MD1538 London Schools Excellence Fund Legacy Fund

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD1538
Date signed: 
10 September 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

The London Schools Excellence Legacy Fund will sustain and embed the good practice from the Mayor’s £24m London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF).  It will support a number of subject specific teaching and learning hubs across London and resource a teacher innovation fund that will give teachers the opportunity to implement new and innovative practice in the classroom.

The LSEF Legacy Fund will include two funded elements:

  • Subject Knowledge Hubs (£560,000) – This bridging funding will enable co-ordination of the subject specific hubs and networks that are central to many current LSEF projects.  These subject knowledge hubs provide the opportunity for teachers from a range of schools to work together alongside subject and business experts to support excellent teaching in London schools through a strong focus on improving teachers subject knowledge. 
  • Teacher Innovation Fund (£100,000) – The teacher innovation fund will offer small grants to teachers to develop and implement creative and innovative teaching strategies.

The LSEF Legacy Fund will also include a cross-cutting focus on knowledge dissemination to support and embed learning and use of evidence in education across London and further afield.  

Decision

That the Mayor approves:

1.    Expenditure of up to £660,000 to deliver the London Schools Excellence Fund Legacy Fund including: Up to £560,000 for the co-ordination of up to 20 Subject Knowledge Hubs;

2.    Up to £100,000 for a Teacher Innovation Fund.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF) Legacy Fund was approved by the Investment and Performance Board meeting on 17 June 2015. The overall cost of the programme is £660,000 plus match funding (which can include in kind funding and underspend identified from the current London Schools Excellence Fund programme).

1.2    The London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF) is part of the Mayor's Education Programme which follows on from the Mayor’s Education Inquiry held between 2011 and 2012. The Fund is a key mechanism to deliver excellent teaching in all London schools and works alongside other initiatives including the London Schools Gold Club scheme and the London Curriculum.  The Department for Education has contributed £20 million under the Department’s education standards programme, with a further £4.25 million from the GLA.

1.3    The LSEF is based on the hypothesis that investing in teaching, subject knowledge and subject-specific teaching methods/ pedagogy, will lead to improved teaching, which should in turn improve outcomes for pupils in terms of attainment, subject participation and aspiration.  

1.4    Over 100 projects have been awarded funding through the LSEF. Thirteen thousand teachers from schools in every London borough are taking part, benefiting up to 500,000 pupils.  The first projects began in summer 2013 and all projects are due to end by September 2015.

1.5    Funding for the LSEF and associated activity is due to end in 2015.  Whilst the funding for projects has always been time limited the GLA needs to ensure that the learning and knowledge from the investment is shared and sustained across London and beyond.  

1.6    The LSEF legacy fund will help to support the legacy of the London Schools Excellence Fund by supporting two key elements that have identified as being central to project success 1) continuing support for subject knowledge hubs and 2) giving teachers opportunities to develop innovative teaching strategies.

1.7    The aim of the LSEF legacy fund is to continue to support teacher’s subject
knowledge development and to sustain and embed the good practice and networks from the Mayor’s £24m London Schools Excellence Fund.

1.8    The main focus of the LSEF Legacy Fund is on improving pupil academic attainment and progress by supporting teacher’s subject knowledge, professional development and teaching excellence in London.

1.9    The LSEF Legacy Fund will include two funded elements:
•    Subject Knowledge Hubs (£560,000) – This bridging funding will enable co-ordination of the subject specific hubs and networks that are central to many current LSEF projects.  These subject knowledge hubs provide the opportunity for teachers from a range of schools to work together alongside subject and business experts to support excellent teaching in London schools through a strong focus on improving teachers subject knowledge.  
•    Teacher Innovation Fund (£100,000) – The teacher innovation fund will offer small grants (from £3,000 - £10,000) to teachers to develop and implement creative and innovative teaching strategies in the classroom. 

The LSEF Legacy Fund will also include a cross-cutting focus on knowledge dissemination to support and embed learning and use of evidence in education across London and further afield. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The main objectives, expected outcomes and an indication of outputs are set out below: 

1)    To support up to 20 subject knowledge hubs that support quality continuous professional development and networking opportunities for schools and teachers across London.

Outcomes: 
•    Teachers improved subject knowledge and confidence
•    Improved pupil attainment and progress
•    Supporting self-sustaining school-to-school and peer-led activities focused on subject knowledge and use of evidence.
•    Improving joint working between schools, universities, subject associations, business & industry experts.

Key Outputs*:

•    150 schools actively participating
•    1,500 teachers participating 
•    10,000 pupils benefitting

2)     To establish a ‘Teachers Innovation Fund’ that offers small grants to teachers to give them an opportunity to develop innovative teaching strategies.

Outcomes:
•    Improving teachers subject knowledge and pedagogy
•    Improved pupil attainment and progress
•    More resources and tools available for teachers to use to support direct delivery in classroom.

Key Outputs*:
•    At least 20 teachers improving their subject knowledge [based on approximately 20 grants of £5,000]
•    At least 400 pupils improving their attainment [pupil targets have been based on 20 pupils benefiting from each grant. These are pupils who will be directly involved in the pilot that the teacher is developing, however once the proof of concept is made we expect more pupils to benefit from scaled up activity.]

*Applicants will be asked to confirm the number of outputs they expect to achieve in their applications.  As the GLA funding will primarily be used for the administration and capacity building of the hubs it is anticipated that the match funding that projects bring will fund other activity, the outputs will therefore depend on the level of match funding projects can bring.   

2.2    We will ask all successful projects to complete a robust self-evaluation to report on their outcomes (on teachers, pupils and the wider school system) and highlight key lessons learnt from the delivery of the projects which the GLA will collate and produce an overarching evaluation.

Equality comments

3.1    The LSEF Legacy Fund will be accessible to schools working with all cohorts of pupils.  To ensure that the needs of more vulnerable groups are met we are also proposing to fund two Hubs that will work with a specific pupil cohort (rather than a subject), for example children in care, those with special educational needs, and pupils with English as an Additional Language.  Hubs will be required to produce self-evaluations of their projects that detail current performance of different cohorts of pupils and the subsequent impact of their intervention. The application process for the Teacher Innovation Fund will include a requirement to detail the proposed impact on the pupil cohort, and any specific subset within this.

Other considerations

a] Key Risks and Issues

 

Risk description

Mitigation / Risk response

Current probability (1-4)

Current impact (1-4)

RAG rating

GLA risk owner

1

Poor quality bids.

 

We know that a number of LSEF projects would be interested in applying for funding to sustain their current activity.

1

2

G

E&Y

2

Bids with poor sustainability plans.

 

 

This would be a key part of the application form and assessment criteria of the bids.

2

3

A

E&Y

3

Bids unable to bring match funding for Subject Knowledge Hubs (both cash and in-kind).

Match funding is a mandatory requirement as this funding is essentially ‘transition’ funding to support hubs to embed and mainstream activity.

2

2

G

E&Y

4

Projects fail to achieve

target outputs set

 

 

Active monitoring of

project progress and

linking payment to

milestone achievement.

2

3

A

E&Y

 

b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The LSEF Legacy Fund supports the Mayor’s 2020 vision, to make London the best place in the world to work, live, play, study, invest and do business. The Mayor identified the importance of education and skills in realising his aspiration to lengthen London’s lead as the financial, commercial, cultural, artistic, media, educational, scientific and innovation capital of the world. The LSEF Legacy Fund aims to ensure that education and training in London provides young people with the knowledge and skills they need to secure jobs.

Following on from the Mayor’s Independent Education Inquiry in 2010 the Mayor committed to 12 recommendations which focus on promoting teaching excellence, preparing young people for life and work in a global city and ensuring a good school place for every child. 

 

c) Impact assessments and consultations

Impact assessment

The London Schools Excellence Fund is aimed at all schools across London. Over 1,200 schools have been involved in funded projects and the learning and good practice has been shared even wider.  The LSEF Legacy Funding will be open to applications from all London schools with an expectation that the learning and knowledge from those successful is shared and disseminated widely.

 

The London average of pupils with SEN is 18.35% (national average is 17.9%), with Inner London showing significantly higher rates than Outer London, 19.7% and 17.5% respectively.  The Annual London Education Report 2014 stated that at a national and London level children eligible for pupil premium, who have a special educational need, or of some ethnic backgrounds continue to underperform. While London schools do better than others nationally, there are still big gaps in attainment. In 2013 in London, only 15 per cent of disadvantaged children achieved level 5 or above at key stage 2, compared with 28 per cent of others. This 13 percentage point gap has remained consistent over the last three years, whilst overall attainment at the top levels has gone up.

Emerging findings from the current LSEF programme have found that improvements in teachers’ subject knowledge has impacted on all pupils that they are teaching, including those from different ethnic groups and those with special educational needs.

Consultations

Current LSEF projects have fedback that two key elements central to project success are:

1) the development of subject knowledge hubs and networks in enabling (sometimes isolated) teachers to share good practice across schools, deliver subject specific professional development and create and share teaching and curriculum resources alongside subject and business experts.

2) providing schools and teachers with the precious time and space to develop new ideas, innovation and knowledge to give teachers the tools they require to stretch and challenge all of their pupils. 

Interim self-evaluation reports from the projects have highlighted the positive impact these elements have had on developing teachers’ subject knowledge, confidence and on pupils’ academic attainment, progress and passion for subjects.

In January 2015 the GLA hosted a ‘Power of Hubs’ conference,  This event brought together London Teaching Schools along with other schools and LSEF projects using a hub model. The conference focused on exploring the characteristics of effective hub working and their role in sharing evidenced CPD.  Feedback from the event was that hubs are an effective way of disseminating good practice and evidence based practice across a large number of schools.  It was agreed that one of the key success factor was the effective administration of these hubs to enable them to deliver effectively.  Often it was felt that they were under-resourced and whilst schools had the expertise and knowledge required they did not have the capacity to run them effectively.  It was also highlighted that innovation needs to be adequately resourced, teachers need to be given the time away from the classroom to develop new strategies and interventions.

Financial comments

4.1    The proposed LSEF Legacy Fund will include expenditure of up to £560,000 for the co-ordination of up to 20 Subject Knowledge Hubs and up to £100,000 for a Teacher Innovation Fund as detailed within the main body of this report.

4.2    As part of the GLA’s 2015-16 budget process a budget provision of £660,000 has been allocated for the LSEF Legacy Fund, spanning two financial-years as follows:

    2015-16 - £380,000
    2016-17 – £280,000

4.3    It should be noted, however, the phasing of expenditure for the £660,000 budget provision has been initially split 50:50 over the two financial years by Project Officers. Consequently any re-phasing of the budget that becomes apparent, following the commissioning and / or procurement of associated grants / contracts will be addressed as part of the 2016-17 budget process.

4.4    It should be noted that match funding (including in-kind contributions) from applicants will be mandatory for the Subject Knowledge Hubs and preferable for the Teacher Innovation Fund. In addition to the applicant match funding, the GLA will also seek to secure match funding wherever possible to supplement the programme such as funding from the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (which will be subject to a GLA bid) and from any under-spends on the current LSEF programme approved by MD1132, which will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.

4.5    It should be noted that the 2016-17 budget will be the last to be set by the current Mayor and consequently all contracts and funding agreements entered into that span into 2016-17 will contain an appropriate break clause as well as the flexibility to increase or decrease budget provision as required. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

4.6    The Education & Youth Team within the Communities & Intelligence Directorate will be responsible for managing this programme of work and for ensuring all project activity and associated expenditure adheres to the Authority’s Financial Regulations and Contracts & Funding Code.

Investment and Performance Board

The project was approved in principle at the 17 June 2015 Investment and Performance Board.  

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1       The delivery activity will be led and managed by the GLA Education and Youth team and will be subject to the standard GLA procurement, approval and safeguarding processes.

7.2       Both the subject knowledge hubs and teacher innovation fund will be grant funded and payments will be linked to milestones and outputs agreed in the bidders delivery plan (which will be submitted as part of their application).

7.3       The Subject Knowledge Hubs will be managed by the GLA and it is anticipated that the Teacher Innovation Fund will be managed through a managing agent who has infrastructure and capacity in place to manage this type of small grants programme on behalf of the GLA.  

7.4        There will be an open and transparent grant application process advertised to our current LSEF stakeholders and schools and through wider school networks.  All opportunities would also be advertised on the GLA website. 

7.5       As well as having their own individual assessment criteria, applicants to both the subject knowledge hubs and the teacher innovation fund would need to demonstrate the following:

  • How the proposed activity supports the original aims and objectives of the fund, specifically:

-Cultivating teaching excellence – focusing on core academic disciplines using evidence based approaches;

-A clear focus on subject knowledge continuous professional development and learning;

-Supporting self-sustaining school-to-school and peer-led activities with joint development of practice;

-Evaluating ‘what worked’ (and what didn’t work);

-Ensuring that London is acknowledged as a centre of teaching excellence.

 

  • How the proposed activity focuses on the LSEF priority subject areas:

-English and literacy: To increase attainment at Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 in primary and secondary schools;

-Mathematics and numeracy: To increase attainment at Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 in primary and secondary schools;

-Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths: To improve results and numbers of pupils taking separate GCSE and A-Level sciences; biology, chemistry, physics plus other STEM subjects including computer science; and

-Modern foreign and ancient languages: To improve results and numbers of pupils taking GCSE and A-Level modern foreign and ancient languages.

 

  • How they will build on existing partnerships to create new partnerships for schools, specifically with subject associations, HEI’s, researchers and business & international partnerships.
  • Demonstrate a need and demand for the proposed activities from schools and ensure schools are central to the dissemination (including the role of Teaching Schools).
  • Clearly set out the anticipated outcomes for teachers, pupils, schools and the wider education system (and how these will be measured) in a robust evaluation plan.
  • Set out how the proposed activity represents value for money.

 

7.6       The proposed timetable for the programme is set out in the table below:

 

Milestones, deliverables and promotional activity

GLA lead

Planned date

1

Specification development  - Teacher Innovation Fund

E&Y Team

July 2015

2

Invitation to Tender -  Teacher Innovation Fund Managing Agent

E&Y Team

Jul – Sep 2015

3

Grant Application process -  Subject Knowledge Hubs

E&Y Team

July  - November 2015

4

Announcement - Subject Knowledge Hubs

E&Y Team

July 2015

5

Deadline for applications -Subject Knowledge Hubs

E&Y Team

30 September 2015

6

Assessment of applications - Subject Knowledge Hubs

 

E&Y Team

October 2015

7

Award grants - Subject Knowledge Hubs

 

E&Y Team

November 2015

8

Delivery Start Date - Subject Knowledge Hubs

E&Y Team

November 2015

9

First grants awarded – Teacher Innovation Fund

E&Y Team

November 2015

10

Projects - Interim self-evaluation

E&Y Team

September 2016

11

Projects - Final self-evaluation

 

E&Y Team

 

March 2017

12

Delivery End Date

E&Y Team

March 2017