Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in January 2013

Little sign of a thaw here with 24 top education measures listed as still outstanding in the Government’s mid-term review launched at the start of this month.

Evidence of momentum this month includes for schools, announcements on A level reform and a report on EBCs, for colleges, papers on Traineeships and the value of learning and for HE, latest application and grant figures. 21 major Reports and 20+ key headlines this month attest to the continuing momentum

Key headlines from the month

  • Free Schools. Restrictions lifted on use of buildings, plans for maths schools emerge
  • Academies. 3,167 now open or in the pipeline including first PRU
  • Maths. Nuffield publish latest report into post-16 variants
  • EBacc. Computer science in but petition for others reaches Number 10
  • A level. Reforms confirmed for 2015
  • Careers. Education Committee report on changes needed
  • ‘League Tables.’ Latest tables confirm evidence of the EBacc and Academy effect
  • Teachers. Teaching Agency and National College prepare to merge
  • Inspections. Ofsted order stretch and challenge report into teaching of most able
  • Teachers’ pay. Government confirms move to new system from Sept 2013
  • Wales. Minister confirms new Qual Body in place from Sept 2015
  • 16-24 Traineeships. Government start initial planning
  • 24+ Loans. Support funding and new materials available
  • HE Grant. Down to £2.8bn for T/L but £5.8bn forecast to come from fee income
  • HE applications. Relief as important Jan cycle figures up 3.5% on last year
  • Postgrads. Pressure builds up for a better deal as numbers drop
  • First class degrees. Up nearly 50% over the last five years
  • Apprenticeships. Graduate frameworks to be developed this year
  • Regional Growth Fund. Latest bidding round opens
  • Education UK. New unit set up to drive export demand
  • Unemployed. Drops to 2.49m, Labour propose new £1bn scheme

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

Speeches of the month

  • The Education Minister’s 17 North of England speech spells out some of the steps being taken to improve maths performance in schools
  • Charlie Taylor’s 18 January North of England speech sets out some of the challenges facing the newly merged Teaching Agency and National College for School Leadership
  • Stephen Twigg’s 23 January Policy Exchange speech lays out Labour’s approach to transforming vocational education and announces a review of work experience
  • David Willetts’ 24 January ‘8 great technologies’ speech provides a progress report on the key technologies at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy

Quotes of the month

  • “On all the big issues that matter to Britain, we are heading in the right direction and I have the evidence to prove it.” The Prime Minister in his upbeat New Year message
  • “A choice between extended misery if the euro survives and catastrophe if it doesn’t.” A leading economist with a lessupbeat New Year message
  • “We want you to consider increasing the flexibility for those institutions that have shown strong recruitment patterns in 2013/14 and taper this away from institutions enjoying less demand.” The Government’s latest Grant Letter looks to the market
  • “I could learn about veterinary somewhere else but it wouldn’t come across as well as hearing it from a vet with his hand up a cow’s backside.” A recipient to the Commission on vocational learning on why such learning is so important
  • “Do they think Silicon Valley wants people who can understand calculus and linear algebra or students who turn up saying ‘don’t worry we can Google everything?’” The Education Minister defends changes to A levels

Word or phrase of the month

  •  ‘Clunking and gridding.’ Maths techniques the Government doesn’t like.

Steve Besley
Head of Policy

Policy Watches are intended to help colleagues keep up to date with national developments. Information is correct at the time of writing and is offered in good faith. No liability is accepted for decisions made on the basis of information given.