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

Much of the month was spent nervously awaiting the Chancellor’s 2015/16 spending announcements.

In the event, school protections continued but other parts of the system faced a mix of efficiencies.  Elsewhere, it’s been a difficult month for trees with a huge number of Reports published notably on GCSE reform, disadvantaged learners, funding and HE

Key headlines from the month

  • Schools. Labour offer thoughts on changes to the school system
  • Disadvantaged pupils. Still a big concern in latest Ofsted Reports
  • 14-16 yr olds. DfE issue guidance on enrolment in colleges
  • National Curriculum. History gets a further rewrite
  • GCSEs. DfE and Ofqual launch latest bout of consultations
  • A levels. New review panel announced
  • Exam marking. Ofqual publish first in series of Reports
  • ICT. Government issue order for switch to Computing
  • Teaching. Education Committee announce inquiry into a College of Teaching
  • Careers. National Careers Council sketch out a new vision
  • Destination Data. Latest historic data published on outcomes for 16 and 18 yr olds
  • FE. LSIS publish valedictory Report
  • HE. Series of Reports set out challenging funding context.

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

Speeches of the month

  • Ed Balls’ 3 June British Economy speech outlines some tough new realities for the Party including a zero-based spending review for the first year of a new Labour Government
  • David Cameron’s 10 June Plan for Britain’s Success Speech lists the economy, welfare reform and education change as the big 3 pillars of an aspirational society
  • Michael Gove’s 11 June Statement sets the machinery in motion for the reform of GCSEs
  • Stephen Twigg’s 17 June RSA speech tackles the issue of school system reform
  • George Osborne’s 26 June Spending Announcement spreads the load across the spending Depts for 2015/16.

Quotes of the month

  • “The economy is coming out of intensive care and heading for the recovery room.” The Chancellor delivers a better prognosis for the economy
  • “Conduct great meetings in which you have the relevant people around the table all with an equal voice. Get the rational first then test the irrational.”  Lord Browne on good decision making
  • “I wonder how many times over the last half a century some movement in technology has been hailed as the solution for low cost education.” PA Consulting surveys changes in HE
  • “They could provide a model of the very best practice that would be available to colleges.”Labour considers a return of CoVEs (centres of voc excellence)
  • “Teaching has, in some cases, been twisted into an exercise in passing on exam techniques, not a way of inspiring deep thinking.” Michael Gove makes the case for reforming GCSEs
  • “A mark is a human judgement of a candidate’s work and is only ever an approximation of the candidate’s true score.” Ofqual on the challenges of good marking.

Word or phrase of the month

  • ‘Iron discipline.’  What Ed Balls wants from future Labour spending plans
  • ‘Poverty of expectation.’  What Sir Michael Wilshaw feels hovers over the education system
  • ‘Smart austerity.’ Makes belt-tightening feel better.

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.