Two weeks’ worth of news this time with stories from both before and after Easter to catch up on.
Some news items from before Easter first where four stories stand out. They include Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on SATs, a new report on unexplained school absences, concerns from the manufacturer’s organisation about T level awareness, and a helpful summary from Julian Gravatt at the Association of Colleges about this year’s budget round for colleges. Links below but here’s some details on the first two.
SATs often feature at teacher union conferences and this year Jeremy Corbyn highlighted them as one of a number of current policies that a future Labour government would scrap. He didn’t indicate any alternative at this stage preferring to call for future consultation but the pitch was about how education was increasingly being narrowed down to meet overbearing targets. ‘Why are we doing this to our children?’ he asked leaving the Education Secretary to respond that actually it’s to help them progress in life. With a petition against baseline assessment being handed into Downing Street this week, this year’s SATs just under a month away, and reception baseline assessment and times table checks coming, it seems that primary assessment will remain a hot topic for debate.
Next unexplained school absences, also a hot topic in education at present where the Education Policy Institute attempted to get to the bottom of things in the first of what will be two reports. This one examined three cohorts taking GCSEs in 2011, 2014 and 2017 respectively and noted an accompanying and growing number of unexplained gaps in the register. Evidence points to much of this being concentrated in a small number of schools, 330 secondary schools to be precise and although regional differences were not examined, factors like a high number of unauthorised absences, previous exclusions and disadvantaged backgrounds all seemed to be prominent. A further report will follow later this summer.
And so on to this week where the headlines include a report from Impetus, which funds and supports charities working with young people, on the struggles facing disadvantaged young people trying to secure work, plans from the government to improve digital skills among adults and a new report on Intergenerational Fairness from the House of Lords with a lot to say on skills and training.
A highlight this week has been the 50th birthday of the Open University which received its Royal Charter 50 years ago this week and as the blurb puts it, ‘is still radical’, still relevant.’ And still cherished by its many users according to the birthday tributes on social media.
Finally spare a thought for techies in China, who work a 996 schedule - 6 days of 9.00am - 9.00pm.