One big stand-out story this week but that’s for another place, somewhere between Westminster and Brussels. For education, there is, as usual, plenty to catch up on.
Next week for example sees the gathering of the FE clans at the high-profile Association of Colleges (AoC) Annual Conference and this week the AoC has been busy setting out its thoughts on some of the key issues that may well crop up at the Conference including the post-18 review, Brexit and a rather alarming trend of departing Principals.
Higher education meanwhile has continued to chew over its future financing ahead of the post-18 review, with notable contributions from both BBC education contributors while Universities UK has published an interesting survey of what the public thinks of UK universities – broadly positive it appears, especially among young people. As for schools, the times tables test, Ofsted inspections, home learning, and isolation rooms have been among the mix of topics featured this week.
The times table tests for which we got more detail this week have provoked considerable comment. Due to be piloted next summer and become statutory for year 4 pupils in summer 2020, the format emerging is of a short online ‘test,’ 25 questions, six seconds to answer in each case and an emphasis on the higher number tables. The government hopes they’ll be as ‘valuable’ as the phonics check but many in the profession see them as disruptive, costly and burdensome. The TES has a good summary here.
Elsewhere this week, the Careers and Enterprise Co has published its latest report on how careers is shaping up in schools and colleges with some perhaps surprising findings of where it’s happening best. And the Education Committee, which is hosting two important witness sessions next week, has been following the well-trodden path to Germany and Switzerland as part of its inquiry into the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Two other Committees have been busy this week. One, the Science and Technology Committee has been hearing evidence about the impact of social media on young people as well as reporting on early years intervention while the another, the Committee looking into how best to regenerate coastal town and poor communities, has been hearing evidence from school and college leaders about how to improve participation and attainment. Finally we should not forget it has also been Anti-Bullying Week and there’ve been a number of reports on this and associated issues including for the first time, recognition of the incidence of cyberbullying.