I remember sitting at the ASCL conference back in March last year as each potential education secretary pitched their vision for education and outlined the plans they were intending to implement if they were successful in the next general election. Nicky Morgan said there had been enough change within UK education and promised a period of stability. Whether you were voting conservatives or not it was a popular notion to give schools a period of stability where they could embed or more like begin to fully cope with all the changes that have been happening recently.

So I set out this academic year with confidence that there were no more changes however this isn’t necessary the case, when I started making a list of all the new developments and initiatives to be prepared for why did I have one of Bowie’s songs playing in my head?

I have attempted to make a brief overview of everything I can think of (in no particular order), I hope this helps you as a checklist, if I have missed anything please add to it.

  1. Attainment 8 and Progress 8 – The new secondary accountability measures for schools, you will have had your shadow data previously but it will all start to count soon, appearing in RAISEonline from 2016.
  2. New unvalidated results to be published in October – I wonder if they will make the deadline or will it be more like February? Heading out soon are headline figures such as the % achieving Ebacc.
  3. Ofsted – Another new framework and also a new inspection workforce and schedule hoping to deliver a more consistent approach to inspections and school improvement.
  4. ‘Coasting schools should up their game’ – we now have a published criteria of what makes a coasting school and therefore if you fall into this category you will be busy working towards improving.
  5. Free schools on the increase – 500 new Free schools have been given the go ahead which will be a challenge once again for other schools who are competing for ‘bums on seats’ and are struggling to keep their school economically viable.
  6. Significant budget cuts – with the drop in funding and the periods of protection running out put together with a rise in costs for example with pay rises and national insurance contributions. The time of austerity continues and provides fresh challenges for schools.
  7. Curriculum changes – what more you say? The new wave of GCSE’s are on their way, it is the legacy year for English and Maths. The new A levels are on their way too and to add to the ‘head ache’ for schools, students and parents you will also be implementing new assessment procedures without levels. It is difficult for the best of us to keep track, literally every year group will have different implications.
  8. Finally Ebacc for all – it feels like we still have time with this one however it really starts now, it applies to any students starting secondary this year.

Yet again though it will be business as usual, we will do what all good leaders do. We will embrace the change, adapt swiftly showing great agility, shield our own community of students, staff and parents to ensure they can focus on the main thing.

Good luck and have a great year!

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