As we hear plans for longer school hours, shorter school holidays and an increase in the school leaving age, and we look forward to hearing plans for extra staffing to deal with it, local parents will be relieved to hear that Lancashire's schools are ahead of the game when it comes to quality, according to new statistics.
Figures just released by Ofsted, the government's schools watchdog, show the inspection results of maintained schools across the country - including percentages of schools in each local authority which are rated as Good or Outstanding. On that score, types of schools in Lancashire - nurseries, and primary, secondary and special schools - are all above the national average. (Read more about it here).
Raising the Participation Age (RPA)
Graham Jones, MP for Haslingdon & Hyndburn is concerned about the quantity however. He told us: '"This September every 16 year old will have to stay on in education and training. It's a significant change with every child 'staying on' including those troubled or vulnerable children who would have previously dropped out at 16 or those that dropped out before reaching the age of 18."
He is deeply worried that young people and education and training establishments are not prepared for the changes and that young people may end up being pushed into course choices that are not in their best interests. He said 'I spoke to some of the schools and they did not recognise the numbers at all that were quoted. I spoke with senior staff at the college and they were concerned that no contact had been made with them - the primary providers of 16-18 education." Read more at:
New funding for pre-school care
New funding of nearly £27m over two years means that up to 20% of all two-year-olds will get around 10 hours per week early education and childcare this September, and that figure will double in September 2014. Lancashire County Council has supported a small but growing number of funded places for two-year-olds since 2009, and positive outcomes have been reported for both parents and children.
Now the government has brought in the scheme nationally, which means local authorities must ensure there are places for disadvantaged two-year-olds. In Lancashire, this could be up to 2,600 children this September, rising to 6,700 a year later. (Read more about this).
Eligible children can get up to 570 free hours of childcare per year, up to a maximum of 15 hours a week, over at least 38 weeks per year. Children from families receiving one of the following would be eligible:
- Income Support
- Income-based Job Seekers' Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- If you have an annual income of less than £16,190 and get Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit.