No big headline this week, for education at least, but plenty to take in. It includes an important piece of news, a statement from the Education Secretary on the Augar report along with a further stream of digests on the report, some published responses to the Level 3 and below consultation due to close on Monday, another debate by MPs on school funding and the first meeting of the EdTech Leadership Group.
That piece of news first courtesy of an appearance in front of a Parliamentary Committee by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss MP, where she suggested that it was now likely that this autumn’s Spending Review would have to be postponed. Instead, departmental spending plans would be rolled over for another year. This has not been officially confirmed but given a change of Prime Minister and build-up to Brexit, it’s a decision many people have been anticipating although it doesn’t make future planning any easier.
On to higher education where heads are still spinning over last week’s Augar report. In his statement to the House on Tuesday complementing the report, the Education Secretary faced a stream of questions about how future funding will play out, about whether one sector will be pitted against other when it comes to resources and basically what happens now. He stuck to the line that it was an independent panel review report which would feed into the Spending Review, although as we’ve heard the timing of that now appears uncertain. For those looking for more detailed analysis of the Augar report, there’s been a stream of excellent analysis and commentary this week, four examples of which are highlighted below, including some interesting thoughts from panel member Professor Alison Wolf.
On to FE and Skills where apart also from reflections on Augar, a new report on digital skills, and the unveiling of the T level logo, responses have started to be published on the government’s initial Level 3 and below qualification consultation which closes on Monday. Key issues, and raised in the responses from Ofqual and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP,) both of which have been released this week, are the need for such qualifications to have a clear purpose, for employers to be able to source a range of qualifications that can match needs and perhaps most significant of all, for students to have adequate choice. “There is a risk that a barrier to progress may be created if alternative choices are unduly restricted,” as Ofqual put it.
Finally to schools where Tory leadership contenders have been spraying around promises about school funding, MPs have been debating the national funding formula as well as looking at how to strengthen secondary school performance in the North East and where EdTech companies have been invited to bid for funds to help develop digital solutions for schools on matters like timetabling and essay marking.