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 26 May

    The sign of an approaching Parliamentary recess is a raft of government announcements, and this week has been no different. The Department for Education (DfE) published the latest information on the reforms to post-16 qualifications, and the defunding of qualifications deemed to overlap T Levels (more below). It also revealed arrangements for the fourth and final year of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) in England, starting in September 2023. The Government announced funding for school buildings and local skills, and we also saw the ONS publish the latest NEET estimates.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 19 May

    This week, PIRLS 2021 (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) league tables were published, with England rising to fourth place, from joint eighth out of 50 in 2016. Schools Minister Nick Gibb said that the rise is thanks to primary school teachers’ “commitment to reading, their commitment to phonics and embracing of the phonics approach introduced by the government”, whilst Schools Week analysis showed that the rankings rise is mostly explained by drops in attainment by students in other countries caused by the pandemic. The research was carried out, collaboratively, by The Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) and Pearson.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 12 May

    Ofqual’s annual qualifications perceptions survey was out this week, showing consistent support across all groups surveyed for GCSEs, and in the main for A levels – though there was a drop in those believing they are a good preparation for work. For Applied General qualifications there was no change year on year. This survey provides interest evidence against the backdrop of various reports and research into whether education is preparing students well for future. One such group doing just that are peers on the Education for 11-16 Year Olds Committee who continued their investigation this week, with a focus on creative subjects and vocational education.

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