Knowledge and research base

Academy Trust Handbook

The Academy Trust Handbook comes into effect on 1 September 2021. It was previously known as the Academies Financial Handbook. 

ACAS: what do they do?

You might have heard of ACAS before, but might be unsure of how they might be relevant in your role as a teacher at school. ACAS stands for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

Behaviour hubs

The Department for Education (DfE) explains that behaviour hubs will enable schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) with exemplary behaviour cultures and practices to work with partner schools that want and need to improve behaviour in their school.

Blended learning: what is it?

Blended learning might be a term you have heard of but might only have a basic understanding of what it is and how to implement it.

BTECs: what is happening to them?

BTEC qualifications are currently available to pupils across a range of subjects. BTEC stands for the (Business and Technology Education Council). 

Cognitive load theory: what is it?

Cognitive load theory is a term which is increasingly being used in schools and teachers throughout the country. Cognitive load theory was developed in the late 1980s out of a study of problem solving by John Sweller.

Copyright in schools

The topic of copyright in schools can be a confusing one for school staff. Whether it is photocopying printed materials and texts or using songs or video clips in a school production.

Curriculum for Wales: an overview

The Curriculum for Wales is being rolled out. The new curriculum will be taught to those up to year 6 from September 2022. Year 7 and 8 will all be taught with it from 2023 and it will then roll out year by year until it includes Year 11 by 2026. 

Different types of schools in the UK

We outline the different types of schools where you can teach in England and Wales. There are many differences between these types of schools but we look at the main points surrounding employment, pay and working conditions for teaching staff.

Disqualification by association

Disqualification by association no longer applies to teachers in schools. Under the Childcare Act 2006 teachers working with children under the age of eight could be disqualified from teaching because of offences committed by people who live in the same household as them.

Early Career Framework

You might have heard of the Early Career Framework but might be unsure about what it is or when it is rolling out. The Early Career Framework aims to improve the level of support for teachers.

Education Secretary: what are they responsible for?

The Education Secretary (or more formally known as the Secretary of State for Education) is responsible for the work of the Department for Education (DfE). UK Parliament explains, the title ‘Secretary of State’ is typically held by Cabinet Ministers in charge of government departments. 

Estyn: what do they do?

Estyn inspect education and training in Wales. The word Estyn means 'to reach out' and 'to stretch' in Welsh. 

Flexi-schooling: what is it?

Flexi-schooling is a term used for an arrangement whereby a child is partly educated at school and partly home educated. In this article, we explain what flexi-schooling is, aspects to consider and look at different approaches from schools on flexi-schooling.

Get Into Teaching: deciphering the different routes into teaching

You might be interested in embarking in a career in teaching but are unsure of which route to choose. From PGCE courses, Schools Direct, Now Teach, Researchers in Schools to TeachFirst the teaching training landscape can be a complicated one to navigate with different pathways and terminology you might not be aware of. 

Headteachers’ Standards

The new Headteachers’ Standards have been published by the Department for Education (DfE). The DfE explains that headteachers are leading professionals and role models for the communities they serve.

How do I make a subject access request at my school?

You might have heard of a subject access request but might be unsure of what it actually is. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) explains you have the right to ask an organisation, such as a school, whether or not they are using or storing your personal information.

How to make a freedom of information request

In this article we provide a summary of how to make a freedom of information (FOI) request. GOV.UK explains you have the right to ask to see recorded information held by public authorities.

Latin in schools

The teaching of latin in schools is varied across the country. According to a British Council survey, Latin is taught at Key Stage 3 in 2.7% of state schools compared to 49% of independent schools.

National Leaders of Governance: what do they do?

You might have heard of National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) but might be unfamiliar with what they do. NLGs are expert trustees, governors and governance professionals who deliver governance support to help secure effective governance in schools and trusts.

NPQs: what are they?

NPQs are qualifications which teachers and school leaders can choose to complete during their careers. They are a suite of qualifications which are accredited by the DfE and are delivered by a range of different providers who you can apply to.

Ofqual: what do they do?

Ofqual what do they do? Ofqual regulates GCSEs, A levels, AS levels, vocational and technical qualifications.

Protected conversation

You may be invited to have a protected conversation with your headteacher if you have an on-going dispute with your school and are thinking about leaving. It is also possible to have a protected conversation even where there is no dispute. Essentially, it is an ‘off-the-record’ discussion about terminating your employment contract on agreed terms.

Pupil premium what is it?

Pupil premium funding was introduced in 2011 to give schools extra funding to help improve outcomes for disadvantaged children. It is up to school leaders to decide how best to spend the pupil premium. 

Raising a concern to your line manager effectively

Working in a school requires lots of personal interactions and sometimes heated conversations with your colleagues. Navigating different personalities and egos can be difficult, especially under the pressures of high workload and accountability. However, in some cases having an early informal conversation with your line manager or headteacher can help de-escalate tensions and can help solve issues quickly.

Reception baseline assessment

The reception baseline assessment is being introduced to schools in autumn 2021. It is a short activity-based assessment of pupils’ early mathematics, literacy, communication and language skills.

School staff handbook

Your school staff handbook can be very useful to look over when you encounter employment issues in your role. It will include lots of useful information on working at your school and the various rules which should be followed.

School Workforce Data: what can I learn?

School Workforce Census data can be really useful if you are interested in education statistics. It includes information about teachers’ salaries, qualifications, sickness absence levels, number of teaching vacancies and more.

Staff surveys in schools

Teaching staff surveys are now a regular occurrence in schools and can be an effective way to give feedback to your senior leadership team. 

Summary of Schools White Paper

In this support article, we provide a summary of the School White Paper if you don’t have time to read it in full. The Department for Education (DfE) has published the Schools White Paper, titled, ‘Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child.’ 

T Levels

The DfE explains that T Levels are courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A levels. Students who complete their T Level will receive an overall grade of pass, merit or distinction.

Teacher assessed grades

Teacher assessed grades can be an overwhelming topic to understand. Essentially, the government has said that many exams cannot be held fairly this year as a result of the disruption pupils have faced due to the pandemic. 

Teachers and tattoos

Teachers and tattoos can be a controversial subject. You might be a teacher interested in getting a tattoo but apprehensive about whether your school will allow it or already have one and have been told by your line manager that it needs to be covered up.

Teaching abroad

You may be interested in teaching abroad, it can be an effective way to immerse yourself in a different culture, broaden your teaching practice and to travel the world. As a qualified teacher from the UK you will be bringing many skills and experiences which international schools will value.

Teaching in Wales

You might be interested to find out the main differences in the education system between Wales and England. Did you know there are no academy schools in Wales?

The Teachers’ Standards

You will be well aware of the Teachers’ Standards if you have trained to be a teacher since 2012. They will be referred to during lesson observations, the appraisal process and any disciplinary or capability procedures you may be subjected to.

What can it be like teaching at a private school?

There are around 2,500 independent schools in the UK. You may be interested to move from a state school into a private school because of the perceived benefits. There may be some preconceived ideas about teaching in private schools and you could have heard conflicting stories from colleagues.

What CPD am I required to receive as a teacher?

As a teacher you might wonder if there is a requirement from your school to deliver a high standard of continuing professional development (CPD) and other professional development opportunities throughout the year.

What do I need to know about the Equality Act?

You might not have enough time to read the Equality Act in full but you should be aware that it legally protects you from discrimination in school. This article provides an overview of the main features of The Equality Act and how it affects your employment.

What does the Education Select Committee do?

You might have heard of the Education Select Committee but might be unsure of what they do and what their remit is. The Education Select Committee is currently composed of 11 cross-party MPs.

What is a SENDCo?

You might be interested in applying for the role of a SENCO at your school. SENCO stands for special educational needs (SEN) co-ordinator. The role is most often included in the senior leadership team.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration might be a term you have not heard before. Essentially, in your role as a teacher, it is one of the ways to resolve employment disputes without having to escalate to employment tribunal.

What is mediation?

Sometimes conflicts will arise among school staff where mediation can be a useful way of resolving disputes in school. Workplace mediation is a confidential process, usually carried out by a trained, neutral mediator.

What is Subject Knowledge Enhancement?

You might be a new teacher entering the profession and about to embark on a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. You may need to develop or refresh your subject knowledge for the subject you will teach. This is where completing a subject knowledge enhancement course can be useful.

What is the EBacc?

You might have heard of the EBacc (English Baccalaureate) but are unsure of which subjects are included and how it fits into school performance tables. The EBacc is not a qualification in its own right but rather a combination of GCSE subjects.

Who are Regional School Commissioners?

You might have heard of Regional School Commissioners (RSCs) but might be unsure of what they actually do. RSCs typically are experienced headteachers, chief executives of multi-academy trusts (MATs), or as leaders in education.

Who are school governors and what do they do?

School governors are unpaid volunteers who hold headteachers to account and ensure that schools are meeting their strategic objectives. Governors do not manage the operational day-to-day functions of a school, but are required to oversee its long-term development.