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

Some important announcements this month on careers, a College of Teaching, qualification development and performance, and HE but it’s the Autumn Statement at the start of the month that provides the strongest messages for next year and beyond 

Key headlines from the month

  • KS2 tests. The DfE confirm summer test results 
  • SEND. The government puts more money in to support the new special needs system
  • GCSE Science. Ofquals consults on assessments of practicals
  • GCSEs in Hist, Geog, Ancient, Modern Languages. Ofqual consults on regulations
  • Maths. Government confirms introduction of maths/further maths A/AS deferred to Sept 2017
  • Core maths. Six new quals announced
  • Character in schools. Significant announcements from all sides
  • PISA tests. 2018 tests to include digital competences
  • Exam reforms. Education Secretary tells Education Committee things are on course
  • Careers. Education Secretary announces a new independent advisory company
  • Grammar Schools. Conservative Group launches campaign for more
  • College of Teaching. The government comes out in support and launches consultation
  • Ofsted (1.) Consultation closes on proposed new common inspection framework
  • Ofsted (2.) Latest Annual Report points to ‘stalling secondaries’
  • 16-19 English and maths. The EFA update funding conditions following latest developments
  • VQs. Approved quals for Sept 2015 teaching published
  • Digital Skills. The PM announces a new College to train future digital innovators
  • QCF. Ofqual announces the timetable for dismantling
  • Apprenticeships. Target of 2m starts under this government reached
  • FE outcome measures. Further consultation due in 2015
  • National Colleges. Vince Cable announces 4 more
  • LEPs. Government publishes accountability framework
  • HE QA arrangements. Steering Group confirms discussion document due in New Year
  • Postgrads. HEFCE sets out interim funding arrangements
  • Uni research. Results of latest review exercise released

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

Speeches of the month

  • George Osborne’s 3 December Autumn Statement includes money for careers, postgrads and science research but warns of more cuts to come for at least the next 3 years 
  • Tristam Hunt’s 8 December Demos speech sets out Labour Party plans for helping schools and families develop character in young people
  • Sir Michael Wilshaw’s 10 December Annual Report speech reflects on some of the reasons why primary schools are improving but secondary schools, in some areas, are struggling

Quotes of the month

  • “The measures I announce today are not a net giveaway but actually tighten the public finances a little.” The Chancellor tightens the belt in the Autumn Statement
  • “One thing is sure-if we move in anything like this direction, whilst continuing to protect health and pensions, the role and shape of the state will have changed beyond recognition.” The IFS considers potential long-term effects of cuts on public services
  • “I’m delighted to see the QCF go.” Alison Wolf on the funeral notice for the adult qual framework
  • “Character, resilience and the ability to bounce back: it’s what makes us British.”  The Shadow Education Secretary on building character and spirit in schools
  • “Things would be healthier if we would all stop thinking about Ofsted quite so often.” The Gen Sec of the NAHT on keeping our thoughts to ourselves
  • “We don’t need more tinkering with the existing system: we need a new system.” The former High Master of St Paul’s School on what the education system really needs

Word or phrase of the month

  • Al desco.’ Having to take lunch at your desk.

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.