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 14 January

    Robin Walker, the Schools Minister, was in front of the Education Committee this week covering a wide range of subjects. He made clear that the plan remains that exams will take place in the summer, but confirmed work was underway on contingencies (should the need arise). He also covered the education catch up programme, describing it as a “huge success” and that it is “making a difference".

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  • Highlights of the week ending 17 December

    Omicron continues to dominate as ministers wrestle with its implications for the education sector. Education Select Committee Chair, Rob Halfon, asked an urgent question on school opening in January. Skills Minister, Alex Burghart reiterated the government’s commitment to keeping schools open and this was followed by Secretary of State, Nadhim Zahawi calling on retired teachers to help provide cover.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 10 December

    Ofsted published its annual report this week. Findings included nearly all children falling behind, despite the best efforts of the sector. The inspectorate recommends that schools offer a rounded experience to students, and not focus simply on bridging the learning gap.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 3 December

    As the new COVID variant, omicron, dominates the news, education was once again central to debate around mask wearing. The government recommended that face coverings be worn in communal areas by staff and pupils in secondary schools, Further Education premises and Higher Education settings. Unions welcomed the move but also called for more support for the education sector in relation to the ongoing pandemic.

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  • Highlights of the week ending 26 November

    This week saw the DfE announce universities will be required to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children in their local schools and colleges, while also taking steps to widen access and setting targets to support HE students throughout their time at university. Michelle Donelan set out the new plans in a speech, which she said form part of the Government’s ambitions for levelling-up. The OfS announced John Blake as the new director for fair access and participation.

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