Policy Watch

Education’s always changing, and it can be hard to keep track. Policy Watch is the easy way to make sure you stay up to date with the latest developments.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 13 May

    Details of the new Schools Bill were revealed ahead of Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. The content provided few surprises given it provides a legislative footing for plans announced in the recent Schools White Paper. As with the White Paper, the Bill plans has been criticised by some, including Labour and teaching unions, for omissions including post-pandemic learning recovery.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 6 May

    With Parliament prorogued ahead of the Queen’s Speech and local election purdah it has been a quieter week. That’s not to say it has been quiet. Ofqual published its three-year plan to 2025. There was a heavy emphasis on the potential use of technology in assessment – which chimes with the findings of the recent Future of Qualifications and Assessment research published by Pearson.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 29 April

    It’s been a busy week for publications. Ofsted set out its five-year strategy, which promises more longer inspections, looks to hold MATs to account, and will widen its research work. The latest edition of Ofqual’s research into the perceptions of qualifications (GCSEs, A levels, Applied Generals) was published showing confidence levels holding up, though understanding in some parts down (perhaps as a result of the pandemic impact). We’ve also seen several policy reports launched. HEPI’s report into the future of level 3 qualifications, which includes a number of distinguished authors including former Universities Minister Lord Willetts, calls for the defence or proven qualifications, such as BTEC, and not their defunding. The Lifelong Education Commission set out its thoughts on the Future of Higher Technical Education in England, including how numbers studying these qualifications can be increased.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 8 April

    The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill completed its ten-month journey through parliament after peers agreed to the withdrawal of Lord Blunkett’s amendment that would have applied a three-year wait to the defunding of applied qualifications at level 3. This came after ministers clarified their position in order to address Lords’ concerns. This included Baroness Barran’s announcement that the government “expect(s) to remove just a small proportion of the total level 3 BTEC and other applied general style qualification offer – significantly less than half”. This represents a change in position from the start of the Bill’s passage when it was said only on small number of such qualifications would remain.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 1 April

    As MPs head into the Easter recess, we’ve seen a busy week of announcements and publications, not least the launch of the long-awaited Schools White Paper and SEND Green Paper.

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