More political than educational headlines this week, all potentially with a bearing on education.
The week’s education news first where there’s been a handful of surveys of young people, two in particular.
First, the latest annual survey of children’s well-being from the Children’s Society which found evidence of ‘increasing unhappiness’ among its sample of 11-17 year olds in England and Wales. Issues like getting good grades at school, finding an enjoyable job and worries about crime and the environment all appeared to be weighing heavily on them. Among the report’s recommendations was for the creation of a national measure of children’s well-being based perhaps on the National Pupil Database.
Second and more upbeat was the report this week from WorldSkills, the OECD and the Education and Employers body looking into how young people from a range of different nations including the UK, viewed future work and the role of technology. Most of those surveyed appeared pretty positive, supporting technological change and hopeful of finding a job they really wanted but less positive about how far school had prepared them for the future. It’s perhaps why, as the Independent Schools Council reported last week, many independent schools are turning to alternative courses such as BTECs and the Extended Project to ensure their young people are fully prepared for what adult life might throw at them.
Next those political headlines and again two in particular of relevance to education.
First, money and the news that the Chancellor looks set to announce one-year departmental spending plans next Wednesday with the spending tap likely to be wrenched open a little. Whether this is part of a possible election sweetener as some have suggested remains to be seen but The Guardian has an excellent reveal on what it all might mean for education. It includes extra funding for schools, special needs and potentially 16-19, improved future starting salaries for teachers, stronger support for headteachers on pupil behaviour and a gear change on Academies and Free schools. Some of this meets pledges made during the leadership campaign but some also represents a shift in tone and priorities.
Second, it’s now clear that Parliament will not sit for much of September, certainly from the second week of September to 14 October when a new Queen’s Speech will be held. Part of the case is to allow for what the PM called ‘a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda’ for the future to be announced, others are less convinced. Either way, summer seems a long way off already. As the Bard put it in his famous Sonnet: ‘summer’s lease hath all too short a date.’