Quite a spread of stories this week ranging from tomorrow’s technology to today’s sex and relationship education.
Tomorrow’s technology featured heavily in Nesta’s excellent report about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in schools and colleges, where according to Sir Anthony Seldon who wrote the Foreword, we are on the cusp of a revolution. Revolutionary talk was also in the air at the Education Committee this week as it continued its inquiry into the 4th industrial revolution by questioning OECD Education Director Andreas Schleicher about his thoughts. Teachers needing to upgrade their skills every day and curricula that help students develop wider skills were among the points raised here.
As for sex and relationship education, that came in the form of new guidance issued by the DfE following consultation last year and explained in careful detail to MPs by the Education Secretary in a question and answer session in the Commons. ‘Hoo-ruddy-ray’ was the reaction of one MP, others however questioned some of the features including notably the nature of provision for primary school children and the opt-out procedures for parents/pupils in secondary schools. Schools will be left to decide exactly how to teach the new content but the aim is for it all to be available from next year.
In HE, the government issued the Office for Students with its latest remit letter, the Minister heralded new guidance on access and participation, the CBI warned against disrupting the tuition fee system and Universities UK outlined a number of recommendations for improving the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) as the review group’s call for evidence drew to a close.
In FE/Skills, the DfE began the process of finding a partner to help shape its promised transition programme for those young people not quite ready yet to start a T level, the think tank Policy Exchange published a report on T levels and what could be learnt from past ventures in this area, the DfE published a report on the Level 4/5 market, Ofqual launched a consultation on managing centre assessment and the government and others lined up resources and activities for next week’s National Apprenticeships Week.
Finally, over in schools, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) published its first annual report on the teacher workforce in England pointing to continuing shortages in some secondary subjects, the BBC published research showing the drop in take-up of some modern foreign languages in recent years, and the government set out its proposals for the proposed reception baseline assessment due to be piloted this autumn. At least it’s been a shorter month.