Schools & early years

  • Neil Carmichael MP, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, told the National Association of Secondary Moderns conference that only multi-academy trusts should be allowed to open new grammar schools, to avoid pupils reaching a ‘dead-end’ aged 11 and to ensure that students can move around between schools.
  • The National Association of Head Teachers published an open letter to the Prime Minister warning that schools are facing real terms cuts of £3billion, which ‘will have a massive impact on young people and standards of education.’
  • A study by the National Foundation for Educational Research found that the retention rate among secondary heads has fallen from 91 per cent in 2012 to 87 per cent in 2015. For primary school heads it has fallen from 94 per cent to 92 per cent over the same period.
  • The Education Endowment Foundation published recommendations for improving literacy in Key Stage Two, arguing that teachers must make sure that children remain engaged and motivated in improving their writing.
  • The Public Accounts Committee published a report on school funding, stating that the Department for Education is spending ‘well over the odds’ to create 500 more free schools, while other schools are in poor condition.
  • The Education Select Committee released a report on primary assessment, finding that the close link between primary assessment and school accountability creates a high stakes system that can negatively impact children’s teaching and learning.
  • A joint inquiry on young people’s mental health by the Health and Education Committees found that financial pressures are restricting the provision of mental health services in schools and colleges. The report called for the next Government to review the effect of budget reductions in education.

Further education & skills

  • The Technical and Further Education Bill received Royal Assent and passed into law as the Technical and Further Education Act.
  • A Freedom of Information request by FE Week found that a Government scheme to recruit 500 specialist maths teachers at colleges by offering bonuses has accepted just 13 participants in its first year.
  • The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a new skills body, Skills for London, with a £114 million investment in the capital’s FE colleges. Khan said that ‘it is more important than ever that we make sure more Londoners gain access to the skills they and our economy truly need’.
  • Shakira Martin was elected president of the National Union of Students, beating the incumbent president, Malia Bouattia, with 56 per cent of the vote. Martin is only the second NUS President to come solely via the FE route.

Higher education

  • The Department for Education published graduate labour market statistics for 2016, showing that 87.3 per cent of graduates were employed – a higher rate than non-graduates. The research also showed that in 2016, working age graduates earned on average £9,500 more than non-graduates.
  • The Higher Education and Research Bill received Royal Assent and passed into law as the Higher Education and Research Act. Universities UK President Julia Goodfellow said the Act provides stability ‘during a time of uncertainty, for our world-class university sector’.
  • The Education Select Committee released a report on the effects of Brexit on HE, encouraging the Government to establish a new regional growth fund to replace, and exceed, the European Structural and Investment Funds programme.
  • The International Student Survey 2017, conducted by Hobsons, was published. It showed that 69 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that having highly qualified teaching staff was a key indicator that a university provided good quality teaching, while the second strongest indicator was a high graduate employment rate.
  • The Higher Education Policy Institute published a report on the future of teacher training, which called for ‘fresh thinking and practical action’ to avoid a crisis in teacher training.

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