Policy Tracker – Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in August 2019
August is traditionally exam results time and most of the headlines this month have again been taken up with reporting and analysing the latest set. The Johnson government has also been settling in this month and starting to outline its priorities with the new Education Secretary said to be leading on the 3Fs of Funding, Free Schools and FE. Elsewhere, the government has confirmed grading arrangements for T levels, Labour has published an interim report from its Lifelong Learning Commission, university Clearing has been in full swing and PQA (post-qualification admissions) has been much in the news.
“I therefore intend to bring forward a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit” – Boris Johnson sets out future plans for MPs
“Further education and skills will be a big priority for this government” – the new Education Secretary embraces his joint role as Skills Minister as well
“A Labour government will deliver the reform that is needed, implementing a new system of post-qualification admissions by the end of our first term in office” – Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner announces Party plans to reform university admissions
“I have banged on about this a lot but it got drowned out by concern for the HE sector” – Shadow Skills spokesman Gordon Marsden worries about the future of HE provision in FE post Brexit
“Our vision for the OfS was for it to be a regulator with teeth” – the government confirms the full powers now available to the Office for Students (OfS)
“I spent the last three years focusing on the end result and now it’s here I don’t know what to do with it” – one graduate on coping with life after leaving university
“In general, the level of variation in individual school and college results at A* and A’ is similar to previous years” – Ofqual reports on A’ level results
“The government’s obsession with making exams more rigorous is in danger of destroying their love of learning” – ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton reflects on the drop in entries in some A’ levels this year notably English
“We trust schools to make sure that children are well prepared and are supported. So there shouldn’t be that level of stress” – Schools Minister Nick Gibb reacts to suggestions that some pupils had refused to take some GCSE exams this year because the pressures felt too great
“I am sure we all felt nervous at exam time but the possibility of failure has taken a greater importance than ever before and is deeply worrying our children” – Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline, on the increase in young people seeking counselling around exam time
“No one will try to terrify you” – Year 8 pupils offer advice to Year 7s about to start secondary school
Word or phrase of the month
The forgotten third.’ Students who didn’t achieve the standard grade 4 pass in both English and maths GCSE and whose needs have been much under discussion during this month’s exam results.