Policy Tracker – Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in October 2015

Teacher recruitment, exam performance data, apprenticeships and the funding of high-level skills top the headlines this month where ‘quotes of the month’ pretty much capture the current mood.

Key headlines from the month

  • iPads. A third of pre-school kids now have one according to research
  • Reception assessment. NUT leads the handing in of a petition against baseline assessment
  • Foundation stage. 70% of pupils at required levels in latest government figures
  • Primary schools. Come in for praise in Chief Inspector’s monthly commentary
  • Numeracy projects. EEF trials new resources to help with primary mental maths
  • School absences. PM announces new tougher truancy rules
  • School holidays. LGA call for more reasoned approach  
  • School types. Education Secretary approves new grammar school site in Kent
  • School sizes. Local councils plan to increase intake in many secondary schools
  • School funding. Likely to be down by 8% over next 4 years according to IfS
  • Exam appeals. Ofqual due to consult on possible changes
  • Performance data. Government publishes interim figures from this year’s exams
  • Destination data. Latest unofficial data shows 73% participation by 18 yr olds
  • Work experience. BCCs call for restoration of this for under 16s
  • Careers. Careers and Enterprise Co launch new £5m Investment (support) Fund
  • Mindfulness. New report published calling for training in schools
  • Teachers. NUT survey suggests workload proving unbearable for many
  • Maths teachers. 10% more trainees needed next year under latest government modelling
  • Teacher recruitment. Education Committee to hold one-off session
  • Workload Challenge. 3 new groups under way
  • Education and Adoption Bill. Moves to 2nd Reading in the Lords
  • Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill. Progresses to 2nd Reading in the Commons
  • Functional Skills. BIS calls on ETF to lead new development programme
  • FE. BIS confirm latest area-review schedule
  • Apprenticeships. Ofsted critical of some provision for younger people
  • Apprenticeship levy. Consultation closes with employers expressing concerns
  • Devolution. Sheffield City latest region to sign up for local  growth deal
  • HE applications. UCAS and others commit to anonymous forms to remove bias
  • 2016 applications. UCAS report latest figures as of 15 Oct deadline
  • University websites. Which? complain that some fail to have up-to-date info on fees.  

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

Speeches of the month

Quotes of the month

  • “Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble.” President Obama reacts to concerns from American teachers about too much testing
  • “Early indications from the regions showed that colleges could be forced into shotgun marriages.” Labour’s FE Minister on marrying in haste as a result of area-based reviews
  • “We want to see a new politically independent Levy Board setting the rate based on clear evidence with the funds ring-fenced.” The CBI respond to the apprenticeship levy consultation 
  • “We do not believe that coasting should be about isolated dips in performance but about identifying schools which have consistently not stretched their pupils sufficiently over a number of years.” The DfE incorporates the stretch challenge in its coasting consultation
  • “This does not reflect a change in this government’s position on selective schools.” The Education Secretary on the decision to allow a new grammar school site 
  • “It is not clear to me that paying markers more of its own will deliver improvement although of course we don’t argue against this.” Ofqual Chief Executive confirms it’s not all about the money
  • “This is a goldilocks scenario. It must be neither too fast nor too slow. We need a gap of at least 2 years between design and implementation.” The NAHT’s Gen Sec on school funding reform
  • “Schools shouldn’t be places where business people drop their kids off at the beginning of the day like they drop off their dry cleaning.” The Chief Inspector on employer engagement. 

Word or phrase of the month

  • ‘Gig work.’ No 9-5 jobs anymore, more gig work instead‘
  • Self-serving generation.’ Kids who turn to google for anything from careers to homework.  

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.