Part of The Bath and Mendip Partnership Trust, The Mendip School is an all-through special school catering for pupils aged 4-19 with a primary diagnosis of autism (ASD) and speech language and communication needs. The school works with a range of external professionals to identify the needs of each child, and adapts support accordingly. In 2018, Ofsted reported that the school’s ‘rich curriculum provides a relevant, interesting learning diet that weaves in therapy and real-life experiences’.
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This week, London Academy of Excellence (LAE) Tottenham was named the Sunday Times’ Sixth Form College of the Year. In 2020 alone, over two-thirds of pupils graduated to Russell Group universities. A remarkable accomplishment from everyone involved in the school.
"The announcement on plans for exams in 2021 is hugely welcome news. Since March, teachers have done their level-best under exceptionally testing conditions and this clarity will bring some relief.
"As we saw in August, exams are the only reasonable way to ensure equity and fairness. It is right that centre-assessed grades will not be used next year.
"While there is no perfect way to level the playing field, these plans will go some way in protecting opportunity for children that have missed significant learning time this year."
King’s Leadership Academy Warrington is a secondary free school established by the Great Schools Trust. The school seeks to instil leadership characteristics in pupils, through its innovative leadership curriculum. In 2019, Ofsted rated the school as Outstanding, reporting that the school’s pupils ‘achieved beyond academic measures’.
It is very disappointing that the Chancellor has overlooked a new free school wave in the Spending Review.
At the election less than a year ago, the Government made a promise to ‘level up’ opportunity across the country and address the inequalities in access to, and quality of, critical infrastructure in many communities – particularly across the north and midlands. Many of these areas have some of the highest deprivation levels and lowest educational outcomes, with the average Progress 8 score across northern regions -0.21 compared with +0.22 in London.
Throughout the pandemic, teachers have gone above and beyond to keep schools open and pupils learning. But this year has also exposed further the challenges in our education system that are letting parents and their children down.
This Spending Review is an opportunity to deliver on the manifesto pledges made at the last election – to generate real and lasting change for communities across England, by improving standards of education so that this generation is not blighted by the impact of the pandemic for their whole lives.
"It is fantastic news that another specialist maths free school will be opening, the first to do so in Yorkshire. The University of Leeds will join the likes of Kings College London, the University of Exeter and more recently the University of Liverpool to provide their world-class expertise to sixth-form students.
How they will use the funding
The free schools we spoke to have come up with a variety of uses for the funding: one school is using it to fund two part-time teachers, one with a maths and the other with an English focus, while others intend to use the funding to provide targeted small group tuition over the coming months. School leaders reported to us that the funding they received was often based on census data from last year, meaning it was less than they need.
Schools had catch-up programmes already in place