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.
We saw a number of Bills receive Royal Assent this week as the parliamentary session came to an end. This included the Skills and Post 16 Education Act 2022. As part of the Queen’s Speech we expect some form of Education Bill and we know there will continue to be a heavy education focus in parliament over the coming months as the Public Accounts Committee has opened a new inquiry into the SEND Review, Schools White Paper, and the National Tutoring Programme. This is coupled with the ongoing work of the Education Committee. This week they took evidence from former ministers, Lord Blunkett and Lord Willetts, as well as Sir Charlie Mayfield (former head of UKCES). On the reform of Level 3 qualifications, they welcomed the delay in defunding some applied general qualifications, said that these qualifications were understood by employers and different to T Levels, and called on the Committee to monitor IFATE’s approach to the definition of overlap.