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

    Clearly a difficult month politically but where does this leave the world of education and training?

    Main talking points

    First, like most other public services, it leaves it facing further belt tightening potentially well into 2016 and possibly beyond; Danny Alexander’s IFS speech this month, listed below, is important in understanding the context for this. Second, it leaves the world of education having to look at new ways of doing things so that it can raise performance while at the same time implement efficiencies: changes to teacher support, FE governance, workforce and funding, all listed here, are examples of this. And third, it leaves it having to ensure that the quality of its services and products are such that they can fully support learner progression: developments around A levels, apprenticeships and careers guidance, also all listed here, are examples of that.

    Key headlines from the month

    • Primary schools. £600m dished out to help cope with primary ‘bulge’
    • Free schools. 70 hoping to open in Sept 2012 but premises still an issue
    • A levels. Consultation to begin in June on HE involvement
    • Exam Board seminars. Ofqual set out new arrangements
    • Teachers. New appraisal arrangements confirmed for Sept 2012
    • Youth Contract. Launches at last at the start of the month
    • Young entrepreneurs. Bids for start-up scheme announced
    • Apprenticeships. New safeguards announced, new Parliamentary Group formed
    • Careers. New national service and range of products launched
    • FE. Consultation on governance complete, one on workforce regs under way
    • HE student numbers. Arrangements for 2013/14 announced
    • HE access agreements. New guidance for this year published
    • Big Society. New fund to support social enterprise launched
    • Economy. Unemployment slightly better, growth figures slightly not.

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

    • Work Experience Placements That Work. The CIPD offers a guide for employers on best practice in work experience placements
    • Innovation Code Checklist. As it says on the tin, a checklist for FE and training providers who want to draw down funding to support development of innovative provision
    • Fit for Purpose? Ofqual takes the pulse on the suitability of A levels as the Secretary of State invites HE to get involved in qualification design
    • The Right Advice at the Right Time. The Skills Minister brings along a TV chef to help him launch the long awaited new National Careers Service
    • Funding Rules 2012/13. The Skills Funding Agency pulls a lot of guidance and regulations together as it launches version one of this year’s funding rules
    • No Train No Gain. The IPPR offers a further perspective on where state-led skills policies have gone wrong in the past and calls instead for a more devolved and innovative system
    • Loans in FE. The DfE offer the first of what should be a regular series of briefings as part of the build up to next year’s introduction of fee loans for parts of the FE sector
    • Community Learning Trust Pilots. The BIS Dept launch its Prospectus for a new ‘Big Society’ model of locally determined adult and community learning trusts
    • Consultation on Revocation of the FE Workforce Regulations. The BIS Dept follow up the recent Review of FE professionalism with a consultation intended to clear the decks
    • Apprenticeships for young people. Ofsted emphasise the importance of work experience as it reports on what makes for good practice in apprenticeship provision for young people
    • Improving attendance at school. The Government’s Expert Adviser on Behaviour comes up with some beefed up proposals to improve attendance particularly in primary schools
    • Labour Market Statistics April 2012. The latest labour market stats point to a 35,000 drop in the unemployment total over the last quarter
    • Work Based Learning Workforce Survey 2010/11. AELP and LSIS get together to update the profile of the WBL workforce
    • Reorganising central government bodies. The Public Accounts Committee express concerns about how much will really be saved through quango reform
    • Business and Schools: Building the world of work together. UKCES uncover some familiar truths as it examines an important relationship
    • The Missing Link. The Association of Directors of Children’s Services publish two significant reports positioning local authorities as the ‘missing link’ in the new school system
    • Maths within A level options. Score and Nuffield investigate the content and nature of maths components and call for changes.

    Speeches of the month

    • Stephen Twigg’s 3 April ATL Conference speech announces that Sir Tim Brighouse will head up views on teacher CPD as part of Labour’s sweeping policy review
    • David Willetts’ 18 April HEFCE Conference speech reports on the latest developments in HE and confirms thinking on student numbers and widening participation but not the Bill
    • Sir Alan Langlands’ 18 April HEFCE Conference speech looks ahead to the next Spending Review and argues that HE will need to get the balance right between public/private funding
    • Danny Alexander’s 23 April IFS speech confirms that the age of austerity will drag on for some time yet and so sets new funding rules for Depts like education and skills.

    Quotes of the month

    • “It’s taking longer than anyone hoped to recover from the biggest debt crisis of our lifetime.”  The Chancellor reacts to the latest ‘disappointing’ growth figures
    • “I am sure universities will emerge from this stronger than before and that is not an empty claim.” David Willetts tells the HEFCE Conference that he sees light at the end of the tunnel
    • “An apprenticeship is about employment and skills development. It is not simply a vocational training course.” The new head of the NAS is clear about the nature of apprenticeships
    • “Skills have become the global currency of 21stc economics.” The OECD’s forthcoming Skills Strategy starts from this position
    • “It is my view that the single most important purpose of an A level qualification is to prepare young people for study at university.” Michael Gove clarifies what he sees as the purpose of A levels as he calls on HE to assure standards.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Rainy day money.’ The money (5% of resource budgets) that spending Depts now have to stash away just in case
    • ‘Room meat.’  What HE students apparently become if force fed dull lectures.
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  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in March 2012

    A huge number of Reports and Papers out this month (see below) with the Budget or at least funding generally, dominating many of them.

    Main talking points

    Public sector pensions and pay apart, there was little in the Budget on education though many will have noticed the Chancellor’s continuing commitment to stick with current funding restrictions into 2016/17 which will, as the Institute of Fiscal Studies noted last year, have implications for education provision.

    And on the theme of funding, updates on progress towards new funding systems for both schools and FE were published during the month, bids opened for summer schools and employer owned pilots and the finance package for university students for 2013/14 was announced.

    Key headlines from the last month

    • GCSE. Michael Gove cautions against early entry
    • Homework. Michael Gove scraps current (old) guidelines
    • Performance Tables. The Dept publish the latest listing for the 2014/15 tables
    • Summer schools. Bids for funding opens
    • Careers. The Dept issue statutory guidance for schools
    • Youth Contract. DWP Select Committee prepare to launch an Inquiry
    • HE admissions. UCAS shift focus from PQA reform to Clearing
    • HE Student Finance. David Willetts confirms the package for 2013/14
    • HE margin places. HEFCE confirms allocation of the 20,000 ‘margin’ places up for grabs
    • Russell Group of universities. Gains four new members
    • Employer Ownership Pilot. Guidelines for applications issued
    • Welfare Reform. Bill incorporating Universal Credit eventually passed.

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

    • National Numeracy Survey. The new group dedicated to tackling maths skills finds that 17m adults have ‘poor’ numeracy skills
    • A New Streamlined Funding System for Adult Skills. The SFA publish an update on progress in introducing a new simplified funding system from August 2013
    • Quarterly Economic Forecast. The British Chambers of Commerce suggest unemployment will rise to 2.90m by Q1 2013 in their latest Quarterly Review
    • Review of Alternative Provision. The Government’s Expert Adviser on Behaviour outlines what’s available outside mainstream provision and calls for more school commissioning
    • Labour market statistics: March 2012. The ONS publish the latest set of unemployment figures which show the overall total up 28,000 since the last quarter to 2.67m
    • The growth of academy chains. The NCSL publish a report on some of the implications and challenges of academy chains for school leaders
    • Public attitudes to GCSEs and A levels. Ofqual’s annual survey finds public confidence undimmed in both qualifications
    • Moving English forward. Ofsted report on evidence from inspections of English and suggest some ways of helping raise standards
    • Enterprising Futures. The new(ish) Gazelle Group in FE look at changing practices in the workplace and call for greater prominence to be given to developing entrepreneurial skills
    • Hidden Talents. The LGA examine the complex web of support systems for unemployed young people and call for better pooling of resources
    • Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century. The OECD present some interesting case study evidence as they consider teaching roles in the future
    • Budget 2012. A 100+ pages of forecasts, predictions, reforms and hopes for the future
    • Economic and Fiscal Outlook. March 2012. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) point to a zig-zag pattern of growth as they sketch out the economic climate for the next 5 years
    • Plan for Growth. The BIS Dept update progress on the 235 measures in the Growth Plan
    • The over-looked middle in 14+ education and training. The Institute of Education point to a new group of young people likely to emerge from the current lack of provision
    • Next Steps in School Funding Reform. The Dept report on steps being taken to introduce a simplified national funding formula from 2013/14
    • Professionalism in FE. The Independent Review Panel tries to clear the air as it produces the first phase of what will be a two phase report
    • After the Riots. The final Report of the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel comes up with over 60 recommendations covering schools, families, the police and consumerism
    • Plan A+: unleashing the potential of Academies. The think tank Reform and the Schools Network examine progress in Academisation and call for a new Plan A phase of development.

    Speeches of the month

    • Vince Cable’s 6 March EEF Manufacturing Conference speech spells out what he considers to be some of the key ingredients of a modern industrial strategy
    • Francis Maude’s 7 March Policy Exchange speech sees giving people a stake through greater ownership, mutualisation and transparency as an essential part of the Party’s modernisation
    • Iain Duncan Smith’s 12 March Social Justice speech announces the creation of a new investment funded Early Intervention Foundation to help prevent social breakdown
    • Sir Michael Wilshaw’s 15 March Raising Standards in literacy speech lists 10 steps to help raise national standards in literacy
    • Ed Miliband’s 16 March Labour Youth Conference speech calls for a bank bonus tax to be used to guarantee 6 months work for 18-24 year olds who have been out of work for a year
    • Sir Michael Wilshaw’s 20 March Policy Exchange speech reflects on Ofsted’s role in after care services that could help school improvement
    • George Osborne’s 21 March Budget speech has little to say on education but plenty on tax, benefits and pensions
    • Michael Gove’s 24 March ASCL speech identifies five pillars for reform: the funding system, teaching, the curriculum and quals, accountability and system change.

    Quotes of the month

    • “The British economy has carried a little more momentum into the new year than previously anticipated.” The Chancellor points to some movement in his Budget speech
    • “It’s simply inexcusable for anyone to say they can’t do maths. It is a peculiarly British disease we aim to eradicate.” The new National Numeracy campaign takes a no-excuses approach to raising maths standards
    • “Lest anyone think we have reached a point where we should slacken the pace of reform, let me reassure them: we have to accelerate.” Michael Gove keeps his foot on the pedal
    • “Young people between 13 and 24 years can receive support from at least 8 national organisations funding 33 different funds and schemes spanning 13 different age groups.”The Local Government Association tries to untangle support systems for young people
    • “Sage on the stage or guide on the side.” Former Labour adviser Peter Hyams looks for both as he recruits teachers for his new school.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Abattoir administration.’ The Times political correspondent gets graphic over cuts
    • ‘Dux.’ The DfE displays its Latin credentials as it adopts a classical term for its new scheme to encourage entry to university.
    read more
  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education for February 2012

    Two of what are likely to be dominant themes for the world of education and skills this year have been very much in evidence this month.

    Main talking points

    First standards, where this month has seen Ofqual announce further tightening for some GCSEs, the Chief Inspector set out the rationale behind changes to inspections and the Skills Minister announce further quality changes for apprenticeships. Second youth employment, a fertile ground at present for planners and policy makers and where the month saw a further announcement on the Youth Contract by the Deputy PM and a couple of significant Reports on youth unemployment, listed below. Elsewhere, HE gained a new Director for the Office for Fair Access but saw proposals to impose penalties on early repayment of fee loans dropped.

    Key headlines from the last month

    • Free Schools. Next round of applications opens
    • GCSE. Further tightening in 4 subjects announced
    • Ofsted. Consultation on raising the bar launched
    • National Citizen Service. Further consultation under way
    • Apprenticeships. 3 big banks prepare to pitch in
    • Apprenticeships 16-24. AGE (Apprenticeship Grant for Employers) launched
    • SME Apprenticeship Review. Chair and reporting date established
    • Business in the Community. Network of Business Connectors extended
    • FE. Independent review of profession takes evidence
    • FE ITE. Budget for initial teacher education announced
    • City Skills Fund. Funding pot confirmed
    • UK Skills Show. Date (Nov 2012) and venue (NEC) now set
    • HEFCE. Funding for teaching and learning announced
    • HE fees. Proposals for early repayment penalty abandoned
    • HE Key Information Set. Latest modelling of format published
    • Regional Growth Fund. Further £1bn added for new round of bids
    • Make it in Great Britain. The ‘Make it’ challenge launched
    • Unemployment. Final 2011 figures confirmed at 2.67m.

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

    Speeches of the month

    • David Miliband’s 6 February speech launching the Youth Commission Report outlines some important recommendations to help youth employment
    • Sir Michael Wilshaw’s 9 February ‘Good to Great’ Conference speech spells out some of the changes being planned for the inspection system
    • David Cameron’s 23 February Business in the Community speech takes on some of the recent anti business mood and argues that business and social justice can go hand in hand
    • Vince Cable’s 23 Feb Manufacturing Summit speech explains what steps the government is taking to support the manufacturing industry
    • Vince Cable’s 27 February Industrial Strategy speech highlights the work the government is doing to stimulate a growth strategy.

    Quotes of the month

    • “A rising tide lifts all boats.” David Willetts explains the thinking behind an open HE market
    • “Hopefully I’ll never have to press the nuclear button.” The new Director of OFFA considers his armoury
    • “If the route to university is a well signposted route, the route into work for (these) 16-18 year olds is more like an unmarked field of landmines.”  The ACEVO Youth Commission highlight the rocky road facing many young people
    • “Every individual soul is precious.”  Michael Gove tells the Select Committee why he’s so committed to education reform
    • “My view is that we have tolerated mediocrity for far too long.” Sir Michael Wilshaw takes a strong line on satisfactory level performance
    • “This will not be just another quango.” Stephen Twigg outlines plans for a new Educational Improvements Agency.

    Word or phrase of the month

    • ‘Rhineland capitalism.’ The joint state-employer training model adopted in countries like Germany and Austria and viewed enviously for its success in training young people
    • ‘Job Snobs.’ Government riposte to critics of its work schemes.
    read more
  • Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education for Jan 2012

    January is generally the month of reckoning after the Christmas period and January 2012 has been no different with a string of statistics being published on the economy, unemployment and school and college performance through annual ‘league’ tables.

    Main talking points

    The stats on the economy and unemployment cover the last quarter of 2011 but generally confirm the downbeat predictions that came out of the survey of leading economists carried out at the start of the year. As for the league tables, accompanied now by a bulging portfolio of data, it was the lack of progress between the end of primary school and GCSEs particularly for disadvantaged pupils, that provoked some of the sharpest headlines. Elsewhere, the Education Secretary’s ICT speech at BETT, the latest application figures through UCAS, the DfE listing for future 14-16 performance tables and rumours about the HE Bill all provided talking points for the month

    Key headlines from the last month

    • Summer hols. Political interest grows in trimming to allow for extra schooling
    • Primary ‘bulge.’ Expected to grow by 800,000 by 2020
    • Academies. 1529 now open
    • ‘Coasting’ schools. The Prime Minister hosts a seminar
    • ICT. Disapplication consultation launched
    • League Tables. 58.2% of state school pupils achieve the 5 ‘good’ GCSE benchmark
    • Future league tables. DfE publish approved list for 2014 tables
    • Exam system. Select Committee hears evidence
    • Inspections. Satisfactory grade going, no notice inspections coming
    • School to Work. Labour launch a Review
    • Raising the participation age. Consultation launched on some finer details
    • Work experience. 100 firms line up to offer opportunities    Apprenticeships. New online certification system launched
    • Troubled Families. New £200m scheme launched by the DWP
    • University applications. Headline drop of 7.4% at the Jan staging point    Degrees. Number of students gaining 1st and 2.1 honours rises to 64%
    • Unemployment. Final quarterly figures for 2011 up
    • Growth. Down by 0.2% in last quarter
    • National debt. Tops a trillion, £16,400 for each of us

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

    • ‘ The Prince’s Trust Youth Index 2012.’ The Trust’s fourth annual stock take of issues affecting young people finds many of them feeling rudderless and lacking confidence
    • ‘ Technology and Innovation Futures.’ This latest Foresight Scanning Paper looks ahead at UK hi-tech growth opportunities for the 2020s
    • ‘ The Skills Dilemma.’ The Work Foundation examine two sectors and argues that poor skills utilisation rather than weak skills supply is as much the problem
    • ‘ The Graduate Market in 2012.’ The latest High Fliers research looks at the prospects for the Class of 2012 and finds previous work experience a key factor in getting a job
    • ‘ HESA Statistical First Release.’  The latest Release from the Higher Ed Stats Agency offers an interesting picture of undergraduate trends, numbers and outcomes
    • ‘ Shut down or restart.’ The Royal Society publish the results of their 2 year inquiry into the state of ICT and computing in UK schools and call for an expansion of digital literacy
    • ‘ Recognising central government bodies.’ The National Audit Office take a look at how the quango reform programme is progressing and find the estimates of savings to be optimistic
    • ‘ Information is not enough.’ The 157 Group of Colleges call for careers advice to be impartial and make a case for colleges to act as service hubs
    • ‘ The introduction of the Work Programme.’ The National Audit Office review the early stages of the Work Programme and highlight some teething pains
    • Latest performance table data. The latest batch of annual exam performance data suggest some improvements but highlight concerns about disadvantaged pupils
    • Engineering UK 2012. The sector’s latest stock take on the state of engineering in the UK shows its importance to the economy but highlights changes needed to the supply side
    • HE Funding for England 2012/13. The latest Grant Letter increases the overall budget but starts to reflect the impact of the incoming regime with recoupment through fee loans

    Speeches of the month

    Quotes of the month

    • “It must be the year we go for it.” The Prime Minister comes out fighting in his New Year message
    • “There will be no additional Government funding. This time we will be looking to private finance and perhaps sponsorship.” David Willetts spells out the thinking behind a new kind of university
    • “I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programmes so that from now on people have one programme, one website and one place to go for all the information and help they need.” President Obama stresses the importance of skills training in his State of Union Address
    • “Just good enough is frankly not good enough.” The Prime Minister defends the move to re-label long-term satisfactory schools as requiring improvement
    • “In an average week the DfE processes 20 applications from schools to convert to Academy status.” Michael Gove points out how fast Academisation is spreading
    • “Technology in schools will no longer be micromanaged by Whitehall.” Michael Gove’s BETT speech launches a review of ICT provision  in schools

    Word or phrase of the month

    1.6 hours. Average amount of time per day children apparently spend on their mobiles
    ‘Requires improvement.’ The new grading for schools formerly labelled ‘satisfactory’.

    read more