Interim SATs results, Higher Tech Qualifications, the latest update on university admissions from UCAS, growing up in the UK today, a new report on the impact of the EBacc, and rumours of an impending funding announcement for schools, plenty of education headlines this week.
Elsewhere this week, the Education Committee announced a new inquiry into lifelong learning, the Association of Colleges (AoC) published its wish list ahead of any future Spending Review, the government issued new guidance to academies on executive pay and schools were encouraged to become ‘healthy schools’ by answering questions on things like food education and time spent on PE.
A lot going on therefore so here’s a few details behind some of those top stories.
SATs first, the fourth year since the ‘tougher’ regime was applied, where there was a welcome increase in maths performance despite change to the threshold score. SATs remain contentious as the latest National Education Union (NEU) survey indicated and a Corbyn government has promised to scrap them at least in their present form. Yet the coming year will also see the baseline assessment and multiplication checks suggesting primary assessment and accountability will remain an important area of activity.
Higher Tech Qualifications next, a further element in the government’s sweep of reforms around technical education and where this week the government kickstarted developments with a paper spelling out the case for change, a set of proposals for consultation and an impact assessment. As the case for change paper points out, these qualifications develop progression routes and advanced skills much in demand by employers but are poorly recognised and take up is low compared to other countries, hence the soubriquet ‘the missing middle of the qualification system.’ The government, is proposing among other things kite marking high quality qualifications and providers in a bid to raise both the profile and the uptake. Further announcements are expected later this year.
Still on higher levels, the latest update from UCAS, based on the important end of June staging post, make interesting reading. First because demand notably among young people from deprived areas let alone international applicants remains strong. And second because UCAS has added a new interactive tool to enable further delving into the data. Wonkhe has a helpful analysis of it all here.
Finally, three reports this week from Action for Children, the Diana Award and Bright Blue respectively highlight some of the challenges facing young people and adults today while the FT has suggested that the PM may announce more money for schools early next week.