Schools & Early Years

  • Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Education Secretary, was set to announce the creation of a taskforce to ‘transform early years provision’ at the Labour Party conference today.
  • The Association of School and College Leaders found that 80 per cent of school leaders in English secondary schools think it is more difficult to recruit teachers now than 12 months ago. Nearly three quarters said they had to use supply teachers to fill vacancies.
  • The National Children’s Bureau called on the Government to recruit and train more school nurses. The NCB found that 90 per cent of nurses felt their ability to support children with long-term health needs was impacted by high workloads.
  • The National Citizen Service (NCS) published research claiming that 76 per cent of 15 to 17-year-olds would be willing to sacrifice friendships, time spent with family and sleep to achieve good exam results.
  • Early Years Groups, including the National Day Nurseries Association, warned that the Government’s plan to offer 30 hours a week of free childcare from September 2017 is costing nurseries in England an average of £809 per year for each funded three and four-year-old. They said that 85% of nurseries are currently operating at a loss due to the expansion of free childcare.
  • NASUWT research found that out of 3,000 cases of teachers requesting flexible working, nearly a third were turned down
  • The Education Policy Institute published an analysis of data around secondary education, concluding that, if prior attainment and pupil background is taken into consideration, grammar schools offer ‘no overall attainment impact… either positive or negative’.

Further education & skills

  • The Department for Education announced that Skills Funding Agency Chief Executive of Peter Lauener will become Shadow Chief Executive for the Institute for Apprenticeships.
  • TES reported that Government proposals requiring universities who charge the maximum amount of fees to sponsor a state school will also apply to colleges.
  • Ofqual is to fine the awarding organization Pearson £85,000 for issuing 1,566 vocational qualification certificates that recorded incorrect results.
  • The role of the FE commissioner is to be split in two following the outgoing Commissioner Sir David Collins’ concerns that his workload would include both intervention and area reviews. Richard Atkins, President of the Association of Colleges, will become the FE Commissioner. He will oversee college intervention and support.
  • DfE published figures showing that 1.6m vocational and other qualification certificates were awarded in Q2 2016, a decrease of 13 per cent on Q2 2015.

Higher education

  • At their party conference the Liberal Democrats called for the Government to continue to support British students’ participation in the EU’s Erasmus training and study programme following Brexit. John Pugh, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, said it would be ‘utterly unfair’ to deprive young people of the opportunity to study abroad.
  • Prof Louise Richardson, Oxford University Vice Chancellor, criticised the Government’s plan to require universities to set up new free schools or sponsor academies.
  • The Times and Sunday Times published their top UK universities 2016, with Cambridge and Oxford taking first and second place. The University of Surrey climbed into the top 10 for the first time, while the University of Sussex entered the top 20, beating many Russell Group institutions.
  • Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP wrote in The Times that the Government wants to see ‘more brilliant universities working with schools’ to encourage students to have the confidence to apply to them and ‘to help raise standards and tackle poor exam results’.
  • Stephanie Marshall, chief executive of the Higher Education Academy, said lecturers must be taught to ‘embrace technology’. She said undergraduates expected interactive teaching with online resources.
  • Paul Feldman, Jisc Chief Executive, argued that British universities need the best technology in order to maintain their performance at the top of the world’s university tables. He said: ‘It is crucial that we continue to invest in and utilise the digital solutions that underpin the sector.’
  • HEPI highlighted figures showing that depression and loneliness affect a third of students, adding that universities need to triple their spending on mental health support.

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