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)
- Qualifications Information Review. UCAS report on progress in reforming the HE admissions process and announce further developments under a New Qualification Information System
- Statement of Intent. The DfE sets out its intentions for the reporting of this year’s performance tables
- Guidance for Local Authorities. The Education Funding Agency provides Local Authorities with guidelines for funding 16-19 provision in 2013/14
- The Future of HE in England. The Independent Commission looking into the key challenges facing the sector in the future issues a call for evidence
- A demanding job. The CentreForum Thinktank add to the growing debate on youth unemployment and call for a stronger localised approach
- The Qualification Journey. The Skills Funding Agency explains how qualifications are approved (or not) for funding
- Not for profit. The Thinktank IPPR argues that it’s inappropriate to run state schools for profit
- Developing a Guild for FE. The Government launch proposals for a new sector owned body to lead on professional standards and development
- Consultation on Revocation of the FE Workforce Regulations. BIS respond to the recent consultation and confirm core regulatory requirements will remain for the present
- Oceans of Innovation. Sir Michael Barber et al consider the impact for the future of education systems as the Pacific rim emerges as the nexus for global innovation and leadership
- Does Wage Regulation Harm Kids? Bristol University examine the evidence from English schools and suggest it can
- Widening participation and non-continuation indicators in HE for FE. HEFCE’s long title heralds some useful info on key indicators for HE provision in FE
- Widening participation in HE. BIS report on progress against three measures and find there’s still a long way to go
- Lessons from the RDA Transition and Closure Programme. BIS’s obituary offers three ‘golden rules’ for the future
- The Innovation Code. The Skills Funding Agency updates its Guide on the new ‘freedom’ Code for the FE sector
- Making apprenticeships more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. The Holt Review comes up with 13 recommendations and some novel thinking
- The Future Teacher Workforce. Commissioned research from the Pearson Thinktank highlights some warning signs about future recruitment and suggests improvements
- GCSE English Awards 2012. Ofqual presents its initial findings and recommendations on the awarding of GCSE English this year.
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.