Something for everyone this week.
For schools, the body behind the Free School movement reached its tenth anniversary with a new report outlining plans for the next ten years, the British Council published its latest annual report into language provision in English schools, Ofsted explained what it meant by ‘good intent’ under the new inspection framework, and the DfE set out its plans for this year’s performance tables.
For FE, the Association of Colleges invited colleges to sign up to its Charter for Student Engagement while the Recruitment and Employment Confederation launched a petition on opening out the apprenticeship levy. For HE the Office for Students published its first annual report and accounts, Research England announced some extra funding for English universities and Augar continued to command attention not just across education but with a lengthy debate in the House of Lords as well.
And on the wider policy front this week, local councils have been in annual conference, Edward Timpson appeared before the Education Committee to answer questions about his recent report, Pearson hosted its annual inspiring BTEC Awards event, and Lord Heseltine attempted to inject new energy into the English devolution movement with a report listing 20 proposals aimed at securing additional powers and funds for metro mayors.
Here’s a bit of detail behind some of these headlines.
For schools, the annual statement of intent from the DfE about what will go into the year’s performance tables is often an important document. That said, there’s not a great deal of change to the measures for primary and secondary this year but at 16-18, the destination measure is extended and a new ‘Progression to Level 4 or higher’ measure is being introduced. When it comes to languages, this continues to remain a concern. The government has of course set up a new languages centre and hopes the EBacc will help push up pupil numbers taking exams but the latest report from the British Council continues to point to a downward trend, unequal provision and perhaps most noticeably, a Brexit effect. As for Free Schools, the New Schools Network proposes opening 100 a year and taking over unsponsored ‘failing’ schools; challenging according to some.
For higher ed, the Augar report continues to resonate. Wonkhe hosted an important seminar on it this week, Universities UK chief exec Alistair Jarvis blogged about the proposals and the Lords held a lengthy debate on the report with some impressive former university figures adding their thoughts.