Policy Watch

Education’s always changing, and it can be hard to keep track. Policy Watch is the easy way to make sure you stay up to date with the latest developments.

Keep up with what’s happening in education policy

Policy Watch is our regular policy update service, covering national and international developments in the world of education. We try to keep things simple, sharing the latest news and information with you through weekly updates, monthly summaries, papers and events.

You can access the Policy Watch service through Steve's Twitter feed @SteveBesley or by signing up for email updates.

About Steve

As head of UK education policy at Pearson, Steve’s been running the Policy Watch service for almost 20 years. He’ll keep you informed on all things education, along with the rest of his subscribers – there were more than 10,000 at the last count!

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  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in September 2012

    A month which has seen some new faces at both Education Depts, but some familiar challenges continuing.

    Main talking points

    For schools, GCSE issues still prevail with the added twist that consultation on a successor qualification is now under way. Elsewhere the month has seen more money announced for the pupil premium and new teacher appraisal systems arrive. For FE, the challenge remains the funding and operation of the skills system with September seeing the launch of a new Industrial Strategy and the announcement of the first Employer Ownership Pilots. Elsewhere, the wheels are beginning to move under the 24+ fee loan system with a series of developments due. For HE, the month has seen fierce debate about the impact of fees on student numbers with a projected 54,000+ fewer students arriving to take up places. Elsewhere, the month has seen the emergence of a battery of ‘go-compare’ data for students as two new websites are launched.

    Key headlines from the month

    • Pupil premium. Rises to £900 per eligible pupil next year
    • Catch up cash. Announced to help with English and maths
    • GCSE. Inquiries continue as long term replacement proposed
    • 16-19. Advisory Panel holds first meeting
    • 24+ loans. New comms campaign about to start
    • ESOL. Ofqual launch consultation
    • HE. UKHE takes 4 of the top 6 global rankings
    • Which? Launches its university comparison website for students
    • Student numbers. Potential 50,000+ drop this year
    • Polytechnics. Celebrate 20 years since becoming universities
    • Employer Ownership Pilots. 269 bids received, first 34 ‘winners’ announced
    • Local Enterprise Partnerships. Core funding announced
    • Unemployment. Down to 2.59m but up for 16-24 yr olds to 1.02m.

    Reports/Publications of the month (in order of publication)

    • Local Pay, Local Growth. The Policy Exchange think tank support the case for local pay arrangements arguing that, as the title implies, it can lead to local growth
    • Collaborations, alliances and mergers in HE. HEFCE trawl the case studies to see what lessons can be learned from working together in the HE sector
    • Plan I: The Case for Innovation-Led Growth. The charity NESTA identify 12 innovation-based strategies that could help get the economy going
    • A Long Division. The think tank IPPR argue that narrowing the attainment gap in England’s secondary schools requires targeted interventions especially early on
    • Meeting Employer Skills Needs. The National Apprenticeship Service launch a one month consultation on the statutory requirements for Higher Apprenticeships
    • Top marks? School performance across UK cities. The Centre for Cities point to the importance of English and maths in improving employment prospects in depressed areas
    • Education at a Glance 2012. The OECD’s latest annual audit of different education systems points to the importance of investing in education even though times may be tough
    • Industrial Strategy: UK Sector Analysis. A BIS Economics Paper analyses the role and importance of some of the key sectors in the economy
    • Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Role of Group Training Associations. The Commission call for a level funding playing field and stronger strategic role for GTAs
    • Raising aspirations and smoothing transitions. The Work Foundation’s latest Report in its ‘Missing Millions’ series expresses concerns about what’s happening to careers provision
    • Reforming Key Stage 4 Qualifications. The DfE launch its anticipated consultation on long term replacements for GCSEs
    • Getting to good. Ofsted report on how enterprising school leaders have helped transform schools
    • How colleges improve. Ofsted do the same for colleges highlighting 10 characteristics that can help colleges improve
    • The Pupil Premium. Ofsted survey over 250 school leaders to see how they’re spending the pupil premium money and come back with some disconcerting answers
    • Youth Unemployment and the Youth Contract. The DWP Select Committee report on their recent inquiry and conclude youth unemployment requires more than a one off strategy
    • When qualifications fail. The Centre for Market Reform of Education takes a forensic look at 14-19 education reform
    • ICT in secondary schools. The NASUWT find little positive in the changes to ICT
    • Learning to Work. The CIPD examine the prospects for the youth labour market and find a hard road ahead.

    Speeches of the month

    • David Davis’s 4 September CPS speech concludes that the economy needs some ‘shock therapy’ to help stimulate growth
    • Ed Miliband’s 6 September Policy Network speech hints at some new Labour thinking on the economy and skills
    • Vince Cable’s 11 September Imperial speech launches a new Industrial Strategy intended to support the growth of key sectors, skills and technologies
    • David Willetts’ 13 September UUK speech finds three positives in the new fee regime: more money: more choice; more informed ‘customers’
    • Michael Gove’s 17 September Statement to the House sets out the Government’s case for reform of the exam system at Key Stage 4
    • Vince Cable’s 24 September Conference speech reflects on how things are going in the economy and announces the introduction of a new business lending bank.

    Quotes of the month

    • “I came back to Parliament more determined than ever to cut through the dither that holds this country back.” The Prime Minister claims he’s no mouse
    • “If you want to change anything for the better in Britain it’s best not to waste too much time trying to reform existing institutions.”  Lord Baker speaks from experience in his review of Lord Adonis’s recent book on education
    • “At the end of this new term there will be many students returning home where parents will be asking what they got for £3000.” David Willetts reminds the UUK Conference about the power of the new consumer culture in HE
    • “Those who are able to predict the future are lying, even if it turns out they are right.”Vince Cable adapts an old proverb for his new Industrial Strategy
    • “The GCSE was conceived and designed for a different age and a different world.“ Michael Gove’s requiem for the GCSE heralds the birth of the EBacc.

    Word or phrase of the month

    •  ‘Pre distribution.”  Not sure either but it’s the latest economic slogan to cross the Atlantic
    • ‘Redoublement.’ Resitting a school year, one international practice the EBacc hopes to avoid.
    read more
  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in August 2012

    A month as ever dominated by exam results with, at the time of writing, a number of issues still under scrutiny as Ofqual takes in responses to its interim report on GCSE English.

    Main talking points

    Elsewhere, the month saw a new body proposed for FE, the latest in a series of Reviews completed for the Apprenticeship system, further evaluation of the impact of fees on undergraduate recruitment, continuing uncertainty about the nature of economic recovery and growing indications that the government will announce a series of economic recovery measures, let alone measures to the exam and qualification system, throughout the autumn. It could be a busy few months.

    Key headlines from the month

    • GCSE. 69.8% gain A*-C, slight drop amidst concerns about grading issues
    • A levels. 98% gain A*-E, slightly up but slight decrease in numbers gaining top grades
    • Free Schools. 50+ new ones open but Bradford told to postpone
    • School sport. Worries emerge about playing fields and lack of hours spent
    • School guidance. Government claim to have cut official edicts down to 6,978 pages
    • Apprenticeships. AELP invite bids for new £450,000 Support Fund for 16-20 yr olds
    • Apprenticeship Grant for Employers. NAS flex up the rules
    • Catalyst Fund. New ‘strategic’ fund for HE invites bids
    • HE. Independent Commission suggest 1 in 20 not applied this year
    • HE. Pearson prepares to launch its new degree College
    • International Graduates. BIS issues call for evidence to identify impact
    • NEETs. 968,000 under latest (June) stats, slight increase for 16-18 yr olds
    • Jobless. London to pilot new unpaid work scheme for 18-24 yr olds
    • Work schemes. High Court rules out challenges
    • Unemployment. Latest quarterly total down to 2.56m, 1.01m for 16-24 year olds
    • Economy. Bank of England confirms flat outlook
    • Growth. Government gears up for a series of new announcements
    • Olympics legacy. Government looking for £13bn economic bounce
    • Quangos. 106 gone, 150 to be merged, target remains to cut 204 by 2015.

    Reports/Publications of the month (in order of publication)

    Speeches of the month

    Deliberately left blank this month.

    Quotes of the month

    • “Unlike the Olympians who have thrilled us over the past fortnight, our economy has not yet reached full fitness..” The Governor of the Bank of England awards few gold medals in his latest assessment of the economy
    • “We’re only half way through the first phase of our programme.” Cabinet Minister Francis Maude sharpens the knife for further quango reform
    • “I believe there is an appetite for a modern Guild approach in the sector.” The Skills Minister guilds the FE sector
    • “It is one of the great joys of my job that so many young people refuse to be held back by the enemies of promise.” Michael Gove spreads the pleasure at the start of another results season
    • “I don’t think I’ll be missing out on much. I love my job.” An 18 year old explains why he is opting for work rather than university
    • “Our findings present strong evidence that the centralised wage setting of teachers’ pay has a negative impact on pupils’ learning.” The University of Bristol report on their findings as things hot up around national pay scales.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Britannia Unchained.” The iconic future according to a new generation of Conservative MPs whose forthcoming publication continues to attract interest.
    read more
  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in July 2012

    This month saw the exam season draw to a close and attention start to shift towards the forthcoming results days instead.

    Main talking points

    Exams, however, in some form remained important with Reports from the Select Committee in England and the Inquiry in Wales and the Response to 16-19 Funding and Provision all being published in the last few weeks.

    Elsewhere, post-16 maths, destination data, FE loan regulations, widening participation in HE and the economy all featured prominently this month. It’s been left to the Olympics to raise both spirits and the economy.

    Key headlines from the month

    • Free schools. 24 open, 50 ish more this Sept, 102 now approved for 2013 onwards
    • Studio Schools. 2 open, 15 more now approved, a target of 30 for Sept 2013
    • Academy funding. Consultation under way on replacing the LA equivalent grant
    • School Dinners. New team brought in to build on Jamie’s work
    • Key Stage 4. Duty to provide work-related learning removed from Sept 2012
    • Gifted and talented. The Sutton Trust call for a new ‘highly able’ strategy
    • Access and Achievement Panel. Ofsted pulls in the leading lights to help with its new Panel
    • Exam system. Select Committee recommend development of some national syllabuses
    • Qual market in Wales. Panel Report retains current system but with improvements
    • Inspiring the Future. Volunteer scheme launched to help inspire youthful ambitions
    • Destination Data. First data set shows where 16 and 18 yr olds are going
    • 16-19. New programme and funding arrangements announced
    • Post-16 maths. The Sutton Trust and the Labour Party add to the voices of support
    • FE loans. Regulations laid as the House debates the implications
    • Skills provision. The SMF, Ofsted, UKCES, 157 Group offer more perspectives
    • Community Learning. First 15 pilot Trusts prepare for an August start
    • HE applications. Down 10% in England, notably amongst older age groups
    • HE fees. Average 2013 fee rises to £8615 pa for HEIs and £6429 pa for HE in FE
    • Graduate Market. Rise in applications but also small, 0.9%, rise in vacancies for 2012
    • Research. Government opens up access to research papers following Finch Review
    • Economy. IMF downgrades global growth predictions, to 0.2 for the UK in 2012
    • Unemployment. Down 65,000 to 2.58m overall, down 10,000 to 1.02m for 16-24 yr olds.

    Reports/Publications of the month (in order of publication)

    • Hidden Talents. The Local Government Association and Centre for Social Justice look at how best to re-engage young people in the first of what’s intended to be a series of Papers
    • Boys’ Reading Commission. The All-Parliamentary Literacy Group come up with nine recommendations such as a tailored reading strategy to help improve boys’ reading
    • Widening Participation Strategic Assessment Monitoring. HEFCE and OFFA’s annual report on provider activity in widening access finds HEIs spending more especially on outreach activity
    • Study and Funding provision for 16-19 year olds. The Government commits to the ‘Wolf’ model for 16-19 study programmes and starts the process of aligning funding
    • RPA Regulations: Response to Consultation. The Government summarises the latest consultation on raising the participation age and confirms the lifting of employer duties
    • The administration of exams for 15-19 yr olds in England. The Select Committee come up with 36 recommendations following its 9 month inquiry into the exam system
    • The Missing Middle. The RSA examine the case for a strong regional/local tier within a reformed and de-regulated school system
    • Britain’s Got Talent. The Social Market Foundation offer a further Paper on the skills system and propose a more sophisticated payment for results system as a way of unlocking demand
    • Educating the Highly Able. The Sutton Trust’s commissioned Paper questions previous policy and includes shifting exams to age 14 amongst its 16 recommendations
    • Understanding HE in FE. BIS publish its research into the impact of HE in FE which finds FE offering a different experience for many but as yet no mass growth
    • Skills for Employment. Ofsted call for provision to be better matched to helping unemployed adults find jobs rather than filling up existing courses
    • Consultation on removing the duty to deliver work-related learning at KS4. Despite the strong support for retaining WRL at KS4, the DfE lifts the requirement on schools
    • Youth Employment Challenge. The UKCES follows up its last year’s Youth Inquiry by highlighting how much harsher the labour market has become for young people
    • Youth Employment in Europe. The TUC, IPPR and CIPD come together to see what lessons can be learned from the fabled systems in Northern European economies
    • Plan B. The Compass Group continues its pursuit of a Plan B for the economy with some recommendations to help young people including a modern form of national service
    • Report into STEM. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee publishes its Report on STEM and call for an expert group to be set up to track growth and opportunities
    • Student number controls for 2013/14. HEFCE publish the procedure for core and margin numbers for next year.

    Speeches of the month

    • Glenys Stacey’s 3 July Exam System speech considers the current wave of system reforms and identifies three aspects necessary for the maintenance of standards
    • Michael Gove’s 5 July FASNA speech lays out the culture of high expectations the Government is seeking with demanding standards for all in a new look education system
    • Nick Gibb’s 10 July ACME speech outlines current Government policy in maths and spells out what steps it’s taking to transform standards
    • Kim Thorneywork’s 10 July Funding Conference speech reflects on a new relationship with FE providers as the Skills Funding Agency moves into a new era
    • Glenys Stacey’s 12 July Westminster Briefing speech expands on the four key questions at the heart of the current consultation on A levels
    • Matthew Coffey’s 12 July Ofsted’s first Learning and Skills Lecture considers some of the challenges facing the FE sector as it seeks to tackle both social mobility and growth at once.

    Quotes of the month

    • “I simply can’t say.” The HE Minister tells the Select Committee that he can’t be sure if or when an HE Bill might appear
    • “Where are the diggers in the ground?” The Director-General of the CBI wonders what’s happened to the Growth Plan
    • “I would like to establish a relationship more like that in HE where Vice Chancellors and HEFCE regard each other as partners in a joint endeavour.” The Interim Chief Exec of the SFA spells out what sort of relationship she is seeking with FE providers in future
    • “It was a vale of tiers.” The Education Secretary plays clever with words as he explains why the exam system needed to change
    • “Maintaining standards in times of change is one of the most significant challenges to any assessment system.” A witness to the Select Committee explains some of the difficulties facing the exam system.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Sheep dipping.” Ofsted highlight a concern about provision focused on qualification achievement rather than job outcomes
    • “It’s easier to be critical than correct.” The Skills Minister quotes Disraeli in the recent Commons debate on FE loans.
    read more
  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in June 2012

    A number of big talking points this month but two in particular stand out.

    Main talking points

    One, inevitably, is the emerging story about GCSE reform. Details at present are only sketchy and will remain so until consultation is launched but the leaked details have been enough to arouse considerable concern about the potential impact on young people. The other story remains the economy and the revelation that the cuts may have to drag on for ten years. Elsewhere there have been signs that the Government too has an eye on the future with future-facing consultations on both A levels and Apprenticeships launched and a keynote speech made by the Prime Minister on welfare reform.

    Key headlines from the month

    • Phonics. Unions express concerns about current screening model
    • National Curriculum. Consultation begins on the draft Key Stage 1 and 2 core specs
    • ICT. Final consultation launched on disapplication of ICT at all Key Stages
    • Careers. Select Committee announce new inquiry
    • GSCE. Consultation likely within two months following media leak
    • Post-16 maths. Elizabeth Truss continues her campaign for compulsory 16+ maths structure
    • A levels. Consultation commences on future design and assessment model
    • 55,600. The number of pupils apparently skipping lessons on a typical day
    • Curriculum in Wales. Consultation begins on literacy/numeracy standards and 14-19 quals
    • Apprenticeships. Latest Review announced, more forward-looking
    • Higher apprenticeships. Latest funding allocated, degree proposals considered
    • FE. AoC call for free school meal eligibility to be extended to college sector
    • Functional skills. Concerns grow about funding rate in the workplace
    • 24+ Loans. Impact Analysis, SFA Guide and latest Briefing all published
    • UCAS stats. Latest figures point to 10% drop in domestic applications
    • HE – Business links. Plans for a new National Centre announced
    • Unemployment. Latest quarterly total down slightly to 2.61m, 1.01m for 16-24 yr olds
    • Inflation. CPI rate drops to 2.8% helped by falls in prices for oil, food, drinks.

    Reports/Publications of the month (in order of publication)

    Speeches of the month

    • Chukka Umunna’s 12 June IPPR speech reports on Labour’s HE policy review and confirms the Party’s promise to cut fees to £6,000
    • Vince Cable’s 12 June Times CEO Summit speech argues that the Olympic project has shown that Britain can deliver big infrastructure projects on time
    • Michael Gove’s 14 June National College speech looks at progress in raising the quality of teaching and announces further expansion of Teach First and a new School Direct model
    • George Osborne’s 14 June Mansion House speech sets out how the government is dealing with continuing ‘shocks’ to the economy
    • Michael Wilshaw’s 15 June National College speech stresses that while he wants to see rapid improvements in teaching, he’ll always be on the side of good heads and teachers
    • Vince Cable’s 15 June Centreforum speech looks at lessons from history and argues that it’s possible to grow out of recession while pursuing deficit reduction
    • Michael Gove’s 26 June Spectator Conference speech defends the government’s current reform programme by arguing that it’s about raising aspiration for all.

    Quotes of the month

    • “We may still be coming through the deepest recession in living memory but we are for the most part incomparably better off than we were in the Silver Jubilee of 1977.” The Institute for Fiscal Studies compares the 2012 Diamond Jubilee with the 1977 Silver Jubilee
    • “In effect, the state doesn’t just open a door to dependency for young people, it drags them in.” The Prime Minister on the need for benefits reform
    • “It is easy to launch Maoist revolutions. It is much harder to build constructive and considered processes of change that address real challenges.” Labour’s Shadow HE Minister on how to carry through reform, in this case for HE
    • “Not to reform education is to settle for stagnation.” Michael Gove on the case for continuing reform of the education system
    • “Lessons should be planned but not in an over complicated or formulaic way. A crowded lesson is as bad as a crowded curriculum.” The Chief Inspector on lesson planning.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Slow casserole.” The recipe for learning according to the Chief Executive of the GDST
    • “The soft bigotry of low expectations.” The American phrase, adapted by Michael Gove, to rebuff those attacking his proposed education reforms.
    read more
  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in May 2012

    Exam season of course and a lot of the activity listed below reflects the importance of exams and qualifications with much interest in Ofqual’s plans for the future and reports such as Ofsted’s on maths teaching.

    Main talking points

    Other themes for the month include social mobility, Special Needs, the annual celebration of adult learning and emerging changes for the profession and inspections, all receiving prominent attention over the last four weeks.

    Key headlines from the month

    • Special Needs. DfE issue formal response to earlier Green Paper consultation
    • Schools. Disadvantaged pupils record higher average GCSE scores in 440 secondaries
    • UTCs. 2 open, 3 opening in Sept, 17 under development, 15 more approved
    • School buildings. 261 plans approved under the new Priority Schools Building Programme
    • Voc learning. Independent commission on pedagogy gets under way
    • 24+ (FE) Advanced Learning Loans. SFA/SLC prepare for info road show from July
    • Adult Skills funding. SFA confirm current budget of £3+bn with indicative £2.7bn for 2013/14
    • Enterprise. £82m StartUp Loans scheme for 18-24 year entrepreneurs launched
    • Adult apprenticeships. NAO suggest economic returns of £18 per £1 of public funding
    • Graduates. ‘High Fliers’ apply early for this year’s jobs; marketing, teaching, media popular
    • Employer Ownership Pilots. 269 bids now in, winners to be announced later
    • Adult learning. NIACE annual survey reports slight 1% fall in participation
    • Pensions. PWC predict a person born this year will not get a state pension until they reach 77.

    Reports/Publications of the month (in order of publication)

    • Great teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best. The Select Committee concludes its inquiry into the profession with strong recommendations on pay, performance and CPD
    • Taking Regulatory Action. Version 2. Ofqual spells out how it intends to use its newly acquired regulatory powers
    • Annual Qualifications Market Report. Ofqual sizes the market and players in its latest survey of the exams and qualification market
    • A risk-based approach to quality assurance. HEFCE launches consultation on a new risk-based quality assurance system for HE in England to be in place potentially from 2013/14
    • 7 Key truths about Social Mobility. The All-Party Parliamentary Group highlight some essential determinants of social mobility with many rooted in education
    • The Regional Growth Fund. The National Audit Office comes up with some of the costings of job creation under the Government’s flagship regional fund
    • DfE Accountability. The Public Accounts Committee casts a sharp eye over DfE operations and calls for clearer lines of responsibility and better value for money
    • International Comparisons in Senior Secondary Assessment. Ofqual completes its international benchmarking exercise for A levels and identifies 10 leading issues
    • Support and aspiration. A new approach to SEN. The DfE reports back on progress in transforming special educational needs provision
    • BIS Research Papers 67, 76, and 77. BIS publish a series of commissioned research Papers on the value of apprenticeships along with views from employers and apprentices
    • Adult Apprenticeships. The Public Accounts Committee welcome the growth of apprenticeships but suggest more could be done to improve costs and benefits
    • Labour Market Statistics May 2012. The ONS report a fall in unemployment over the last quarter, down 45,000 to 2.63m and for young people down 17,000 to 1.02m
    • Attitudes to FE loans. BIS finds attitudes improve slightly once the concept is explained but recognises that a hard round of information and guidance is also needed
    • The case for change. The DfE submits its evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body for a reformed pay and performance structure for teachers
    • HEPI survey into the student academic experience at English universities. The HE Policy Institute examines what impact fee increases have had on the student academic experience
    • Progress Report on Social Mobility. The Deputy PM reports on progress as the strategy reaches its first birthday and launches 17 ‘trackers’ to help measure progress in the future
    • Corporate Plan 2012-14. Ofqual’s first major ‘battle’ plan lists a number of significant developments for the qualification and exams system
    • Lost in transition. The Work Foundation report on the scale of the NEET problem and argue that a changing market is leaving some young people permanently out in the cold
    • Social mobility and education gaps. Research for the Sutton Trust on social mobility across the English-speaking nations finds an uncomfortable gap in the UK for the disadvantaged
    • Maths: made to measure. Ofsted’s report on maths teaching highlights 3 problems: disadvantaged pupils never catching up; variable teaching; too much early GCSE entry
    • Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives. The OECD sets out a strategic approach to skills policies built around 3 policy levers: developing, activating and applying effective skills
    • Science, Engineering and Technology Technicians in the UK economy. The Gatsby Foundation reports on its work to develop a high-level technician tier in key economic sectors
    • Responses to inspection consultation. Ofsted reports on its recent consultation on changes to inspection arrangements for schools and colleges from this Sept.

    Speeches of the month

    • The Queen’s Speech lists 19 Bills for the next session of Parliament including one on Children and Families, a couple on Pensions and one on Enterprise
    • Michael Gove’s 10 May Brighton College speech spells out what more needs to be done to help improve prospects for disadvantaged pupils
    • Nick Clegg’s 14 May social mobility speech announces cash prizes for schools that manage to raise the performance of disadvantaged pupils the most
    • David Cameron’s 17 May ‘Economy’ speech sets out how the Government is getting to grips with the 3 big economic challenges of: recovery, the Eurozone and the global context
    • Ed Miliband’s 21 May Sutton Trust speech calls for a proper recognition of vocational learning as a way of improving social mobility
    • David Willetts’ 24 May UEA lecture extols the virtues of a free market industrial strategy built around technology, research and business engagement.

    Quotes of the month

    • “I’m listening. I’m leading. I get it.” The Prime Minister on the economic fight back
    • “This annual survey, once again, clearly shows that participation is determined by class, age, employment status and prior attainment.” NIACE on its annual adult learning survey
    • “Will we ever see a comprehensive boy or girl edit The Guardian?” Michael Gove on how far we still have to go to improve social mobility
    • “Anything less than good is not an acceptable standard of education.” Ofsted establishes its position
    • “Parents need a 5-a day guide to help them get children ready for school.” The Schools Commissioner raises the prospect of a parenting handbook.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Striving classes.’ You’ve heard of squeezed middle…
    • ‘Skills potholes.’ What the UK Commission found when it surveyed employer views.
    read more