National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

February 2013

National Middle Schools Forum


1) Lower Key Stage 2/ Upper Key Stage 2


The proposals published recently for the revised National Curriculum may offer the prospect of clearer accountability between First schools and Middle (deemed secondary) Schools.


The draft programmes of study are available here:


The draft programmes of study for English Maths and Science each show Key Stage 2 content divided into a Lower Key Stage 2 and an Upper Key Stage 2 section. While the assessment arrangements remain to be announced, this does look like a helpful development for three tier systems.



2) New school funding formula – review of 2013/14 arrangements


In November Nigel Wyatt presented the DfE with a paper showing evidence of the effect of the new simplified funding formula on middle schools across the country.


The paper shows that there will be a net loss of funding to the middle school sector as a result of the changes. Some schools stand to lose considerable sums, while only a few look as though they will gain through the change. While it is true that many smaller middle schools stand to lose under the new formula, there are also schools with over 500 pupils that will lose over £100,000.


I met officials at the DfE to discuss these findings on 7th February. We have planned further steps – please see below.


DfE have just published a consultation document before deciding on the arrangements for 2014/15 – available here:–14-school-funding-arrangements


When I met officials at the DfE it seemed that they may be willing to consider two helpful changes for 2014/15 (see pages 9 and 10 of consultation paper):


a) A separate lump sum for primary and secondary schools (middle deemed secondary to receive the secondary lump sum)


b) A new sparsity factor to support small schools serving large, sparsely populated, rural areas.


The document commits them to find ways to support small schools that are necessary to serve sparsely populated areas:


“33. It is not our intention that any necessary small school should be forced to close as a result of these reforms....”


Next steps in presenting the middle school case:


1) There will be an opportunity to discuss the suggested changes and how they might affect middle schools at each of the Day Conferences at the beginning of March – see below – book your place if you have not done so!


2) Officials from the DfE will join the Steering Committee at our next meeting on Wednesday 13th March for a discussion with middle school representatives. (Please make sure your area will be represented)


3) Officials from the DfE are visiting four middle school authorities to gain evidence first hand.


4) Following these meetings I suggest that Steering Committee formulates advice on responding to the consultation for circulation to all members.


5) The closing date for responding to the consultation is 26 March 2013. We hope that all middle schools will want to respond.



3) Day Conferences 2013 – book your places


Looking at the quality of teaching through an inspector’s eyes


Time to book your places at our forthcoming day conferences if you have not already done so:


a) Gill Jones, HMI, has arranged a morning session which will help senior staff as they look at the quality of teaching in their schools. Through use of video and discussion the sessions will consider what an inspector looks for when they are judging the quality of teaching.


b) In the afternoon session David Harbourne, Director of Policy and Research, Edge Foundation, will discuss the new vision for our education system set out in Lord Baker’s new book:


“I propose that we provide education in three phases: 5–9 (primary), 9–14 (middle) and 14–18 (secondary).....


However, most children go through puberty between the ages of 9 and 14. It is a period of rapid development and for many, acute self-consciousness. They see themselves, quite naturally, as different from younger children. At the same time, they may benefit from being kept at arm’s length from the sometimes dubious influence of older teenagers. This is an important argument for seeing 9–14 as a separate phase of education.

There is already a model for this: the middle school.


(14-18 - A New Vision for Secondary Education. Page 17)



This will be an opportunity to explore the international middle school developments David has written about in the book, and ways in which we might work together with Edge to build on the ideas Lord Baker proposes.


c) There will also an opportunity to discuss developments in the new simplified funding formula in relation to three tier systems.



 - Friday 1 March 2013 – Broadway House, London


 - Tuesday 5th March 2013 - Holiday Inn, Bromsgrove





10.00  Registration and coffee


10.30 – Presentation  - Looking at the quality of teaching through an inspector’s eyes


12.45  Lunch


1.30  - A New Vision for Secondary Education


         David Harbourne, Director of Policy and Research, Edge Foundation


3.15  Depart



To book places please complete the attached booking form and return it to me (by email or post).



Nigel Wyatt

Executive Officer