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

Some significant developments this month with the launch of a new Green Paper for HE, consultation on the EBacc for schools and further area reviews for FE, all topped off with the Chancellor’s spending announcements for the remainder of this Parliament. 

Key headlines from the month

  • Primary. Further research links proper breakfast to improved performance
  • School textbooks. Publishers draft new best practice guidelines
  • Special Considerations. Requests up but number approved remains small
  • Late exam entries. Up at GCSE, down at A level
  • 2017 GCSEs and A levels. Consultation launched on a further batch
  • EBacc. Government consults on six core proposals
  • Unregistered schools. Ofsted calls on government to take action
  • Mental health. Youth Select Committee highlights concerns
  • Regional Schools Commissioners. Education Committee continues its inquiry
  • School governors. Ofsted to look into a more professional model
  • School funding. Government to consult on a new fair formula next year
  • Inspections. Ofsted survey reveals how far parents use inspection ratings
  • Sixth Form Colleges. Encouraged to join the Academy trail
  • NEETs. Further drop in latest quarterly figures
  • Apprenticeship Trailblazers. Latest guidance signals couple of changes to approval process
  • Special Apprenticeship Adviser. Nadhim Zahawi picks up the mantle for government
  • Apprenticeship levy. Government response sets out how it will work 
  • FE Loans. Chancellor extends to 19-23 year olds
  • Learning and Work Institute. New name for the joining in matrimony of NIACE and CESI
  • Devo deals. Liverpool and West Midlands sign up
  • Colleges. Mergers in Shrewsbury and East London under consideration
  • HE. Extensive Green Paper from government sets out latest vision. 

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

Speeches of the month

  • Nicky Morgan’s 3 November Policy Exchange speech focuses on monitoring the progress of 7 yr olds, the EBacc and a new National Teacher Service as she seeks to push educational excellence
  • John Cridland’s 9 November CBI Conference speech sees the Director-General depart the CBI stage continuing to call for GCSEs to go and for stronger skills pathways in the school curriculum
  • Nicky Morgan’s 9 November CBI Conference speech explains how the government is attempting to transform education and calls on business to join in and work with schools in the future
  • Nick Gibb’s 17 November Publishers’ Association speech continues to extol the virtues of text books as a valuable tool in learning and praises publishers for helping revive their use
  • Nick Boles’ 17 November AoC speech challenges FE to be quicker off the mark and seize a piece of the action especially around apprenticeships
  • Sam Gyimah’s 19 November speech at the National Association of School Business Managers Conference helps launch a new framework of prof standards for school business managers
  • George Osborne’s 25 November Autumn Statement speech mixes clever footwork with headline announcements as it sets out the government’s future spending plans.

Quotes of the month

  • “And quite frankly, if we’re not into surplus after 10 years of full economic growth when will we ever be?” The Chancellor asks the question
  • “Students should come out of their university years feeling they’ve got value for money for their time there. Unfortunately too many are coming out feeling they haven’t and I want to address that.” The HE Minister on one of the principles behind the latest Green Paper
  • “As your friend I have to ask you why on earth are you letting these guys nick your lunch?” The Skills Minister with a friendly warning to colleges about being quicker off the mark
  • “I want to see at least 90% of students entering the EBacc.” The Secretary of State makes clear her expectations on the EBacc
  • “At root, it’s not autonomy that really matters, it’s what autonomy allows you to do differently that counts.” The Schools Minister on ‘it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it
  • ’“We need multiple learning pathways, vocational and academic, from 14-18, with GCSEs retired and a full range of A’ levels, technical and academic at 18.” The departing CBI DG on 14-19. 

Word or phrase of the month

  • ‘Waithood.’ The stage between childhood and adulthood (which some teenagers want to skip). 

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.