Education spending in England, Universities, the Lib-Dems and global learners top the education headlines this week; a pretty eclectic spread. Some details to follow.
Education spending in England first where this week the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IfS) published its latest report. As IfS director Paul Johnson observed in launching the report, they’d had to dig quite deep to get the full picture and even then a lot of questions, notably on the future of HE funding, remain. The full 100+ page report is available on their website but headlines include the fact that the latest spending round increase for schools, if delivered, would reverse the 8% cut but still leave schools in 2022/23 where they were ten years ago. Second, fully reversing college cuts would require the government to stump up a further £1.1bn over and above existing plans. In addition, spending on apprenticeships has significantly increased over the last decade but the 3m target is unlikely to be hit while for HE funding, huge questions remain about Augar adoption, Opposition policies and more.
Next Universities where it’s been a busy week strategically as institutions prepare for the start of a new year. The week began with the latest Education Secretary issuing an updated remit letter, the third so far this year with the Teaching Excellence Framework, admissions review, student contracts and flexible provision all featuring prominently. And it progressed with a flurry of reports. Unite Students’ study of next generation students as ‘New Realists,’ prioritizing financial security over wealth is an interesting read as is, if we may say, Pearson’s analysis of HE system change in the future. Three future principles emerged here: continuous learning, skills-based learning, and balanced investment.
Third, the Lib-Dems who have just rounded off their latest Annual Conference and where despite their stance on Brexit hogging most of the headlines, there were a number of events and motions on various aspects of education. It only featured briefly in the Leader’s speech but key takeaways as their education policies take shape appear to include: replacing SATs and league tables; developing a new school inspectorate; removing the EBacc for a slimmer curriculum entitlement; a possible graduate tax for HE; and supporting lifelong learning through a system of Personal Education and Skills Accounts.
Fourth and finally, on home turf, Pearson’s inaugural Global Learner Survey, a comprehensive exercise that captures the views of learners across 19 countries. A fascinating picture emerges here at a pretty critical juncture in learning provision with new technologies and new approaches dominating and eight trends standing out including notably a ‘do it yourself’ approach to creating leaning options. A lot to digest.