Policy Tracker - keeping track of what happened in the world of education in February 2018

Policy Tracker

A month which has seen a landmark funding review launched, a new regulatory system for higher education outlined, times table checks for Year 9s confirmed, worries about a slowdown in apprenticeship starts and teacher recruitment rumble on, and a torrent of reports unleashed. And it’s been a short month.

Key headlines from the month

  • Free school meals. Government sets new annual threshold
  • SATs. Government confirms English writing frameworks remain unchanged 
  • Times table checks. Government announces trials and implementation schedule for Yr 9s
  • PSHE. Consultation closes with calls for it to be made statutory
  • Virtual A’ level. Pearson prepares to launch online Spanish A’ level this September
  • Advanced Extension Awards. Ofqual consults on some changes
  • Advanced maths premium. Government spells out funding arrangements
  • Qualifications. Ofqual publishes its latest annual market report
  • School efficiency. DfE launches new support service to help schools get value for money
  • Teacher recruitment. DfE eases restrictions on re-taking skills tests for aspiring teachers
  • Mental health. The Local Government Association calls for compulsory counselling in all secondaries
  • Social media. Science and Technology Committee announces new inquiry
  • Functional Skills. Government publishes subject content guidance
  • Apprenticeships. The Institute for Apprenticeships plans faster and better standards delivery
  • Levy funds. Government provides for levy-paying employers to transfer some training funds
  • Apprenticeship funding bands. Government said to be looking at them again
  • College governors. Economic and Social Research Council announces 3-year research project
  • National Colleges. National College for Nuclear Industry gets under way
  • HE bodies. The HE Minister confirms the designation of QAA and HESA in the new HE firmament
  • Part-time students. Universities UK and the CBI launch a new review to report back this summer 
  • TEF subject panel members. HEFCE announces names
  • Post-18 funding review. Government announces year-long review

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

Speeches of the month

Quotes of the month

  • “In the twenty years since we introduced tuition fees, public debate on tertiary education has been dominated by discussion about how we fund and support those who go to university, and there has been nothing like the same attention paid to how we support the training and develop the skills of the young people who do not” – the Prime Minister launches the long-awaited post-18 funding review
  • “To be perfectly honest, as a politician a bit of heckling can make your speech. It can actually be very good for the speaker rather than damaging” – Jacob Rees-Mogg MP reflects on his experience trying to address an audience at the University of the West of England
  • “Good education is the high-speed train that propels social justice” – Education Committee Chair Robert Halfon gets off his ladder of opportunity and on to a high-speed train instead
  • “It should be thought of as an eco-system, an eco-system that is constantly changing” – former AoC Chief, Martin Doel sets out to explain FE 
  • “We are watching with interest the development and take-up of the T levels and base our judgement on them once we have more evidence on how the qualifications are used in schools” – Oxford University reserves judgement on T levels at this stage 
  • “I would not expect the pay of a CEO or other non-teaching staff to increase faster than the pay award for teachers” – the Academies Minister calls for academy trusts to exercise restraint over salaries
  • “Rather than adopting a passive liberalism that says ‘anything goes’ for fear of causing offence, school leaders should be promoting a muscular liberalism” – Ofsted Chief Inspector calls for efforts all round to ensure British values are not undermined

Word or phrase of the month

‘VUCA.’ Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous: the world today as many see it

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.