Highlights of the week ending 16 October

Ministers in Westminster made their move on exams in England, delaying them for three weeks, following last week’s news of the cancellation of National 5 exams (GCSE equivalent) in Scotland. The government’s message is clear, exams are the “best and fairest form of assessment”. Details will be developed over the coming weeks. On the skills front, the government announced the end of the National Retraining Scheme. It will be integrated into the National Skills Fund (consultation expected soon) following a pilot programme and an aim to “reduce complexity” in the skills system. We also saw the publication of the latest Employer Skills Survey, thought it came with the warning that results reflect a very different world to today. The pandemic has thrust digital learning to the forefront of the education agenda and this week the OfS outlined its work to maintain quality in this area. The IPPR has put out a report making recommendations around the government’s digital strategy in schools. And our very own Sharon Hague has written about online learning as part of a blog on the new normal in schools.

Our new policy blog hub also include contributions from Cindy Rampersaud on key workers and Gary Gates on digital in higher education.