Observing colleagues teach is the activity heads think will most improve teaching and learning, while teachers feel that discussing work with individual pupils would be most effective. The findings are included in the Department for Education’s Workload Survey 2013, published on Friday (February 28). The study asked what activities would improve the quality of teaching and learning if teachers could spend more time on them. Around 1,000 teachers and school leaders responded with heads listing observing colleagues teaching (36 per cent), observing good practice in other schools (32 per cent), and mentoring or being mentored (33 per cent) as their top three. For teachers and deputy heads, 30 per cent said discussing work with individual pupils, 28 per cent said one-to-one and small group teaching, and 26 per cent said collaborative planning with colleagues.
Supplementary advice for sex and relationships education (SRE) has been published to complement what many see as out-of-date government guidance. Current Department for Education guidance was last updated in 2000 and the new advice has been created by charities the PSHE Association, the Sex Education Forum and Brook to fill the void. It tackles a range of challenging issues including sexual consent, violence in relationships and pornography. It has been welcomed by a range of organisations, including the National Union of Teachers and the National AIDS Trust (NAT). Deborah Jack, chief executive of NAT, said: “Significantly, the guidance includes an explicit statement on the need to make teaching on these issues inclusive of same-sex relationships. An explicit statement on the need to make SRE relevant to young LGBT people of this kind is unprecedented and is an important step in the right direction.” Visit: www.sexeducationforum.org.uk/resources/sre-advice-for-schools.aspx
Families in crisis
Around 500,000 families are at risk of falling into crisis because they do not know where to get support for the problems they face, a national charity has warned. Charity 4Children has released research showing that only a third of parents know where to find help with the most serious problems families face. For example, just 36 per cent know where to go for help with an alcohol or drug addiction, only 35 per cent know where to turn to for help with domestic abuse, and only 35 per cent know where to go for help with a child’s behavioural issues. Furthermore, only 45 per cent know where to turn for help with debt problems. The charity is calling for more effective local interventions, including early help through children and family centres to deal with problems as they arise and family support programmes.