September 24, 2021

Iscuk

International Student Club UK

DfE Outcome Delivery Plan: 2021 to 2022

Foreword

Education will be the driving force to help unleash Britain’s potential and build back better after coronavirus (COVID-19).

This plan sets out what we will do to drive economic recovery, improve educational standards across our country, give children the best start in life and level up opportunity for all. Over the course of the next financial year, our investment will drive substantial, measurable improvement towards 4 strategic outcomes.

This plan sets out both the next steps in our sustained, long-term programme to meet these aims, our actions to deal with immediate impacts from COVID-19, and the next phase of our recovery plans. We will need to remain flexible and agile in response to developments in the pandemic and the outcome delivery plan may, of course change as a result.

It will, however, remain anchored fundamentally in the department’s core 4 strategic outcomes. This is because, in many cases, what we need to do to respond to the pandemic builds on – and emphasises the importance of – our long-term work. Our plan is centred on a clear, long-term vision, with agility on the detailed response, but commitment to a clear direction.

In addition to these priority outcomes, this plan outlines how we will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the department. It sets out our positive approach to diversity, social mobility and wellbeing, and continues our drive to make sure we are a truly national organisation, with presence and prospects across the country.

Taken together, the plans set out here will not only respond to the challenges of the crisis from which we are emerging, but will seize its opportunities to move us forward – unleashing national potential at the moment when we need it most.

A. Executive summary

Vision and mission

At our heart, we are the department for realising potential. We enable children and learners to thrive, by protecting the vulnerable and ensuring the delivery of excellent standards of education, training and care. This helps realise everyone’s potential – and that powers our economy, strengthens society and increases fairness.

The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England. We work to provide children’s services, education and skills training that ensures opportunity is equal for all, no matter background, family circumstances, or need.

Our priority outcomes

This plan sets out in detail how we will deliver our priority outcomes, monitor and measure our success, and how we will ensure continuous improvement.

  1. Drive economic growth through improving the skills pipeline, levelling up productivity and supporting people to work (cross-cutting outcome). The supporting departments are Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

  2. Level up education standards so that children and young people in every part of the country are prepared with the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need.

  3. Support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people through high-quality local services so that no one is left behind (cross-cutting outcome). The supporting departments are DCMS, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), DWP, Home Office (HO), MHCLG and Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

  4. Provide the best start in life through high-quality early education and childcare to raise standards and help parents to work (cross-cutting outcome). The supporting departments are DWP and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Provisional priority outcomes and associated metrics will be adjusted through the next spending review as necessary, including to deliver the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The department is also supporting the delivery of the following priority outcomes led by other departments.

Priority outcome title Lead department
Reduce crime HO
End rough sleeping through more effective prevention and crisis intervention services, and reduce homelessness by enabling local authorities to fully meet their statutory duties MHCLG
Deliver swift access to justice MoJ
Raise productivity and empower places so that everyone across the country can benefit from levelling up MHCLG
Maximise employment across the country to aid economic recovery following COVID-19 DWP
Address poverty through enabling progression into the workforce and increasing financial resilience DWP

Strategic enablers

To deliver our priority outcomes – and reinforce the ambitions of the Declaration on Government Reform – we will focus on 4 key enablers:

  1. Workforce, skills and location
  2. Innovation, technology and data
  3. Delivery, evaluation and collaboration
  4. Sustainability

B. Introduction

1. Context

Education will be the driving force to help unleash Britain’s potential and rebuild after COVID-19. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we reform and invest in the education system and skills to deal with the impact of the pandemic, meet our commitment for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and embrace the new global opportunities that exiting the European Union brings. To this end, this plan sets out our aim that will drive economic recovery, improve educational standards across our country, give children the best start in life and level up opportunity for all.

The department continues to operate within a complex and dynamic environment, particularly given general levels of uncertainty brought about by the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Our ongoing risk management activity identifies the critical factors or principal risks that pose a threat to the achievement of our priority outcomes over the coming year, refer to section 3 (overview of strategic risk).

Our sectors continue to manage incredibly well in this unprecedented time, but the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly means uncertainty in the delivery of this plan. As the pandemic progresses the capacity of our sectors to engage and deliver will change. Delivery of this plan is dependent on our continued recovery as a country.

2. Governance and delivery agencies

DfE works with 17 agencies and public bodies.

3. Overview of strategic risk

The critical factors or principal risks that pose a threat to the achievement of our priority outcomes over the coming year are identified as:

  • COVID-19, both the ongoing impact and the ability and investment needed for the department to provide an effective overall response
  • the risk in the external cyber threat environment and the ability for the department to protect systems and services effectively
  • the wider local authority environment and the capacity to support and deliver reform
  • the reliance on commercial suppliers and supply chains to deliver effectively

4. Our resources

Our finances:

  1. Departmental expenditure limit (DEL) (excluding depreciation): £77 billion
  2. Resource DEL (excluding depreciation): £71.4 billion
  3. Capital DEL: £5.6 billion
  4. Annually managed expenditure (AME): £19.7 billion

Source: Main Supply Estimates 2021 to 2022

5. Our people

The Department for Education has 7,340 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (31 December 2020).

Source: ONS public sector employment data; release schedule: quarterly

Resource allocation

Area Budget (£) Workforce (FTE)
Schools and early years £61.6 billion 1,830
Higher and further education £33.6 billion 2,870
Other educational delivery £1.1 billion 1,080

In this environment, the importance of our work has never been greater. We need to have the resources to do our work effectively and respond to new priorities as they arise.

DfE sets budgets at the group level, rather than for outcomes. Parts of our expenditure and workforce contribute to multiple outcomes, for example corporate services and operations, and are therefore excluded from this table. These numbers also exclude depreciation. Full-time equivalents (FTE) have been rounded to nearest 10 FTE.

C. Priority outcomes delivery plans

1. Drive economic growth through improving the skills pipeline, levelling up productivity and supporting people to work (cross-cutting outcome)

Lead ministers
Gillian Keegan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Universities

Senior sponsors
Paul Kett, Director General, Higher Education and Further Education, Department for Education (DfE)

Eileen Milner, Chief Executive and Accounting Officer, Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

Our vision: As we deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and embrace the new global opportunities that exiting the European Union brings, improving the skills of people across the country will be critical to our future success.

We want the post-16 skills system to give people the skills they need to get great jobs in the sectors the economy needs. Our reforms will create a coherent system of high-quality and high-value provision across further education (FE) and higher education (HE). We are strengthening higher technical training, giving more people the opportunity to take high-quality level 4 and 5 qualifications that lead to strong career outcomes.

We will support employers to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that we are building a pipeline of skilled employees, access to which will be essential to their growth. To do this, we are putting employers at the heart of post-16 skills, ensuring that education and training lead to great job opportunities and enable people to fill the skills gaps employers have identified. Our support for traineeships and apprenticeships will help businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow – both now and in the long term.

Our higher education reform agenda will ensure a sustainable student finance system, drive up the quality of higher education provision and promote genuine social mobility.

Outcome strategy

To achieve our outcome, we are focusing on the following areas:

  1. Expand and raise the profile of technical and higher technical education to (i) raise its profile as a prestigious alternative to A levels and a 3-year university degree, and (ii) ensure technical education and training meets the needs of employers locally and nationally.

  2. Boost skills of those at risk of unemployment and drive growth in apprenticeships. Boost skills and widen access to training for those at risk of unemployment because of the pandemic. Drive up growth in apprenticeships in all employers, make further improvements in the flexibility of the programme for employers, and raise quality.

  3. Strengthening provision through a clear funding and accountability system. Simplify the funding system and reform the accountability regime for further education to focus on delivering positive outcomes.

  4. Increase the opportunities adults and young people have to access further education and higher education and train and retrain at any stage in their lives by incentivising flexible provision, including supporting catch-up after the pandemic through the 16 to 19 tuition fund.

  5. Ensuring higher education and technical education support the UK’s economic need and improve outcomes for the individual.

Departments supporting the outcome delivery

BEIS: Responsibility for target to spend 2.4% of GDP on research and development by 2027; joint responsibility with DfE for the HMG Green Jobs Taskforce.

DCMS: Joint responsibility with DfE in improving digital skills, including advancing AI, CreaTech and data skills; and responsible for investing in extracurricular activities to improve cyber security skills.

DWP: Responsibility for work preparation activity for DWP claimants, including the sector-based work academy programme.

MHCLG: Joint responsibility with DWP for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Our performance metrics

Total number of starts, and total number, and rate, of achievements on apprenticeships (standards and frameworks)

Academic year Number of starts on apprenticeships (standards and frameworks) Number of achievements on apprenticeships (standards and frameworks) Rate of achievements on apprenticeships (standards and frameworks)
2019 to 2020 322,500 146,900 64.2%
2018 to 2019 393,400 185,100 64.8%
2017 to 2018 375,800 276,200 67.1%

There are no new starts on apprenticeship frameworks from the end of the 2019 to 2020 academic year. Starts on standards are increasing as more standards are approved and frameworks withdrawn. Standards accounted for 75% of all starts in 2019 to 2020 – an increase from 63% in 2018 to 2019. All new starts have been on standards since 1 August 2020.

When looking at achievement rates it is important to consider the impact of structural change in the nature of provision resulting from the transition of frameworks to standards. The full impact of COVID-19 on achievement rates has also not been seen. Caution should be applied in making comparisons between achievement rates on frameworks and standards.

The table presents annual totals for the academic year 2019 to 2020. Apprenticeship starts are also published monthly in the form of year to date (YTD) totals. Where using monthly YTD totals, these can only be compared with the same time the previous year.

Source: Apprenticeships and traineeships, academic year 2019 to 2020; release schedule: starts – monthly (YTD), achievements – annually (January end-year release)

Number of 19+ and 25+ further education and skills learners in the 20% most disadvantaged areas

Academic year Number of 19+ further education and skills learners in the 20% most disadvantaged areas Number of 25+ further education and skills learners in the 20% most disadvantaged areas
2019 to 2020 499,000 381,000
2018 to 2019 635,000 494,000
2017 to 2018 684,000 528,000
2016 to 2017 705,000 537,000
2015 to 2016 727,000 547,000

Source: Further education and skills, academic year 2019 to 2020; release schedule: annually (January end-year release)

Percentage of recent higher education graduates in high-skilled employment

Academic year Percentage of recent higher education graduates in high-skilled employment
2017 to 2018 76%

This a new metric which was published for the first time as part of the Graduate Outcome Survey. A time series trend is not possible as figures published previously as part of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey are not comparable – they measure outcomes at different points in time.

Data is collected approximately 15 months after higher education course completion. The statistics for 2017 to 2018 academic year were published in 2020.

Source: Higher education graduate outcomes statistics: UK, 2017 to 2018 – Outcomes by subject studied, HESA; release schedule: annually

DfE is committed to developing new metrics to enhance how performance against this priority outcome is tracked. Where feasible, these metrics will be included in a future outcome delivery plan. These metrics include:

  • number of level 4 and level 5 starts and achievements
  • proportion of further education providers assessed by DfE as having inadequate financial health in the latest year based on their financial statements

How our work contributes to the delivery of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Priority outcome Link to SDGs
Priority outcome 1 SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Targets 4.3, 4.4, 4.6)

SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth (Target 8.6)

SDG 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries

Projects and programmes

1. Expand and raise the profile of technical and higher technical education

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • the further rollout of T Levels, which will better help prepare students for entry into skilled employment or higher levels of technical education
  • employer-led standards, set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), to underpin the majority of post-16 technical education courses
  • our expanded flagship Institutes of Technology programme to every region of the country by the end of this Parliament, to spearhead the increase in higher-level technical skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • the approval of higher technical qualifications (HTQs) in the digital, health and science and construction routes, working with the IfATE. These qualifications will provide the knowledge, skills and behaviours employers want, with first teaching of qualifications in the digital route in September 2022
  • the Skills Accelerator: Strategic Development Funding in 2021 to 2022 financial year in a number of pilot areas to support reshaping provision to address local priorities that have been agreed with local employers. We will give employers a central role working with colleges and other providers to develop new local skills improvement plans

2. Boost skills of those at risk of unemployment due to the pandemic and drive growth in apprenticeships

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • growth in apprenticeships – a key manifesto commitment – so more employers and individuals can benefit – further improve the quality and impact of traineeships, to better support young people to transition to apprenticeships and other work-based routes
  • individual careers advice for more than 500,000 people whose jobs or learning have been affected by the pandemic (by end of 2021 to 2022 financial year)
  • continued access to the skills toolkit, an online platform that gives access to free high-quality digital, numeracy and employability courses that build skills valued by employers
  • the ongoing DWP-led sector-based work academy programme, delivered between DWP and DfE, which has a target of 80,000 starts in financial year 2021 to 2022

3. Encourage world-class high-quality provision and streamlining funding and accountability

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • a consultation to reform the funding and accountability system, including streamlining funding and introducing new accountability structures
  • investment through the FE Capital Transformation Programme to improve the condition of the FE college estate – a key manifesto commitment – to transform facilities and deliver high-quality provision
  • the launch of a national recruitment campaign to support outstanding further education teaching, improving the provision of high-quality professional development, and facilitating a strong relationship between industry and providers
  • £220 million UK Community Renewal Fund to help local areas prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (MHCLG overall lead joint with DWP) – this fund aims to support communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes to invest in skills, community and supporting people into employment

4. Increase the opportunities adults and young people have to access further education and higher education

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • a Lifetime Skills Guarantee to support people to train, retrain and upskill throughout their lives, which includes a range of policies such as free level 3 qualifications for eligible adults and skills bootcamps
  • taking steps towards a Lifelong Loan Entitlement in 2025, by stimulating the provision of high-quality higher technical education, introducing pilots to incentivise more flexible and modular provision, and consulting on the detail and scope of the entitlement this year. This will provide individuals with an entitlement to the equivalent of 4 years of post-18 education, available for both modules and full years of study at higher technical and degree levels (levels 4 to 6), regardless of whether they are provided in colleges or universities
  • the 16 to 19 tuition fund is funding for schools, colleges and all other 16 to 19 providers to mitigate the disruption to learning arising from COVID-19 – the funding is being provided to support small group tuition for 16 to 19 students in English, maths and other courses where learning has been disrupted

5. Ensure HE and technical education support the UK’s economic need and improve outcomes for the individual

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • the Turing scheme, the UK’s alternative to the EU’s Erasmus+ programme – a global mobility programme for students in HE, FE and schools, with a focus on widening access to opportunities to disadvantaged groups
  • an increase to our world-leading education exports – which generate revenue for education providers and the UK economy, and attract increasing numbers of international students to the UK
  • improvements to support the UK’s future economy, for example, delivering the AI and data science conversion courses, which also include scholarships aimed at underrepresented demographics to promote a diverse workforce (DCMS lead), expanding the Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education initiative (NCSC lead), and delivering CyberFirst – a government cyber security learning programme that supports the development of an advanced digital economy for secondary school children and beyond (NCSC lead)

Outcome evaluation plan

This outcome includes the most significant policy reform in the post-16 skills space for over a decade. The large number of policy programmes and projects within the outcome delivery plan will require a comprehensive research and evaluation strategy to provide timely information and analysis to aid implementation.

The overall purpose of the FE reforms is to raise the supply of skills that are valuable to employers and the economy. The extent that the programme meets this aim will be evaluated using outcome data, for example from the individual learner record (ILR) and the longitudinal education outcomes (LEO) data set. The programme success will be judged based on the trends of students that complete courses on their level and subject. An increase in students completing more valuable courses will be one signal of success. The economic value of courses will be assessed using employment and wage outcomes based on the LEO data set.

The ILR and LEO-based assessments will be supplemented by primary survey data collection of learners. Data from these surveys will supply the students’ perception of the programmes, which will provide an early indication of the success of the reforms, as well as providing richer data for subsequent analysis to explain trends. A learner survey of T Level students is currently being commissioned, with further surveys being developed to focus on other reform areas.

2. Level up education standards so that children and young people in every part of the country are prepared with the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need

Lead ministers
Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards

Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System

Senior sponsor
Andrew McCully, Director General, Early Years and Schools, DfE

Our vision: Our vision is to improve the opportunities available to children and young people across the entire country – particularly in areas outside London and the South East. Raising educational standards, especially in areas of historical underperformance, is the best way to deliver on this agenda and, within this, our most effective lever is improving weak schools.

Furthermore, this outcome also considers how we begin to address the impact of the pandemic on the disruption to pupils’ education. We have identified 5 priorities that will drive our ambition to level up education standards across the country and support children and young people affected by learning loss due to the pandemic.

Our strategic outcome

To achieve this outcome, we are focusing on the following areas:

  1. Support children and young people to catch up on lost learning due to COVID-19 disruption.
  2. Raise the quality of teaching and leadership in all areas of the country.
  3. Support schools to deliver brilliant lessons for every child and provide support on discipline and behaviour.
  4. Raise school standards right across the country and support every school to join a strong family of schools, especially in areas where standards are weak.
  5. Help schools drive the best value from school funding.

There are no other departments supporting this outcome delivery.

Our performance metrics

Percentage of schools, further education and skills providers rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, by region

State-funded schools

Date Percentage of state-funded schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted
August 2020 86%
August 2019 86%
August 2018 86%
August 2017 87%
August 2016 86%
August 2015 82%
August 2014 79%
August 2013 77%
August 2012 69%
August 2011 69%
August 2010 68%

Source: State-funded schools inspections and outcomes as at 31 August 2020; release schedule: official statistics are published 3 times a year; management information is typically published monthly

Non-association independent schools

Date Percentage of independent schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted
August 2020 77%
August 2019 75%
August 2018 69%
August 2017 68%
August 2016 72%

Source: Non-association independent schools inspections and outcomes in England; release schedule: official statistics are published 3 times a year; management information is typically published monthly

Further education and skills providers

Date Percentage of further education and skills providers rated good or outstanding by Ofsted
August 2020 80%
August 2019 81%
August 2018 80%
August 2017 79%
August 2016 81%

Further data will become available once Ofsted inspections recommence (currently paused due to the pandemic). Ofsted will inspect some schools and further education and skills providers in the summer term but will not resume a full programme of graded inspections until September 2021.

Figures from 2015 onwards are not comparable to previous years.

Source: Further education and skills inspections and outcomes, as at 31 August 2020; release schedule: official statistics are published 3 times a year; management information is typically published monthly

Regional breakdowns are available in the source publication.

Postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) applications compared to previous year

Date Postgraduate ITT applications Difference compared to previous year
March 2021 79,790 15,970
March 2020 63,820 250
March 2019 63,570 -1,310
March 2018 64,880 N/A

Comparable data is not available before 2017 to 2018 due to changes to recruitment controls.

Source: UCAS teacher training statistical releases: undergraduate, postgraduate, conservatoires, teacher training, UCAS, release schedule: monthly

Postgraduate ITT starts by secondary and primary subjects compared to the target set using the teacher supply model (TSM)

Academic year ITT new entrants for all subjects (secondary and primary) Percentage of TSM postgraduate target achieved
2020 to 2021 35,467 115%
2019 to 2020 28,917 87%
2018 to 2019 29,215 91%
2017 to 2018 27,146 88%
2016 to 2017 26,749 92%
2015 to 2016 27,761 93%

Postgraduate ITT starts by primary subjects compared to the target set using the TSM

Academic year ITT new entrants for primary subjects Percentage of TSM postgraduate target achieved
2020 to 2021 14,878 130%
2019 to 2020 12,216 94%
2018 to 2019 12,888 103%
2017 to 2018 12,500 103%
2016 to 2017 11,288 98%
2015 to 2016 12,578 112%

Postgraduate ITT starts by secondary subjects compared to the target set using the TSM

Academic year ITT new entrants for secondary subjects Percentage of TSM postgraduate target achieved
2020 to 2021 20,589 106%
2019 to 2020 16,701 83%
2018 to 2019 16,327 83%
2017 to 2018 14,646 78%
2016 to 2017 15,461 87%
2015 to 2016 15,183 82%

Postgraduate ITT new entrants include forecast trainees for 2020 to 2021 data.

Source: Initial teacher training census, academic year 2020 to 2021, release schedule: annually (after October initial teacher training census – published November or December)

The full subject breakdown by new entrants and TSM target is available.

For the following metrics, the most recent data point has not been reported due to the impact of COVID-19 on assessment in 2020. A national time series is available via the source links provided, which include further information regarding the nature of assessments in 2020.

Percentage of young people attaining level 3 by age 19

Care should be taken in drawing conclusions from data about changes in pupil performance, given the way grades were awarded in 2020 and 2021.

Source: Level 2 and 3 attainment by young people aged 19 in 2020; release schedule: annually (after end of academic year)

Disadvantage gap index (key stage 4) – national

Care should be taken in drawing conclusions from the disadvantage gap index about changes in pupil performance, given the way grades were awarded in 2020 and 2021.

Source: Key stage 4 performance, academic year 2019 to 2020; release schedule: annually (after end of academic year)

Percentage of young people achieving GCSEs in English and maths by age 19

Care should be taken in drawing conclusions from data about changes in pupil performance, given the way grades were awarded in 2020 and 2021.

Source: Level 2 and 3 attainment by young people aged 19, academic year 2019 and 2020; release schedule: annually (after end of academic year)

Percentage of pupils entered for the EBacc suite of qualifications (national – all and for disadvantaged pupils)

The timing of exam cancellations and the grade awarding process in 2021 may have a different impact on entries compared with 2020, so recent figures may be incomparable.

Source: Key stage 4 performance, academic year 2019 to 2020; release schedule: annually (after end of academic year)

The following metrics were agreed in the spending review 2020 and will be included in a future outcome delivery plan. However, they will not be reported against in the 2021 to 2022 financial year outcome delivery plan as no new data will be available to report:

  • scores in reading, maths and science in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
  • percentage of disadvantaged 6 year olds passing the phonics screening check
  • percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths by end of primary school
  • disadvantage gap index (key stage 2)

DfE is committed to developing new metrics to enhance how performance against this priority outcome is tracked. Where feasible, these metrics will be included in a future outcome delivery plan. These metrics include:

  • percentage of early career teachers (first- and second-year teachers) taking the early career framework full induction programme
  • number of participants across the reformed national professional qualification programmes

How our work contributes to the delivery of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Priority outcome Link to SDGs
Priority outcome 2 SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Targets 4.2, 4.5, 4.6)

SDG 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries

Projects and programmes

1. Support children and young people to catch up on lost learning due to the COVID-19 disruption

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • increased access to tuition through the National Tutoring programme (NTP), local tutoring provision led by schools and a 16-19 tuition fund, delivering approximately 2 million courses for 5 to 16 year olds and approximately 700,000 courses for 16 to 19 year olds in the 2021 to 2022 academic year
  • infrastructure, connectivity and training in schools and colleges to improve digital capability and cyber security, so they can deliver high-quality remote education, and use technology efficiently and effectively to improve outcomes for all learners
  • a £302 million recovery premium for schools to further support those who need it most, in the 2021 to 2022 academic year
  • further investment in teacher quality to boost delivery of our reforms to teacher training and development
  • the opportunity for students in year 13 to repeat a year (or part of a year) if they have been particularly severely affected by the pandemic

2. Raise the quality of teaching and leadership in all areas of the country

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • continued funds to programmes that enable us to recruit and retain the best teachers and leaders, for example funds for programmes such as Teach First. Reviewing the ITT market to ensure we optimise the efficiency and quality of provision
  • the early career framework – a high-quality, 2-year induction programme that includes funded time off timetable for early career teachers, and training for mentors in the second year. Alongside delivering a new suite of national professional qualifications that will support the career progression landscape for experienced teachers and leaders. Additional investment will accelerate roll out of these reforms supporting teachers to help children catch up on lost learning
  • a new flagship Institute of Teaching – with the first cohort from September 2022 – which supports organisations to implement best practice in the delivery of teacher development. From September 2021, we will also introduce 87 teaching schools hubs, which will provide high-quality professional development with a local focus

3. Support schools to deliver brilliant lessons for every child and provide support on discipline and behaviour

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • research into high-quality digital tools to support excellent teaching
  • sustained curriculum support to teachers through our networks of maths and English hubs, and through a range of CPD to teachers in for example science and computing
  • the Behaviour Hubs programme, which launched in April 2021 – by taking part in this programme, schools across the country will receive expert advice and be able to share best practice
  • ongoing support through the pupil premium (worth £2.5 billion in the 2021 to 2022 financial year) enabling schools to access evidence-informed approaches to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. The £22 million Accelerator Fund will boost the supply of effective programmes in the areas most acutely affected by learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic

4. Raise school standards right across the country and support every school to join a strong family of schools, especially in areas where standards are weakest

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • support to encourage and enable strong trusts to grow and expand into new areas, including through continued provision of Trust Capacity Funding
  • grant funding to schools that voluntarily choose to convert to academy status and join academy trusts, to support the costs of the conversion process
  • our existing legal obligation to issue an academy order for inadequate maintained schools to enable them to become academies as part of strong trusts and moving inadequate academies to new trusts where necessary

5. Help drive the best value from school funding

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 by delivering:

  • continued progress to improve fairness and consistency of schools’ funding with a goal of progressing over time to a ‘hard’ national funding formula, so that a single, national formula will determine every school’s funding
  • the school resource management programme to support schools to maximise the value of every pound
  • an ambitious package of capital investment – this is aimed at creating school places where they are needed most, and by ensuring that schools are safe, well maintained and fit for a world-class education – we are committed to rebuilding 500 schools in England over the next decade, giving long-term stability and certainty both to schools and the construction sector

Outcome evaluation plan

We will undertake an evaluation for each of the programmes supporting this priority outcome. In deciding the right approach, we have considered the size and design of the programme to ensure an approach that generates value for money, while also taking opportunities to fill gaps in our evidence base. We have information management systems set up for ongoing monitoring of policies and a commercial agreement for assessing lost learning. We have identified several key indicators for measuring progress against outcomes which will collate insight from these sources.

Our approach to levelling up standards will be supported by robust evaluations, with approaches tailored to specific interventions. These aim to understand issues such as:

  • what works to catch pupils up from activity undertaken in the NTP
  • what is the impact of the early career framework on retention and teacher quality
  • how can we effectively increase the capacity and quality of multi-academy trusts

This includes a mixture of externally commissioned quantitative analysis, process evaluation alongside internal quantitative analysis, user research and ongoing monitoring.

For example, for the NTP a quasi-experimental approach will measure additional attainment progress in intervention schools when compared with a matched comparison group, as well as assessing the longer-term impacts of the NTP by pillar and geographic region. Process evaluations of the NTP will consist of interviews, focus groups, surveys and management information data analysis exploring implementation, delivery and perceived benefits for schools, pupils, mentors and tutors. Year 1 final reports are expected from December 2021, with year 2 reports expected between May 2022 and January 2023.

3. Support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people through high-quality local services so that no one is left behind (cross-cutting outcome)

Lead minister
Vicky Ford, Minister of State for Children

Senior sponsor
Indra Morris, Director General, Social Care, Mobility and Disadvantage, DfE

Our vision: A sizeable minority of children and young people in England face a significant range of vulnerabilities and disadvantages. These include those already known to children’s social care such as: children in need, those eligible for free school meals (FSM) because of low family income and those on education, health and care (EHC) plans. These children often face a range of disadvantages that have been exacerbated by COVID-19, which has placed additional pressure on already-stretched services, risking a further reduction in outcomes for individuals, the economy and society.

Our strategy for 2021 to 2022 financial year aims to support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable – to maximise opportunity supported by high-quality local services. We have made significant strides in recent years, delivering evidence-based programmes that have both improved local performance and continued to build the evidence base for what is most effective. We now want to build on this and pave the way for wider system reforms, including through the independent review of children’s social care, and special educational needs and disability (SEND) review (including alternative provision reform programmes), to make a transformative difference for children and families.

Our outcome strategy

To achieve this outcome we are focusing on the following areas:

  1. Ensuring safe and loving homes: we will continue to build the support available to families, children and young people for whom life at home is challenging or who are in the care of the state, to improve their experiences and outcomes.
  2. Promoting engagement and participation in education and training: we will continue to address the barriers that hold back vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people by tackling disengagement and promoting participation in education to improve outcomes.
  3. Driving improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of local public services for children and young people: we will support and strengthen local authority effectiveness and quality, including early identification of risk and encouraging effective collaboration between local agencies.

Departments supporting the outcome delivery

DCMS: Responsibility for policy responding to online harms and policy and central government funding to support the provision of youth services.

DHSC: Responsibility for health services, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

DWP: Responsibility for access to work; supporting employment outcomes for benefit claimants; providing financial support for young people with disabilities; and the Reducing Parental Conflict programme.

HO: Responsibility for policy responding to hidden harms (including child sexual abuse and domestic abuse) and online harms; co-ordination of cross-government response to serious violence and county lines.

MHCLG: Responsibility for the Supporting Families programme (previously known as the Troubled Families Programme).

MoJ: Responsibility for family courts; support for young offenders; SEND tribunal.

Our performance metrics

Percentage attendance in school (absence rates by group: children who receive FSM, children who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, and children who are ‘in need’), and the overall persistent absence rate.

Absence, persistent absence and absence for FSM and EHC plan pupils

Academic year Overall absence rate Overall persistent absence rate Absence rate for FSM pupils Absence rate for EHC plan pupils
2018 to 2019 4.7% 10.9% 7.5% 8.7%
2017 to 2018 4.8% 11.2% 7.6% 8.7%
2016 to 2017 4.7% 10.8% 7.3% 8.2%
2015 to 2016 4.6% 10.5% 7.0% 7.7%
2014 to 2015 4.6% 11% 7.0% 7.7%
2013 to 2014 4.5% 10.7% 6.7% 7.5%
2012 to 2013 5.3% 13.6% 7.6% 8.2%
2011 to 2012 5.1% 13.5% N/A N/A
2010 to 2011 5.8% 16.3% N/A N/A

This data is from the 2018 to 2019 annual release. The 2019 to 2020 annual release is not available due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Source: Pupil absence in schools in England: 2018 to 2019; release schedule: annually (for full-year release of absence data)

Absence for ‘children in need’

1 April to 31 March Absence rate for ‘children in need’
2018 to 2019 11.4%
2017 to 2018 11.0%
2016 to 2017 10.4%
2015 to 2016 9.8%
2014 to 2015 9.6%
2013 to 2014 9.4%
2012 to 2013 10.4%

This data is from the 2018 to 2019 annual release. Annual data for 2019 to 2020 is not available due to disruptions caused by COVID 19.

Source: Outcomes for children looked after by LAs: 31 March 2019; release schedule: annually (for full-year release of absence data)

Percentage of alternative provision schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted

Date Percentage of alternative provision schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted
August 2020 84%
August 2019 83%
August 2018 82%
August 2017 84%
August 2016 83%
August 2015 83%
August 2014 83%
August 2013 78%
August 2012 68%
August 2011 72%
August 2010 69%

Data for 2021 to 2022 will only become available once Ofsted inspections recommence (currently paused due to the pandemic). Ofsted will inspect some schools and further education and skills providers in the summer term, but will not resume a full programme of graded inspections until September 2021.

Source: The annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2019 to 2020; release schedule: official statistics are published 3 times a year; management information is typically published monthly

Percentage of local authorities with a written statement of actions (or equivalent) for SEND services issued by Ofsted

Date Percentage of local authorities with a written statement of actions (or equivalent) for SEND services issued by Ofsted Number of areas inspected (since May 2016)
March 2020 51% 116
August 2019 50% 100
July 2019 44% 68

Data for 2021 to 2022 will only become available once Ofsted inspections recommence (currently paused due to the pandemic). Revisits to areas with a written statement of action will start from April 2021. Full inspection will resume from June 2021.

Source: The annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2019 to 2020; release schedule: annually, however individual reports are typically published within 2 months of the end of each local authority’s inspection

Percentage of local authority SEND services with a written statement of action (or equivalent) that are revisited and have made sufficient progress (or equivalent judgement)

Date Percentage of revisited areas that were deemed to be making sufficient progress when revisited Number of areas revisited (since December 2018)
March 2020 43% 21
August 2019 55% 11

Data for 2021 to 2022 will only become available once Ofsted inspections recommence (currently paused due to the pandemic). Revisits to areas with a written statement of action will start from April 2021. Full inspection will resume from June 2021.

Source: The annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2019 to 2020; release schedule: annually, however individual reports are typically published within 2 months of the end of each local authority’s inspection

Percentage of local authorities rated inadequate for children’s social care services

Date Percentage of local authorities rated inadequate for children’s social care services
August 2021 14%
August 2020 14%
August 2019 13%
August 2018 15%
August 2017 19%
August 2016 14%
August 2015 12%
August 2014 14%
August 2013 13%
August 2012 9%
August 2011 13%
August 2010 9%

Data for 2021 to 2022 will only become available once Ofsted inspections recommence (currently paused due to the pandemic). Inspecting children’s services for inadequate local authorities will begin to recommence from May. Standard inspections are due to restart before the end of the summer term.

Reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire, creating 2 new local authorities and resulting in Ofsted dropping the previous local authority’s inadequate rating, will also affect this percentage.

Source: The annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2019 to 2020; release schedule: annually, however individual reports are typically published within 2 months of the end of each local authority’s inspection

How our work contributes to the delivery of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Priority outcome Link to SDGs
Priority outcome 3 SDG 1 – End poverty in all its forms everywhere (Targets 1.b, 1.2)

SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Target 4.1)

SDG 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries

SDG 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (Target 16.2)

Project and programmes

1. Ensuring safe and loving homes

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by:

  • improving adoption numbers through improving the effectiveness and timeliness of the adoption system
  • improving placement quality and stability through developing and consulting on national standards for ‘unregulated’ children’s social care provision and through capital investment – to expand and modernise children’s homes and the secure estate
  • securing positive outcomes for care leavers through the provision of ‘Staying Put’ and personal advisers
  • providing support to low-income families of disabled or seriously ill children through sustaining our scheme providing practical support

2. Promoting engagement and participation in education and training

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • support for looked-after children – and previously looked-after children – by providing strong advocates within the education system to improve their attendance and participation
  • support for the children and young people in the 12 opportunity areas (OAs) and sharing our learning from those areas to help children and young people in areas around the country facing similar challenges
  • the new holiday activities and food (HAF) programme, a local authority-based grants programme offering enriching activities and food for FSM children – it will run for 1 week at Easter, 4 weeks in summer and 1 week at Christmas

3. Driving improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of local public services for children and young people

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by delivering:

  • investment in well-evidenced programmes that improve outcomes and reduce costs across children’s social care and SEND, including improved social worker training programmes and SEND workforce training

Outcome evaluation plan

This outcome supports our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and our evaluation will focus on identifying what works to maximise opportunities for these groups.

For example, the HAF programme evaluation will assess the scheme throughout 2021 and will focus on:

  • the impact on the nutrition, healthy behaviours and school readiness of FSM eligible children
  • the impact of the programme on parent behaviour and confidence around purchasing and preparing healthy meals
  • understanding how the HAF programme is being implemented and what enables effective implementation

To address these objectives, we are commissioning a process and impact evaluation of the expanded summer programme, consisting of data collection from a sample of local authorities on their HAF programmes. A quasi-experimental impact evaluation is proposed to evaluate what impact the programme had on these key indicators.

The ongoing evaluation of the OA programme will continue through to March 2022 with a strong link to the government’s broader ambition of levelling up. There are 3 elements, including a national qualitative evaluation, intervention level evaluations with 5 OAs and quantitative assessments on the impact of the programme.

Evaluation and understanding of the experiences of children and young people will be delivered by building upon an existing programme of evaluations delivered in 2020 via the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme: round 2 evaluation. This work delivered process, impact, economic and longitudinal evaluations of intervention aimed at supporting these children and the social care workforce.

Specific projects from this work are being developed and trialled by What Works for Children’s Social Care. This includes a randomised controlled trial evaluating the family safeguarding model. This work is also supporting the independent care review commissioned by the department in 2021.

Our SEND review and alternative provision reform evaluation plans will be designed as policy proposals are developed to ensure evidence is robust and proportionate.

4. Provide the best start in life through high-quality early education and childcare to raise standards and help parents to work (cross-cutting outcome)

Lead ministers
Vicky Ford, Minister of State for Children

Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards

Senior sponsor
Andrew McCully, Director General, Early Years and Schools, DfE

Our vision: A child’s early years are a crucial time for their development, and families across the country rely on locally available childcare to help them balance their home and work commitments. We want high-quality early education and childcare provision everywhere – to help reduce the outcomes gap for disadvantaged children, helping to prepare children for school and supporting parents in or into employment.

We know that long-term positive outcomes resulting from investment in childcare include higher lifetime earnings, better health, greater productivity in the UK economy, increased tax revenue and lower unemployment.

Our outcome strategy

To achieve this outcome we are focusing on the following areas:

  1. Maintaining sufficient local supply in the childcare market and maximising take up of the early education entitlements so that all young children can access high-quality early years provision.
  2. Set up every child for success by increasing the proportion of children who achieve expected levels in communication and language, literacy and maths at age 5 and by ensuring high-quality, safe education and childcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond for all children.

Departments supporting the outcome delivery

DWP: Responsibility for maximising employment and addressing poverty by enabling progression in the workforce; delivering the Universal Credit components of the government’s childcare offer by raising Universal Credit parents’ awareness of the wider free childcare offer (including the 2 year old offer) through work coaches; and tracking the take up of the Flexible Support Fund for upfront childcare costs in Universal Credit.

HMRC: Responsibility for implementing delivering Tax-Free Childcare and managing the online childcare service (in partnership with National Savings and Investments) as a key delivery partner of 30 hours entitlements; publication of take up data relating to Tax-Free Childcare.

Our performance metrics

Percentage of eligible children taking up the early education entitlements (15 hours for disadvantaged 2 year olds; universal entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds), including by region

Date Percentage of 2 year olds taking up the early education entitlement Percentage of 3 and 4 year olds taking up the early education entitlement
January 2020 69% 93%
January 2019 68% 93%
January 2018 72% 94%
January 2017 71% 94%
January 2016 68% 95%
January 2015 58% 95%
January 2014 N/A 95%
January 2013 N/A 95%
January 2012 N/A 95%
January 2011 N/A 94%

The policy for early education entitlement of 15 hours for disadvantaged 2 year olds was introduced in 2015.

Source: Education provision: children under 5 years of age, reporting year 2020; release schedule: annually (June or July)

Regional breakdowns are available in the source publication.

Percentage of registered early years settings rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted

Date Percentage of registered early years settings rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted
August 2020 96%
August 2019 96%
August 2018 95%
August 2017 93%
August 2016 91%
August 2015 85%

Data for 2021 to 2022 will only become available once Ofsted inspections recommence (currently paused due to the pandemic). Graded inspections of some registered early years providers begin from 4 May. Ofsted will continue to carry out urgent inspections where there are significant concerns about a provider.

Source: Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 August 2020; release schedule: June 2021 and then twice annually (subject to consultation)

The following metrics were agreed at spending review 2020 and will be included in a future outcome delivery plan. However, they will not be reported against in the 2021 to 2022 outcome delivery plan as no new data will be available:

  • percentage of 5 year olds achieving ‘expected’ level on both literacy and communication and language early learning goals
  • percentage of 5 year olds achieving ‘expected’ level on maths early learning goals
  • outcomes gap between children eligible for FSM and peers in early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) assessment at age 5

DfE is committed to developing new metrics to enhance how performance against this priority outcome is tracked. Where feasible, these metrics will be included in a future outcome delivery plan.

How our work contributes to the delivery of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Priority outcome Link to SDGs
Priority outcome 4 SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Target 4.2)

SDG 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries

Projects and programmes

1. Maintain sufficient local supply in the childcare market and maximise take up of the early education entitlements so that all young children can access high-quality early years provision

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by:

  • continuing to deliver the early education entitlements – 30 hours of free childcare per week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, and free early education for disadvantaged 2 year olds
  • promoting strategies to maximise the take up of the 2 year old entitlement
  • working closely with DWP and HMRC to ensure that the childcare system as a whole continues to provide working families with support for their childcare costs, to improve children’s life chances, and to help parents work

2. Set up every child for success by increasing the proportion of children who achieve expected levels in communication and language, literacy and maths at age 5 and by ensuring high-quality, safe education and childcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, for all children

We will do this in 2021 to 2022 financial year by:

  • reforming the early years foundation stage, to improve early years outcomes for all children – but particularly disadvantaged children – in the critical areas that build the foundations for later success, including language development, literacy and maths
  • investing £9 million this academic year 2020 to 2021 to help improve the language skills of reception age children who need it most through the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI). We also announced in February 2021 a further £8 million to offer NELI to many more schools, and £10 million for a pre-reception early language catch-up programme to support early years staff in settings. In June 2021, we announced a further investment of up to £153 million (over 3 academic years from the 2021 to 2022 academic year) of new funding for training for early years staff to support the very youngest children’s learning and development
  • championing family hubs through a £14 million project, which will include a new national centre for family hubs to provide expert advice, guidance and advocacy; an evaluation innovation fund to build the evidence base; and, as part of the Family Hubs – Growing Up Well project, data and digital products to help professionals collaborate and plan with families to deliver local services and improve the outcomes of disadvantaged and vulnerable families with children aged 0 to 5

Outcome evaluation plan

Our approach to this outcome will be supported by robust evaluations, with approaches tailored to specific interventions. This includes:

  • an independent evaluation of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention scale up to assess and measure the impact on pupil outcomes – this will involve externally commissioned quantitative analysis alongside an implementation evaluation to ensure delivery works well
  • the evaluation of Family Hubs will determine the added value of the hub approaches over and above pre-existing models, and to understand what works, for whom, how and why – it will do this through quantitative assessments and quasi-experimental evaluation methods
  • a randomised control trial of our early years professional development programme, to take place in 12 local authorities, will measure the extent to which the programme is successful in improving children’s language outcomes in participating settings

We will also conduct ongoing monitoring of the best available data, linking up with other government departments where feasible and appropriate. For example, to establish the extent to which the 30 hours offers are improving parental labour market participation, we will monitor the proportion of parents who would be working fewer hours or not at all if not for the 30 hours offer, broken down by family income band. This data will come from our regular Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents. In addition, we are working with HMRC to explore whether there are useful ways of evaluating the impact of the 30 hours policy on labour market participation using data-matching.

D. Strategic enablers

Workforce, skills and location

Vision

The Department for Education’s strategic workforce plan will support the delivery of the department’s strategic priorities by ensuring we have the right people in the right roles, with the best possible skills and capabilities, working in the most effective and productive ways from the most appropriate locations.

Our vision is to create a highly capable and skilled workforce, making the best use of excellent talent by supporting increased diversity and social mobility as well as ensuring staff have well-defined development plans, and that clear career paths are set out for all those who want to progress.

We are proud of the commitment we make to diversity and inclusion at the DfE, and of the progress we have made, acting on the basis of inclusion, merit and fairness in all our people policies and processes.

Objectives

  1. Reinforcing the systems for talent management (designing strategies that better support talent development and succession planning for critical roles) and performance management to address the personal and professional development needs and reward performance in line with government and departmental priorities.
  2. As the Department for Education, we should be world-leading in our own approach to training and development for staff. We will have an exemplary learning and development offer. We will do this by building on existing capabilities and identifying current and future skills and capability gaps, and delivering high-quality interventions, as well as taking full advantage of cross-government programmes.
  3. We will reduce reliance on contingent workers by in-housing relevant specialist skills and capabilities. Governance to control the use of contingent workers includes a new recruitment panel led by the Chief Operating Officer that considers all new requests for contingent workers and managed services contractors.
  4. Determining the right locations for the workforce, ensuring that the organisation reflects the country we serve by increasing the proportion of our staff, including our senior civil servants (SCS), who work outside London and providing robust career pathways for all.
  5. Continuing to remove barriers to recruitment, development and promotion of a diverse workforce, to effectively plan current and future resource requirements (capacity and capability). Improve our ability to mobilise resources in response to emerging priorities and plan our workforce to meet long-term demands.
  6. Creating a department that is visibly and confidently diverse, which is open and inclusive to everyone and in which talent and inclusive practices drive effective performance.

People survey engagement score

Calendar year Engagement score
2020 69%
2019 69%
2018 65%

Source: Civil Service People Survey; release schedule: annually

Representation of female staff, ethnic minority staff and disabled staff

Year Total number of staff Female Ethnic minority Disabled
March 2019 6,650 57.7% 18.3% 14.4%
March 2018 5,880 57.7% 17.3% 13.5%

Data for 2020 had not been published at the time of writing.

Source: Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Dashboard; release schedule: quarterly

Innovation, technology and data

Vision

The department has digital, data and technology specialists who focus on user-centred design, delivery, data and technology. These specialists partner with teams across DfE to deliver world-class services that improve the outcomes of children and learners in education and care. They also work closely with the sector and industry to deliver a strategy for a digitally mature education system. There is common consensus on the necessity of placing digital, data and technology at the heart of how the department operates. To achieve this, the digital, data and technology specialists will focus first on the basics. They will continue to develop the DfE’s culture into one where information and data, and a safe environment in which to experiment and try new things, are all valued.

Objectives

  1. Run the core DfE IT systems including a plan to address legacy IT to drive sustainability, efficiency and productivity, underpinned by robust governance, evidence-based decision making and aligning to user need and departmental priorities.
  2. Work in strategic partnerships with service owners and policy colleagues, delivering digital, data and technology services to the front line to improve departmental outcomes, value for users and value for money.
  3. Respond to the digital and technology needs of DfE internal and external users, including students and teachers, ensuring that the department is equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Invest in the tools, processes, standards and frameworks needed to enable safe, secure data sharing across departments to support decision making and improve services.
  5. Renew IT systems to automate and fully digitise repetitive manual processes and update outdated legacy IT systems.

Delivery, evaluation and collaboration

Vision

Our Future DfE programme is designed to provide the department with a clear sense of purpose, a renewed organisational culture and a series of transformation projects to ensure the organisation is fit for the future. Key initiatives to be delivered in the first half of the year include a new strategic workforce plan, a horizon scanning programme and a review of the department’s organisational design starting from our local and regional working.

This year DfE will continue to improve project delivery capability, strengthen our functional expertise and raise the importance of good evaluation. These improvements will enable us to deliver an ambitious set of reforms and regularly prioritise, monitor and adapt projects to secure the outcomes we want.

Objectives

  1. Review the department’s organisational design starting from our local and regional working.
  2. Aligning resources with priority work and build the skills and capabilities we need to deliver.
  3. Strengthening functional expertise and delivery, ensuring adherence to functional standards and effective monitoring of performance.
  4. Managing the planning cycle in such a way that it engages all staff in delivering priorities, through a well-understood, efficient and transparent process.
  5. Providing transparent accountability through regular reporting, both within the department, to the centre and Parliament.

Sustainability

Vision

Climate change has, and will have, impacts on the education and children’s social care sectors. We will be ambitious and aspire to lead our sectors towards a more sustainable future, as well as being active contributors to cross-government priority outcomes, strategies and programmes. DfE has an important role to help create a sustainable future through education to citizens, developing the skills needed for a green economy, and supporting our sectors to reach net zero targets.

In 2021 to 2022 financial year we commit to continuing our reporting against mandatory sustainability metrics, while working to develop our approach to social and environmental sustainability and climate risk for the first time.

Objectives

  1. Ensuring that we are able to meet our Greening Government Commitments and continue to monitor and track their delivery.
  2. Continuing to ensure that our estate, activities and policies are sustainable and support climate change, resilience and adaptation.
  3. Develop a sustainability strategy for the department.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Financial year Total emissions
2018 to 2019 59%
2017 to 2018 55%

Data for 2020 had not been published at the time of writing.

Source: Greening Government Commitments annual reports; release schedule: annually

E. Our equality objectives

We have set objectives to help us advance equality. These are:

1. Driving economic growth

Improve access to adult education and skills and increase attainment in FE settings. This will be achieved through the projects and programmes outlined above, including by:

  • improving the quality of higher technical education and making it easier to access, giving more people the opportunity to take approved higher technical qualifications (HTQs) that provide the skills employers need
  • boosting skills training for young people at risk of unemployment during the economic recovery from COVID-19, including ethnic minorities and women
  • increasing the number of 19+ and 25+ further education and skills learners in the 20% most disadvantaged areas
  • increasing the percentage of recent higher education graduates in high-skilled employment

2. Levelling up education standards

Improve the opportunities available to pupils across the entire country. This will be achieved through the projects and programmes outlined above, including by:

  • supporting disadvantaged children and young people by taking action to close the disadvantage gap across the country
  • supporting schools to continue teaching during the pandemic – this has included the provision of 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children
  • continuing to support children to recover learning lost as a result of the pandemic through a mixture of universal measures and interventions targeted at those who have been most affected, including disadvantaged children, for example, expanded access to tutoring will provide targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind due to having lost time in education
  • continuing to provide additional support to schools through the pupil premium, to improve the academic attainment and wider outcomes of disadvantaged pupils, disadvantaged pupils are disproportionately represented in underperforming schools – we will promote equality of opportunity for all pupils by raising the standard of education in schools where performance is weak
  • progress against this objective will be measured using the disadvantage gap index (although changes to key stage 2 (KS2) and key stage 4 (KS4) assessment as a result of COVID-19 will affect our ability to compare results across different years). The disadvantage gap is currently 2.91 at KS2 (2019) and 3.66 at KS4 (2020). For more information on these sources of data, how the gap index is calculated and how it has changed overtime, refer to:

3. Supporting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children

Support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable, including those with protected characteristics, to maximise opportunity and reduce dependency, supported by high-quality local services. Those with protected characteristics are not evenly distributed within disadvantaged and vulnerable cohorts. For instance, we know that:

  • Black children, those with a Mixed ethnic background, and children from Other ethnic minority groups are overrepresented among children in need – children from the white ethnic group are slightly underrepresented and those from Asian ethnic groups are substantially underrepresented
  • Black pupils and those with a Mixed ethnic background are more likely to be claiming FSM, and the white Gypsy and Roma ethnic group have particularly high FSM rates
  • the legal definition of children in need includes all disabled children – 50,000 children in need are recorded as having a disability, making up 13% of the group. Disabled children in need are also twice as likely to be male than female
  • in January 2020, 30.9% of those with SEN were eligible for FSM, compared with 13% of those without SEN

For more information on these sources of data, refer to:

This will be achieved through the projects and programmes outlined above, including by:

  • ensuring safe and loving homes (a key manifesto commitment) for more children and young people through building the support available to families, children and young people for whom life at home is challenging or who are in the care of the state
  • promoting engagement and participation in education and training by addressing the barriers that hold vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people back, including care leavers who are less likely to be in education, employment, or training
  • working with local authorities to improve the quality and consistency of service experienced by vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people – this will include monitoring the quality of provision of local SEN and children’s social care services

4. Best start in life

Continue to ensure that take up of the early education entitlements is maximised and any barriers to access is minimised. This will particularly enable women to participate in the labour market. We will ensure that high-quality early years provision raises outcomes for young children regardless of background or protected characteristics, and particularly supports disadvantaged children, and so sets up every child for future life success.

This will be achieved through our projects and programmes outlined above, including by:

  • increasing the proportion of children who achieve expected levels in literacy, communication and language and maths at age 5
  • narrowing the outcomes gap at age 5 between disadvantaged children and their peers so that personal circumstance is not a barrier to future life chances
    • we will measure this and the point above by using data sets that become available from the end of 2022 onwards. There will be no data set in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19. We are also bringing in reforms to the EYFS from September 2021, meaning the 2022 data will be new and not comparable to 2019, so we will need to compare 2022 and 2023
  • monitoring take up of the early education entitlement (15 hours for disadvantaged 2 year olds, universal entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds) to understand whether there is a risk of a decline nationally, regionally and at local authority level
  • maximising take up by identifying those local authorities that are struggling the most with take up of the 2 year old early education entitlement. We will provide tailored support and share best practice and successful strategies to reach disadvantaged households to boost take up (while recognising that parents can choose whether they take up the early education offer)
  • reforming the early years foundation stage to strengthen curriculum, teaching practice and assessment. This will help ensure all children in early years settings benefit from a holistic and inclusive curriculum, which, for example, helps them learn about and understand different cultures and religions and build their own self-expression and confidence

5. Workforce, skills and location

Create a department that is visibly and confidently diverse, that is open and inclusive to everyone, and in which talent and inclusive practices drive effective performance.

Work to ensure that public appointments made by DfE are conducted in accordance with the principles of the Governance Code on Public Appointments and attract a diverse applicant pool.

6. Delivery, evaluation and collaboration

Share our vision and expectations that those organisations we do business with share our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion in their own workforce and throughout their supply chains. We will develop an action plan to achieve this.