Some big platforms for education this week with Ofsted releasing its latest Annual Report, the Education Secretary addressing global ministers at the Education World Forum, the Prime Minister talking up UK education and skills at the UK-Africa Summit, BETT hosting its latest annual Event, and of course the great gathering of world leaders at Davos where according to the FT, spiked shoes were being offered to encourage delegates to walk to meetings rather than take the car.
Nor has it ended there. In further evidence that education activity has moved up a gear this week, the government is preparing to outline further plans about its immigration policy and in particular the salary threshold for those arriving after Brexit. Meanwhile the Education Secretary outlined what he called ‘the biggest reform to teachers’ pay in a generation’ while his Research and Innovation Secretary announced at the BETT Conference, that the government was planning to look at how far modern technology could help learners with special needs.
Also this week, there’s been a lot on social mobility with a report on elites from the Sutton Trust and the release by the Social Mobility Commission of its latest social mobility ‘Barometer,’ proposing among other things a dedicated research centre for FE to help develop best practice in supporting disadvantaged learners. There’s also been a couple of reports this week on careers. In one, the Careers and Enterprise Company reported on increasing business engagement in schools and colleges while in the other the Education and Employers charity reported on its latest survey of the aspirations of young people, often at odds it appears with the reality of the labour market, leaving sadly many ‘destined for disappointment.’
We even have a royal mention this week with the Duchess of Cambridge launching a new national conversation on what’s needed for early childhood. All in all therefore a lot to take in and with both BETT and Davos still running, no doubt more to come.
But we finish the week with a quick reminder of the report that matters to so many in education, Ofsted’s Annual Report, delayed by last month’s election but always a big moment in the education calendar.
The Report itself was fairly standard, confirming an overall improving picture but as the Chief Inspector put it: ‘it’s what lies underneath’ that often matters most. Issues like pupil off rolling, unregistered schools, special needs provision and aligning training to skills needs were among those mentioned, along with the current debate about narrowing curriculum choice for young people too early. It’s these wider issues that often attract the sharpest debate and this year was no different.