guardian takes a closer look at how minister for children, families and wellbeing David Johnston intends to deliver the proposals, including his commitment to prioritising disadvantaged children. By Alexandra Topping.

The Independent includes details of how eligible working parents of two-year-olds can apply for the 15 hours of free childcare coming into effect next year. Applications open on 2 January.

Government plans could require striking unions to keep schools open

Strike action

Under new government plans, teaching unions will have to make sure schools in England remain open on strike days. A consultation launched yesterday by the Department for Education (DfE) will consider how best to implement minimum service level requirements in schools and, if agreed, the proposals would come into effect from next September. By Nathan Standley, BBC News.

Tes outlines the DfE's plans in more detail and what they could mean for teachers and school leaders. By Matilda Martin.

Baroness Fox criticises conversion therapy ban

Gender identity

Baroness Fox has raised concerns about the "potential chilling impact" of a ban on clinical therapies and religious pastoral guidance. Prime minister Rishi Sunak dropped plans to prohibit clinical therapy after concerns it would lead to unintended consequences, such as counsellors and other experts being prevented from giving help to confused children. By Sam Lister, Daily Express.

Teach children about AI from 11, experts say

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Pupils need to be taught how to use artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT from the age of 11, experts from the British Computer Society (BCS) have said. Members of the professional body are calling for a new alternative digital literacy qualification to be offered alongside computer science GCSE, with an emphasis on AI and other modern digital skills. By Cerys Turner, Tes. 

Nearly a million children in the UK do not own a book, study reveals

Teaching and learning

A study by the National Literacy Trust has found that almost a million children in the UK do not have a single book of their own at home. It also revealed that twice as many children aged eight to 18 who received free school meals did not report owning a book (12.4 per cent) compared with those who did not receive free school meals (5.8 per cent). By Ella Creamer, The Guardian. 

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