Education and Skills Weekly Round-up – 4 April 2017
29th March - 4th April 2017
Schools & early years
- The Education Secretary Justine Greening announced the launch of a consultation on primary assessment and the recommendations of the Rochford Review, including proposals to make key stage 1 assessments non-statutory and introduce baseline tests for reception pupils. The consultation period will last 12 weeks.
- The Public Accounts Committee published a report warning that schools standards in England are at risk as schools are required to make savings during the most significant financial pressure since the 1990s.
- The TES reported that 72 per cent of the existing grammar schools in England are altering their admissions arrangements to take more children from disadvantaged backgrounds for 2018/19.
- Research by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner found that children in major northern cities do worse academically than those in London and the South East. The proportion of five-year-olds achieving the expected level across all early learning goals in Greater Manchester is 10 percentage points lower than in the south east.
- The Department for Education launched a new public property company, LocatED, to acquire land and buildings as part of plans to open 500 free schools by 2020.
Further education & skills
- The Institute for Apprenticeships officially launched, charged with ensuring that all apprenticeships are top quality and deliver the skills that employers need. Skills Minister Robert Halfon said ‘we are truly working together with business to invest in home-grown skills’.
- The Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee published a report arguing that the Government’s apprenticeships policies, including the levy and the 3m target, have a worrying lack of focus and will not fill widening skills gaps. The Chair of the Sub-Committee, Neil Carmichael, said: ‘Ministers must recognise that apprenticeships are a means to an end and not an end in themselves.’
- The Work and Pensions Select Committee released a report on the Government’s new youth employment programme, the Youth Obligation. The Committee recommended that JCPs must work more effectively with employers, schools, colleges and apprenticeship providers to understand local vocational opportunities, and said the Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools programme could play an important role in providing better careers advice.
- The Technical and Further Education Bill had its report stage in the Lords, with the Government defeated on an amendment to enable families eligible for child benefit to receive it for children under 20 undertaking apprenticeships. An amendment giving Ofsted a duty to take into account careers advice made available by colleges also passed.
- FE Week reported that the DfE privately briefed stakeholders confirming that they will be retaining Applied General qualifications.
- Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer MP wrote in The Times on the cyber threat, stressing that the UK needs to fully utilise the ‘groundbreaking’ cyber security research in the country’s academic institutions. He announced that Edinburgh and Warwick are joining the group of UK universities identified as academic centres of excellence in cybersecurity research.
- Professor Andrew Thompson was appointed Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, stating that ‘more than ever we need the insights and perspectives of the arts and humanities to navigate the great global challenges of our times’.
- The Higher Education Statistics Agency released data which showed that private providers make up half of the 10 institutions with the highest dropout rates in England.
- A survey by the National Senior Management Survey published by the THE found that 76.5 per cent of UK university staff are not satisfied with the way their institutions is managed. Nearly seven in ten said that their university did not give them enough time to support students’ needs.