A multi-million pound fund to make it easier for teachers to find high-quality lesson plans and resources and cut unnecessary workload has been launched today by School Standards Minister Nick Gibb.The first round of £7.7million Curriculum Fund will provide grants to schools to help them share teaching resources with other schools, saving teachers from having to repeatedly create lessons plans from scratch.It comes after research by the Department for Education found that many teachers feel lesson planning creates unnecessary workload and that they want easy access to practical resources that will help them put together innovative and effective lessons.The initiative is the latest step by the department to meet the Government’s manifesto commitment to provide schools with tools that will cut unnecessary workload, freeing them up to focus on what matters most – teaching.Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: Since the £7.7m Curriculum Fund was first announced in January, the Department for Education has worked with school leaders, teachers and experts from across the profession to understand how teachers plan lessons and use resources such as textbooks – with research showing that teachers feel lesson planning continues to result in unnecessary workload. Schools can apply from today for grant funding to share their high quality curriculum programmes.The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has pledged to champion the teaching profession and to work with teaching unions and Ofsted to reduce workload in schools – and in his first keynote speech at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) conference in March 2018 he set out his intention to use the Curriculum Fund to make it easier for schools and teachers to share and access high-quality resources.The opening of the application window, which closes on 17 September, follows a number of recent announcements to help schools free their staff from unnecessary and time-consuming tasks, including: This fund will help great schools share resources that they know are effective. This will help to spread excellent teaching practices and continue the drive to raise standards in our schools. the publication of School Snapshot Survey which, among other things, shows that 73% of the classroom teachers and senior leaders surveyed reported that their school has taken action to review or update school policies to improve workload and 67% reported that their school has taken action to change or reduce marking. the launch of a workload reduction toolkit – an online resource providing practical advice and examples to help staff in schools take action to reduce workload; the publication of a report, ‘Use and Perceptions of Curriculum Support Resources in Schools’; and Having easy access to high quality curriculum resources will not just save teachers time, it will make it easier for them to deliver knowledge-rich and engaging lessons that help young people to acquire the knowledge and skills they need.
The scheme added that, by joining Aegon, it would also avoid a situation in which it can no longer find capable board members.At Aegon, all participants and pensioners will receive an inflation compensation based on the European consumer index.As the pension fund’s coverage ratio stood at 127.4% at the end of September, the scheme had sufficient assets to also grant part of the indexation in arrears.The pension fund’s active participants continue to accrue new pensions rights with another provider as of 1 January.The scheme nor the employer could be contacted for further details. The €630m Dutch pension fund VNU said it will transfer all its pension assets and accrued pension rights to insurer Aegon in a buyout, adding that it will liquidate subsequently.It said this way it wanted to secure accrued pension rights as well as inflation compensation for its approximately 5,200 workers, deferred participants and pensioners.VNU, the pension fund of publishing company Nielsen, had already placed €440m of its liabilities with Aegon, but still paid inflation compensation from its remaining assets.On its website, it explained that there is a possibility that it will not be able to keep on granting indexation, and that a buyout will eliminate this risk. Since 2009, the scheme could not pay full indexation during a couple of years.