Behind the Education Headlines in July

 We welcome the new education secretary July started with a flurry of activity after previous education secretary Nadhim Zahawi was promoted to Chancellor. Michelle Donelan was the first to be appointed into the vacancy, but resigned after just 36 hours in the job in protest of Boris Johnson's refusal to resign as PM. This makes her the shorte...
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Good ideas jump sectors

"Why do we do things this way or that way?" That is the question often goes through my mind whenever I enter a school or trust. Why is the status quo the status quo? Is it because it's the right thing to do, the best way to do things or the easiest way to do things? Academisation has given schools and trusts more freedom than ever to run as they se...
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Keystone's Expert Tips for Procurement

As school budgets are stretched tighter by inflation and the cost of living crisis, it's increasingly important to take a second look at areas where you can make efficiencies, rather than cuts. Managing the procurement process to ensure that your school or trust gets the best value for money is a way to economise without sacrificing quality. While ...
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What are Keystone Knowledge's values?

At Keystone Knowledge, we talk a lot about values. It's so important to have a good set of values, whether they are your personal values or your schools. They really do form the basis for everything you do, provide a framework for how to tackle problems and build a happy, fulfilling environment for everyone. If you would like some advice on putting...
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Behind the Education Headlines in June

The impact of Ofsted on student's wellbeing The charity States of Mind has produced a short film called Breaking the Silence which offers a fascinating insight into how students view the educational system in the UK. Using the input of 150 students and 80 head teachers, teachers and Ofsted inspectors, the charity found that young people say that th...
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Is being compliant with the ATH enough?

Keeping up to date with legal and regulatory compliance can feel like a full-time job as the changes to the ATH can be never-ending. While it's a relief to be able to say, "we're compliant", is that really enough? Why being compliant matters Compliance takes many forms. It covers aspects from regulations around; providing parents with information o...
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Behind the Education Headlines in May

Cost of Living Crisis The rate of inflation in April was 9%, up from 7% in March. This represents the highest rate of inflation on record. The rising price of oil and consumer goods have contributed to this and there doesn't look to be an end in sight. Schools are always an important hub in the community, but there are needed even more so. We have ...
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Creating a culture – not just a fad

At Keystone, we talk about culture, both internally and externally. Workplace culture is a huge aspect of a positive, efficient school. It's just as important as having good salaries but is much harder to quantify and even harder to change. Having a good workplace culture can increase your staff retention, boost productivity, make recruitment a lot...
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Keystone's digest of the Schools Bill

The DfE released the new Schools Bill which outlines the government's plans to "help spread opportunity, level up the country and boost our economy". This follows on from the school's white paper which laid out the ambition to have all schools in a MAT by 2030. The draft bill compromises of 15 different sections, ranging from academy trust int...
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The importance of good governance

Although the role of governors has changed drastically over the last few decades, they still remain absolutely vital for schools to run effectively. More and more emphasis is being put on the accountability of the governors to run the school correctly. Although not strictly from an academic background, governors set the strategy for the school or M...
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Behind the Education Headlines in April

 DfE to stop reporting Covid absences The government has returned to Pre-Covid updates on the absence. The DfE removed their "questions on pupil absence due to COVID-19" which means that there will no longer be a record of absences caused by Covid. Schools will now include any Covid related absences under the 'illness' code on the register. Ho...
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Keystone's digest of Ofsted's five year strategy

Ofsted have released their 5-year strategy. We've read the report, so you don't have to. The report recognises that Covid has significantly disrupted both children's lives and their education. Covid has also impacted both pupil and staff physical and mental health while increasing safeguarding concerns. Their strategy promises to raise standards in...
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Protecting your IT provision

At the 2022 Bett show, the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi announced that all schools would have access to high-speed internet by 2025. He also promised an additional £150 million to help schools upgrade their Wi-Fi connections in 55 EIA (Education Investment Areas). Similarly, the schools white paper laid out the DfE's plan to create a "strong e...
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Behind the Education Headlines in March

 Schools White Paper The biggest school's headline in March was the release of the schools white paper. The paper was Nadhim Zahawi's first as education secretary. The paper laid out the key ambitions of the government: Every school should be part of a MAT by 2030 Up to 6 million "tutoring courses" by 2024 – with tutoring becoming a permanent ...
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Keystone's guide to naming your MAT

When Keystone was set up, we knew that we would primarily provide support to schools in a range of areas, such as HR, health and safety, auditing, and trust growth support. Over the past 12 months, we've been approached by a few school business professionals who are looking at setting up new MATs. Nominative determinism is the idea that people tend...
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Digest of the schools white paper

The government released their white paper on schools, "Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child". The white paper is Nadhim Zahawi's first as education secretary. We've read the report and here are the key things that you need to know.   Multi Academy Trusts  Perhaps the most controversial aim laid out i...
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How Keystone audits a trust

 What is an HR audit? An HR audit is an objective look at how your school or trust's HR department operates, including the policies and procedures in place. An audit can either be internal (with the trust's own HR team conducting it) or you can instruct an outside company to conduct it for you. Unless the audit has been triggered for a specifi...
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Supporting Teacher Well-Being

Teachers are at the front line of both teaching and pastoral care for students, but what can you do as a school business professional to support them?   Teachers mental wellbeing has been poor According to NASWT's Teacher Wellbeing Survey, 91% of teachers say their job has negatively affected their mental health and 64% say that it has im...
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Behind the Education Headlines in February

TikTok fight leads to surprise Ofsted visit Concerns over the safeguarding at Northampton International Academy have been raised after a TikTok video showed three students punching and hair pulling two other students. The academy has had many ups and downs with their safeguarding in recent months. The school was rated 'good' in their last full Ofst...
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Summary of State of the Nation Report

The Social Mobility Commission has just released their State of the Nation 2021 report which details how social mobility has been impacted by the pandemic. Social mobility is the link between your income and your parents' income. There is a strong relationship between high inequality and low social mobility. If there are high levels of inequality i...
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