Policy Tracker – Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in June 2018

Policy Tracker

A month which has seen the exam season draw to a sweltering close, the Education Festival bandwagon do the rounds, the government pilot a website for teacher recruitment, the Education Secretary stick with the schedule for T Levels, some changes for the apprenticeship levy announced but apprenticeships starts remaining modest, degree returns and TEF results reported and, as listed here, a host of new reports published.

Key headlines from the month

  • Phonics screening check. Government confirms pass mark remains at 32
  • PSHE. Partnership Group calls for it become statutory on the school curriculum
  • Childhood obesity. Government announces new measures
  • Off rolling. FFT Education Datalab analyze the evidence
  • Teachers. Government pilots new free website for teacher vacancies
  • School governors. Education Secretary doubles funding for training
  • National Skills Commissioner. Dominic Herrington takes the hot seat from this September
  • FE teachers. Skills Minister aims to attract with a new funded training scheme 
  • T Levels. Skills Minister confirms government keen to press ahead
  • Apprenticeships. Latest data shows continuing slow take-up
  • Levy flexibility. Government extends 10% transfer availability 
  • Staff moves. DfE and ESFA tech and apprenticeship reform teams to work together
  • Construction Skills. Government launches new training fund
  • Skills Strategy. London Mayor publishes outline version for the capital 
  • Uni entry. Universities UK report shows new recruits have higher entry qualification levels
  • PQA. UCU calls for a revisit of post qualification admission (PQA) syste
  • Student satisfaction. HEPI and Advance HE publish latest annual survey results
  • Teaching Excellence Framework. Latest round of assessments published 
  • Degree returns. New research identifies course and institution types for best graduate returns
  • Degree inflation. Think tank reports on the issue
  • VC’s pay. OfS issues new reporting directive
     

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

Speeches of the month

  • Amanda Spielman’’s 1 June speech to the Pre-school Learning Alliance conference ranges from the value of reading and Ofsted inspections to toilet training 
  • Amanda Spielman’s 6 June Bryanston speech recounts how inspections have changed over the years and identifies some of the principles shaping the new inspection framework coming in 2019
  • Sam Gyimah’s 7 June HEPI speech highlights the importance of value for money and student choice and announces a new team to help new providers enter the market 
  • Damian Hinds’ 9 June NGA speech announces more money for governor training and a clamp down on excessive pay rises and party transactions over £20,000 in Academy Trusts
  • Greg Clark’s 13 June London Tech Week speech spells out the importance of artificial intelligence to the government’s Industrial Strategy
  • Nick Gibb’s 14 June International Textbook Summit speech outlines the value of high-quality textbooks in supporting learning and saving teachers’ time and workloads
  • Matt Hancock’s 20 June NSPCC speech argues for greater control of mobile phone and online use for children arguing that parents, teachers, tech companies, governments, all have a role to play
  • Amanda Spielman’s 21 June Festival of Education speech outlines the progress Ofsted is making in developing ‘a more intelligent and responsible’ inspection system 
  • Nick Gibb’s 22 June Festival of Education speech highlights the importance of teaching expertise and the ways in which the profession itself is taking a lead in developing this
     

Quotes of the month

  • “It has to be pulling together the social mobility action plan” – former Education Secretary Justine Greening tells the TES what she believes was her proudest achievement as Education Secretary
  • “The people who get screwed by this are those in the middling jobs” – Chair of the Lords report on post-18 provision, Lord Forsyth highlights some of the losers from the current HE funding system
  • “For some it’s like Love Island, parties all the time, but for many of us there’s a sense of never quite getting invited” – The Times investigates some of the pressures of uni life today
  • “These exciting new qualifications will not be quickly forgotten. They are here to stay” – the Skills Minister issues a rallying cry for T Levels
  • “We have created a sector of Sam and Samantha Allardyces” – Bedford College Chief Exec Ian Pryce highlights the pressures leading to a rise of ‘safety first’ college principals 
  • “I think that for a head teacher or a Chief Executive to be paid more than the Prime Minister, this should only be in exceptional circumstances for exceptional leadership” – the Education Secretary offers his thoughts about excessive pay awards at the top of schools
  • “Data from the Publishers Association suggests that textbooks only need to save teachers 5 minutes a day to be good value for money” – School Standards Minister Nick Gibb makes the case for high-quality texbooks
  • “I firmly believe that very young children don’t need to have access to social media at all. After all, they are children” – the Digi Secretary calls for restrictions on mobile phone use by the very young
  • “Despite being goaded occasionally by cartoons that portray me variously as a middle aged Hermione Grainger and as a jousting knight, I have stuck to my view that battle language is generally unhelpful” – Ofsted Chief inspector Amanda Spielman on jaw - jaw rather than war – war
     

Word or phrase of the month

  • ‘Plastic.’ Emerged as word of the year (ahead of unicorns, slime, Fortnite, Trump and Ronaldo) from stories submitted by 13 year olds to this year’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show’s writing competition

Steve Besley
Head of Policy
policywatch@pearson.com

Policy Eye is a nearly weekly additional service from Policy Watch offering a regular round-up of UK education headlines and stories from over the previous 7 days.