Schools 2018: the year of the pastoral?
If you're looking to provide schools with resources or support this year, we've been speaking to teacher friends, reading blogs and education publications, and scanning official government docs (yep, even those) to find out what’s going to be at the top of their agendas in 2018.
PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education)
Ofsted estimates that 40 per cent of schools are not delivering PSHE effectively. In March this year, the government announced that it would be consulting on whether or not to make the subject statutory. There is certainly a fast-growing demand for consistent and high-quality PSHE in the school curriculum, with a particular focus on mental health and digital literacy to help keep children safe online. The government is talking about ‘specialist support’ to tackle these areas – meaning that there are new opportunities for so-called ‘specialists’ (not necessarily educationalists) to provide ideas and resources and shape the look of this subject. In other words, it’s time to give your two-penneth on PSHE.
Mental health training
The recently announced new government funding for mental health training in schools suggests a real step-change in the approach to children’s wellbeing. The mental health green paper includes a commitment to £310 million to support mental health in young people, with the funding dedicated to training ‘senior mental health leads’ in schools, to ‘mental health support teams’, CBT in classrooms, and training for teachers.
The ‘Year of Engineering’
The ‘Year of Engineering’ is a government initiative to encourage more young people to pursue careers in the engineering industry. It will begin in January 2018 and aims to offer at least one million engineering experiences, including school trips and the opportunity to meet industry professionals, to young people aged seven to 16. It’s a good time to talk STEM, if that’s your thing.
Sex education, or RSE
Parliament voted in 2017 to make relationships education compulsory for all children from the age of four, and sex education compulsory for all children aged 11 and over. The government has recently launched a ‘call for evidence’ to help update guidance on what should be taught when the subject becomes compulsory in 2019.
Overall, with increasing exam pressure playing its part, it’s looking like pastoral care is at the heart of the matter in 2018. And we're not forgetting all of the actual stuff, i.e. the teaching and learning, the marking, the CPD, the EAL and SEND provision, the GCSE examinations, the Progress 8, the SATs prep, the school libraries, the funding issues – of course, the funding issues. Happy New Year!