An interesting statistic to start this week.
In Ipsos Mori’s latest Issues Index, the Index that looks at what’s worrying people in Britain today, education has moved up to third place in the listing of people’s concerns, behind Brexit and the NHS but just ahead of inequality, immigration, housing, law and order and the economy. It’s a timely reminder of the value people attach to education when the B word and so many other issues seem to be hogging the headlines.
In terms of education headlines, many this week have been about social media and its effects on young people, triggered perhaps by this week’s latest Children’s Mental Health Week and annual Safer Internet Day. The government is due to present a White Paper on the matter next month but in the interim we’ve had important reports this week from the Children’s Commissioner and UK Chief Medical Officers among others. There seems little agreement yet on what the research tells us or how regulation might work yet most are agreed that something needs to be done.
Over in higher education, UCAS published the latest buoyant figures for uni applications so far this year, the Universities Minister was interviewed by the Times Higher where he had some interesting things to say about whether too many people were going to uni (they’re not,) while the FT published a fascinating Big Read on the challenges currently facing UK higher ed. It provoked some interesting responses, some more radical than others and the whole thing, the paper and the responses, are worth reading.
In FE, the government announced the scrapping of the FE teacher bursary scheme and issued MoUs for the devolution of adult ed functions while concerns continued to be expressed in the sector about when the new Functional Skills would be available and some of the issues still to be resolved in T levels.
For schools, the Education Minister continued his foray into character education, spelling out his five core ingredients and announcing an advisory group to draw up details, though talk of guidance benchmarks may worry some. The Schools Minister reminded Academy Trusts of the need to show restraint on top levels of pay, the Children’s Commissioner issued a report on the growing numbers of home educated children and the Education Committee held its latest witness session, this time with Ofsted. Finally, MPs are preparing to debate early next week, although perhaps not too early, whether schools should allow for a later start in the day so that teenagers can be more on the ball.