Schools & early years

  • The Key conducted a poll of more than 1,000 primary school leaders, finding that 77 per cent ‘do not have confidence’ in the current national assessment system. Of those surveyed, 47 per cent said they did not think they had received adequate information to ensure that pupils sitting this year’s key stage 2 SAT’s assessments are well-prepared.
  • Keep Britain Tidy and BRITA UK published research revealing that one in five teachers believes that their school lacks adequate drinking water facilities for encouraging students to drink enough water.
  • The Labour Party published its manifesto, including a pledge to create a unified National Education Service to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use. The Party also committed to reducing class sizes for five to seven year olds to under 30, and to introducing free school meals for all primary school children.
  • The National Foundation for Educational Research published research which found that teachers of core English Baccalaureate subjects are leaving the profession faster than those in any other subject.

Further Education and Skills

  • Theresa May promised to introduce more returnships and a new right to request leave for training purposes in the Conservative manifesto, due to be published on Thursday. The policy would give formal rights to request leave for employees who want to retrain or improve their skills and it would also see more internships for people coming back into the labour market after an absence such as parenthood.
  • The Labour Party manifesto included pledges to introduce free, lifelong education in FE colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life. Labour set a target to double the number of completed level 3 apprenticeships by 2022, and detailed plans to increase capital investment to equip colleges to deliver T-levels and offer an official pre-apprenticeship trainee programme.
  • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation published a study showing that the fall in unemployment, coupled with too few trainees coming through the education system, has left Britain facing a skills shortage in a number of sectors, including engineering, accounting, hospitality, and caring. The research revealed that growth in permanent staff placements had slowed to its weakest pace for seven months.
  • An alliance of FE bodies called on the Government for investment to replace the  European Skills Fund following Brexit, in order to improve adult skills in England. backers included the Learning and Work Institute, the Association of Colleges, and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.
  • The Sixth Form Colleges Association launched a new campaign, titled ‘Support our Sixth-formers’. Reporting on this, Schools Week revealed that 16-19 free schools are facing financial difficulties, due to stalling recruitment and ‘chronic’ underfunding.

Higher education

  • In its manifesto, Labour pledged to reintroduce grants for university students and abolish tuition fees. The party also committed to ensuring the UK remains part of Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus scheme.
  • The Guardian published its University Guide league table for 2018, with the University of Cambridge securing the top place for the seventh year running. Oxford University remained in second place, followed by St Andrews in third and Durham in fourth.
  • The National Centre for Universities and Business published its annual State of the Relationship report, analysing industry collaborations with UK universities. The report found that investment in university business collaboration from foreign sources is significantly outstripping domestic growth, at £1.3bn compared to £336m.

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