Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in June 2014

16 headlines, 23 Reports, 7 leading speeches, it’s been that sort of month.

Key headlines from the month

  • Primary. Government and IoE announce new leadership schemes
  • Free schools. 38 more approved, total rises to 331
  • Progress 8. Schools invited to opt in early
  • GCSEs/A levels. Ofqual consults on the final sweep
  • Science. DfE launches consultation on proposed programme of study at KS4
  • Maths. ACME launches a maths education blueprint
  • Functional Skills. Ofqual seeks views
  • Exams 2014. Ofqual writes to schools and colleges
  • School funding. Lib-Dems pledge to ring fence 0-19 funding
  • Teachers. Ofqual invites teacher comments on exam prepping techniques
  • Lesson observations. Ofsted prepares to pilot a new approach
  • Learning Technology. Government pushes the agenda in FE
  • Apprenticeships. New co-investment funding model to be piloted from 2014/15
  • University complaints. Universities uphold a rising number of student complaints
  • Universities. Bath, Surrey, Lancaster charge up the Guardian university league table
  • Student visas. Government Statement responds to latest concerns.

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

Speeches of the month

  • Matthew Hancock’s 2 June AELP Conference speech presents apprenticeship reform as an essential modernising exercise and announces a pilot funding model for new starters
  • Michael Gove’s 7 June Policy Exchange speech outlines five factors that help define high-performing school systems starting with autonomy and accountability
  • Matthew Hancock’s 11 June AoC International Conference speech finds good progress being made in the International Education Strategy as it reaches its first anniversary
  • Matthew Hancock’s 15 June Spectator speech highlights the role of technology in helping transform vocational learning
  • Sir Michael Wilshaw’s 20 June Sunday Times Ed Festival speech identifies 4 features for successful comp schools: aspirational; competitive; ordered; working with/confronting parents
  • Glenys Stacey’s 20 June Sunday Times Ed Festival speech outlines what to expect not just for this summer but for the longer-term future in the qualification world
  • George Osborne’s 23 June Manchester speech sees a new rail network and flourishing universities as core ingredients of a booming Northern economy.

Quotes of the month

  • “I would say freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions.” The Prime Minister defines British values
  • “When I go to Tesco I don’t negotiate the prices and I guess you don’t either. But they know sure as anything I can go to Waitrose next door if I want and that drives value for money.” The Skills Minister on the shopping basket approach to apprenticeship funding
  • “When I was 7, maths meant workbooks, pencils and pocket calculators.” The Skills Minister on what learning was like before technology came along
  • “We wouldn’t accept a fifth of hospital operations going wrong of a fifth of flights ending badly. So why should we accept a system in which school standards were still too low?” Michael Gove on setting bars for school standards
  • “We’re not going to indulge in massive curriculum change, undoing what’s taken place.” Tristram Hunt tries to reassure
  • “It won’t be an easy summer but then I haven’t had an easy summer yet.” The Chief Executive of Ofqual on the anxieties of the summer results season.

Word or phrase of the month

  • ‘Playlist.’ An online learning plan for students, apparently
  • ‘Mindfulness.’ The new in-demand skill for leaders.

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.